Tuesday, October 26th Planning Board Meeting
At the Planning Board Meeting on October 26, 2010, we revisited the Master Plan of 2009.
To begin the night, I had the honor of swearing in our newest Planning Board Member, Robin Klehr Avia, who I am pleased to say has joined our team.
We revisited the Master Plan for a number of reasons of which I mentioned during the work session:
* The Russell C. Major Liberty School and the John T. Wright Ice Arena were not extensively studied prior to the creation of the Master Plan last year. The newly available Preiss Study focuses on the adaptive reuse of these two real estate assets. Because these assets are clearly underutilized, the report extensively describes how they can be utilized to their full potential. It is important that the Planning Board and I examine this report carefully and review our options so that we can effectively discuss where to go next.
* The Northern Branch Corridor Project by NJTRANSIT is another issue that was not incorporated into the Master Plan. This Project, funded dually by the federal government and by the state, would create three additional light rail stations in Englewood and even more stations in other neighboring towns. The Project is currently in the Environmental Impact Phase, where it must be approved by the Federal Transit Administration before they move on to the next phase, in which representatives from NJTRANSIT would go from town to town to hold public hearings informing the public about the Project and also hearing the public’s concerns. The Planning Board and I must look at this Project to determine if it is feasible in the City of Englewood and whether or not we will support it.
* The idea of a Community Center was also briefly discussed as it has been brought up numerous times recently. Again, we need to discuss this idea more in depth.
* In addition, the 2010 Census is to come out in the near future which can have an impact on the Master Plan depending on how much demographics have changed in our City over the past ten years. The old Master Plan was based on 2000 numbers, and it is highly probable these numbers are significantly different and will thus change the way we look at ideas in the Master Plan.
We need City Planners that will know how to effectively organize the City and take public opinion into consideration. Planning Board Member Marian Imperatore agreed, also making a good point that we should spend the money getting a planning company to come into the City. If it is done this way, we would not have to spend so much money on smaller studies. Though the Preiss Study proves informative, we cannot afford to do little evaluations here and there; we must do it right the first time so that problems like this do not arise after the fact.
The Planning Board and I set up a new committee which would work with different planning firms to consider what was left out of the Master Plan last year and will eventually be funded by approval of the City Council. The volunteers appointed to the Committee are Lewis Baer, Curtis Cavenis, Jordan Comet, Marian Imperatore, and myself.
City planning is important. The Master Plan is something that requires visionary planning and a long hard look into the future. We have a lot of assets here in Englewood, and we should utilize all of these assets to the best of our abilities and make Englewood the best City there is.