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Board Hopes Public Will Be More Active In Shaping Township's Future

Board members decide one, well-advertised public hearing on the new Mahwah Master Plan will be more effective than five separate hearings in different township neighborhoods

Mahwah is getting a new plan for its future. The township’s Master Plan, which surveys current development and land conditions in Mahwah and makes recommendations on future plans, is being for the first time in over 20 years.

At a , the board, which will eventually adopt the retooled document, discussed whether or not residents would be interested in having input in the plan, and how it could best get people involved in making recommendations for the document.

“It is an important document, so we want to get as much public input as possible,” Board Chairman Todd Sherer said.

The Master Plan, a 130-page document covering land use, traffic, historic preservation and an inventory of the township’s current environmental landmarks and community facilities, does not contain any laws. Instead, it outlines ideals and suggestions that government bodies can use as a guide when making future decisions. Sherer said resident suggestions can be taken into consideration before adopting the document.

A final draft of the revitalized plan may be completed as early as mid-June, Planner Brigette Bogart of Burgis Associates, who has been working on the plan for over two years, said.

After that, the board is required to hold a public hearing on the document before it can be adopted. The board expressed concern that since not many residents have been involved in public meetings held during the rewriting of the document, not many Mahwahians will have a hand in shaping its future.

“I think we should take the show on the road,” Board member Ward Donigian said at the May 14 meeting. “Last time around, [when the Master Plan was redone in 1989], we held several public hearings on different nights in different sections of town, so that we could get as many people as possible involved in the process.” He suggested hosting five separate hearings, one at each fire house in Mahwah, in an effort to increase participation in the process.

"This is something that affects the whole town. I think we should try to get people from every section of Mahwah involved," he said.

Several other board members disagreed. “With all of the ways we have to solicit feedback from residents today using technology, I think holding five separate meetings is an outdated method,” Mayor Bill Laforet said. He added that the expense of advertising and hosting five meetings as opposed to one might not be “worth it” for the township.

The board decided that it would hold just one public meeting, at the on Corporate Drive. But, they said it would be well advertised using local media, social networking, and about a month of awareness advertising.

After a resident suggestion, the board also decided it would send out a reverse 911 call to residents about the hearing.

Though the document will likely be ready at the beginning of the summer, the board decided to wait until September to hold the hearing. Laforet said “being considerate of summer vacations” when asking for public input on government decisions is “common practice.”

The hearing was set for September 10.

Have a question or a news tip? Email the editor Jessica Mazzola at jessica.mazzola@patch.com. Or, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your email inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Linda Murray May 30, 2012 at 01:24 AM
I will definitely be at the public hearing. Mr. Kelly proposed reclassifying flood-prone houses in the new master plan, and I want to make sure this issue is addressed. The flooding problem will not simply go away, and the debris in the Mahwah and Ramapo Rivers continues to collect and clog these waterways. Reclassifying these areas may help all who live near the rivers.
Leaking Ink May 30, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Will it be on TV also?
MYRENTSTODAMNHIGH May 31, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Roger Pachiderm May 31, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Two questions Ms./ Mr. MYRENTSTODAMNHIGH Can you please explain your use of the word Jibe. I am totally confused. I posted the dictionary definition of Jibe below. It would appear that your use of 'jibe' is that President Obama is either a sailor or you feel he has been exact in his words and actions for the environment. I do not think the President was a sailor but I could be mistaken. My second question is the use of 'girly man' an outright sexist statement? Or is the use of 'girly man' meant as a compliment. I know the term "fighting like a girl" has been adopted by many brave young girls and women in their battles with cancer. Thank you in advance for your response and I hope you and your landlord can work out a equitable solution to your inability to pay your rent. Jibe Verb: 1. Change course by swinging a fore-and-aft sail across a following wind. 2. Be in accord; agree.
MYRENTSTODAMHIGH May 31, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hank May 31, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Jibe: as in jibe ask twerky?
Roger Pachiderm May 31, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I think MYRENTSTODAMHIGH has redefined the word. It is no longer a nautical term but something more. I am not sure what will take longer longer to figure out its meaning or for MYRENTSTODAMHIGH to discover his <<Caps Lock>> key - hint it is on the left. He also seems to have something against messengers. Not quite sure what it is. Right now I really hope he makes his rent so he does not lose his internet access. Honestly I suspect he is a plant by Congressman Garrett and President Obama to help with their reelections. Finally the right and left working together on something. It brings a tear to my moderate eye.
Andy Schmidt June 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
We can't figure out what the message is. If one uses words without knowing their meaning, it makes it hard for the audience to figure out what the intended meaning might possibly have been.
Randy H June 03, 2012 at 02:44 AM
What a joke, I don’t even have to read the article. Just the title “Board Hopes Public Will Be More Active In Shaping Township's Future” is a laughable statement in itself. Are you kidding me, the Board Hopes? What is the board hoping for, Mahwah residents to show up and not give a crap about what is said by the Mahwah residents? Hmmmm, let me see, when has something like that happened before, I don’t know March 31st 2011 possibly, when 400 plus residents showed and the board slapped the Mahwah residents. If the board is worried about Mahwah residents shaping Mahwah’s future, they have a real funny way of showing it. The damage is done board members, the damage is done. The more I read the more of a joke this town is becoming
20yrResidentAndCounting June 05, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I think myrentistoohigh's note was effective b/c it caught peoples attention. And was funny. Have a lighter sense of humor people. Gasline thru mahwah? Scary stuff. But thanks Roger pachiderm for trying to misdirect the point that people may want to show up and try to deter the gasline approval/support by obnoxiously spell checking the poster. Count how many times Obama was in Hawaii on vacation last year. Your defending a man who would rather drink a mai tai then get our country to work together. I often wondered what happens to those who sat 1st row in the classroom that nobody liked. Looks like they just get older! LOL
Roger Pachiderm June 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM
You are welcome 20yearResidentAndCounting. However, I am a terrible speller. Actually it is not I am a terrible speller the issue is probably I sat in the back of the class. Now I work for those who sat in front. To make up for my shortcomings I blame any spelling errors on spell check. I am not sure who I am defending. It is not our Presidents policies that is for sure. I am voting for Romney. I am too busy on vacation myself to count how many time our President takes a vacation. I work hard and believe we need to take more vacations in the US. Citizens in a country like Germany take weeks more vacation then most Americans and they are very productive. But I digress. The whole point is I still have no idea what you or myrentistoohigh are talking about. I agree I noticed his point because it is funny in a black comedy way. It might be obnoxious to you that I pointed out it is sexist to call someone a "girlyman" but what do I know. I guess I am a raging commie because I believe women are strong. As far a as a gas line through Mahwah there already is one and has been for decades. In the past and currently we hosted missile bases, an ecological disaster car factory, illegal gaming halls, hotels filled with prostitution and we have not brought up that on a regular basis nuclear waste travels on our interstates weekly. There are many issues and threats we have just like any other town on a major crossroad. If the pipe line is the biggest deal tell us why?
Gottardo DiGiacopo August 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Smarty pants Gang, 'Jive'= phony talk. In some latino languages the v and b consonants share a same sound.... "Jive" it's probably a word that rarely comes to mind for say a WASPy politician but Ms.Hi Rent used it for black Obama. i would have let it slide, even though its as race-ist as girly-man is sex-ist (i would have let girly man slide too).
Mike Kupchik August 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Looks like everyone is off on some tangent, while I'll focus on the important. Has the phrase "bier garten" come up anywhere in the master plan? On a serious note, my heart goes out to all those who endure the floods, and pray their solution "floats" far above all political dissention.


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