Camden, New Jersey

In 2006, the Camden Redevelopment Agency launched the Industrial Sites Strategic Planning Program. The goals of this effort were to examine Camden and formulate strategic planning initiatives using thoughtful planning policies, to correct incompatible land uses, and to develop recommendations for retaining and increasing property available for industrial job creation. The program sought to identify areas in Camden where industrial development could be directed and thrive given environmental, economic, and community considerations. The timing of the program coincided with updates to Camden’s land use/zoning ordinance as well as the creation of redevelopment plans for each of the community’s 21 redevelopment areas.

BRS was contracted by the CRA to develop the program’s comprehensive, three-step analysis. BRS specifically:

  • Developed an inventory of all manufacturing and industrial property and organized the information into a searchable database compatible with Camden’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This was accomplished through compiling existing databases, undertaking a review of aerial photographs and ownership information, and conducting a windshield survey of targeted areas. GIS support was provided by TRC Environmental Corporation;
  • Analyzed 15 maps depicting various land use patterns, environmental constraints, and zoning for each of Camden’s 21 different redevelopment areas. This step also included a review of applicable redevelopment plans, need determination studies, neighborhood plans, and the proposed land use/zoning ordinance;
  • Developed recommendations for each neighborhood, targeting areas that contain underutilized or vacant industrial land, areas where industrial land could be expanded, and areas with nonconforming or inappropriate industrial uses that should be relocated. Priority brownfield sites were also identified, along with recommended amendments to redevelopment plans, the proposed land/zoning use ordinance, and expansions to the Urban Enterprise Zone and Camden’s Recreational and Open Space Inventory.

The program identified areas of opportunity where the amount and intensity of industrial development in Camden could be increased, and calculated the total loss of industrial acres under the different development scenarios. In total, 388 industrial/manufacturing acres could be lost based on redevelopment plans, and 353 industrial/manufacturing acres could be lost based on the proposed land use/zoning ordinance. The program resulted in recommendations that could have resulted in approximately 240 acres with the potential to generate more than 3,500 new jobs.