If you’re a resident of Haddonfield interested in shaping the future development of Haddonfield, now is the time to get involved.
The Borough of Haddonfield officially kicked off its first 2024 Master Plan meeting on Wednesday, June 7 where representatives from Pennoni Associates gave an overview of the different focus areas that they are requesting input on from the community. Following their presentation, there was a robust discussion where residents raised questions and comments which included plans for electric vehicles in town, accessibility, and open space preservation.
Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich heavily encouraged participation from the community.
“Our community is planned for and by our borough to build upon the beautiful history we have, to call it out, to build upon it and to grow into the future,” Bianco Bezich said. “So every single person at every age, every stage and every ability – your input and your perspective has value and if you don’t participate, we don’t get to value it.”
Matt Wanamaker, a planning director for Pennoni Associates, explained that a master plan is an official document that will be adopted by the Borough.
“It’s really establishing your vision for the future,” Wanamaker said. “It’s generally a land use decision making tool primarily but it can manage things like open space as well.”
Later on during public comments, he elaborated on the plan’s importance.
“New development will come in and it will be … judged against the master plan for compliance,” he noted. “So the closer the master plan is to what the community wants, the less we’re going to see that situation (where new development comes in and residents don’t want to see it).”
To optimize input, the Borough and Pennoni Associates have put together four main focus areas: housing diversity, downtown economic vitality, resiliency, and circulation. Broken down further, they describe housing diversity as “allowing housing to meet the needs of all residents at all stages of life;” downtown economic vitality as “providing strategies that support downtown’s continued vibrancy; resiliency as “developing strategies to protect against anticipated impacts of climate change;” and circulation as “recommending ways to keep people safe when moving around the Borough.”
Some of the concerns residents have around housing listed by Pennoni Associates include the high costs, teardowns and build outs; lack of space for new housing; inability to age-in-place and lack of housing type diversity. Residents were able to share what kind of housing they would like to see and what they would accept in their neighborhoods at the live forum. The public can continue to share their thoughts through an online survey that is available on the Haddonfield 2024 Master Plan website.
Claire Jaffe from the American Institute of Certified Planners led the comment and questions portion. She reviewed remarks left by residents who had already taken the survey and gathered more input live from residents. In response to a concern by a resident about potentially spending too much time to meet the “overblown demand” of aging-in-place, Jaffe reiterated that they had received the desire to age in place from a number of people.
“Creating and allowing for more diversity in housing really benefits everybody,” Jaffe noted.
The meeting and the survey are live on the Haddonfield Master Plan website at https://publicinput.com/haddonfield#3. The next steps will be processing the feedback and preparing for the second survey that will be launched in late summer before holding a second public meeting in early fall.