Love your open spaces
  • Legislative Priority: Rein in rapidly expanding and unsystematic warehouse sprawl to prioritize responsible development and protect intact open spaces and surrounding communities. 
  • Budget Priority: Ensure robust funding for open space preservation at this critical time for the garden state, America’s most densely populated state. Continuing the Corporate Business Tax (CBT) surcharge to create a dedicated funding source for preserving open spaces or find other ways to ensure the increased funds can to be available for important programs like the blue acres program which buy flood prone properties

Why is this on New Jersey LCV’s Common Agenda?
Parks and open space improve physical and psychological health, strengthen communities, serve as resources and habitat for wildlife, provide environmental and economic benefits to area residents and make neighborhoods and cities more attractive places to live and work. New Jersey is the most densely populated state, which is why it is so important to protect and invest in new and existing green spaces. Over the past few years, significant work has been done to dedicate funding for open space preservation; however, real estate is increasingly expensive and funding still is limited for maintenance. Additionally, many residents, predominantly Black and Brown communities lack adequate access to well-designed, funded, and maintained parks, playgrounds or green spaces within a 10-minute walk from their home or place of work. Green and open spaces are crucial to the wellbeing of a community and can be used for collaborative projects like community gardens, which can revitalize communities and provide access to fresh produce. There is a recognized need in the state for additional park maintenance funding and staff at the DEP to maintain and operate state parks and open spaces to make sure that everyone has equitable access to them, no matter their zip code, language, or physical ability.

Moreover, one major threat to New Jersey’s open and green spaces is the rapid and unsystematic expansion of warehouses. Warehouse sprawl has become a real threat to the quality of life in communities throughout the state. Due to the e-commerce boom, further facilitated by the COVID pandemic; New Jersey’s strategic location between two massive domestic and international markets; and comprehensive highway networks, has made the state a hub for warehouse sprawl. The rapid surge of large-sized warehouses has catalyzed significant issues that cross municipal boundaries, including diesel-fueled, heavy-duty trucking traffic; air pollution; stormwater; and loss of open spaces. In addition, thousands of New Jersey's undeveloped greenfield acres can be lost without a coordinated regional approach to warehouse development. In many cases, open spaces have been haphazardly developed without consideration of the impacts on neighboring municipalities. As a result, surrounding towns are left grappling with increased traffic and tractor-trailers on their local roadways. The state needs to find a solution to this ongoing issue without placing the burden on environmental justice communities.