Why Should Wayne Care About Its Sadly Outdated Master Plan

3/4/21 from TapIntoWayne

A Municipal Master Plan is the blueprint for a municipality that depicts current land uses, and guides decisions for both growth and conservation. It defines goals and objectives for a community and is the single-most important planning tool available for efficient future development.  It identifies suitable districts for commercial or housing developments; affordable housing, farming, open space, recreational areas, and environmental resources; historic and cultural resources; and transportation corridors and utilities.  The research and guidance it offers is the best forecast for our future and even gives critical guidance in predicting future infrastructure demands like population increases, school expansion, roads and public services. If you want future growth to be positive, you need to take an active interest in your town’s Master Plan to guide development in an appropriate manner.

Exhibit 1 in poor master planning is Wayne’s most current Master Plan, which was developed in 1994. Over the years, it has been reexamined and tweaked, as required by law, but it is basically a document based on facts and conditions that existed 27 years ago. Would any corporate business plan rely on data so outdated and obsolete? Of course not!

Wayne is a big operation. Its annual budget appropriation is in the area of $84,000,000 ($84 million!). To plan for its future you need the best data and the most advanced technical/economic tools available.

Wayne’s administration seems to acknowledge the need to do something but not the urgency. Their solution is to act after they have completed their affordable housing compliance with NJ Superior Court. Sadly, that has dragged on forever and negotiations continue. The argument is that the township can’t do both at the same time. Multi-tasking is not their strong suit. But here’s the rub. When you initiate a new Master Plan, you engage special outside planning consultants who do most of the heavy lifting. Yes, the municipal planner is consulted, but there is a long process of researching, studying, community consultation and number crunching that does not require the full attention of any township officials.

Here’s my point: The time is now! Find the funding to engage an outside professional planning firm and bite the bullet immediately! No more excuses. We are currently planning our municipal future wearing a blindfold. There is no excuse for more delay.

Master plans are not partisan or political. They are technical and objective.

Wayne is a great community. It has so much to offer. But its planning toolkit is so 20th century. I implore Wayne to act now!

Bob Nulman

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