last updated March 2, 2020
1. What is Our Village, Our Future?
The Village of Ridgewood, NJ is working towards preparing its next Master Plan. One of the first steps is to engage the community to think about and share its vision for current and future generations to love and appreciate. Vision can be defined as “the ability to think about or plan for the future with imagination or wisdom.” Our Village, Our Future is the name given to this visioning process.
2. What are the goals of Our Village, Our Future?
The primary goal of Our Village, Our Future is to implement a community visioning process that reaches out to a broad range of Village residents and other stakeholders (e.g., businesses, institutions, etc.) and encourages them to think about and discuss the values, principles, goals, and priorities that should shape the future of the Village. This community visioning process represents the one of the first steps toward creating a new Master Plan for the Village.
3. What will be the final outcome or product of Our Village, Our Future? When will the Master Plan be prepared?
The final outcome/product of this visioning process will be a Vision Plan. This document will summarize the community engagement process and synthesize the results of this process in terms of identifying and explaining the values, principles, goals, and priorities that should shape the Village’s next Master Plan. It will also highlight, describe, and possibly help visualize any areas and/or topics within the Village where a cohesive “vision” has emerged. The next Master Plan, the process for which will start after the visioning process is complete, should be designed to help the Village achieve that vision.
4. What is a Master Plan and how is it relevant to my life in the Village?
A Master Plan, sometimes referred to as a Comprehensive Plan, is a guidance document that sets goals, policies, and priorities for investing in the physical, economic, environmental, and social future of a community. A master plan can address a wide range of topics and/or geographic areas of importance to residents and other stakeholders. It can provide an overall vision for a place and identify key priorities and strategies toward achieving the vision. It can provide direction in terms of investing in transportation improvements and public facilities, changing zoning regulations, protecting ecologically-sensitive areas, or becoming more environmentally sustainable. Concept plans and other visuals within a master plan can demonstrate ideas and hoped-for outcomes.
The master plan is also the basis for a municipality’s zoning regulations. In New Jersey, all municipalities are required to have a master plan and to “reexamine” it at least every 10 years. The reexamination process can represent a stepping stone for updating or creating a new master plan. However, the resulting Reexamination Report itself does not constitute the actual updated or new master plan.
5. Why does the Village need to prepare a new Master Plan? Has the Village “reexamined” its Master Plan yet?
Although there are certain parts of the Village’s Master Plan that have been updated more recently (for example, the section pertaining to housing, which was updated in 2016), the core sections of the Master Plan date back to 1983. A lot has changed since that time. The Village did “reexamine” its master plan in 2016, and the resulting Master Plan Reexamination Report can be downloaded and viewed from the Plans & Studies page.
6. Will the Our Village, Our Future process involve the whole Village, geographically speaking?
Yes, the whole Village is the subject of this visioning process. It is not limited to a specific part or aspect of the Village; we expect and welcome feedback on any part or aspect of the Village.
7. How can I stay informed about this process? How will I be able to contribute my vision for the future of Ridgewood?
First, visit www.visionridgewood.org. This website will be the central public portal of information for this initiative. Next, make sure to sign up to receive updates when a new post is added to the page. Look for the phrase “Receive E-mail Updates” on the site and follow the instructions.
Press releases will be drafted and distributed so that local newsletters and newspapers can publish timely information for their readers during the course of the initiative. We anticipate utilizing various methods to get input from residents and other stakeholders. These might include surveys, workshops, focus groups, etc.
The Village’s website and social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) will also feature important dates and milestones in the visioning process, providing links to more details at this website.
8. What if I have questions or already have input about my vision for Ridgewood?
An online form is available on the Contact page at www.visionridgewood.org for residents and other interested members of the community to ask additional questions about or offer suggestions for this visioning process. As the visioning process moves ahead, there will be more formal opportunities to participate in the visioning process through workshops, surveys, and other methods.
9. What if I or one of my neighbors is unable to access information or provide input through online means?
You or your neighbor can provide input in writing and mail or drop it off in a sealed envelope to Master Plan Subcommittee, Planning Board of the Village of Ridgewood, 131 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450. Furthermore, any important announcements will be posted in the main lobby of Village Hall.
10. Is there anything I can do to help with this process?
Yes! We can always use help getting the word out to people in the Village. If you are or know the point-person responsible for sending e-mail communications for a church, school, civic association, or other type of community-based organization, please include a link to the Our Village, Our Future website. We may have other opportunities for volunteers, which can include high school students (with parents’ permission), to assist in promoting Our Village, Our Future. We will post these opportunities to this website when they arise.
11. What is the timeline for completing this process?
We anticipate that the visioning process will take approximately 12 months to complete. Below are the four phases of the Our Village, Our Future process, along with a general timeline for each phase, which is subject to change. Information on upcoming events will be posted on this website, so be sure to sign up to receive e-mail updates.
DISCOVER: July 2018 to September 2018 (develop the website and promotional materials, get to know the Village)
STUDY & ANALYZE: September 2018 to November 2018 (review plans, examine demographic and other trends)
ENGAGE & ENVISION: September 2018 to September 2019 (Visioning Questionnaire, Village Voices, Meetings with Committees, Visioning Workshops)
VISUALIZE & PLAN: October 2019 to November 2019 (produce the Vision Plan)
12. Who is leading this initiative?
This initiative is being guided by the Master Plan Subcommittee of the Planning Board, with support from the Village Council. Through a request for proposals and interview process, the Master Plan Subcommittee and the Planning Board recommended the firm NV5, Inc., based in Parsippany, NJ, to lead this process and develop the resulting vision plan. The Village Council subsequently approved the recommendation. NV5’s Community Planning & Urban Design group has experience throughout the Northeast and in New Jersey with projects like Our Village, Our Future.
Composition of the Master Plan Subcommittee:
- Richard Joel, Planning Board Chair
- Melanie Hooban
- Susan Knudsen, Deputy Mayor
- Dianne O’Brien
- Neil Desai, AICP PP, Project Manager
- Annette Schultz, AICP PP
- Rachana Sheth