From South Orange Village President Sheena Collum:
On behalf of the South Orange Board of Trustees, I wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy New Year!
While this past year proved to be very challenging and difficult, we also saw the best of our community as we came together to support and protect each other in so many ways during this global health pandemic and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
Prior to our State of Emergency Declaration in March, the Village had undertaken an exciting update to our Master Plan – a document that guides growth, preservation and public investment for the foreseeable future. Given the significance of this document – and the fact that a comprehensive update had not been done in forty years – we embarked on a robust public outreach effort that enlisted over a hundred community ambassadors and engaged thousands of stakeholders through public forums, visioning sessions in downtown storefronts, community conversations held in all our neighborhoods, online surveys, and direct outreach to our various boards, committees and commissions.
While there were certainly unanticipated delays in our timeline as we reprioritized all our Village resources with a focus on public health, we were eventually able to successfully pivot and recommit ourselves to this important endeavor. It is with a great sense of pride and collaboration that I am pleased to share that a draft plan is available for your review and comment.
It is very important the Master Plan speak to the concerns, aspirations and values of all our residents with solid recommendations that will improve upon the incredible foundation of land use in our community as we adapt to growth and change and prepare for the challenges ahead.
I’m asking and urging you to please visit SOMasterplan.com and let us know if we’ve delivered the Master Plan the Village deserves. The document explores several different facets of life in the Village such as:
- Improvements to the Village’s downtown including bold redesigns for Sloan Street and the Train Station area
- New regulations to improve the look and feel of both commercial and residential neighborhoods
- Proposals to make it safer and easier to walk and bike throughout the Village
- Innovative measures to protect the Village’s environmental and historic resources
- Proactive steps to address disparities in access to housing, parks and open spaces, and Village services
A brief survey is available on the South Orange Master Plan website to complete following your review along with contact information for our Village planning firm, Topology, if you have additional questions.
The Village has also scheduled three public workshops via Zoom which will provide an overview to the various Master Plan elements. All workshops will begin at 7:00 p.m. and the schedule is as follows:
- Tuesday, January 12: Introduction + Land Use
- Wednesday, January 13: Mobility
- Thursday, January 14: Historic Preservation + Quality of Life
You can access the links to participate in the live workshops by visiting SOMasterPlan.com but don’t worry if you can’t attend virtually, video recordings will be made available to the public on the website as well.
The deadline to submit feedback will be February 1 which will enable us to incorporate your suggestions before the final document is presented to the Planning Board for consideration and adoption.
Thank you in advance for your interest and participation and I remain hopeful that we can reconnect in-person later this year.