SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The next step in updating the master plan for the development of South Orange will take place at 7 p.m. tonight, Oct. 24. Representatives from the village planner, Topology, and Common Ground, the design team, will present to the community at The Loft at South Orange Performing Arts Center.

“Communities evolve,” said Autumn Florek, urban planner with Topology. “A master plan lays out the ways the community will develop or not develop in the future. It’s a vision plan” for the town, she said. 

“In New Jersey, you’re supposed to have an update every 10 years,” said Florek. “But in South Orange, the last update was 40 years ago, in 1979.” The priorities then, she said, were single family homes, which left less land usable for recreation and apartments; the feedback the township has received in the outreach conducted since the end of last year is that currently the population is older, and people want more commercial development but with housing incorporated into it.

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One method of garnering public sentiment has been through www.somasterplan.com, where residents may enter comments about land use, traffic, parks, and the like.

This evening’s presentation, according the website, will consist of a “presentation of recommendations from the Design Team generated from the Studio and subsequent “drop-in” sessions that will form the basis of the Community Form and Design Element of the Master Plan.” Feedback from residents is welcomed.