The Highlands bill designates 88 New Jersey municipalities in the counties of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren as constituting "The New Jersey Highlands Region." This region covers about 800,000 acres or 1,250 square miles. [§7]
The Highlands bill designates a smaller area wholly within this region as a "preservation area" (about one half of the region) and the remainder of the Highlands Region not in the preservation area as a "planning area."
The strongest development and water quality protections will be in the preservation area.
Towns in the planning area can participate voluntarily in the new Highlands Regional Plan, but will not face new development restrictions. Indeed, the planning area is seen as a place where urban development prohibited in the preservation area might go, under "Transfer of Development Rights."