Implications for Local Planning Practice of Policy Recommendations of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance

This white paper reviews policy recommendations from the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance’s 2014 state policy report in order to provide a more detailed assessment on what actions are necessary to implement the recommendation. The authors describe the current activities and additional options that local planners may use to implement each policy recommendation.

Review policy levers for states to encourage adaptation at the local level. 

The seven policy recommendations considered are to:

  1. Incorporate climate change policy into capital planning and decision making
  2. Evaluate policies and regulations governing New Jersey’s coastal zone in light of climate change.
  3. Revise the Municipal Land Use Law to address climate change
  4. Reduce future development and redevelopment in areas at high risk
  5. Offer incentives for buy-out programs for flood and storm prone areas
  6. Encourage greater and broader participation by local agencies in emergency management and hazard mitigation planning
  7. Offer enhanced training and resources for local officials regarding climate adaptation and resiliency planning

For example, the Municipal Land Use Law requires that a local planning board adopt and periodically review a master plan as a prerequisite for zoning and control of municipal land use. As part of the master plan, the board is already required to include elements for land use and housing planning. Other plan elements are optional, such as those relating to economic development, preservation, and sustainability. This report argues that the Municipal Land Use Law should be amended to require (or authorize) a master plan element that addresses natural hazards such as climate change, in order to increase the preparedness of communities and promote public safety and general welfare. The report offers considerations for making that element mandatory or optional, for consistency with zoning ordinances and applicable hazard mitigation plans. The authors offer draft language for amendments and review relevant legislation in Appendix B.

Local planners, as defined by the authors, include municipal and county (non-state agencies) professional planning staff, planning consultants to local governments, governing body members, and planning board members.



Publication Date: February 2015

Author or Affiliated User:

  • David Kinsey

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Legal Analysis
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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