NORTHFIELD – Senator Jim Whelan today released the attached letter asking members of the Pinelands Commission to conduct public hearings to educate affected residents on proposed changes to the boundaries of the Pinelands Management Areas.
“While we look to preserve this important area of our region, we must ensure that affected homeowners understand the impact of any new boundary determinations,” said Whelan. “Without publicized hearings, any changes would be missed by everyday homeowners until they decide to build a deck or make some other type of improvement to their property.
“Few people are even aware that this revision process is taking place,” said Senator Whelan. “We can not solely rely upon the input of planners and engineers who may be the only stakeholders with knowledge of the changes.
“The public should be invited to provide input in a series of well-publicized hearings that are accessible in both location and time,” Whelan further stated.
According to the Pinelands Commission Web site, the revisions are being conducted based upon a re-examination of the region’s “ecological characteristics” through a recently completed study, called the Ecological Integrity Assessment. The Commission is making recommendations to all nine of the land-use management areas, called Pinelands Management Areas. These changes must be formally adopted by the 15 commissioners of the Pinelands Commission.
The Comprehensive Management Plan Policy and Implementation Committee is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. on February 18th for a special meeting in the New Lisbon office to discuss the boundary recommendations. However, no additional hearings are listed on the Web site.