Master Plan to involve residents

City seeks to avoid public outcry

For the first time in several years Bayonne is updating its master plan and it wants you to participate. That’s the word from city officials.
Consultant Francis Reiner of DMR Architects began work last fall by making a presentation to the City Council at its September meeting.
City Planner Sue Mack, who’s project manager for the City Council, said the city will be setting up meetings for the public to participate in, with the first likely by the end of this month or early February.
“We’re looking for the public to be on committees,” Mack said. Announcements will be made at Planning Board and City Council meetings.


“We’re looking for the public to be on committees.” – Sue Mack

Business Administrator Joseph DeMarco said that while nothing has been formalized, there will likely be three meetings, in different neighborhoods or wards.
DeMarco said Reiner has been reviewing zoning applications, approvals, and permits.
“It gives him an idea what was occurring over the last six, eight months,” DeMarco said.
After the public comment portion of the process, about a year or so from now, DMR will submit its ideas for master plan changes.
“The Planning Board will then come up with a response that recommends what the plan should be,” DeMarco said.
The state of New Jersey encourages municipalities to reassess their master plans every 10 years. The city’s last master plan was written about 15 years ago and an update was done a few years after that, according to DeMarco.
Master plans set goals for development, preservation, transportation, recreation, and other aspects of the community’s future.
Updates look at infrastructure, neighborhood density, the number and types of buildings, shopping corridors, rapid transit options, street design, potential for office space, overall economic development, expanding parks and other space, the need for schools, better parking, and pedestrian safety issues.
“All those things can be a component,” DeMarco said.
Once all the elements have been incorporated into a plan, Bayonne will decide which parts are plausible and which should be added to a wish list.
“We try to put as much as we can into reality,” DeMarco said.
The updated plan provides a framework for the city to move forward.
Some residents have shown a strong interest in participating in this round of master plan updates because they feel city officials were not adhering to Bayonne’s master plan by approving 9- and 22-story projects on Broadway and North streets.
The Resnick’s Hardware property on 46th Street and Broadway, where a 9-story building is scheduled to be built, particularly riled neighbors because they felt designating it as “in need of development” circumvented municipal ordinances on height limits on Broadway.
“This is a process which engages the community,” Reiner said, since it involves improving the quality of life for residents.
The public outreach component typically includes public workshops, a steering/advisory committee, and key stakeholder interviews.
Mayor James Davis has said that committees would be formed to discuss particular elements of the master plan and that he wanted the final document to reflect the “citizens’ vision” for the future of the city.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at

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