2017 Planning Excellence Award Winners

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association is pleased to announce its 2017 Planning Excellence Awardees. Please join us on Monday, October 30th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Center located at 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ 07079.  Tickets are on sale for $100 per guest and includes hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, dessert, and an open beer & wine bar. 

Buy Your Tickets Now!

Interested in congratulating one of our Planning Excellence Awardees?  We have 3 opportunities for you to show your support.  Advertisements are full color and come in a full page or half page advertisement.  Don’t have a graphic designer?  Not a problem – we’re also offering “booster messages”.

Please complete the order form and email with advertisement or booster message to Cailean Kok at ckok@njplanning.org.  Only checks will be accepted.


President’s Award

Joseph J. Maraziti, Jr., Esq.

A friend and partner to comprehensive planning and planners, Mr. Maraziti represents both public and private sector clients in regulatory transactional and litigation matters having local and national significance involving environmental, redevelopment and resiliency issues. With more than fifty years of experience in the legal field related to infrastructure and the environment, Mr. Maraziti is an active leader and driving force in the redevelopment arena. He also previously served as Chairman of the New Jersey State Planning Commission, which adopted the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in March 2001. In this role, he worked with the Governor’s Cabinet, counties, local communities and the private sector to ensure that development and redevelopment in the garden state enhances the quality of life for all citizens and continues his staunch advocacy to this day.  Mr. Maraziti can be found at numerous APA-NJ events helping to elevate and enhance the relationship between planning and legal minds. 


APA-NJ Distinguished Service Award

Eric K. Snyder, AICP, PP

Eric K. Snyder, AICP, PP has been a member of American Planning Association since 1975 and is a Charter member of AICP. During his tenure, Mr. Snyder has served as the Chapter’s Northwest Area Representative, Legislative Committee, New Jersey Land Use Reform Committee and has provided advice and his expertise in furtherance of the goal of chapter, specifically to bring planning education and equity in the living, working and playing environment of all New Jerseyans. He has been a panelist, teacher and leader for the New Jersey Planning Officials, Rutgers University and the chapter. For all of his tenure, his message has been consistent – be aware that we are part of the larger natural system and that all our actions have consequences.  Currently, Mr. Snyder is the Principal of Eric K. Snyder & Associates, Inc., a planning consulting firm he established in 1985.  He previously served as Planning Director for Sussex County.


Distinguished Civic Leadership Award

Jack Molenaar, AICP, PP

A transportation planner with over 29 years of experience in the public and private sector, Mr. Molenaar’s career has focused primarily on operational management, transportation planning, land use studies, community planning and transit and parking management. As Senior Director of Transportation Services at Rutgers University for over a decade, Mr. Molenaar oversees the largest university transit system in the country including a parking system topping 32,000 stalls.  Despite the demands on Mr. Molenaar’s time, he has and continues to apply his skillset to the organization and community, serving as a Past-President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association and currently serving as a Councilman in the Borough of Fanwood where his forward-thinking vision has brought the community’s downtown to the present-day award-winning blend of mixed uses and transit-oriented development with a revitalized merchant base, and an increase in borough ratables. 


James W. Hughes Applied Research Award

New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance

The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is a network of diverse sector leaders enhancing climate change preparedness in New Jersey. The Alliance created a Science and Technical Advisory Panel to develop consensus science projection regarding sea level rise, coastal storms and coastal flood hazards to support local planning and decision-making. The outcomes of the STAP’s efforts are already being used by planners in several contexts in New Jersey. In addition to developing science-informed projections, the Alliance also developed a framework that planners and decision-makers can use to apply the scientific projections for purposes of coastal planning and decision-making.


Distinguished Emerging Planner Award

Philip A. Abramson, AICP, PP

Phil Abramson, a New-Jersey native and three-time Rutgers alum, has already demonstrated a deep commitment to the public interest and the field of planning in our state. Mr. Abramson currently serves as the co-founder and CEO of Topology, a progressive urban planning firm, based in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, that aims to deliver a fresh approach to planning in New Jersey and beyond. While at Topology and through his prior role at Jonathan Rose Companies, Mr. Abramson has driven reinvestment in several communities, often seeing long-stalled project through to completion. He is a regular presenter at local forums and conferences, has volunteered through the APA-NJ’s Community Planning Assistance Program and through Topology, has created an internship program for planning students get hands-on experience in the field.


Outstanding Implementation Award

Moving Passaic County – Transportation Element of the Passaic County Master Plan
Passaic County Department of Planning and Economic Development

Passaic County has made great strides in advancing recommendations under each category of the plan since its adoption as an element of the Master Plan in 2012. The best example of the consistent effectiveness of this effort is the Complete Streets Program which started as a pilot under the last year of the plan development and in the subsequent five years as formal implementation of the Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Program was adopted by the governing body, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. As a result, in the six years since its inception, over 90 miles of county roadways have been reviewed through the program with nearly 75% of these roads receiving a Complete Streets treatment included shared and dedicated bicycle facilities, road diets, traffic calming, and new pedestrian facilities.  Illustrating a clear regional need along with an effective and consistent mechanism for implementation has garnered over 10 million dollars in outside funding.


Outstanding Community Engagement & Education Award

Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the partners of the NFWF grant “Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards”, funded by the Department of the Interior and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, engaged in the development of guidance, outreach and education for communities, professionals and youth, and provided direct assistance to over 30 municipalities for  vulnerability assessments,  technical support, planning and implementation of ecological solutions to coastal hazards. Major outcomes of the project included the Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards guide; development and/or implementation of ecological solutions in 10 communities; development of Coastal Vulnerability Assessments for 20 coastal communities; technical assistance to help communities identify appropriate ecological solutions; youth and general outreach and education; and an ongoing citizen science and monitoring program. 


Outstanding Plan Award

Perth Amboy Bay City Transit District Strategy

Downtown Perth Amboy has a rich history, featuring historic buildings, a walkable street grid and proximity to the Raritan Bay. Though only 50-minutes by train to Manhattan, Perth Amboy has struggled to attract new development and investment. The Transit District Strategy put forward a new vision of Downtown, oriented around transit and built on a five-fold strategy.  1) redeveloping the train station area; 2) adaptively reusing upper levels of older commercial buildings; 3) proactively capitalizing on the existing ethnic niche market and food offerings to make Perth Amboy a regional destination; 4) rezoning Downtown to achieve Transit Village Status and accommodate development; and 5) modernizing parking regulations and management. The Transit District Strategy, funded through the Together North Jersey Local Demonstration Program, gave the City a blueprint for a comprehensive approach with a clear path for implementation.


Outstanding Student Project Award

Plainfield School District Travel Plan

In Plainfield, population 50,400, more than half the school children arrive by car to their neighborhood school. Fewer than 1% arrive by bike. Fear of injury from crashes was of significant concern. In order to address pedestrian and bicycle safety, the Plainfield City and school district developed a new partnership supported by the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, the NJDOT, EZ Ride Transportation Management Association, and a graduate class at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, to develop the state’s first district-wide school travel plan. Students in the class analyzed demographics, mapped pedestrian and bicycle crashes and school catchment areas, gathered survey data on student travel mode and school principal concerns, conducted walkability assessments with a photo inventory, gathered feedback from the steering committee, crossing guards and parents, and identified municipal or school district policies that support or hinder walking and bicycling. The students developed an action plan that describes barriers and solutions that address education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering, and evaluation. The plan supported an application for federal funding that was recently awarded.  Both the plan and the wide-reaching process used to develop it are being replicated in towns across New Jersey.