Highlands Regional Master Plan
The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act provides that the Highlands Council is to complete a Regional Master Plan (RMP) for the 88 Highlands municipalities included in the statute. The first Draft RMP was released on November 30, 2006, and the public comment period ended on May 11, 2007. There were 8 public hearings on the Draft RMP in early 2007. The Highlands Council released the Final Draft RMP on November 30, 2007, and the public comment period ran through February 28th, 2008. There were three public hearings on the Final Draft RMP in early 2008. The RMP was adopted on September 5, 2008.
The RMP is a vision for the future of the NJ Highlands. It seeks to determine the amount of growth and type of development and activity that the ecosystem of the Highlands can sustain, with a special focus on water supply. It establishes capacity limitations for future growth within the Region related to both natural systems (such as water supplies) and the built environment (such as wastewater and transportation infrastructure).
The Highlands Act divides the nearly 860,000-acre New Jersey Highlands Region into 2 parts — the Preservation Area and the Planning Area. The Preservation Area consists of nearly 415,000 acres located in 52 municipalities. The Planning Area consists of nearly 445,000 acres located in 83 municipalities.
A fundamental distinction between the Preservation Area and the Planning Area is that municipal and county conformance with the RMP is required in the Preservation Area and is voluntary in the Planning Area. Conformance will consist of incorporation of the RMP into municipal master plans, zoning and ordinances.
According to the Highlands Act, the Highlands RMP must be re-adopted every six years.
Regional Master Plan (Highlands Council website)