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WOOLWICH TWP., NJ-The South Jersey township has picked up Initial Plan Endorsement from the New Jersey State Planning Commission. This marks the first time a municipality has been endorsed with an approved Transfer of Development Rights program under the state’s new TDR Act.

“Woolwich Twp. has set a great example of planning and implementing smart growth principles,” says Joseph Doria, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, in a statement. “I encourage more municipalities to work with our Smart Growth Office to receive endorsement.”

Initial Plan Endorsement is a tool developed by the State Planning Commission to help towns, counties, regional and state agencies to meet the goals of the State Planning Act. The process is voluntary and establishes a method through which government agencies can develop capital investment and implement plans that will achieve the goals and strategies of the State Plan.

“Woolwich Twp., in the face of some of the most intense development pressure in the state, has done an outstanding job in developing a plan to proactively manage that growth and protect more than 4,000 acres of important farmland,” says Agriculture secretary Charles Kuperus. “This is more than what the township could hope to accomplish through even the most ambitious use of our traditional farmland preservation programs.”

TDR is a realty transfer system where development potential in a specified area can be acquired by private investors for use in a targeted growth area. The state TDR requires Initial Plan Endorsement for enactment of the program and implementing ordinance. By designating centers and directing development into those areas through TDR, Woolwich will preserve approximately 5,000 acres of land or more, officials estimate. Additional preservation could come through ongoing participation in the farmland preservation program, clustering and open space acquisitions.

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