Government South Orange

Collum Seeks New Ideas for Community Input on South Orange Master Plan

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum is thinking outside the box for the upcoming revamp of the South Orange Master Plan — a long-overdue process for a plan that (as she notes) has not seen an overhaul since before the 33-year-old Village leader’s birth. Positing ideas such as using Facebook live, engaging young people, and hosting Master Plan House Parties, Collum solicited feedback from community members by posting the following message on Facebook on September 14, 2017. You can join the conversation on her Facebook page here, or contact Collum via her official email here

Read Collum’s full Facebook post here:

Good Morning. I’d like some suggestions from South Orange residents. We’re about to embark on a new Master Plan process. A Master Plan guides the use of lands within the municipality in a manner which protects public health and safety and promotes the general welfare, etc. We’re talking land use, housing, affordable housing, parking, circulation, facilities, parks and recreation, historic preservation, economic development, sustainability, environment, open space, etc. The last comprehensive Master Plan done by the municipality was completed before I was born.

Yes, it’s been that long.

The actual implementation of the plan is achieved through the adoption by the governing body of various ordinances which advance the goals of the Master Plan.

So here’s my question – I want to reach as many stakeholders as possible and have unmatched transparency at every encounter. I’ll say *most* Master Plans are done through a few “community conversations” in conjunction with the Planning Board and governing body and I don’t think that’s good enough.

I’m thinking a “train the trainer” of our own resident volunteers who can be ambassadors and go to Master Plan House Parties in neighborhoods, maybe utilize Facebook Live for people who can’t attend meetings in person, door-to-door canvassing, obviously online surveys, still keep the big community meetings so we can listen and learn from each other, I want to hit the demographic of seniors (some who are not on a computer) and I also want kids involved because we’re investing in this community for them. English may not be a primary language for some residents or businesses, so we’ll need skills in that area too. We have so many people with great ideas and incredible talent – what suggestions can you offer to make this truly inclusive? Tell me, please!

Forgot to add: I strongly believe we don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to drive the community outreach process. We have the talent in house to do this without incurring large costs. A process for the community by the community.

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