HGA served as the lead consultant to update the Atlantic County Master Plan under a State-administered Phase II Post-Sandy Grant. The HGA team provided updates to the County Master Plan, which includes a Land Use Element, Transportation Element, Infrastructure Element, and a new Sustainability and Resiliency Element. In addition to the Master Plan, the HGA team prepared updates to the County’s Farmland Preservation Plan and Open Space and Recreation Plan.
The Land Use section of the Plan describes the existing regulations that influence land use and development within the County. The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) covers a large portion of the County. With the exception of a small section in the western part of the County, the area not controlled by the Pinelands is subject to Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) jurisdiction. The plan additionally contains a number of maps depicting existing conditions, changes since the 2000 Master Plan, and an overview of how state level policies, including the Pinelands and CAFRA, affect the County’s development.
Atlantic County sustained significant damage from storm events over the past several years, specifically during Hurricane Irene (2011), Superstorm Sandy (2012) and Winter Storm Jonas (2016). In the wake of these storms, it became apparent that there is a dramatic need to focus planning and investment efforts on resiliency and sustainability measures. The Sustainability and Resiliency Element includes best practices for managing coastal areas, and connects these concepts to each of the other Plan Elements.
Shortly after the inception of the plan development process, a kick-off meeting was held with County Planning Staff, municipal planners and planning consultants, and representatives from the ACUA, ACIA, CRDA, and other agencies. This meeting offered the consultant team the opportunity to present the scope of the project and background information. A lively and productive question and comment session provided a strong base from which to build the planning documents.
A public meeting was held to present draft information, field questions, and take comments from members of the public. Several elected officials, County Staff, and a number of residents were on hand to participate. Recommendations and comments presented by attendees at the meeting were incorporated into the drafting of the plan goals, objectives, and strategies.