Pinelands Commission begins Plan Review Process
The Pinelands Commission has begun its fourth review of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), the map and body of rules which controls development in the Pinelands. This review is required by the Pinelands Protection Act, which says the Commission is to review the CMP every five years. Previous reviews have taken place in 1983, 1992 and 2002.
[+ ZOOM] Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan
What will the Commission do during this review? That question is still up in the air as the Pinelands Commissioners and the staff are still deciding which parts of the CMP need changes. Listed below are items being discussed at the monthly meetings and the comments that were submitted by PPA during the public comment period.
On going Plan Review process:
Comments were submitted by the public during August and September of 2012. At the December 14, 2012 Plan Review meeting the comments were discussed. (click here for a summary) The Pinelands Commission also set out a timeline for the Plan Review process (click here).
The timeline suggests that the Pinelands Commission would "identify simple, effciency rule change" and complete the changes by December 2013. Click here to reveiw Efficiency Measures discussed at the December 2012 meeting. The Commission also discussed some Application Exemptions which could be done at the same time.
For more information on the Pinelands Commission Plan Review process and a meeting schedule click here.
During the public comment process PPA submitted the following recommendations outlined below or click here to review detail comments.
1. Black Run Watershed protection in Evesham. The CMP should be amended to prevent intensive development in the headwaters of this pristine watershed at the edge of the Pinelands. (PPA web site: www.pinelandsalliance.org/exploration/blackrunpreserve/)
2. Pinelands Development Credit (PDC) changes. The rules for PDC use should be changed to provide a financial incentive for more efficient use of land in the Regional Growth Areas that are slated to absorb the demand for housing and business development. (See Pinelands Commissions 2009 Rule Proposal)
3. Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer protection. Require applicants for new and additional water withdrawals to account for hydrologic impacts of groundwater diversions from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer on stream flows and wetland water levels. Incorporate into the CMP language requiring applicants to use the findings of the Commissions Kirkwood-Cohansey study to identify the probable ecological impacts of induced streamflow and groundwater-level changes on aquatic and wetland communities. (PPA website: www.pinelandsalliance.org/ecology/water/groundwaterandaquifers)
4. Stormwater rules reform, including low impact development (LID) requirements. Because stormwater runoff carries pollution from developed land into the aquifer, streams and wetlands, it is critical that Pinelands rules be reformed to require the most effective methods for designing buildings, parking lots and stormwater treatment systems. (PPA presentation Nov 13th: www.pinelandsalliance.org/exploration/lowimpact)
5. Public comment procedures reform. Public review and comment of Pinelands Commission actions is absolutely critical to the success, and the credibility, of the Commission in meeting its conservation mission. The Pinelands Commission has changed its public comment procedures in the past few years, fixed some problems in its procedures, and made some problems worse. The rules governing public comment need a comprehensive overhaul and clarification. (Inside the Pinelands: www.pinelandsalliance.org/support/about/news/ click issue Feb/Mar 2011)
6. Intergovernmental Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) rules reform. The MOA procedure allows the Commission to enter contracts that promote development in violation of normal protection rules. This process has become a real Trojan Horse that is weakening the Commission and the CMP from within. The procedure needs to be eliminated, or at least reformed to ensure it is only used for genuinely public projects. (Pinelands Watch: www.pinelandsalliance.org/protection/watch, click Issue #32 and #55)
7. Vegetation standards and roadside protections. Improve the CMP’s weak language regarding landscaping and re-vegetation that consist only of “guidelines” for planting native plant species, the use of soil and fill matter, and the use of fertilizer and liming agents to requirements and explicit restrictions. The list of native plant species must be updated as well to exclude non-natives and promote local varieties that are available on the market. (Pinelands Watch: www.pinelandsalliance.org/protection/watch, click Issue #48)
8. Amending CMP threatened and endangered plant list. The CMP’s list of threatened, and therefore protected, plant species is outdated and very incomplete. The list of protected plants needs to include all plant species occurring in the Pinelands that are listed as “species of concern” by the NJ DEP Natural Heritage Program. (Pinelands Watch: www.pinelandsalliance.org/protection/watch , click Issue #44)
9. Sustainable growth fixes for the CMP. Remove the CMP’s endorsements and promotions for the development of single family sprawling dwellings. Several areas of the CMP must be updated to promote and incentivize compact, mixed-use development that will ultimately provide greater protection to Pinelands natural resources.(Pinelands Watch: www.pinelandsalliance.org/protection/watch, click Issue #36)
10. Applications for enduros and similar events. Require all special use applications for off-road motorized events to submit a bond to cover potential damages from illegal trails and to pay for the actual costs for the Commission staff time to review these applications. Otherwise, illegal trails and use of state land will continue to occur by off-road vehicle riders.(PPA website: www.pinelandsalliance.org/protection/hotissues/ecological/offroadvehicles)