09 June 2008

Dismal Swamp

Despite New Jersey's strong home rule tradition, there has been a slow trickle of special protection areas that have been created by the state forcing municipal planning and zoning to take a back seat to some larger topic or issue. First there was the Meadowlands, then the Pinelands, the D&R Canal, and most recently the Highlands.

Now, there is a proposal to create a Dismal Swamp Conservation Area across three towns. This is a relatively small area considered to the Highlands or Pinelands, but it is a place that deserves some heightened attention and shows how, when we focus locally, nearly everyone has something worth preserving:
"Middlesex County has spent most of its open space funding on saving land in the southern half of the county, and it is time that the northern half of Middlesex County receives the preservation it needs before it is completely built out,'' said Spiegel. "These three projects are intermixed with areas that are already preserved. They're looking to build either warehousing, another wants to put a Jehovah's Witness hall and single-family homes and another one is where they want to put 17 homes.

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