Monday night, the Mahwah Planning Board will begin a public hearing on a document that has been in the works since 2005. The over 130-page Master Plan is the updated version of a planning document that officials say is the first .
The board and township officials will be soliciting input from residents on what should, and shouldn’t, be included in the document, and are urging residents to attend Monday night’s meeting.
“If you care what Mahwah is going to be like in 20 years, you should care about the Master Plan,” Township Zoning Official Gary Montroy said. “It basically looks at what we like, and what we don’t like about Mahwah, and recommends ways we should adjust in the future to change what we don’t like.”
The township has posted the current draft of the new proposed Master Plan on its website. Reading through the dense document, residents will find the following suggestions:
The Master Plan proposal suggests several measures that it says should be taken in the future to improve traffic flow in Mahwah. They include:
- A town-wide shuttle system
- Redesign of the Route 17-287 intersection; the document calls the redesign a “priority” because of the
- Creation of a
More Mass Transit
Sharing vehicles with nearby municipalities, adding and improving commuter parking, and adding more sidewalks and bicycle paths throughout the township are just some of the suggestions made in the new Master Plan draft as to how to decrease residents’ “dependency on automobile transport” in the future.
According to a table from the document, Mahwah residents are less likely to use mass transit than locals living in surrounding municipalities:
Commuter Public Transit Usage
NJ Transit Main & Bergen Line municipalities
Source: Census 2000
Franklin Turnpike Downtown
Creating a more pedestrian-friendly, “downtown” atmosphere on Franklin Turnpike, especially south of the Shopping Complex and at its intersection with Miller Road, is one of the goals set forth in the plan. It recommends changes be made to make the area more open to restaurant and retail development that invites foot traffic, and more conveniently incorporates as a township center.
Creating A Unified Development Plan Along Route 17
The Master Plan suggests the township create laws to fix the “haphazard appearance” of buildings and commercial developments along Route 17. The plan suggests buildings along the highway “[lack] cohesiveness and/or a unified design theme,” and suggests ways to .
[See the entire Master Plan here].
According to the draft version of the document, which was prepared by previous township planner Burgis Associates, Mahwah has had a Master Plan since 1975. The last reexamination of the document was in 2007. The new version, first commissioned in 2005, cost the township about $95K, Mahwah Business Administrator Brian Campion said.
Mayor Bill Laforet, who sits on the township's Planning Board, said the Master Plan will guide township zoning and development ordinances for at least the next 10 years.
"The Master Plan sets public policies regarding growth and development. The information and concepts presented in the Master Plan are intended to guide local decisions on public and private uses of land, as well as the provisions of public facilities," he said.
During Monday night's public hearing, Planning Board Chairman Todd Sherer said the into consideration before the new Master Plan is finalized and adopted. “It really affects the community at large – so input from everyone, residents, business owners, property owners, developers – would all be appropriate.”
The public hearing will begin Monday in the beginning at 7 p.m.
In preparation for the meeting, you can read a pdf of the entire Master Plan on the township's website.