The overall structure of this activity is coordinated by a working group formed by the Township which is the primary interface the a local planning group in the Consumer Affairs Division of the state government. When the process completes towards the end of 2018 the planning group will present the Township with a written report of their suggestions based on the data they collected and meetings they attended. The membership of the Maplewood working group has not been published.
The process began when the Maplewood Village Alliance made a formal request to the Township for a comprehensive study of the future of Maplewood Village. This was reported by Ms. Adams (Township Committee liaison to the Village Alliance) at a Township Committee meeting in January 2017. A video is available on the Maplewood Township YouTube channel in the “Discussion” section of the meeting.
At the April 18, 2017 meeting the Committee voted to make an application to the Local Planning group within DCA for consultation on planning in Maplewood Village. Subsequently the Mayor prepared a proposal/request for assistance to the DCA.
At the October 13, 2017 meeting Mayor DeLuca reported that free assistance would be available from the state government. The following minutes were recorded (video available on YouTube):
Maplewood Village Vision for the future–report by Mayor DeLuca:
Department of Community Affairs will provide state planners to work with us in crafting a vision plan to move forward; 2) Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming – Department of Community Affairs has retained NV5 (a planning firm) to work with the Township on Prospect Street, Burnett Avenue, Valley Street and a couple of other roads/VD
Mayor De Luca stated a heads up and it is good news that the Township has been approved by the Department of Community Affairs to work with Maplewood and that the Department of Community Affairs is going to provide State Planners to come and work with Maplewood Stake Holders to create a vision for the future of Maplewood Village. Mayor De Luca stated that they had a preliminary meeting with the Department of Community Affairs last week and did a tour of Maplewood Village. This will incorporate many suggestions which have been put forward as to limitations on development, formula based businesses, the historic designation of Maplewood Village and that this will be a process working with the Planners over the next six (6) months to a year so at the end we will have a vision that we will be able to look at and help guide us as we reexamine the master plan and create any kind of economic development plan going forward. Mayor De Luca stated that this is a free service by the Department of Community Affairs.
Mayor De Luca stated that the second free service that the Township is receiving is from the Department of Transportation and that is a pedestrian safety and traffic calming plan. With this instead of State employees working with the Township, the Department of Transportation funds a firm called NV5; it is a planning firm and they will be working with Maplewood on Prospect Street, Burnett Avenue, Valley Street and a couple of other roads in town to look at ways in which we can reduce speeding and improve the safety of pedestrians. Prospect Street will be the primary street that they will be working on and will have about 5 residents that will be working on it with us as we go forward on this.
In March 2018, the following progress was reported in the minutes of the 3/20/18 Township Committee meeting:
Department of Community Affairs Local Planning Services – Village Vision Plan for Maplewood Village reported by Mayor Deluca
Mayor De Luca stated that we have on the consent agenda a resolution that acknowledges that we will accept this support in the form of planning services from the Department of Community Affairs and they will work with a group in Maplewood to discuss a vision for Maplewood Village with the expected deliverable of a plan in October of 2018. Some of you may have been involved in the original meeting and wanted to see if you had any questions. There is going to be future meetings, a community meeting, and this is really good as we get some planning services for nothing.
The Local Planning Services team was engaged sometime after that and met with various groups.
A stakeholder meeting (“Focus Group Strategy Session”) was held at the Main Library the evening of July 24th that was attended by approximately 65 individuals, primarily by invitation. The meeting was considered, in a legal sense, an “open-meeting” of the Township Committee because Committee members DeLuca, McGeHee and Dafis were present. Therefore, anyone that heard about the meeting beyond those invited was also allowed to attend. The meeting consisted of three short brainstorming sessions during which the group responded to prompts by the planners from the Department Of Community Affairs and then voted on the list of items created during the brainstorming. The planners subsequently summarized the meeting results for the participants in a written report, and indicated that they would be further analyzing the results as they prepare their recommendations.
At that meeting the planners presented the following schedule for the effort overall:
The community survey voting period shown on the second bullet runs until August 26th. This is the first and last opportunity for broad-based community input to the Vision. Vote here!
Following the voting period the planners’ analysis will be presented to the working group for comment, and then presented to the public when it is completed in late 2018.