WIT Press

Somerset County, New Jersey’s Center-based Brownfields Pilot


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WIT Press


D. G. Roberts


As environmental and infrastructure constraints have made conventional suburban development more difficult and expensive, urban municipalities are turning progressively more toward brownfields redevelopment as a viable alternative to suburban sprawl. The Somerset County Center-Based Brownfields Pilot was initiated by Somerset County and the Business Partnership of Somerset County. Together, they are working with their consultant, Schoor DePalma Inc., under the guidance of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to establish a unified, cost-effective methodology for targeting brownfields for redevelopment in six of the county’s more urban municipalities. The aim of the program is to select a specific brownfield site to benefit from environmental response analysis and end-use planning as a model by which all brownfields in the area can be redeveloped. 1 Introduction Somerset County, New Jersey has been a growing industrial force since it was established in 1688 as an agricultural community, processing and transporting grain and other commodities. As Somerset became a more popular place to live, it became host to lumber mills, quarries, and other industry to satisfy the demand for homes and transportation. The Industrial Age brought textile mills to the region, which were replaced by chemical and pharmaceutical interests in the 1900’s. All of this growth through the past three centuries in Somerset County has contributed to the creation of nearly 200,000 acres of brownfields sites throughout the county. In March 2001, Somerset County undertook an ambitious initiative to participate in the United States Environmental Protection