WESTFIELD, NJ – What residents want the most from their town – including how to manage its growth and what to do about parking – are questions local officials are looking to answer as part of a state-mandated reexamination of its guide for development.

The town announced Monday opportunities for public input as it overhauls its master plan, something state law requires municipalities to do every 10 years. The town last issued a master plan reexamination report in 2009.

“We want to see how our planning policies have changed or should change moving forward,” said Town Planner Donald Sammet in a video posted to the town website. “We are going to look at every chapter of our master plan, and the reexamination is going to include recommendations for updating what is in our existing master plan.”

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The recommendations, he said, will include changes to land use laws, which govern the actions of the Planning Board and also the town’s visions, goals and objections.

Mayor Shelley Brindle, who serves on the Planning Board, wants to hear from residents.

“Our master plan reexamination is integral in mapping an exciting next chapter in Westfield’s future, and its final findings should have should be a reflection of the community at large,” Brindle said. “I encourage everyone to take the time to make their voices heard.”

Residents can provide input in both an online survey and in a series of public workshops. The survey is open through Sept. 3, town officials said.

Story continues below video.

Residents may take the survey at https://publicinput.com/WestfieldMP. The third-party website states that comments will default to being made visible to the public unless residents choose to “hide” them from public view by clicking on an option underneath the comment. Comments will only be removed if they are defamatory, profane or off-topic, the website states.

Public workshops will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, March 21, 7 – 9 p.m. at the Edison Intermediate School cafeteria, 800 Rahway Ave.
  • Wednesday, April 3, 7 – 9 p.m., Town Hall community room, 425 East Broad St.
  • Wednesday, April 24, 7 – 9 p.m., Edison Intermediate School cafeteria, 800 Rahway Ave.
  • Monday, April 29, 7 – 9 p.m., Edison Intermediate School cafeteria, 800 Rahway Ave.
  • Sunday, May 5, booth at the festival on East Broad Street

Other municipalities, which have taken public input for examinations of their master plans, include Summit, which held workshops in 2016 and Montville, which kicked off the process last April with individual plans for its historic preservation, community facilities and traffic, as reported by TAPinto’s network.

Parks plans

Working in tandem with the master plan reexamination, Westfield is also developing a plan for its parks and recreation facilities, the Monday announcement said.

Residents may give input via that survey at https://publicinput.com/WestfieldParks.

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“This is the time for folks to give their detailed input and opinions through a thoroughly inclusive process that reaches all stakeholders,” Brindle said. “Our goal is to produce a plan that is diverse in its appeal, including athletic fields, trails, additional recreational opportunities and open spaces.”

In November, the Town Council hired the Firm Brandstetter Carroll Inc., of Lexington, Kentucky, to develop the parks and recreation plan at a cost of $99,500. The council approved the expenditure 6-2, with Republicans Frank Arena and Jo Ann Neylan casting the dissenting votes.

Officials have said the firm will coordinate with the planning firm, H2M, which the Planning Board hired at an estimated cost of $98,000 to develop the town-wide master plan reexamination report.

The reexamination report is planned to be completed by the end of 2019, the town’s website says.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh