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Holland Township Mayor Dan Bush sworn in as member of the NJ Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council

Lifelong Hunterdon County resident brings municipal government and open space experience to role

CHESTER, NJ (Morris County) — Mayor Daniel T. Bush of Holland Township, Hunterdon County was sworn in as a member of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council at the Council’s Feb. 15 public meeting.

His appointment was confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate on Monday, February 12. Bush is replacing Robert F. Holtaway, a former mayor of Bedminster Township in Somerset County, who retired from the Council in December.

“We’re very pleased to be welcoming Dan to the Council,” said Carl Richko, Highlands Council Chairman. “He brings with him a great deal of experience as a long-time municipal official in Holland Township and employee of Hunterdon County. As a lifelong Hunterdon County resident, Dan also has strong ties to the Highlands Region, which makes him particularly well-suited for this responsibility.”

Bush grew up on a family farm in Alexandria Township and started working for Hunterdon County in a seasonal position in the roads department. That summer job ultimately led to permanent employment and Bush continued to work his way through the ranks, becoming a Public Works supervisor in 2004 and the head of the Parks and Recreation Division in 2018. Bush joined the Holland Township planning board in 2011, and a year later decided to run for Township Committee.

“I ran on the Highlands Act,” Bush says. “I believe in the Highlands Act. I believe in water protection, and I want to preserve what we have here in Hunterdon County and the rest of New Jersey for generations to come.” Bush won that election and has continued to serve on the committee, being appointed deputy mayor and later mayor, the position he holds today.

Now in his 15th year serving on the committee, Bush has been instrumental in Holland Township’s conformance with the Highlands Regional Master Plan (RMP). Holland Township has more than 13,000 acres in the Highlands planning area and just under 2,000 acres in the preservation area. Notably, the Township has adopted a Highlands Land Use Ordinance, which incorporates key components of the RMP into local land use and planning documents.

Holland has also adopted a Water Use and Conservation Management Plan, Stormwater Management Plan, Farmland Preservation Plan and completed two Master Plan Re-examinations funded through the Highlands Council plan conformance grant program. Bush also serves on the Hunterdon County Shade Tree Commission and is an Ex-Officio Member of the Hunterdon County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee. He is a Certified County Administrator (Basic), Certified Public Manager (CPM), and a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP).

“Dan’s perspective as a mayor and committee member will be very valuable to the Highlands Council,” says Executive Director Ben Spinelli. “He understands the challenges of local government and what it takes to successfully run a municipality. He also understands the work of the Highlands Council and has seen the benefits working with us can bring. It’s clear he cares about this region.”

Highlands Council members serve in a voluntary capacity. The composition of the Council is directed by sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Highlands Act. The 15-member body is comprised of municipal and county elected officials and “public” members. Among the elected officials, there must be representation from all counties in the Highlands, and a balance of political party affiliation. Public members should have “expertise, knowledge, or experience in water quality protection, natural resources protection, environmental protection, agriculture, forestry, land use, or economic development” to the maximum extent practicable. Council Member Bush will be serving in one of the municipal elected official positions and his appointment corrects a lack of representation from Hunterdon County on the Council since 2021. His term will run through October 25, 2027.

There are currently four additional Council vacancies to be filled. Six nominations are pending before the Senate to fill those vacancies and replace some members serving on expired terms. The nominees will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks for an eventual confirmation vote by the full Senate.

“We appreciate the Murphy administration and the Senate taking action to fill this very recent vacancy on the Council with a very qualified individual,” said Spinelli. “We look forward to the Senate moving additional nominees forward and once again having a full complement of members.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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