The Lawrence Township Council awarded a contract for $60,000 to the town’s planning consultant to prepare a comprehensive master plan, which will update and replace the current Lawrence Township Master Plan.
Kyle and McManus Associates, which is based in Hopewell Borough, will prepare the new document. The current Lawrence Township Master Plan was adopted in 1995, although it has been reviewed periodically.
“This is a strategic time for a master plan, given that it has been almost 30 years since the last comprehensive Master Plan was adopted,” planner Elizabeth McManus wrote to township officials.
“An updated master plan will allow the township to adjust or create new policies to account for new development and development approvals and market conditions that have arisen over the last several years,” McManus wrote.
State law requires a master plan to include three elements – goals and objectives; land use; and housing, she said. The township adopted a housing element and fair share plan in 2020, so it does not need to be updated.
But the new Master Plan will address goals and objectives, and the land use element, she wrote. Additional elements that are not required but that are already included in the current master plan will be reviewed.
The goals and objectives element states the objectives, principles, assumptions, policies and standards on which the physical, economic and social development of the township is based, McManus wrote.
The Land Use Plan Element shows the existing and proposed location, extent and intensity of the development of land to be used in the future for varying types of residential and non-residential development. It is the Master Plan element most closely related to the township’s zoning and redevelopment areas, she wrote.
“This is the element where economic development, sustainability, circulation, redevelopment and other recommendations are related to land use and zoning changes,” McManus wrote.
The Master Plan also includes the Circulation Plan Element, which shows the location and types of facilities for all modes of transportation in the township. It will identify existing and proposed locations for public electric vehicle charging stations, for example.
The township adopted a “Circulation Plan Element Amendment – Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan” in 2019. It will be updated and incorporated into the proposed Circulation Plan element.
The Conservation Plan Element focuses on the preservation, conservation and utilization of natural resources. This element will be coordinated with the township’s 2017 Environmental Resources Inventory, she wrote.
The Economic Development Plan Element considers all aspects of economic development. It will help the township to identify existing economic influences in the township and how they impact residents.
“This element will address not only the ongoing changes in retail and office uses, but also how those industries have been affected and forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” McManus wrote.
The Green Buildings and Sustainability Plan Element addresses the efficient use of natural resources and the installation and usage of renewable energy systems, she said.
There will be several opportunities for public input – from public sessions to a survey. The survey will allow residents to participate who could not attend the public sessions in person, McManus wrote.