Northfield Township Master Plan is “Just Fine”

Formal Review Postponed

By David Gordon

Planner Patrick Sloane laid out a five-step roadmap for reviewing the township’s Master Plan at last night’s meeting. Several Planning Commissioners balked at the scope of the review and at the $29,000 price tag.

After nearly two hours of discussion, the Planning Commission voted to postpone a decision until it’s May 3 meeting.


“The budget is tight, so let’s put it off to next year” said Trustee Janet Chick, the Board representative to the Commission, setting the tone for the long discussion that followed.   Later in the meeting, she said Sloane’s fees “were not out of line.”   Commissioner Sam Iaquinto said the budget “doesn’t seem out of line, but I’m in favor of saving half, possibly.”

Sloane’s budget is $6,000 less that the $35,000 spent on the 2012 Master Plan review, and final approval of the budget is made by the Board of Trustees.

Commissioners noted that some items in Sloane’s proposal were actually part of the Commission’s regular activities. Commissioner Amy Steffens commented, “this is a big job for just an update” and then said that “we have no means of measuring our progress” as a commission.

There was general agreement that the Master Plan needs no major changes. “It’s sufficient for now,” said Commissioner Brad Cousino, summing up the majority view.

Two separate projects – for downtown revitalization and for land preservation - are underway and will eventually be woven into the overall Master Plan, said Chairman Larry Roman.

The Downtown Planning Group is working on a “strategic action plan and design framework” for the entire downtown area including the new North Village Park proposal.  

The Farmland & Natural Area Preservation Committee is developing recommendations for protecting the township’s rural heritage.

Commissioner Cecelia Infante recommended that Sloane help with both of those two independent projects and coordinate with the Planning Commission.  

The township’s Master Plan was last updated in 2014 and a formal review isn’t required until 2019, according to Sloane. He said the minimum requirement is a notation in the official “Commission Minutes” saying the plan has been reviewed.

Some Commissioners asked that Sloane rework the budget with more detail.    

Meeting Documents: