Board: Traffic Fixes Needed Before Mahwah Could Have 'Downtown'
With a change about the future development along Franklin Turnpike added in, the Planning Board approved the new Mahwah Master Plan Monday night
The potential redevelopment of the Franklin Turnpike – Miller Road area of Mahwah will need to wait until traffic fixes have been incorporated into the area’s busy intersections, the township’s Planning Board decided before approving a new version of the Master Plan Monday night.
Throughout the last few public hearings on the Plan – which sets up land use goals for the township and guidelines for potential land use laws – residents have expressed concerns about its goal of developing the area into a more pedestrian-friendly “downtown,” with more businesses and restaurants, and better access to public transportation.
Monday night, the board said that in response to public input, it will add a statement in the document recommending certain types of developments - including chain stores, big box retailers or supermarkets, and buildings that mix businesses with residential units – are “not appropriate” for the area, at least until traffic issues there are addressed. The board also recommended only allowing two-story buildings in the area. Currently, three-story buildings are allowed.
Several residents at the meeting thanked the board for responding to their concerns about the future build-up of the Franklin Turnpike corridor.
Audrey Artusio, who lives near the intersection, called the addition to the Master Plan “terrific,” and said she was happy the board recognized the traffic issues in the area.
“The traffic congestion issues [were] really what was important,” she said.
With the final addition to the 300-plus page document, the board unanimously approved the Master Plan Monday night. The approval is about five years in the making, as Mahwah commissioned Burgis Associates to overhaul the Master Plan in the mid-2000’s. Public hearings on the document – which has not been redone since 1989 – began in the spring of 2011.
Planning Board Chair Todd Sherer thanked the board, professional planners and the public for input during the long process.
“There was lots of public input [throughout the Master Plan process and we] really appreciate that,” he said.
The changes made to the plan throughout the public hearings will be incorporated into it, and new copies will be printed for town hall. A PDF of the plan will also be available to residents and lawmakers, officials said.