The “Sustainable Somerset: The Stratigic Plan for Somerset County – Draft Updated Visions, Guiding Principles and Planning Objectives” (“Vision”) was published for the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Nov. 10.
It contains no mention of the sanctity of the fundamental rights of property owners as a controlling requirement for any part of the Vision. In fact, in the “Objectives for Sustainable Communities” found on page 13 the following objective (A5) is specified: “Consider the impacts land-use decisions can have on the equity of property owners during the land-use and infrastructure planning process.” Yet Article 7 of the Bill of Rights, ratified Dec. 15, 1791 says: “… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
It is remarkable that in one seemingly innocuous objective to merely “consider” private property owner’s rights, the Vision completely nullifies the fundamental rights of property owners. Because of its failure to protect property rights, the Vision is an affront to Americans and the United States Constitution.
The Vision has numerous and incredible objectives presented in the name of “sustainability” that can be categorized as obscure, alien or both and that can only be experienced by reading the plan in its entirety. In total there are 127 objectives spread across 19 categories ranging from category A: Sustainable Communities, to category S: Promote the county’s historic heritage and cultural assets.
As the entire plan is based on concepts of “sustainability” that by definition can potentially force fundamental economics as subservient to social or environmental issues, should this Vision proceed, there can be no bounds by which Somerset County will have the power to redistribute land assets, dissipate wealth and re-engineer society as we know it in New Jersey.
The plan basis, vision and its objectives have to be scrapped in their entirety, and citizens need to commit to spending the time to guide our elected officials and the Somerset County Planning Department to achieve a plan that respects the fundamental rights of citizens and heeds to a democratic process by which only the will of its citizens is brought to bear.
Citizens can download the plan and the template required by Somerset County to present feedback at: http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/planweb/sustainable/ssmeetings.htm.
Comments are due by Dec. 9, and you can address the Freeholders about any concerns that you might have and volunteer your efforts to create a new Vision by attending the Freeholders meetings held each second and forth Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. at the county administration building, 20 Grove St., Somerville.
Every citizen of Somerset County is encouraged to take responsibility for guiding our future by getting involved; failing to do so is at everyone’s peril.