WARREN, NJ – The Supporting Priority Investment in Somerset County Initiative conducted by the county Planning Board was among the projects honored by the New Jersey Planning Officials at its 2016 Achievement in Planning Awards program.

Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh accepted the award at the NJPO breakfast held Sept. 16 at the Somerset Hills Hotel.  Also in attendance were Freeholder Deputy Director Peter Palmer, Freeholder Patrick Scaglione, Planning Board Chairman Bernie Navatto Jr. and Planning Director Walter Lane, AICP/PP.

The Somerset County Planning Board worked closely with state, county and municipal officials, local and regional planners, the business community and various stakeholder groups to develop the County Investment Framework and implement the Supporting Priority Investment in Somerset County Initiative.

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The plan identifies 24 Priority Growth Investment Areas through the county, including downtown Somerville and the extending to Route 22 bounded by Gaston Avenue on the east and Mountain Avenue on the west..

The plan also incorporates priority areas for preservation, which includes thousands of acres in southern Hillsborough Township.

“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,” Walsh said. “We have truly created ‘a culture of collaboration.’”

 The NJPO awards program summarized and commended the county’s plan as follows:

 “The Somerset County Investment Framework (CIF) supports opportunities for smart growth, preservation, redevelopment, revitalization and resiliency planning through tactical alignment of land use, infrastructure and preservation plans.

“The CIF identified 24 Somerset County locations for Priority Growth Investment Areas (PGIAs).  Two phases of the CIF were undertaken: In Phase I, the county developed extensive countywide data resources and performance measures to identify, screen and evaluate opportunities for targeted growth and redevelopment in the PGIAs.

“Phase II presents a comprehensive plan for strategic investment in the PGIAs, including market-based assessment, screening of land use alternatives and formulation of framework plans of integrated land use and transportation strategies.”

This initiative was funded by grants from Together North Jersey and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

For more information about the CIF, visit the county website atwww.co.somerset.nj.us/planweb under Data & Reports.