Middlesex County Planning Department
Announces New Growth Management Strategy
MIDDLESEX COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT
Area of the County: 317.9 square miles
Length of County Roads: 321 miles
Population: 750,162 (2000) U.S. Bureau of the Census
Labor Force: 411,155 (2000) N.J. Department of Labor
Employment: 398,485 (2000) N.J. Department of Labor
Middlesex County consists of twenty-five municipalities. The City of New Brunswick is the seat of County Government.
Middlesex County's natural resources, regional cultural facilities, medical facilities and education facilities including campuses of Rutgers, The State University, have attracted substantial economic development. The remaining developable land area of the County, exclusive of wetlands, is 38,279 acres. The County park system contains over 7,000 acres. There are over 20,000 acres of active farmland. The County farmland preservation program has permanently preserved approximately 2,200 acres of farmland in the southern portion of the County. Over 8,000 additional acres have been approved as Agricultural Development Areas and are eligible for farmland preservation through the easement purchase program. Middlesex County also has over 50 miles of shoreline on the Raritan River estuary, Raritan Bay and the Arthur Kill.
During the 1990's Middlesex County has experienced growth in new housing, warehousing facilities and additional office space. The service sector of the economy has grown rapidly in the County, primarily in business services and health services.
In an effort to coordinate municipal land use decisions with the impact these decisions have on infrastructure at the County and State levels of government, Middlesex County has now taken the lead in developing a growth management strategy. Seven strategic planning areas have been identified within the County as the major growth area through the year 2020. Strategic plans are in preparation for two of the areas and the remaining areas will be addressed in phases.
Major Planning Work Program Objectives and Accomplishments
- Continue to develop a Countywide growth management planning strategy by completing plans for the seven strategic planning areas and seeking to obtain their approval as endorsed plans from the State Planning Commission.
- Countywide Agriculture Preservation Plan adopted in conjunction with the Middlesex County Agricultural Development Board.
- Complete the Lower Raritan-Middlesex County Wastewater Management Plan.
- Monitor the updated Transportation Plan of the County and seek to obtain all available funding from the Federal and State levels of government for ready-to-go highway and transportation projects.
- Seek to adopt a Countywide Bicycle Pedestrian Plan in light of the dramatic increase in the number of residents who walk and ride bicycles for health and recreation, and to work.
- Worked with the U.S. Bureau of the Census and obtained accurate population counts in Middlesex County for Census 2000.
- Continue to monitor the adopted Countywide Solid Waste Management Plan. The County continues to program household hazardous Waste Collection Days, Consumer Electronics Drop-Off programs, Paint Drop-of Programs. Recently the Board of Chosen Freeholders approved Environmental Preservation Contest Grants to 13 Middlesex County schools.
- The County's Division of Solid Waste Adopt-A-Road Program also successfully continues in earnest with various County volunteer organizations and school groups.
- Continue joint efforts with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority in implementing the County's recycling program. Middlesex County has surpassed its 60 percent quota and is one of the State's leading counties.
- Continue with the detailed review of all subdivision and site plan applications as dictated by the adopted Subdivision and Site Plan Review Resolutions. As of this date in 2001 approximately 600 applications have been reviewed and acted upon.
- Work with the County's Open Space and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to see that projects conform to the County Planning Board's adopted Recreation and Open Space Plan. To date more than 4,000 acres have been purchased since the program's inception. The voters in 2001 approved a 2-cent increase in the dedicated tax for open space and farmland preservation.
- Continue with the activities of the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee to distribute tree planting project grants and promote urban forestry management. Middlesex County has contributed up to $25,000 annually towards the tree planting project grants.
- Middlesex County recently received a Triple A rating from three leading rating agencies.
- The Office of the County Engineer has begun the design phase of
every structurally - deficient bridge in the county, which carries significant amounts of traffic.
- The County inspects all culverts; and on the average, replaces one culvert per year.
- Middlesex County presently has 125 traffic signals and on the average constructs four new traffic signals every year and the reconstruction of two new traffic signals each year.
- Recently a brand new Juvenile Detention Facility, in cooperation with Somerset County, was constructed and opened.
- This year Middlesex County will add to its park and recreation facilities barrier-free ballfields called "The Level Playing Fields", so that the physically and mentally-challenged residents can participate in team sports.
- In the area of technology, there have been a number of significant accomplishments in Middlesex County. The most significant are:
- The County Vocational and Technical High School is operating, for the first school year, the Academy for Science, Math and Engineering Technology to prepare students for advance classes involving information technology.
- The County Clerk's Land Record System has been computerized.
- The County's financial and purchasing systems have been updated.
- The County's computerized payroll system has been upgraded.
- An Information Resource Management Committee has been created to develop a county-wide network linking Human and Social Services, Police and Fire, Health and Emergency Services, Education and Government Services on a county-wide network.
- The County has implemented an Integrated Law Enforcement System for our Prosecutor and Sheriff's offices, which will soon be expanded to the Corrections Facilities and will be made available to local Police Departments to facilitate the sharing of information.
- The County has undertaken a five-year program entitled "Tech 2000" to provide an up-to-date computer, teacher technology training and internet access in every public, private-non-profit and parochial classroom, K through 12, throughout Middlesex County.
- Middlesex County recently created a very extensive web page to provide vital information to our citizens.
- The County is also purchasing a system whereby the County Health Department can alert residents, down to the neighborhood level, about health issues such as West Nile Virus spraying, etc.