State Plan

What is the State Development and Redevelopment Plan (State Plan)?

Who is the Office of Planning Advocacy (OPA)?

What is Cross-acceptance?

This is a process of comparing statewide planning policies at government levels with the purpose of a high level of consistency among municipal, county, regional, and State plans as well as the State Plan.

Through this process, the various stakeholders are able to partner to create a more meaningful and viable State Plan. To accomplish this, municipal, county, and regional master plans must be coordinated regionally with each “local vision” of growth and the community taken into consideration during the process. - OPA

Cross  Acceptance Guidance Document

As part of the State Plan’s Cross-acceptance process regional entities (counties, Highlands, or the State) serve in the role as the Negotiating Entity (NE) between the municipalities and State of New Jersey.

Negotiating Entities (NE) serve as a go between, between OPA and municipalities.  Their role is to assist municipalities with the requirements for the State Plan and provide this information to OPA for their review.

  • Draft State Plan Released: Summer 2024 (tentative)
  • After State Plan is released, OPA to have 21 hearings on the plan, one in each county – Summer/Fall 2024 is the tentative schedule for hearings.

Negotiating Entities: have until Summer 2024 to accept their role as Negotiating Entity for their respective counties/regions.  If counties are unable to fulfill this role the OPA (Office of Planning Advocacy) will seek to assign another regional entity, or OPA could assume the responsibility themselves.  Since Morris County is in the Highlands Region, the Highlands Council(PDF, 196KB)  will serve as the NE for the 32 municipalities in the Highlands unless the municipalities request a waiver from OPA to have another entity serve in this role.

The seven (7) municipalities not in the Highlands Region would fall to the County of Morris to be their NE.  These seven municipalities are: Lincoln Park, Madison, East Hanover, Chatham Boro, Chatham Twp, Long Hill and Florham Park.

Municipalities that choose to participate in this process review their master plans and complete the Cross Acceptance Response Template (CART):

If needed, municipalities can work with their NE to complete the CART and make any updates to the State Plan Zones in their municipality via the Rowan State Plan Mapping Tool:  (UPDATE: State Plan Layers to be released Summer 2024).

Once a municipality completes its CART, it submits it to the NE as per the timeline defined by the NE and OPA.  Timeframe TBD


  • NE sets up a hearing on all of its CARTs and submits a summary to OPA once transmitted by the appropriate governing body (i.e. Board of County Commissioners, Highlands Council)
  • OPA reviews CART summary documents
  • Negotiating Phase begins between OPA and NEs
  • OPA’s goal is to have the new State Plan adopted by the end of 2024
  • Implementation to occur in 2025