SMART GROWTH - Vision 21
How should we grow? Where can we bicycle and walk to? Where should places of employment and business occur? How can we keep Hunterdon County the special place that it is? What is our Vision for Hunterdon County in the 21st Century?
Vision21 is the visioning phase of the new Hunterdon County Growth Management Plan and refers to the planning process that seeks public input from residents and local officials on how they think development should occur in the County. The comments received during Vision21 will be used to create a countywide vision and incorporated into the County’s new Growth Management Plan.
Vision21 began in April of 2003 with a public opinion survey on planning and design issues in the County. The survey was prepared with assistance from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute to create an objective questionnaire and valid polling process. 5,000 copies of the survey were mailed out to randomly selected residents in the County. Nearly 2,000 surveys have been returned – a response rate that assures the results will be statistically representative of the entire population of Hunterdon County. The survey data is now being processed and the results are available.
From June through July of 2003, the County hosted a community design survey on the Internet. Participants were asked their opinion about various design images for the County. The Internet survey was designed to accomplish two things: 1) receive input from County residents on various design concepts for Hunterdon County and 2) promote public awareness of the various types of design options. Brief narratives and links will be included in the survey providing explanations of planning concepts important for managing growth in Hunterdon County. The location (URL) of the survey was publicly announced and a link was added to the County Planning Board’s webpage. For residents without access to the Internet, the Hunterdon County library main branch (Route 12) and North County branch (Clinton) offered Internet access. The Hunterdon County Planning Board office also offered public Internet access.
In addition to the two surveys, the County Planning Board hosted a bus trip and walking tour on May 17th to visit three developments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The purpose of the tour was to expose County residents and local officials to examples of different types of development. At the conclusion of the tour participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine their level of support for each of the three developments. The three sites were Scotch Hollow - a “green design” in Hopewell Township; Barclay Court – a downtown “infill” development in Newtown Borough, PA; and Washington Town Center – a planned new community in Burlington County.
To wrap up Vision21, an exciting slide show and public discussion was held on July 29, 2003 to review the results of the surveys and public comments that have been generated so far. A Draft Vision Statement was presented at the meeting, following the slide show. Revisions to the Draft Vision Statement and the Draft Smart Growth Goals were made reflecting public comments at July 29, 2003 meeting and a subsequent public discussion held on November 1, 2003. Feel free to provide your own comments by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vision21 is an exciting opportunity for residents to help plan for the future of Hunterdon County and learn about the many possibilities that exist for preserving the unique character of their communities.