Saturday, January 5, 2008

Redevelopment in 2008

Development activities in Plainfield and around New Jersey in general have slowed down. My colleague Rashid Burney explains why in his recent newsletter. Along with the obvious disadvantage (we do need redevelopment!) there is an advantage to our being in the down part of this economic cycle. We have more time to plan and to get it right. We can make the shift from reactive to proactive. In a reactive approach, you wait for developers to tell you where, when and what they want to do. Being proactive means the partnership with developers becomes more balanced toward big picture thinking with an emphasis on local preferences. Here is what we should be doing in 2008:

1. The Planning Board must continue its work to revise the Zoning Ordinance so that we increase density around the downtown train station and the central business district while protecting the lower densities in our residential neighborhoods.

2. The Council and Administration should do an economic development plan for the whole 4 mile railroad corridor.

3. Once we have consensus on what we want in the way of commercial development and business retention, we should develop and implement a marketing plan to attract new businesses.

4. The city should continue to study sustainable building and land use and approve an ordinance that promotes use of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

5. The city should conduct a traffic and parking study that will tie together all proposed redevelopment impacts.

6. The city should identify buildings in our redevelopment areas that can be preserved through adaptive re-use. After all, historic architectural features distinguishes Plainfield from most of its competitors.

7. The city needs a planning process that ties the above elements together with an emphasis on local input. Residents and business owners do not feel included and their partication will lead to buy-in (and less threat of lawsuits).

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Without a redevelopment plan that includes the core downtown - east & west of Park Avenue and south of the train staion to 7th Street+/-. There is no redevelopment plan for Plainfield. Why? This policy decesion that will impact or determine Plainfield's economic/social/physical future for the next 75 years.
Bill Hetfield