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TRENTON, NJ-Early last week, Gov. James McGreevey gave the state a pep talk on “smart growth” at a specially called meeting of 200 public and private sector officials. Late Friday, he issued an executive order effectively setting a number of his proposals in motion.

At issue is the state’s growth management plan, a wieldy and unfocused document from the Whitman administration that crosses the activities of several state agencies. In signing the order, McGreevey commented, “we have an obligation to future generations to manage our growth.”

Among other things, the document directs the new Office of Smart Growth to work with the state’s Commerce Commission to establish priorities and recommend investments through a super-incentives approach targeting projects in designated areas, mostly urban locations. It also calls on the NJ EDA to make short-term loans available to developers to offset pre-development funding gaps and funding requirements for brownfields remediation.

Also targeted by the document is regulatory reform as a collaborative effort between the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies, including priority for applications and appeals relating to development and redevelopment in designated areas. Finally, the executive order directs the state’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to put together a self-sufficient homebuyers’ incentive program for first-time purchasers within the designated “smart growth” areas.

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