Somerset County Planning Board Receives PlanSmart NJ Award

Somerset County Freeholder Director Pat Walsh and Planning Director Walter Lane display the PlanSmart NJ award during a recent freeholders’ meeting. Credits: Courtesy Somerset County Freeholders

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Planning Board is the recipient of PlanSmart NJ’s Regional and Community Planning Award.

Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh, Planning Board Chairman Bernard Navatto Jr. and Planning Director Walter Lane, AICP/PP, accepted the award honoring the board’s comprehensive planning in developing the Somerset County Investment Framework.  Freeholder Deputy Director Peter Palmer also attended the awards dinner at the Princeton Hyatt.

Since 1983, PlanSmart NJ has honored contributions to land use planning in New Jersey that promote regional planning and community development, economic development, resource efficiency, environmental protection and regional equity.

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According to PlanSmart NJ, the Somerset County Investment Framework “marks a significant achievement in regional planning in New Jersey.  The county Planning Board, working closely with municipal officials, planners and community stakeholders, saw beyond the challenges of regional planning to the significant social, environmental and economic benefits of thinking, planning and working across municipal boundaries.”

The Investment Framework was inspired by the concepts presented in the draft State Strategic Plan and was made possible by key partners including the Somerset County Business Partnership, the state Office of Planning Advocacy, NJ Transit, the state Department of Transportation and RideWise. Funding and assistance from Together North Jersey and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority helped to propel the project forward.

“It is through the hard work and dedication of our planning staff that each of our 21 municipalities considers the county as a partner in their planning and visioning,” said Walsh. “We have truly created a ‘culture of collaboration.’”

“The municipalities know we are here to support them in achieving their goals,” Navatto added.  “Each town is a jewel in our crown and what is best for them is best for us.”

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