Maintaining socio-economic, racial, and generational diversity in a community where the cost of living continues to rise is a challenge in New Jersey’s dense and desirable neighborhoods. On September 14 at 7 p.m., members of the Community Coalition on Race’s Residential Committee will be in conversation with our town leaders to address how a variety of related factors, such as master planning progress, development, zoning, affordable housing, and neighborhood issues are impacting the South Orange/Maplewood community.
Maplewood completed its most recent master plan earlier this year and South Orange adopted its current plan in 2021. While these frameworks guide community leaders in the areas of development, land use, zoning, and others, they leave many residents wondering about the changes they see in the towns and their effects on sustainability, diversity, and racial integration.
At last fall’s Neighborhood Summit hosted by the Coalition’s Residential Committee, attendees raised several questions related to community growth and implications on affordability, both in home rentals and purchases. People also asked about the ongoing development of apartment buildings in the towns and the impact on schools and other municipal services. Other areas of concern included the impact of Accessory Dwelling Units, the creation of more accessible units, senior living options, property taxes, equitable provisions of services to neighborhoods, and the then-upcoming property revaluations.
During the virtual town hall meeting, participants will hear about the ways our towns have addressed fair share housing obligations; which new approaches to development, zoning, and ordinances will best serve integration; and, strategic efforts on the table that are designed to make our towns affordable and diverse. Presentations by Village President, Sheena Collum, and Maplewood Mayor, Dean Dafis, will be followed by a moderated discussion and an opportunity for participants to ask questions.