What is a Master Plan?
A Master Plan is a “blueprint” for a municipality, outlining a vision for the future and community-established principles for balanced economic, social, physical, environmental, and fiscal planning. The document is not a law or regulations, but provides guidance to elected officials and stakeholders when they make land use, zoning, and capital investment decisions. Master Plans are grounded in community engagement, with additional input through review of existing plans and studies, socioeconomic analysis, and planning best practices.
The Planning Process
Under the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”), municipalities are required to update their Master Plan at least once every 10 years. The Township of Maplewood last updated its Master Plan in 2011, and in 2021, the Township initiated the process to create its first full Master Plan since 2004.
The Township selected BFJ Planning, a New York City-based planning consultant firm, to lead a team in developing the Maplewood Master Plan. The planning process will span approximately 12 months, in three phases: an analysis of the Township’s existing conditions, recommendations, and the revised and final Master Plan.
The Maplewood community will play an essential role in identifying the key priorities, concerns, and opportunities the Master Plan should address. There will be numerous ways to get involved and give feedback to shape the plan. The Master Plan will build upon previous plans and studies completed by the Township and other agencies, but will incorporate the latest data and trends to ensure that Maplewood’s land use, planning, and zoning policies reflect the community’s conditions and concerns. A timeline of the Master Plan development process is available here.
Who is on the Steering Committee?
The Master Plan Steering Committee is comprised of eight members who will meet regularly with the consultant team to guide and provide feedback as the plan develops. The Committee will report back regularly to the Maplewood Planning Board, who ultimately adopts the Master Plan under state law. Below is a list of the Committee members:
- Mayor Dean Dafis
- Frank McGehee, Township Committee member
- Karen Pisciotta, Planning Board Chair
- Elizabeth Ward, Planning Board member
- Tom Carlson, Planning Board member
- Stephanie Scott, Springfield Avenue Partnership
- Morgan McCray, Zoning Board chair
- Veda Truesdale, Green Team