In 2008-2009, South Orange Village worked with Boston-based planning and design firm, The Cecil Group, to lay a foundation for how the Village’s three business districts should evolve over the next 10-20 years.
Smart Growth Principles
The Downtown Vision Plan is modeled after New Jersey’s “Smart Growth” principles, which support mixed-use development, walkable town centers, mass transit accessibility, sustainable development and preserved green space. Similar plans have been created and implemented in nearby towns. The completed Downtown Vision Plan highlights what makes South Orange unique and distinguishes it from other communities.
Community Conversation Meetings
Starting October 30, 2008, and continuing into 2009, The Cecil Group held public Community Conversation meetings. It also conducted workshops and interviews with Village government and other stakeholders, including neighborhood, school, business, property owner, historic preservation, open space, clergy, developers, and volunteer group representatives to gather as much information as possible on how South Orange’s business districts should evolve in the future. The process took almost a year to complete, and targeted many issues, including land use and zoning, overall design strategy, traffic patterns, parking, and development in South Orange’s downtown, Irvington Avenue and Valley Street business districts.
The Community Conversations, workshops, and interviews, provided residents, business and property owners, and other stakeholders a unique opportunity to participate in the planning process from the ground up.
“One of the many aspects of what makes South Orange such a fantastic town is volunteer resident involvement on so many levels,” according to Village President Douglas Newman. “As residents, we now have a unique opportunity to place our signatures on our Village's future by engaging in this visioning process. Through participation in upcoming Community Conversations, we can harness everyone's talent and collectively steer South Orange toward a bright, vibrant, and environmentally-sustainable future."
For more information on Smart Growth principles and The Cecil Group, visit their website.
October 30, 2008
South Orange Middle School
Hear from the community about the key development issues and
opportunities in the designated area and begin to define our desired
Just under 100 people attended the meeting. They were asked to
identify their home and about half marked it on a map. The map showed
that practically every neighborhood in South Orange
The Conversation started with a short presentation
followed by people separating into Breakout Groups where the ideas and
issues were recorded and then voted on by the attendees. The results are
listed by Breakout Group, with each group’s top five concepts presented
in Table One. Table Two summarizes the top concepts for the entire
workshop and all Breakout Groups. The identification of “special places”
in the downtown was also a part of this workshop. These are places that
people find scenic or valuable, a site that provides an opportunity for
change, or a place that should change because it does not currently
represent the vision of South Orange.
These different places were combined from all the groups and are listed in Table Three.
Lastly, the groups created future “headlines” which
were to represent the media headlines ten or twenty years from now.
April 30, 2009
SOPAC in the Loft (3rd Floor)
5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Open House
7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Conversation
During Community Conversation #4, The Cecil Group will present, for review and discussion, a draft of the Vision Plan, encompassing our Downtown, Valley Street, and Irvington Avenue business districts.
To receive information or to send feedback, send to our email.