Mayor Huttle Unveils Comprehensive, Community-Driven Master Plan for Englewood – Will Go Before Planning Board Next Week to Seek Approval

18 January 2014 44 views No Comment

(ENGLEWOOD) – Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle III and the city’s Planning Board will officially present a proposed, new master plan to the public for its review and discussion at the Planning Board meeting on Jan. 23, capping off an extensive process that incorporated unprecedented community input to create a rich and enduring blueprint for the city’s future.

“From day-one our goal has been to create a community-driven process so that the end result would truly incorporate the needs and wants of our residents,” said Huttle. “The new plan fuses old with new by preserving our history and enhancing our existing strengths while keeping an eye towards the future and the best ways to promote smart development.”

Since beginning the planning process in 2012, Huttle hosted several community meetings and pop-up workshops where input from more than 1,000 residents was gathered. A team of experienced consultants – Brown & Keener, a division of RBA, Regional Plan Association, and Urban Partners – went to work incorporating this input into a comprehensive plan that establishes a proactive approach to managing future development, preserving community character and guiding public and private investments.

The resulting plan is the product of on-the-ground research and a robust public process guided by two committees – the Municipal Advisory Group comprised of various city officials and the Stakeholder Committee comprised of business, civic, religious and community organization representatives.

The new plan incorporates a number of key elements, or “turning points,” that will significantly boost the quality of life in the five-square mile city:

-Reactivation of the Northern Branch light rail line by NJTransit with three stops in Englewood to improve commuter options and enhance residential and business development;

-Enhance the vibrancy of the downtown through a mix of retail, residential, health care and offices with a focus on over-the-shop downtown living;

-Revitalize Englewood South by investing in the public realm and rezoning the area to mixed-use industrial to encourage entrepreneurship;

-Upgrade the existing city-wide community center programming as a current alternative to a possible future facility;

-Preserve residential neighborhoods through the creation of a Historic Commission to help retain and enhance residential character and preserve unique structures citywide;

-Enhance public spaces and city gateways by building upon the recent improvements at Depot Square, creating bike lanes and jogging paths within the city and along the proposed light rail line and targeting the western gateway to the city as a potential site for a new city hall and community center; and

-Treating planning as a civic exercise by making sure that the extensive public input that was gathered for this new plan is incorporated into future updates of the Master Plan.

The plan also provides policies and recommendations for future development strategies, economic incentives and land use controls that support and strengthen the city’s neighborhoods and commerce. These policies are organized around the following five major themes and their accompanying vision statements:

-Destination Downtown: Cultivate a unique, vibrant, livable, and walkable mixed‐use downtown with diverse retail, services, and housing opportunities for all.

-Englewood South: These blocks, traditionally devoted to manufacturing and commerce, will evolve into a vibrant, attractive, entrepreneurial district and employment center. Streetscape improvements, investments in branding and way-finding, and improved business facades and signs, will create an attractive environment that celebrates Englewood industry and attracts investment.

-My Neighborhood: Ensure safe, healthy, and attractive neighborhoods that are well‐connected and that have an abundance of accessible community amenities and services.

-Our Town: Offer a diverse variety of community amenities for Englewood residents of all ages and cultures in easily‐accessible and well‐maintained facilities.

-Mobility: Maximize the benefits of existing transit and anticipate the benefits of proposed transit improvements by planning for development opportunities, smooth traffic circulation, and parking.

Included within the Master Plan is the Land Use Plan, which will guide future growth and change in the city by recommending appropriate land use policies, densities and design tools to encourage healthy growth while protecting the unique character of the community.

“Englewood has long been considered a jewel of the region because of our diverse population and our vibrant mix of downtown shops, restaurants, cultural and entertainment offerings and lush housing stock. Ultimately, our plan is to build on our city’s rich history and diversity, as well as our proximity to New York City, while targeting specific areas for growth that will bolster our long-term economic prospects,” added Huttle.

Huttle also noted that while the 2009 master plan was relying on demographics from the nearly decade-old census conducted in 2000, the new plan better incorporates the city’s rich diversity by using the latest data from the 2010 Census.

Huttle will formally present the Master Plan to the Englewood Planning Board for approval at its next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 8 pm in the Municipal Courtroom. Full details and copies of the Master Plan will be available electronically on englewoodone.com and cityofenglewood.com and hard copies will be available in the Englewood Public Library.

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