Newark blueprint has lofty ambitions
The plan introduces zoning changes that allow the city to convert the underused second- and third-floor retail/commercial space downtown to residential units — the lack of which now contributes to that “dead” feeling after dark.
Public affairs expert Roland Anglin emphasizes the need for the city to market itself well and get a handle on crime. But you already knew that.
The first phase of what’s being billed The Living Downtown — part plan, part sales pitch — removes a host of outdated regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles that often deter would-be developers from carrying out rehab and new construction projects in Newark.
That includes eliminating onerous parking and yard-setback requirements and streamlining project review processes. The plan now goes to the city council for final approval. The next phase, yet to be drafted, would establish design criteria and offer some economic incentives to prospective developers.
This type of thinking “is long overdue. Industry is not going to come back and certain retail is not going to come back. So, you have to eliminate regulations and zoning of a bygone age,” said Roland Anglin, a public affairs expert at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, who read the proposal. “This plan is aimed at attracting the so-called creative class, who have been priced out of other markets.”