By Joshua Burd
Officials in Dunellen have set out to update the borough’s master plan, working alongside DMR Architects in a process that includes collecting feedback from local residents.
According to the design firm, the municipality has posted a 35-point online questionnaire focused on public resources, breadth of residential options and placemaking elements like retail, parklets and pop-up parks, along with walkability and bike-ability. The survey will be available for residents to answer through Sept. 21, while the borough is also encouraging residents to attend a Sept. 14 community meeting as another option for sharing feedback.
“We’re taking a thoughtful approach to how to collect comments in advance of the next public meeting so that our council is prepared to react to the issues that are most pressing for residents right now and ensure that they are addressed and incorporated properly into the new plan at the beginning of the process,” Dunellen Mayor Jason F. Cilento said.
Borough officials and DMR created the questionnaire with input from NJ Transit and the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, according to a news release. Once the survey period is closed, the Hasbrouck Heights-based design firm will analyze the data and incorporate key findings into the new plan, which will be presented to the mayor and council when completed.
“Inviting the current residents into the master planning process is critical to understanding how public areas are currently being used and the opportunities to evolve into something more rewarding for the community,” said Francis Reiner, a DMR partner and its director of planning and redevelopment, who is the master planner on record for more than 15 other New Jersey municipalities. “Dunellen’s commitment to delivering what residents want and need will inform the planning process in a profound and productive way, and we look forward to analyzing the feedback and incorporating it into the plan.”
DMR noted that Dunellen’s master plan re-examination is one of several planning initiatives undertaken by the borough to support downtown business growth, attract appropriate redevelopment partners and create pedestrian-friendly streets. It has also conducted what is thought to be the first voluntary municipal climate resiliency study examining the impact of climate change on the borough and is utilizing NJ Transit to increase transportation options to residents.