Open Space and Recreation Plan
HGA is currently working with the Atlantic County to update the County Master Plan. The previous County Master Plan and Open Space and Recreation Plan was last adopted in 2000. Since this time, the County’s development and demographic trends have changed significantly. This updated Open Space and Recreation Plan will serve as a guiding document that the County can use to continue its mission to provide open space and recreation facilities to meet the needs of its residents.
Atlantic County contains over 108,000 acres of publicly owned open space. Approximately 74,765 acres are preserved by the State, 19,400 acres consist of a Federal wildlife refuge, 7,435 acres are owned and managed by the County, and 6,475 acres are preserved by municipal governments. In total, these preserved open spaces account for approximately 27% of the County’s total land area.
State planning documents also play a critical role in the development of Atlantic County. The 2001 State Development and Redevelopment Plan provides a vision for the future that serves to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all residents. The Pinelands Protection Act and the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act govern the County’s (and its municipalities’) land uses and the intensity of these uses. While these regulatory agencies provide environmental protection of the County’s more sensitive environments such as wetlands, streams, and lakes, they do little to protect upland regions prone to development.
A Geographic Service Area Standard for Recreational Facilities is included as a part of this Plan. The County’s park system, in conjunction with municipal park systems, gives most of the County’s residents adequate access to open space. Areas lacking facilities in close proximity include most of Egg Harbor City, the north-western portion of Galloway Township, and the south-western half of Weymouth.
Finally, the Plan includes recommendations and strategies for Open Space and Recreation planning, and an implementation matrix for taking action moving forward.