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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Sustainable Communities
Environmental Capacity Based Planning
Environmental Capacity Based Planning
State Development and Redevelopment Plan
DEP OPSC Plan Endorsement Reports
Sample Ordinances and Plans
Coastal Planning
General Planning Links
Sustainable Guide for Developers and Communities
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Environmental Capacity-Based Planning

Environmental capacity-based planning recognizes both the environmental limits and opportunities for growth.  Environmental limits include drinking water and available sewer service capacity.  Opportunities include the redevelopment of brownfield sites, the preservation of open space and natural resources including rare plant and animal species and representative ecological communities.

DEP initiatives that seek to implement environmental capacity based planning include water quality management planning, the Statewide Water Supply Master Plan and the Landscape Project.  OPSC planners work across program lines – both within the Department and through other state agencies - to ensure environmental capacity based planning is integrated and translated into tangible actions that can be applied at the local level.

NJ Environmental Capacity-Based Planning Links:



State Development and Redevelopment Plan

The OPSC works closely with the State Planning Commission and Department of Community Affairs’ Office of Smart Growth to coordinate the goals and objectives of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan with the relevant programs, regulations and priorities of the DEP.  This process takes place through Plan Endorsement and Cross-acceptance

Summary Description of current Cross-Acceptance Process

On April 28, 2004, the New Jersey State Planning Commission approved the release of the Preliminary State Development and Redevelopment Plan (State Plan) and the Preliminary State Plan Policy Map. This action launched the third round of Cross-acceptance.

Cross-acceptance is a bottom-up approach to planning, designed to encourage consistency between municipal, county, regional, and state plans to create a meaningful, up-to-date and viable State Plan (N.J.S.A. 52:18A-202.b.).

This process is meant to ensure that all New Jersey residents and levels of government have the opportunity to participate and shape the goals, strategies and policies of the State Plan.

Plan Endorsement

Plan Endorsement encourages municipalities to engage in cooperative regional planning. It ensures that municipal, county, regional and State Agency plans are consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and with each other. An endorsed plan entitles municipalities and counties to a higher priority for available funding, streamlined permit reviews, and coordinated state agency services. Priority is given to county and regional strategic plans.




Plan Endorsement Consistency Reviews

The Office of Planning and Sustainable Community staff review petitions for Plan Endorsement to the DCA’s Office of Smart Growth for consistency with DEP’s programs and regulations.

In addition to the Commission’s Plan Endorsement Guidelines, the DEP has developed its own guidelines and review criteria to assist counties and municipalities in the Plan Endorsement process, and to assist in determining consistency with both the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and Department-related plans and programs.

This guidance document is entitled NJDEP Initial Plan Endorsement Program and Process Guide, dated September 26, 2004.

Click on the map link below to view examples of the DEP’s Consistency Review and Comments on the Petition for Initial Plan Endorsement:

state of nj map Link to Map





Sample Ordinances and Plans



Environmental Assessment Ordinance and Checklist

Flood Control Plan

Green Buildings

Habitat Conservation Plan

Historic Preservation Ordinances

Municipal Environmental Justice Program

Municipal Stormwater Permit Requirements

Natural Resource Inventory

Open Space and Recreation

Outdoor Lighting

Recycling Plan

Septic Management Plan and Ordinance

Steep Slope Model Ordinance

Stream Corridor Protection Ordinance

Utility Services Plan

Wastewater Management Plan

Water Conservation


Coastal Planning

As a coastal peninsular state, New Jersey has over 200 miles of coastline, with coastal environments ranging from the industrialized waterfronts of northern New Jersey to the estuary ecosystem of the Delaware Bay.  Planning in these areas must address the special value that coastal resources provide for the State. The OPSC works closely with municipal and county governments to ensure that planning efforts in the coastal zone are consistent with all Department policies, programs, and rules.  This comprehensive approach to coastal planning serves to protect and enhance New Jersey coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend on them.



General Planning Links

Smart Growth

Urban Planning

Coastal Planning

Rural Planning

NJ Regions

Transfer Development Rights (TDR)

Land Preservation

American Planning Association


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Last Updated: January 10, 2019