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Essex County, New Jersey


         April 2004

         Prepared by:

                    City of East Orange
                 Master Plan Reexamination

                                     Prepared for:

                              City of East Orange

                           Essex County, New Jersey

                                     Prepared by:

                       Orth-Rodgers & Associates, Inc.
                         80 Cottontail Lane, Suite 320
                              Somerset, NJ 08873

Daniel Kueper, P.P. License # 5332                    Jamie Maurer, P.P. License # 5746
This report results from the contribution and comments of many concerned and dedicated
elected officials, department heads, and key staff members. Special thanks are owed to
the staff of Comprehensive Planning in the City of East Orange’s Department of Policy,
Planning & Development. Their shared efforts and spirit of cooperation are
demonstrated in this 2004 Master Plan Reexamination Report.

                      HONORABLE ROBERT L. BOWSER, MAYOR

                             CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS – 2004
                        Zachary V. Turner, Chairman  Fourth Ward
                        Thomas L. Brown              First Ward
                        Joyce C. Goore               First Ward
                        Jacquelyn E. Johnson         Second Ward
                        Ernest A. Savoy              Second Ward
                        Quilla E. Talmadge           Third Ward
                        Clinton L. Robinson          Third Ward
                        William C. Holt              Fourth Ward
                        Mary E. Patterson            Fifth Ward
                        David E. Clark               Fifth Ward

                                PLANNING BOARD – 2004
The following members of the Planning Board adopted this Master Plan Reexamination Report:

                                        Robert L. Bowser- Mayor
                                        Joyce Goore - Councilwoman
                                        Everett J. Jennings- Chair
                                        Carol Jenkins-Cooper- Vice Chair
                                        Lloyd Abdul-Raheem
                                        Bennie Brown
                                        Everett T. Felder
                                        Jesse Jeffries
                                        Reginald Lewis
                                        Yvonne Donna Marshall
                                        Barbara Weaver

The following staff contributed to the drafting of this Master Plan Reexamination Report:

        James A. Slaughter      Director, Department of Policy Planning & Development
        Glenn Arnold            Manager, Division of Neighborhood Housing & Revitalization
        Michèle S. Delisfort    Manager, Division of Comprehensive Planning
        Naiima H. Fauntleroy    Land Use Administrator, Division of Comprehensive Planning
        Norma Mackey            Manager, Division of Economic Development
        Zunilda Rodriguez       Principal Planner, Division of Comprehensive Planning
        Renee Ziegler           Manager, Division of Community Development
                                                       TABLE OF CONTENTS


LAND USE AND ZONING .........................................................................................................................2
  Land Use ...................................................................................................................................................4
  Zoning .......................................................................................................................................................4

HOUSING .....................................................................................................................................................6

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ...................................................................................................................9

HISTORIC PRESERVATION....................................................................................................................13

COMMUNITY FACILITIES......................................................................................................................14
  Education ................................................................................................................................................14
  Fire Department ......................................................................................................................................15
  Health Care .............................................................................................................................................16
  Libraries ..................................................................................................................................................17
  Public Works...........................................................................................................................................20

PUBLIC UTILITIES ...................................................................................................................................21

TRANSPORTATION .................................................................................................................................22


WARD 1......................................................................................................................................................28

WARD 2......................................................................................................................................................30

WARD 3......................................................................................................................................................31

WARD 4......................................................................................................................................................33

WARD 5......................................................................................................................................................35

CONCLUSION ...........................................................................................................................................36

East Orange Master Plan Reexamination, April 2004                                                                                                i
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This Master Plan Reexamination has been prepared to comply with the New Jersey
Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-89), which requires that municipalities in
New Jersey re-examine their master plan every six years. This is a reexamination of the
1990 East Orange Master Plan. In accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law, the
following issues have been addressed:
    • The major problems and objectives of land development in 1990;
    • The degree to which these problems and objectives have been reduced or
       increased since 1990;
    • Major changes that have occurred in the assumptions, policies and objectives
       from the 1990 Master Plan;
    • Changes recommended for the East Orange Master Plan or development
    • Recommended changes to effectuate redevelopment plans.

As part of this reexamination effort, department heads and program managers throughout
the City were interviewed on the progress that the City had made in accomplishing goals
stated in the 1990 Master Plan.

The 1990 Master Plan has as its vision statement the proposal that “the city and its
neighborhoods first and always be developed for the livability they offer people, both
those already here and those who will come after them. In putting people first, East
Orange must attend to its economic health, the education of its children, equality of
opportunity, and its historic, cultural and ethnic heritage.”

The 1990 Master Plan remains the guiding document for the City of East Orange. This
reexamination offers the opportunity to assess the city’s success in achieving the goals
expressed in the 1990 Master Plan, and to further decide what goals to emphasize in the

The most important theme expressed in the process of this reexamination has been to
continue, and even accelerate, the redevelopment of East Orange. Nationwide and in
New Jersey, the opportunities afforded by the redevelopment of urban areas are being
closely examined. There is an increasing emphasis upon the potential for redeveloping
existing centers with infrastructure, rather than continuously extending development into
the countryside. There is a growing appreciation of the cultural and visual diversity
available in cities. East Orange’s neighbor, Newark, has begun to experience a revival,
fueled by new entertainment attractions and the development and re-development of
commercial space. In tending to its own redevelopment, East Orange has established an
Urban Enterprise Zone, established a Business Improvement District along Central
Avenue, identified redevelopment areas and implemented redevelopment plans, and
taken steps to establish a diversified, stable economic base.

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Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
As predicted in the 1990 Master Plan, few major land use changes have taken place in
East Orange since 1990, given East Orange’s nearly built-out condition. However, the
City’s use of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law (LRHL) and designation of
redevelopment areas, as well as implementation of redevelopment plans, has been a
major undertaking since the 1990 Master Plan.       Since 1990, the City has begun
evaluation of, or designated 10 areas in need of redevelopment, and many of the
redevelopment projects are underway or have been completed.

One major change that has occurred is the closing of Upsala College in 1995. A 22-acre
parcel on that site was purchased by the City of East Orange and now houses a new
citywide high school. The remaining 20 acres were found to be “unproductive” and
“hazardous” in a determination of needs study in 2003. Later that year, a redevelopment
plan was prepared for the site, calling for market-rate residential uses in character with
the existing neighborhood. Construction for the 49 single-family detached and 16
townhome project is slated to begin in Spring-Summer 2004.

Another redevelopment project the City has undertaken is the Dr. King Plaza (Muir’s
Berkeley- Brick Church) site. Phase I of the three-part project contains a mixed-use
commercial/residential component. There is 28,000 square foot retail space at street
level, with four stories of market rate residential rental space consisting of 96 mixed-
income two and three bedroom apartments. Several tenants currently occupy the site
including Fleet Bank, Elegant Eyes, Contours Express and Tunde Dada. Street level
parking is provided for shoppers; underground parking is provided for residents.
Excavation is underway for Phase III, which includes 18 three-bedroom townhouses.
Phase II of the project remains in a planning phase but will consist of 104 residential
units and 35,000 square feet of retail space.

The Greenwood Redevelopment Area (formerly known as the “Teen Streets” area)
contains a substantial number of abandoned single-family and multi-family buildings.
This area exhibits a high level of vacancy and abandonment. Narrow lots, combined with
close proximity of homes, create greater risk of widespread damage and devastation in
the event of a fire. On the western end of 4th Avenue, the area has been designated for
rehabilitation. Recommended uses for the area include single-family and two-family
residential rehabilitation and new construction.

A determination of needs study and redevelopment plan was undertaken for the
Evergreen/Halsted section of the city. The Evergreen area contains both commercial and
office space, as well as luxury high-rise apartment buildings that once housed workers.
The Evergreen section is accessible from several major highways, as well as Midtown
Direct rail service, making it very marketable to all types of companies. Phase I of the
redevelopment plan includes a hotel and convention center, office space and
supplemental retail space. An area investigation and redevelopment plan for Phase II will
be completed in Fall-Winter 2004.

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A determination of needs study and redevelopment plan has been completed for the
North Walnut Street area. The redevelopment area includes a park, and several
abandoned multi-family units. The neighborhood’s current blighted condition fosters
loitering and crime, as well as overall disinvestment in the area. The proposed
redevelopment for the area includes market rate brownstones and lofts, playgrounds,
cultural and community green space.

The need for redevelopment at other abandoned sites, such as the Multiplex Concrete
facility, has also been addressed. A determination of needs study and redevelopment
plan for the site was prepared which allows for light manufacturing, warehousing,
electronic storage, research facilities, commercial laundry facilities and food services.
The plan also sets forth design guidelines and bulk requirements. The site will serve as
a headquarter’s office and concrete center for the Multiplex Concrete facility; excavation
is anticipated Summer 2004.

A two acre site in the Rutledge Avenue area, which includes abandoned light
manufacturing buildings and vacant lots, has also been designated by the City as in need
of redevelopment.

An area investigation was completed for the Lower M.L. King Jr. Boulevard area, which
encompasses over 20 acres including the East Orange Train Station. It is contiguous to
two redevelopment initiatives: North Walnut Street and Muir’s Berkeley. The Lower
M.L. King Jr. Boulevard area, which was once a vibrant downtown business district, has
declined in recent decades. The City seeks to transform this site into a vibrant, traditional
downtown area with educational, residential and commercial uses. Permitted uses for
this area include townhouses, a public school (as part of the School Demonstration
Project), a performing areas/cultural/museum, a community theater, multi-family and
garden apartments. The district also permits retail, financial institutions, restaurants, and
department stores, and residential units and office/service uses above the street level.

The City is considering undergoing an area investigation and redevelopment plan for the
Arcadian Gardens public housing site. The East Orange Housing Authority has received
HOPE VI funds, and plans to transform the site into a vibrant, mixed-income community
with semi-detached and detached townhouses, single-family homes with yards, and a
club house. The project will also incorporate the nearby Sussex Mall property which has
fallen into disrepair.

Major recommendations from the 1990 Master Plan for changes to land uses and zoning
are outlined below.       This section is divided into recommendations that were
implemented, and recommendations that have not yet been implemented. Where needed,
explanatory text is provided in italics after each recommendation.

The city is examining the redevelopment potential for a ten acre vacant site, formally
known as the Worthington Pump. It is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and
borders Newark to the east. It is a brownfield site and the existing contamination has
been cleaned up to commercial/industrial grade. It is still zoned industrial and the ideal
use for the site is a mixed commercial and office use.

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Land Use

Implemented Recommendations
   • Change Ward Bakery from vacant industrial to residential and office. (Zone
      properties for UR-1 designation and redevelopment.) The Ward Bakery has been
      the site of a large scale mixed use redevelopment project; the apartments are at
      full capacity and the ground floor commercial space is semi-occupied.
   • Change Derby Street from vacant to residential, per development plans already
      approved by the city. (The property has been developed for townhouses by

Non-Implemented Recommendations
   • Change North Park and Dodd from residential to mixed commercial/residential.
   • Change the National Paper Company property from vacant industrial to
      institutional or commercial.
   • Change the property at Sussex & North 15th in the vicinity of I-280 from vacant to
      parking and residential.
   • Change the 4th Avenue and 16th Street gas station from vacant commercial to


Implemented Recommendations
   • Allow licensed child care centers in all non-residential districts.
   • Control home occupation and office/professional uses in R-1 and R-2 districts to
      prevent them from creating a nuisance for residents. These uses are now more
      strictly regulated in R-1, R-2, and R-3 districts.
   • R-2 uses should be conditional uses in the R-3 district, and R-1 and R-2 uses
      should not be permitted in R-4 district, except multi-family. R-3 uses (garden
      apartments and multi-family) should become conditional in the R-4 district. R-1
      and R-2 uses except townhouses are no longer permitted in R-3 districts, and R-3
      uses are not permitted in R-4 districts.
   • Permit restaurants with drive-up facilities in C-1 districts. Land Use and
      Development Ordinance (Chapter 50) revisions allow restaurants with over 20
      seats to have drive-in facilities as a conditional use.
   • Permit C-1 uses in the C-2 (Auto Retail) district, to improve economic prospects
      of M.L. King Jr. Boulevard.
   • Re-zone Muir’s-Berkeley tract and M.L. King Jr. Boulevard from City Hall Plaza
      to Lincoln St. as redevelopment areas.
   • Designating a second C-2 district with cumulative C-1 uses on eastern Central
      Avenue. In the long term this could replace the existing C-2 district along M.L.
      King Jr. Boulevard, which could be converted to conventional commercial and
      institutional uses.
   • Re-zone South Harrison Street as R-4 from Highland Street to the southern city

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    •   Re-zone RO (Large Volume Residence and Office) districts occupied by stores on
        Central Avenue to C-3 (Large Volume Business).
    •   Allow community residences for developmentally disabled and shelters for
        victims of domestic violence in all residential districts, per state law.
    •   Permit greater variation in townhouse design.
    •   Create Mixed Use districts for Dodd Street and Sanford Street, which are both
        currently home to a wide variety of uses. Part of the designated area along Dodd
        Street was rezoned to be included in an IND-1 district; zoning for the remainder
        of these areas was unchanged, based upon further studies and input from East
        Orange professionals.

Non-Implemented Recommendations
   • Allow accessory apartments in the R-1 district; they should be confined to oldest
      and largest homes in neighborhoods, where illegal conversions have typically
   • Consider R-2 zoning for Ampere Parkway if the number of multi-family
      apartments grows.
   • Restrict undeveloped land along the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad right-of-way to
      conservation and recreation uses. Much of the land is now in private hands, and
      recreation or open space use is now unlikely.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The section on industrial uses in the zoning ordinance needs to be updated to
     eliminate antiquated references and to address “new technology” light industrial
   • Adoption of design standards, especially those relative to parking and
     landscaping, and façade standards for new construction within the non-
     redevelopment area is also recommended.
   • The Master Plan should be updated to reflect the significant activity the City has
     undertaken in designating redevelopment areas, and in moving ahead with
     implementation of the redevelopment plans.
   • The City should re-consider the issue of making accessory apartments a permitted
     or conditional use in residential districts, since illegal conversions regularly occur
     now. By recognizing accessory apartments as an approved use, the City could
     better regulate these conversions.
   • Particularly within Wards 4 and 5, there has been a proliferation of non-
     conforming uses in recent years. The Zoning Ordinance should be revisited to
     address this issue.
   • The City should revisit the bulk standards for its residential districts, to ensure
     that setbacks, lot coverage and other standards are consistent with the City’s
   • The City should consider developing minimum gross floor area standards for
     residential dwellings by district.

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Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The 1990 Master Plan presented the following objectives:
   • Rehabilitate 200 homes a year through public funds from federal and state
      sources, and facilitate the private purchase and unaided improvement of an equal
      number of units.
   • Change the public image of East Orange. After rehabilitation, housing should be
      offered for sale, or rented to a mixed-income clientele.
   • Ensure an equal distribution of the benefits of improved housing; the housing
      policy should be aimed primarily at existing residents.
   • Concentrate on housing rehabilitation rather than new construction.
   • Anchor the single-family neighborhoods, through improved services and
      changing circulation system.
   • Stabilize rental housing.
   • Tailor rehabilitation and improvement programs to specific neighborhood needs.
   • Market East Orange neighborhoods, perhaps by targeting employees of local
   • Build public-private cooperation, using public incentives where appropriate.
      Offer services such as construction and mortgage financing and marketing
      assistance, and added sanitation and police services.
   • Coordinate all housing improvement efforts.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes since 1990
The City normally rehabilitates between 20 to 80 homes per year through HUD, CDBG
and Home Investment Partnership Program funding. The goal of rehabilitating 200 homes
per year, as indicated in the 1990 Master Plan, appears too ambitious given the City’s
resources. Due to increased costs for lead abatement in homes, East Orange was able to
rehabilitate only 21 homes in 2003.

The City also has an active multi-family (5+ units) rehabilitation and new construction
program. An 11-unit rehabilitation project was completed on Fourth Avenue, and a 96
new rental unit project was completed on M.L. King Jr. Boulevard in 2003. Phase II of
Brick Church, with 104 new rental units, will be completed in 2005.

The Division of Neighborhood Housing & Revitalization is focused on maintaining the
affordability of homes for seniors and city residents while recruiting new young
professionals and families. A discontinued HUD program which offered loan assistance
to young professionals earning less than 120% of the median area income may be
reestablished in the near future. The involvement of these young families in community
affairs would be particularly beneficial. In addition, the effort to bring in young families
would be greatly added by the presence of a good school system.

Over 40% of the 1 to 3 residential unit structures within the City are owned by senior
citizens. Most requests for emergency assistance are made by seniors, and the City is
thus exploring options for enabling seniors to better maintain their homes, or to sell them

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if desired. One of the major challenges within the City is to provide appropriate housing
for this segment of the population.

A Housing Market Analysis report, prepared in 2003 for the city, indicated the need for
townhouses due to the growing number of empty-nesters plus those experiencing a
changing lifestyle.

The Neighborhood Housing and Revitalization office has initiated a marketing strategy to
retain East Orange residents, as well as broaden the housing market to appeal to persons
employed in the greater New York area, and target housing for artists in the North
Walnut/Lower M.L. King Jr. Boulevard redevelopment areas. This program is one
example of how the city is trying to shape its identity and improve its public image, in
line with the goals of the 1990 Plan.

East Orange has also worked toward achieving the 1990 Plan goal of increased
homeownership through its Homebuyers program, where financial institutions work
closely with potential homebuyers earning less than 80 percent of the median area
income. In 2004-2005, the City expects to use $350,000 for the Homebuyer program.
The consumers who participate in this program are eligible to receive up to $10,000 for
down payment or closing costs on a new home. The City projects to assist 30 to 35
homebuyers a year.

The City continues to respond to maintenance issues raised by different neighborhoods,
ranging from street repairs to rodent control.

The Isaiah House, one of the City’s three certified Community Housing Development
Organizations (CHDOs) provides services to the homeless and has established a “rent-to-
own” housing program in the Greenwood Redevelopment Area/Ampere Section of the

The Princeton Street Neighborhood Reinvestment Action Plan is a development project
implemented by Housing and Neighborhood Development Services, Inc. (HANDS). An
element of this plan is the maintenance of the block between Central Avenue and Clifford
Street. The plan includes four new single-family detached homes on vacant properties
and substantial rehabilitation of two homes on Princeton Street, new landscaping, and
road repair.

L. N. Forbes Foundation, Inc., a CHDO, is partnering with a for-profit developer to
complete construction of four units on Princeton Street.

The St. Matthews Neighborhood Improvement Development Association (NIDA),
another CHDO within East Orange, will be building six new homes near the East
Orange/Orange border on Bergen Street.

The City has also identified those abandoned structures that can be rehabilitated,
including those which may be of interest to private developers. This may be difficult to
accomplish for market-rate housing in marginal neighborhoods, particularly in the

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absence of property tax abatements and other incentives and without waivers of parking
standards. However, the City has streamlined the development approval process and
waived development fees to draw the investment of private developers for market-rate
housing. In addition, every other month the City holds a property auction of foreclosed
properties within the City. In 2003, the City generated $4 million in revenue from the
sale of such properties.

The Greenwood Redevelopment Area has proven difficult to stabilize. Many lots are
only 25 feet wide. The vacant properties are significant fire hazards and attract squatters
and drug users. Because the homes in this area are so close together, fires can spread to
adjacent occupied properties. The City conducted a redevelopment study in 2002 for this
neighborhood and purchased many lots within the study area. Phase I recommended
various rehabilitation activities and Phase II identified 50-60 lots for rehabilitation and
new construction.

The Division of Neighborhood Housing & Revitalization is seeking to establish a Unified
Relocation Plan to integrate state and federal programs and provide assistance for
families who need relocation due to lead abatement, school construction projects, or as
part of a redevelopment activity.

The City is also working on a Homeless Policy and a Comprehensive Emergency
Assistance System (CEAS) to address overcrowding, grandparents taking care of
grandchildren and homeless persons.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • Revising the rent control ordinance should be a greater emphasis in the Master
     Plan. The ordinance is increasingly perceived as an obstacle to increasing and
     improving the supply of market-rate housing in East Orange. Developers have
     little incentive to improve their properties when the rent does not provide
     sufficient income to cover the costs of rehabilitation and the normal operating
     costs of the structure. While the rent control ordinance does provide for vacancy
     decontrol, this is only operative when an entire apartment building is vacant and
     rehabilitated, effectively discouraging those developers that wish to keep a
     number of units occupied in order to maintain a minimum cash flow.
   • The problem of rehabilitating or demolishing abandoned housing is not unique to
     the Greenwood Redevelopment Area. Other areas have also been threatened with
     destabilization by abandoned structures. Rapid foreclosure and turnover of the
     housing stock are needed to address these problems. Demolition of abandoned
     and dilapidated housing is particularly appropriate for those neighborhoods where
     the current density is seen as excessive in light of current planning goals. This is
     consistent with the 1990 Master Plan, which states that the city population should
     be permitted to experience attrition.
   • In response to the City’s aging population, there is a need for reasonably priced,
     market rate housing with smaller yards with low home maintenance. The City is
     working to address this issue by providing housing advisory boards, such as the
     one in Greenwood Redevelopment Area. As one of its main goals, the advisory
     board provides on-going maintenance assistance. Other ways the City can aid

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        the aging population is to partnering with local banks to provide low-equity loans,
        refinancing assistance, as well as assistance in rehabilitating, maintaining or
        selling the homes.
    •   Although maintaining the city’s financial health is imperative, the use of tax
        incentives should be considered for those properties in neighborhoods where
        private redevelopment is unlikely or difficult.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The 1990 Master Plan recognized that the economic base of East Orange is “very
fragile,” noting that the manufacturing, office and retail sectors of the local economy had
suffered since World War II. The unemployment rate in East Orange had consistently
exceeded county and state averages. While the loss of manufacturing jobs is common to
all regions of the country, much could be done to revive the office and retail sectors in
East Orange.

The Plan made the following recommendations:
   • Stabilize the manufacturing sector by retaining existing concerns and attracting
       small-scale start-up operations. Efforts should concentrate upon Manufacturer’s
       Village and other underused spaces.
   • Form a cohesive retail core that will entice residents and daytime workers to
       spend more of their money locally. A SID should be designated for the Central-
       Evergreen section. (This has been established since the 1990 Master Plan).
   • Retain existing offices and draw a significant amount of spillover from the
       Newark business renaissance. A Small Business Development Assistance unit
       should be established, and an ombudsman appointed to help retain existing
       tenants. Small amounts of office space should be added in renovated structures.
   • Establish a working relationship between the public and private sectors to address
       planning, education and funding issues.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes since 1990
The manufacturing sector in East Orange remains modest in size. The city has
experienced some success in attracting small-scale operations through the rehabilitation
of the Manufacturer’s Village Complex, which is currently 80% occupied.

A Retail Market Analysis was prepared for the City in May 2002. The study noted that
the city is viewed as a regional center and can expand retail sales with an appropriate
redevelopment strategy. The study also indicated that East Orange merchants sell to
only 22% of its residents. In order to increase marketability, the report recommended
catering to the City’s mature adults, since they represent a large untapped population.
The report also noted that many of the City’s residents shop for groceries in communities
outside of East Orange. The report recommended incorporating a new grocery store as
part of any future development.

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A major step was taken to strengthen the retail core through the designation of an Urban
Enterprise Zone (UEZ) in 1998. The City’s Urban Enterprise Zone Strategic Plan
proposed a five-year plan for the revitalization of the City’s commercial and industrial
areas. The UEZ includes neighborhoods throughout the city, and thus has great potential
for revitalizing not only retail districts, but the city as a whole. UEZ designation has
yielded over $600,000 in funding for the city, with the following projects completed:
    • Install streetscape and façade improvements on M.L. King Jr. Boulevard between
       the City Hall and Lincoln Street.
    • Purchase of eight three-wheeled “scooters” for the police to use in patrolling the
       downtown business district.
    • Purchase of marketing materials to promote the downtown.
    • Demolition of deteriorated buildings within the Rutledge redevelopment area.

The following objectives have been identified for the 2004 Fiscal Year, pursuant to the
1999 UEZ Strategic Plan and the Five-Year Zone Development Plan for 2000 – 2005:
   • Central Avenue Revitalization Plan - Streetscape improvements, a parking plan
       and a canopy/façade improvements.
   • Central Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project - New sidewalks, streetlights,
       street trees and curbs.
   • Ampere Business District Revitalization Plan - A streetscape improvement plan.
   • Ampere Business Streetscape Improvement Project - Streetscape improvement to
       the Ampere Business District including sidewalks, streetlights, street trees and
       curbs as recommended in the Ampere Revitalization Plan.
   • M.L. King Jr. Boulevard Special Improvement District - UEZ and SID Grants to
       undertake a M.L. King Jr. Boulevard SID feasibility study.
   • Ampere Business Improvement District - Undertake an Ampere BID feasibility

The City is considering creating an Economic Development Corporation to administer
the UEZ program.

Once known as the Fifth Avenue of New Jersey and the insurance capital of the
northeast, the Central Avenue Business District and the streets that feed into it have
suffered from the migration of big businesses to the suburbs. To help revitalize the area,
in 2003, a Business Improvement District (BID) was established for Central Avenue. Its
main priorities include security, cleanliness and marketing.

The City is also considering the establishment of several additional BIDs: Lower and
Upper M.L. King Jr. Boulevard, and some smaller BIDs within the commercial niches of
residential districts. The City received Smart Growth grant funds to help revitalize the
Lower M.L. King Jr. Boulevard. The future vision for this area includes a performing
arts district (part of the demonstration project with school construction) with mixed use,
artist housing/studios, walk of fame streetscape and sidewalk and murals.

Merchants of the Central Avenue Mall comprise the most active business association in
East Orange. The City plans to improve the appearance of the Central Avenue business
district through implementation of a streetscape and façade improvement program

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through UEZ funding. The Central Avenue Mall continues to experience more success
than other retail districts in drawing new tenants. East Orange residents have expressed
the desire for a greater diversity of retail uses, including the addition of family restaurants
and women’s clothing stores. Some of the busiest retail uses now include Youth World,
men’s clothing stores, and shoe stores.

The retail district along M.L. King Jr. Boulevard is also positioned for growth. The Brick
Church Plaza shopping center is fully leased and its tenants have been successful in
attracting customers, although loitering in this area is seen as problematic and the façade
and streetscape need to be renovated. Across M.L. King Jr. Boulevard from Brick
Church Plaza, development of the Muir’s-Berkeley site offers significant potential for
expanding retail activity. Commercial uses occupy 28,000 square feet on the ground
floor of this development, with four stories of residential apartments on the upper floors.
Residential parking is located under the building and surface retail parking space is
located in the rear of the facility. Several retail tenants currently occupy the site
including Fleet Bank, Elegant Eyes, Contours Express, and Tunde Dada, a local family

The Ampere Merchants Association is no longer active. Although two new retail uses
recently opened, the Ampere commercial strip continues to be in need of rehabilitation.
The New Way of Life, a Muslim organization, has shown interest in redeveloping the
neighborhood. The City recently received funding for a feasibility study to evaluate the
reopening of the train station which was closed in the 1960s. This area is also the subject
of a BID feasibility study.

The Sussex Avenue Mall is in a dilapidated condition, with the most prominent space
occupied by a boarded-up Foodtown that has been vacant since the early 1990’s. The
Mall is more isolated than other retail areas of the city and it will be difficult to redevelop
in the absence of other neighborhood improvements. The East Orange Housing
Authority received $1.0 million in HUD Hope VI funds to demolish the Arcadian
Gardens public housing development across Sussex Avenue, and replace it with more
attractive and lower density housing. Such housing would serve to stabilize the
neighborhood while providing the consumer base for a greater variety of retail and
services. Redevelopment within this area will include the Sussex Avenue Mall.

Evergreen Place remains a focus for plans to revitalize the office sector in East Orange.
There is approximately one million square feet of vacant office space in the city, much of
it in this district. The City applied for, but did not receive, a Cyberdistrict grant from the
State to explore the potential for bringing high technology companies into this area.

In 2002, a Phase I area investigation report and plan were prepared for the Evergreen
Area which identified future uses including a hotel and convention center, office space
and supplemental retail uses. The goal of bringing non-fast food restaurants into the
district has not yet been achieved. Given the available infrastructure and its proximity
to I-280, Garden State Parkway and the Brick Church Train Station, this district is a
prime redevelopment location.

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Recent Consolidated Plans prepared by East Orange for HUD have been unanimous in
stating that the current parking ordinance acts as an obstacle to development in the city.
The UEZ Strategic Plan prepared in 1998 also highlights the dissatisfaction of East
Orange residents with parking in the business districts. There are concerns about the
maintenance and security of existing parking areas.

The issue of parking takes on a different character in the different parts of the city, for
both existing and proposed development. There is perceived to be a lack of parking
along M.L. King Jr. Boulevard. A greater supply of parking is available along the
Central Avenue Mall district, but many patrons are reluctant to use parking lots behind
stores due to security concerns. As called for in the 1990 Master Plan, a parking study
was prepared for this district (discussed in greater detail under Transportation). A large
number of businesses throughout the city lack adequate on-street parking. Developers
and new business owners often find it difficult to impossible to comply with parking

The City is also looking to evaluate parking for the Brick Church area.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • Economic development should remain a top priority for the City. The ability to
     carry out the recommendations made in the other chapters in the Master Plan
     depends to a significant degree on the ability of the City to foster growth and
     improve its revenue flow.
   • The City should expand its retail sales to cater to its large mature adult
   • The City should also seek to incorporate a new grocery store as part of any new
   • To assist in the downtown revitalization process, the Lower and Upper M.L. King
     Jr. BIDs, as well as the Ampere BID, should be adopted.
   • Two strategies cited in the 2000-2005 Consolidated Plan merit strong
     consideration for future strategic planning in East Orange. One such strategy
     would involve the designation of an Urban Complex. An Urban Complex
     requires the participation of a state-designated Urban Center (i.e., Newark) and at
     least one other neighboring municipality, such as Orange or Irvington. This
     strategy would involve East Orange preparing a Strategic Revitalization Plan with
     other neighboring municipalities. A number of benefits would accrue to East
     Orange from such designation, with priority given to redevelopment and
     affordable housing projects. A second strategy involves the preparation of
     Neighborhood Empowerment Plans, which would be prepared by neighborhood
     councils with assistance from the Department of Community Affairs and other
     State agencies through the Urban Coordinating Council. These neighborhoods
     would benefit from technical and funding assistance.
   • East Orange should continue to investigate means of visually integrating the Brick
     Church Shopping Plaza with the new commercial development at Dr. King Plaza,
     and with the Brick Church train station and the Evergreen Place office district to
     the south.

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    •   The East Orange Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 72 course with a four-star
        restaurant. The facility offers an opportunity to serve as an economic
        development tool as a source of revenue and marketing. The main drawback for
        City residents is the lack of public transportation to the facility.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Many structures in East Orange date from 1865 to 1930, marking the period when the
city developed most rapidly. The Art Deco commercial district along Central Avenue
was developed between 1920 and 1930, and became a popular shopping destination for
the region.

The 1990 Master Plan made three specific recommendations for preserving the many
historical resources in the city:
    • Update the East Orange Historic Survey completed in 1981, and perform a more
        detailed analysis of the significance of historic structures of all types in the city.
        Map all buildings over 50 years old and install special markers to indicate historic
    • Enact an historic preservation ordinance to protect historic structures and pursue
        nomination of structures that already meet the eligibility requirements for listing
        on the State and National Historic Registers.
    • Encourage rehabilitation and reuse of historic structures by including historical
        preservation agreements in private development plans and considering tax
        incentives for approved rehabilitation projects. Acquire significant historic
        properties when other alternatives are exhausted.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
No further study of historic properties has been undertaken since the writing of the 1990
Master Plan, and an historic preservation ordinance has not been adopted.

Several sites have been determined to be eligible for the State Register of Historic Places
since the 1990 Master Plan. These include the:
    • Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church
    • Bakery Village
    • East Orange Main Post Office
    • Elmwood Avenue Historic District
    • Garden State Parkway Historic District
    • Maple Avenue Footbridge
    • Old Main Delaware
    • Lackawanna and Western Railroad Historic District
    • Parkway Arches.

The Ward Ambrose Mansion, also known as the Knapp's Colonial Home is listed on the
State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Black United Fund purchased the
property and has been restoring the Mansion to be used as its New Jersey headquarters.

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Most properties that were recommended for protection are still in existence. However,
the Grove Street and Ampere train stations, which were identified in the 1990 Master
Plan as specific targets for rehabilitation, have both been demolished. In addition, the
Old Main at Upsala College has been demolished. New Jersey Transit has made
significant improvements to the Brick Church train station and to the East Orange station
since 1990.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The Master Plan should identify key structures that have been improperly
     converted without regard to their architectural/historical significance. Efforts
     should be made to restore these buildings closer to their original appearance.
   • The Master Plan should be updated to reflect changes in the status of some
     historic structures, such as the demolished train stations. The Plan should have a
     renewed emphasis on nominating properties for the State and National Historic
     Registers, including thematic nominations of churches, pre-war apartment and
     institutional buildings.
   • The most effective means of protecting historic structures would be the adoption
     of an historic preservation ordinance. Such an ordinance would provide
     protection for buildings threatened by private and public action, while nomination
     to the State and National Historic Registers would only protect properties
     threatened by state- or federally-funded projects.
   • The Master Plan should further emphasize incentives that may be used to
     encourage renovation of older non-residential structures. For example, a targeted
     program could assist property owners in rehabilitating storefronts along the
     historic Central Avenue Mall. Since most of the important commercial areas of
     the city are included in the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) that was established in
     East Orange in 1998, funding opportunities through that program should be
     investigated as means to preserve significant commercial structures.
   • Amending the rent control policy in order to stimulate the renovation of high-
     quality prewar apartment buildings may be a step toward fulfilling a number of
     the City’s goals. Allowing property owners to gain a greater profit after major
     rehabilitation efforts would encourage the preservation of these structures while
     creating a wider selection of housing choices in the city.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Foremost in importance for the East Orange public schools was to implement the planned
6-year, $76 million capital facilities program. The program was designed to substantially
improve all public schools in the city by the mid-1990s. The Plan also advocated
increased use of state education aid and increased interaction with the private sector to
enhance educational opportunities.

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Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
In 1994, the School District initiated a “Unique Schools of Choice” program, intended to
give all students a choice in attending schools with certain themes: two examples of
theme schools are the George Washington Carver Institute for Science & Technology,
and the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy for Legal Studies and Community Services.
The themed school program has resulted in a rise in standardized test scores and five of
the schools have earned nationally recognized awards.

The East Orange School District is moving ahead with its plans for improvement in
capital facilities, as called for in the 1990 Master Plan. In its Education Programs
Summary (November 20, 1998), the School District describes planned projects:
   • Althea Gibson Early Education Center (now constructed);
   • Renovation of Clifford Scott High School for 9th grade students;
   • Classroom additions at three elementary schools;
   • Barrier-free and lighting upgrades at all elementary schools;
   • Relocation of the Alternative School to the existing 4th Avenue Elementary
   • Wahlstrom Hall Early Childhood Education Center (has opened in a renovated
        facility on the former Upsala College Campus);
   • East Orange Campus High School for students in grades 10-12 (new construction
        and alteration of the former Upsala College which is under construction; to be
        opened in the Fall of 2002); and,
   • Conversion of East Orange High School into two elementary schools (to be
        completed after the new high school is opened).

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
  • The need remains for continued involvement of the school system with the private
     sector; such an involvement will encourage greater success of the students outside
     the classroom.
  • The themed schools program, which has proven effective in stimulating student
     involvement, should continue and expand. The school district should tailor the
     themes to hew to new skills in established professions, as well as emerging
  • The quality of the schools continues to be critical in the effort to redevelop East
     Orange, as it is one of the most significant factors in the choice of families in

Fire Department
Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The 1990 Master Plan emphasized the importance of the Fire Department in East
Orange, where high population density coupled with the preponderance of older buildings
creates increased fire risk. Recommendations for the East Orange Fire Department
focused on siting fire stations in a manner that allows for the best response time and the
best distribution of equipment. The Plan also gave priority to reinstating the
Department’s rescue squad, renovating its training tower, expanding the preventive
inspection program, and choosing the best option in implementing a 911 system.

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Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
The number of fire calls and mutual aid calls has increased significantly since 1990.
During 2003 alone, the Fire Department responded to 6,300 calls. Although this
represents an increase over recent years, staffing levels are down from 198 in 1990 to 171
at present. The state suggested that the City undergo a reorganization to increase the
number of civilian employees and reduce the number of captains. As a result, the
Department has made a concerted effort to create as many civilian jobs as possible.

Recent capital requests have funded two new pumpers and a ladder truck. In addition,
diesel exhaust systems were installed in all fire stations, and major repairs were
conducted at the main station. The need to upgrade equipment is on-going since many of
the stations were built in the 1970s, and much of the equipment is dated. The need to
repair the training tower, while noted in the past, is no longer a critical concern because
training now occurs at the Middlesex County Fire Academy. Since 1990, the rescue
squad has been reestablished and Station 4 at 410 Springdale Avenue was permanently
closed. While the fire chief does not believe response times have been negatively
affected by the closure, space is more limited due to combining several companies into
one building.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The Department should continue to hire civilian workers as dispatchers, and
     training, payroll, secretarial and public relations staff.
   • The city should continue to explore increased fire safety educational programs,
     fire inspection programs, and enforcement as a means to reduce the number of
     emergency calls and thus the demand on the fire department.
   • The Department has been involved in a study to implement a regional
     communication center and is interested in continuing discussion of a reciprocal
     agreement related to fire dispatch.
   • The fire chief recommends that a strategic long term plan be prepared for the
     Department that would coincide with City’s long term vision.

Health Care
Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The Plan recommended maintaining 1990 levels of health care service while focusing
attention on areas of special need in East Orange, including drug abuse treatment, AIDS
treatment, and pediatric and prenatal care. The Plan also suggested undertaking
recruiting efforts to attract private physicians to the city and expanding the department’s
physical facilities.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
Health care services are now administered by the Health Division of the Health and
Human Services Department, after a reorganization in 2000. The focus of the Health
Division has shifted since 1990 from AIDS and drug abuse to general public health
issues, with emphasis on infants, children, and seniors. Since 1990, the Department has
expanded to include the following divisions: employee training, senior services, nutrition,

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and weights and measures. Measures undertaken to improve the efficiency and cost-
effectiveness of the division include contracting out laboratory work and animal control.
There has been a reduced relationship recently with East Orange General Hospital; the
city is working to reestablish this connection. The Health and Human Services
Department offices are not consolidated; space constraints and ADA compliance are
concerns for a couple of the sites.

In addition, the City has received a Health and Human Services Federal Grant to create
access points throughout the City for residents to receive health services, and to access

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The Health Division should undertake a comprehensive study of health care needs
     in the city, including the exploration of options for securing adequate office space
     and making services more efficient.
   • The City should pursue locating all health offices in one space, possibly in the
     current police station if the police department is relocated.

Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The primary concerns for East Orange’s library system in 1990 were declining circulation
and budgetary concerns that led to curtailed operating hours at the branches. The 1990
Master Plan recommended efforts be made to increase usage of all four libraries and to
bolster the branches.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
The most significant change since 1990 has been the comprehensive computerization of
the library system. A system that controls all library functions from book checkout to
ordering of new materials to security has been installed in all City libraries. Computer
stations and laboratories are available to patrons to access the library’s catalog, electronic
journals and databases, the Internet, and word processing software. Fears expressed in
the 1990 Master Plan that computerization would actually decrease library use because
patrons are accustomed to personal service have not been realized; computer use has
increased dramatically. The library’s director sees the library’s role as a full-service
community center due to the wide range of programs for all age groups.

A Strategic Plan was prepared in 2002 which identified the Library mission, its goals and
objectives, and an action plan. Some of the goals include:
    • To utilize existing facilities, at the main library and at the branches, at a level that
        will enhance service provisions to current patrons and attract new patrons.
    • To insure that the library remains an integral part of the community services and
        is aligned with the City’s current and future plans.
    • To enhance current programs and develop new program components in order to
        better serve the various populations utilizing library services.

A Master Plan to discuss renovations and operational issues is underway.

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In 2003, the Ampere Library benefited from renovations including new lights, tiling and
ceiling, in conjunction with the new computer laboratory and HVAC system. Future
renovations for Ampere branch include electrical service upgrade, rehabilitation of
second floor meeting room, new front door and ADA access to the second floor
Renovations for the main library are targeted for Fall 2004; these include a new roof,
ADA-compliant doors, flooring replacement of the second floor lobby, lighting upgrades,
a second floor quiet study room. Future renovations for both the Elmwood and Franklin
branches include lighting upgrades, electrical service upgrades and a computer lab.

Just recently, East Orange City was awarded a $50,000 Livable Communities Grant for
local library aid. With its grant, East Orange City will replace the existing elevator to
meet ADA requirements, and will install new technology including a hydraulic lift, guide
rollers and rails, door sensor and closing system, control system and emergency call

Lack of funding and staffing has caused the elimination of Sunday hours at all library

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The East Orange Library should build upon its impressive record of recruiting
     external funding through grants, corporate associations, and private donations.
   • The City should continue to identify and apply for governmental grant funding for
     additional library programs.
   • The City should also continue to provide funding to the library for additional
     physical improvements and to allow staffing to meet the increasing demand that
     accompanies the library’s widened scope of services.
   • The library’s exterior appearance should be enhanced with greater landscaping
     and lighting. Greater parking lot security is also needed.

Police Department
Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Because high crime rates were perceived to be a primary concern by city residents,
increased efficiency and presence of the East Orange Police Department was a priority
for the city. The chief recommendation in the 1990 Master Plan was upgrading or
replacing the inadequately sized police station, which was built in the late 1920s. Further
recommendations in the Plan included staffing issues such as the creation of a crime
analysis unit and hiring of more civilian employees for office work. The Plan also
encouraged establishing reciprocal agreements with neighboring jurisdictions,
constructing a firing range, and implementing a community-based policing system.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
The crime rate in East Orange has followed a national trend in decreasing since 1990. At
the same time, the number of police officers in East Orange increased, from 231 in 1989
to 282 in 2004. Civilian employees have taken over some tasks carried out by officers in

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1990, including enforcement of the overnight parking ban, taking of minor police reports,
and assistance within the communications, records and identification bureau. These
changes allow police officers to spend more time on patrols.

Since 1996, the goal of implementing a 911 system has been met. In addition, new
“Enforcer” computer software used by the Department produces crime statistics and
allows officers to analyze crime patterns. Police substations were instituted for a short
time, but have been discontinued; the Department felt the stations were not an efficient
use of manpower or money. Efforts at community-based policing, however, have been
successful. Officers are assigned to specific zones within the city and tend to become
more familiar with the area they patrol. In addition, community programs have been
implemented to aid the community through crime watch, block and tenant associations
and through the chamber of commerce and business associations. The Department has
reciprocal agreements with all neighboring municipalities and engages in common border
patrols with the Newark Police Department. The Essex-Union Auto Theft Task Force
has been successful in reducing the rate of grand theft auto in the city.

Finally, the Department has been utilizing federal Cops in the School Grant funds and
Board of Education funds in order to dedicate 20 officers to the policing of schools. The
Department has also utilized UEZ funding to purchase scooters for patrols, and it has
received Local Law Enforcement Development Block Grants for equipment and federal
grants for technical assistance.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The principal concern of the Department at this point still remains the poor
     physical condition of the current police station. The City has purchased 15 South
     Mann Avenue, directly across from Municipal Court, for a new state-of-the-art
     police headquarters facility. Construction of this facility began in 2003.
   • Many merchants, residents and local officials in East Orange remain interested in
     the concept of police substations. If concerns about the inefficiency of
     substations cannot be resolved, alternative steps should be taken to address the
     desire of these groups for a more constant police presence in different
   • Finally, the department is looking to add another 20 police officers, to provide a
     full strength level of service.

Public Welfare
Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Recommendations in the Plan focused on increasing the efficiency of the Public Welfare
Department by hiring additional caseworkers and by either renovating its current location
or by moving the Department to a better equipped and less costly city-owned location.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
At the end of 2002, the City’s Public Welfare Department closed; welfare services are
now handled by the Essex County Department of Citizen Services and Welfare. This

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Department provides general public assistance and temporary services, ranging from
basic emergency services to long-term case management. The Division provides
assistance to TANF, GA and ABAWD clients, offers food stamp, provides Medicaid
assessment and referral, and offers temporary assistance for needy families and
emergency assistance/ shelter.
Job training is now under the County’s Department of Economic Development, Training
and Employment and the Department of Citizen Services. This department provides a
number of social service, economic development and workforce development services.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The City should pursue successful partnerships with local businesses in an effort
     to provide needed jobs to city welfare recipients.

Public Works
Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The Public Works Department suffered from a lack of funding and understaffing at the
time of the 1990 Master Plan. Recommendations included increasing staffing so that
preventive maintenance could be resumed and implementing a planned capital program
that would improve the 90-year-old sewer system and include various street, railroad
underpasses, and parking lot construction projects. The Plan also advocated working
with the City of Newark to reduce border flooding problems and investigating outside
funding sources.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
Since 1990, a major reorganization has taken place; sanitary sewer service is under the
control of the Water Department and parks is under the Recreation Department. The
Department continues to be severely understaffed. In 1990, Public Works had only 149
employees despite an authorization for 240. Today, the department has only 60
employees. Several major activities have taken place since the writing of the 1990
Master Plan, including widening and beautification of South Harrison Street and the
widening of Prospect Street to make travel easier for both cars and buses. Several
streetscape and sidewalk improvement projects are currently underway, utilizing ISTEA,
UEZ, and DOT funds.

In 2001, the city created a pilot program for street pavement repair and sealing. Last
year, 33 streets were included in the program.

The Public Works Department has made excellent progress toward recycling goals. The
goal of reaching a recycling rate of 25% was quickly met. Despite the large increase in
the use of plastics, the city is near or exceeding the 1999 goal of a 60% recycling rate.
The recycling program was expanded to include large apartment buildings in 1988. The
city’s solid waste disposal costs have dropped considerably, from $102/ton as reported in
the 1990 Master Plan to $76/ton in 2004.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan

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    •   The Public Works staff has been severely depleted since 1990. Increasing
        employees would allow more preventative maintenance to be performed and
        would save the city money in the long term.
    •   A plan for systematic sidewalk repairs, a long-standing need, should be developed
        and implemented with a consistent funding source.

Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
The 1990 Master Plan included the following goals for solid waste management and
recycling, water supply, and stormwater and sanitary sewer:
    • Increasing the recycling rate to meet and then exceed the goals set in the Essex
        County Recycling Plan, and involving large apartment buildings in the recycling
    • Continuing water conservation measures until the status of the future supply of
        water from the city’s watershed is determined.
    • Carrying out capital improvements such as replacement of lead pipes,
        rehabilitation of well fields, and the reconstruction of the aging sewer system.
    • Expanding stormwater sewer service to all parts of the city, reducing urban run-
        off pollution, and developing a regional stormwater management program.

Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
Several significant changes have occurred in the organization of public utilities since
1990. Over the past several years, the Water Department has entered into agreements
with some neighboring municipalities to manage their water service. Some of these
agreements were quickly discontinued, as follows:

Service agreements:
   • 1994 – service begins to South Orange
   • 1997 – service begins to Orange, Harrison, and Kearny
   • 2001 – service to Kearny and Harrison ended
   • 2003 – service to Orange ended

Staffing of the Water Department has fluctuated with the number of communities being
served. Staff peaked at 118 in the 1990s and currently consists of approximately 55
employees. The Water Department is currently updating its Capital Improvement Plan.
As a part of that process, the Department is reprioritizing capital projects and revising its
capital budget.

The water levels, while previously recorded as diminishing, have increased. The City has
received approval from NJDEP to build two additional dry wells to store and transport
water into East Orange. The Department is evaluating whether the existing infrastructure
can handle the additional flow. If necessary, the City will need to investigate alternative
water sources, such as New Jersey American and the City of Newark.

Several capital improvement goals have recently been met by the Water Department.
Redevelopment of well fields was completed in the summer of 2000. Replacement and

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maintenance of valves and hydrants have taken place as a part of routine cleaning and
lining activities and the Department anticipates redoing all inspections within a two year
period to ensure an overall level of service. The Department is in the final stages of
installing an electronic monitoring system to allow remote control of readings at all pump
stations, well fields, reservoirs, and pump facilities. It is anticipated that this system will
be in place in 2005. As part of these improvements, the Department will redistribute its
electrical supply to the well fields and pump house; install cell towers to ensure a
wireless communication network; upgrade the security at the wellfields and plants; and
install a new radio read system to increase accuracy and speed in the recording and
billing process.

Sanitary sewer service and stormwater sewers are now under the jurisdiction of the Water
Department. Within the past five years, the City has undergone a major project to clean
and replace its sewer system. Several sewer lines that were broken have been replaced,
and sewer lines have been relined throughout the City.

While the City’s sanitary flow is treated by three sources, the majority goes to Newark
and the Passaic Valley Treatment facilities. The City’s agreement with Newark began in
1919. In order to measure the flow into Newark, the City is looking to install water
vaults throughout the city.

The City is also in the process of updating its stormwater system to be consistent with the
State’s new stormwater legislation. The Department is acquiring equipment to perform
routine maintenance throughout the city to reduce inflow into the sanitary sewer basins.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The two major priorities for the Water Department in the near future are to
     implement an overall equipment maintenance and replacement program to ensure
     that the equipment is up-to-date, and to ensure that the stormwater system is
     consistent with state regulations.
   • While groundwater is currently not an issue, if development continues at a steady
     pace, the City may have to acquire water from alternative sources.

Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Objectives outlined in the 1990 Master Plan focused on improving quality of life for East
Orange residents. The recommendations included:
   • Using East Orange’s excellent access to major highways, train lines, and the
       Newark Airport as a marketing asset to attract both businesses and residents.
   • Rehabilitating the city’s train stations to make them more appealing and to attract
       businesses that might rely on commuting employees.
   • Improving circulation among important centers in the city and using this to
       enhance the commercial economy.
   • Protecting residential areas from traffic-related nuisances.
   • Improving maintenance of streets
   • Enhancing traffic safety.

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Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
East Orange has worked to capitalize on its access to major transportation facilities and
hopes to achieve an integrated transportation program, including rail and bus.

An active senior transportation program is run through the City’s Senior Services
department. A jitney service like that suggested in the 1990 Master Plan was
implemented for a short time in the summer of 1999. The jitneys were frequently out of
service for repairs, and the service was discontinued. The City is considering the
reinstallation of the service, especially near major activity centers including the train

East Orange is no longer served by New Jersey Transit’s Montclair Branch, a
consequence of two of the city’s four train stations, Ampere and Grove Street, being
demolished since 1990. The Brick Church station, however, has been significantly
renovated and serves as an important anchor to the Brick Church shopping district. The
station also provides Midtown Direct service. Renovations on the East Orange station,
adjacent to East Orange City Hall and the Main Street shopping district, are scheduled to
be completed in 2005. Due to redevelopment within the area, the City is seeking a
feasibility study to evaluate the reconstruction of Ampere Station funded by UEZ. The
two active train stations have the potential to anchor transit friendly development, and the
potential for Transit Village status should be explored.

In 2004, a Central Avenue Parking and Arcade Demolition Study was completed. The
report indicated that the removal of the Central Avenue Arcade and median strip provides
an opportunity for enhancing on-street parking capacity, improved circulation and better
utilization of existing capacity. Some of the report conclusions and recommendations are
as follows:
     • On-street parking utilization along Central Avenue including cross streets ranges
         from 65 to 85 percent. Off-street parking utilization ranges from 45 to 60 percent.
     • While sufficient parking exists in the study area, parking lots behind stores are
         underutilized and in poor condition.

A parking study for the Ward 4 and the Greenwood Redevelopment Area section of Ward
5 is underway.

Since 1990, traffic calming has been installed on Prospect Street between Main and
Williams Streets. The City has recently received NJDOT funding for a streetscape
project on Prospect Street; this will include a pedestrian median and create a pedestrian
mall atmosphere to capitalize on the proximity to bus transfer locations.

While no residential streets have been closed to traffic or reduced to one-way traffic as
suggested in the Plan, parking of heavy vehicles on residential streets has been made

Other parking issues that should be examined include:

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    •   The role of the city’s parking ordinance in the development process. The study
        should consider whether city parking supply requirements have discouraged
        viable new developments in the city, and, if they have discouraged development,
        to what extent these requirements should be modified.
    •   The city’s overnight on-street parking ban. Many residents are inconvenienced by
        the ban; concerns over business parking in residential neighborhoods, and street
        cleaning and other maintenance issues, can be addressed through imposing a
        resident parking permit program or alternative side street parking rules.
        Permitting overnight on-street parking would also make redevelopment efforts
        (particularly housing rehabilitation) much more feasible.

The City is the process of putting together a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
to address road resurfacing and reconstruction, intersection improvements and ADA

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • East Orange should continue to promote the advantages of its location vis-à-vis
     major transportation facilities.
   • The city should be open to the possibility of running a shuttle from the train
     stations to major job centers and other locations.
   • Within the city, links between major commercial centers should be enhanced.
   • Parking is still a major concern in the city. The lack of overnight street parking
     leads to many residents parking cars in yards. The overnight parking ban should
     again be reconsidered and the possibility of instituting alternate side parking as a
     compromise might be explored.
   • More efficient management of parking lots near commercial and employment
     areas is another concern.
   • Given the increased funding available for communities designated as Transit
     Villages, the City should apply for Transit Village status. The City should also
     seek Smart Growth funding to prepare a Transit Village plan.
   • The City should consider a parking deck near the East Orange train station, in
     association with the School Demonstration project.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990
Parks and other recreational facilities are heavily used in East Orange. The 1990 Master
Plan indicated that virtually all homes of the city were within the standard service radius
of a city park. Objectives identified in the Plan include:
    • Identifying parcels of land that might be acquired for parks and open space.
    • Maximizing both internal and external funding opportunities.
    • Creating joint recreational programs with the public schools and private
    • Encouraging design in park facilities that enhances safety, discourages vandalism,
        and increases park use.

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Status of Problems and Objectives and Changes in Assumptions since 1990
There are eight parks and three outdoor pools scattered through the City. While there has
not been an increase in either the number or size of parks since 1990, East Orange still
possesses more park space than cities of similar size in New Jersey. More of a concern is
securing enough funding to ensure the continuation of the city’s very strong recreational
offerings, which rank among the best in the state.

The Department’s After School Program is particularly strong and has continued to
expand; staff rotate on a daily basis to seven public school buildings to provide programs
in numerous sports and activities such as sports, chess, cheerleading, drill team, and
double Dutch. The Board of Education donates the use of their gyms and classrooms.

There was a golf program and co-ed flag football program, but both have ended due to
budgetary constraints.

The city’s youth sports leagues are also very popular; there is strong demand from
residents of neighboring communities to participate. The City’s baseball program, which
includes Little League, T-Ball and Bath Ruth, has also expanded in the past years.

Since 1990, there has been a major upgrade of playground equipment at all parks. The
recreation director indicated that the recreation facilities will undertake another major
upgrade within the next two years funded through $800,000 in Green Acres funding. In
1999, the New Jersey Nets and other local celebrities sponsored a major refurbishment of
a full-size basketball court at Oval Park. Lighting updates have also been carried out at
the three parks with nighttime activities. The recreation director does not find vandalism
to be a major problem in the parks. The recreation department fully participates in the
city’s recycling program and frequent trash pickups are scheduled.

While the 1990 Master Plan emphasized increasing facilities, the focus of the recreation
department has been to hiring sufficient, qualified staff to provide continuity in the
department’s offerings.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The department continues to make an effort to bring the best possible staff,
     teachers and coaches to its programs. The recreation department should institute
     a systematic program to solicit external funding for its popular and successful
     programs, and should investigate means to increase the number of volunteers.
   • The department should also coordinate with the police department to reestablish
     bike patrols in the parks, a program that was very successful in reducing crime
     and vandalism in the summer of 1999.
   • The department would like to develop more programs for adults and all age
   • Several programs, such as golf, football and weightlifting have ended due to
     budgetary constraints. The recreation department would like to reinstate as many
     of these programs as possible.

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    •   East Orange Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 72 facility with a four-star restaurant.
        This facility is a good source of revenue for the city and it should be marketed
    •   The City should continue to obtain funding to provide equipment to cater to all
        age groups.

The 1990 Master Plan made recommendations for each of the city’s five wards.
Recommendations took the form of general policy suggestions as well as specific
changes; all recommendations are outlined below in table form. Significant progress that
has occurred or changes that have taken place since 1990 are noted in italics after each
recommendation, where applicable.

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Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
  • The Plan singled out four single-family residential areas in Ward 1 as needing
      assistance in rehabilitating deteriorating properties: Doddtown, Schuyler Terrace,
      Brighton Avenue, and the mixed use neighborhood bounded by Dodd Street,
      Marcy Avenue, Prospect Street, and Meadow Street. Code enforcement and the
      use of CDBG and other funds were mentioned as methods to encourage
      rehabilitation. See table below.
  • Two vacant multi-family buildings, at the corners of Park and Walnut and Park
      and Dodd, were noted as important targets for rehabilitation. The City was
      encouraged to assist non-profit or private developers in finding funding for these
      projects. See table below.
  • The Plan identified commercial abandonment, which often leads to vandalism
      and attracts drug users, as one of the most important issues for Ward 1. In order
      to stimulate needed commercial activity, the City was encouraged to conduct a
      blight study and create redevelopment plans for the Park Avenue/Lincoln Street
      commercial area, to develop a sign ordinance, to investigate historic district
      designations and use of related funding opportunities for façade improvements in
      some areas, and to increase marketing to attract both tenants and customers to
      Manufacturer’s Village. No blight study has been conducted. A sign ordinance
      has not been adopted. No historic districts have been designated. See table
      below for progress on other recommendations.
  • It was recommended in the Plan that the City investigate why the parks in Ward 1
      were underused, unlike those in other parts of East Orange. Installation of
      facilities more in line with the desires of residents and increased police patrols
      were mentioned as methods of attracting more users. Maintenance and police
      patrols of Watsessing Park, a county park, are often neglected by Essex County.
      Several Park is in good condition and is not a priority for the Recreation
  • Reducing the hazard associated with abandoned rail beds by filling them or
      through instituting community gardens was suggested. The repair of sidewalks, a
      need frequently mentioned in resident surveys, was stressed, as was the
      conversion of vacant lots into needed parking lots. Some railroad rights-of-way
      have been sold. Sidewalk repairs are still a major concern, as is parking.

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                                Ward 1 Recommendations, 1990 Master Plan
        Rec      Location                               Recommendation
         1 N Park St & Dodd St      DARE rehabilitation project; change from vacant to mixed
                                    commercial/residential land use; commercial rehabilitation. The
                                    DARE program no longer exists; the City is hoping to redevelop
                                    the property. Some structures have been demolished. Several new
                                    businesses are in operation in the area.
         2 Park Ave & N Walnut      Multi-family residential rehabilitation. The Walnut Commons
           St                       project is proposed; its status is unknown. North Walnut Street
                                    redevelopment study
         3 Dodd St                  Single-family residential rehabilitation; façade improvements to
                                    commercial building. No changes have taken place.
         4 Schuyler Terrace      Single-family residential rehabilitation. Some private rehabilitation
                                 has taken place, but many units are still vacant. Lack of parking is
                                 a major concern.
         5 Park Ave & Lincoln    Blight study and redevelopment plan or concentrated façade
                                 rehabilitation and infill development. Façade improvements have
                                 been made and the appearance of the area is much improved.
         6 Area between Dodd,    Residential and commercial rehabilitation. No changes have taken
           Prospect, Meadow, and place.
         7 Manufacturer's VillageRevitalization. The Village has been a successful project and is
                                 near full capacity with tenant businesses.
         8 Abandoned Rail Right- Change from vacant to recreational land use through redevelopment
           of-Way                for park, parking, garden, and/or recreational use. Most of the ROW
                                 has been auctioned to private owners. Use for recreation or open
                                 space is unlikely.
         9 Park Ave, NE corner   Change from vacant to multi-family use off N Walnut St, through
                                 substantial rehabilitation. Proposed Walnut Commons project.
                                 North Walnut Street redevelopment study

Two important changes in Ward 1 since 1990 are the abandonment of Multiplex Concrete
and the closing of Upsala College, discussed in the Land Use section. An area
investigation and redevelopment plan was completed for both Multiplex Concrete and
Upsala. Developers have been selected and ground breaking is anticipated the Summer
of 2004.

The East Orange Board of Education purchased a portion of the former Upsala campus
land and built a new high school on the property. The City prepared a redevelopment
plan for the remaining area. Single-family, market rate construction is slated to begin in
Summer 2004; the housing will be in character with the surrounding neighborhood.

Construction of The Good Life adult day care center and Norman Towers, a privately-
owned senior housing project, was completed in Ward 1. This area was rezoned for
Continuing Care to a Community Zone.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The City should build on the significant progress that has already been made in
     revitalizing Ward 1.

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Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
  • Nearly all of Ward 2’s residential uses are multi-family buildings. The Plan
      suggested numerous strategies for combating the problems of age and neglect that
      affect many of these structures. Vandalism and crime were also major issues in
      many Ward 2 neighborhoods. Suggestions included increasing police activity,
      aggressively foreclosing and auctioning abandoned properties, and more
      stringently enforcing property maintenance codes and occupancy limits. See table
  • Retail uses are especially important in Ward 2, which contains the city’s central
      business district. Perceived crime, inadequate parking, limited types of retail
      goods and services, and competition from nearby malls were listed as factors that
      needed to be dealt with in order to ensure the health of the city’s shopping
      districts. The Plan recommended the establishment of Special Improvement
      Districts or an Urban Enterprise Zone, employing a marketing professional to fill
      market gaps, providing assistance for façade improvements and other
      beautification efforts, and increasing police presence in shopping areas. East
      Orange’s Urban Enterprise Zone was approved in 1998. Nearly all of the
      primary retail districts in the city are included in the UEZ. Projects that will use
      the UEZ status to improve the health and appearance of these commercial areas
      are in the planning stages. Police will use scooters purchased through the
      program to patrol commercial areas.
  • The Plan identified the high-rise office buildings of East Orange as one of the
      city’s major assets. Recommendations focused on maintaining the appearance of
      the office district, increasing communication with firms, and increasing security
      in the area. The Plan also suggested including the Evergreen Place district in any
      plans for a downtown Urban Enterprise Zone. See table below.
  • The Althea Gibson Early Childhood Education Center was constructed in 1998;
      the Board of Education is currently considering expansion of the site.
  • Dr. King Plaza- Muir’s Berkeley/Brick Church redevelopment project is a four
      acre collection of land. Phase I of the three-part project contains 28,000 square
      foot retail space at street level with 96 units of market rate residential rental
      space. Excavation has begun on Phase III, which consists of 18 three bedroom
      townhouses. Phase II of the project remains in a planning phase but will consist
      of 104 residential units and 35,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Berwyn Heights is a mixed-use area with an elementary school, several churches,
      a funeral home and a number of vacant properties. St. Matthews Neighborhood
      Improvement Development Association (NIDA), housing development agency, has
      developed plans to revitalize the Berwyn Heights area, which is bounded by
      Webster Place, Hampton Terrace, Oakwood Avenue and Berwyn Street. Five
      affordable units are planned.

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                              Ward 2 Recommendations, 1990 Master Plan
        Rec       Location                            Recommendation
        10 Harrison St from         Multi-family residential rehabilitation. No changes have taken
            Hampton Terrace to      place. The area is still in deteriorating condition and there are
            Webster Place           one to two vacant buildings.
        11 Prospect St              Multi-family residential rehabilitation. No changes have taken
        12 Walnut St                Multi-family residential rehabilitation. No changes have taken
                                    place and conditions have worsened.
        13 Central Ave              Streetscape façade improvements. Façade improvements are
                                    planned as part of the city’s UEZ project.
        14 Lower M.L. King Jr.      Façade improvements. Façade improvements are planned as
           Boulevard                part of the city’s UEZ project. Area investigation and
                                    redevelopment plan underway.
        15 Evergreen Place          Landscaping, parking improvements.

        16 Muir's-Berkeley          Change from vacant to commercial, office, and residential use
                                    through construction and rehabilitation. Muir’s-Berkeley is part
                                    of the Brick Church redevelopment area. The redevelopment
                                    process has been completed. Phase I has been completed, Phase
                                    II is in the planning stages, and construction has begun on Phase
                                    III and is scheduled for completion in Fall 2004.
        17 N Arlington Ave from     Residential rehabilitation. Two apartment buildings have been
           New St to Park Ave       renovated. New duplex construction is taking place. The Rowley
                                    Park area has buildings still in need of renovation.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • Maximum use should be made of the UEZ status of large portions of Ward 2 to
     finance physical improvements and to take actions to engender a feeling of greater
     safety. This will make the ward more attractive for new residents, shoppers, and
     business owners.
   • Because of the importance of revitalizing the business districts in this ward, the
     rehabilitation of the large number of apartment buildings found on the fringes of
     the business districts is also key.
   • Rowley Park, part of the North Walnut Redevelopment area, and Memorial Field
     are in need of improvements.
   • Traffic problems at the newly constructed Althea Gibson early childhood
     education center should be addressed.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
  • Ward 3 has the highest home ownership rate and contains some of the highest
      value housing in the city. The Plan suggested strategies for improving those
      blighted properties that do exist in the ward and encouraging the upkeep of the
      well-maintained homes. Further recommendations included pursuing funding to
      install sound buffers where homes abut the Garden State Parkway and creating a
      local historic district to aid in the rehabilitation of homes on South Munn Avenue.

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        Some residential rehabilitation has taken place, much of it through private action.
        Traffic issues, especially noise from truck traffic, still continue to be a problem.
    •   The Plan suggested surveying residents to determine their feelings about the
        numerous small shops that were found on residential streets. Those that were not
        regarded as nuisances could be encouraged to improve their physical condition.
        Heavy commercial and light industrial uses should be relocated, if at all possible,
        to other parts of the city, so that their jobs and property taxes were not lost. In the
        meantime, the Plan suggested making fencing, landscaping, or other buffering
        techniques a condition for any expansions or improvements. It was recommended
        that the numerous vacant storefronts in the ward be replaced with infill housing.
        No changes have taken place.
    •   The Plan advised increased cooperation with the City of Newark to coordinate
        housing and commercial rehabilitation programs along the cities’ shared border in
        Ward 3 where crime and deterioration were sometimes a problem. The
        department has established a reciprocal agreement with Newark and engages in
        common border patrols with Newark Police, but no other joint programs are
    •   Suggestions to alleviate the problems of impeded traffic flow and lack of parking
        facilities included allowing parking on only one side of the street in some areas
        and requiring off-street parking for all new construction. Overnight parking is a
        problem only in selected areas including Norwood Avenue and parts of Halstead
        Avenue. No changes have been made regarding parking.
    •   The Plan recommended the City pursue recognition of Elmwood Avenue from
        Sanford to Halsted Street on the State and National Historic Registers, calling it a
        natural focal point for the 3rd Ward. No changes have taken place.
    •   Ward boundaries were redrawn in 1994. Several parcels formerly in Ward 3 are
        now in Ward 4.

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                               Ward 3 Recommendations, 1990 Master Plan
        Rec         Location                             Description
        18 Elmwood                  Single-family residential rehabilitation. Private rehabilitation has
            neighborhood, various   occurred and the area has stabilized.
        19 Watson Ave               Residential rehabilitation; zoning re-evaluation. No longer
                                    included in Ward 3.
        20 Whittlesey Ave           Residential buffering. No longer included in Ward 3.
        21 Princeton St &           Rehabilitation (with possible designation as redevelopment area).
           Cambridge St             Some residential rehabilitation has occurred.
        22 S Munn Ave               Residential rehabilitation; local historic district designation from
                                    Wilcox St to Central Ave. No longer included in Ward 3.
        23 Central Ave              Commercial and parking improvements. Private parking areas
                                    behind some buildings have been improved. One lot has become a
                                    free shoppers’ lot. Planned UEZ-related activities will improve
                                    facades and parking.
        24 Sanford St               Commercial improvements; residential rehabilitation; zoning re-
                                    evaluation. Some vacant stores still need to be filled. Parking
                                    problems exist.
        25 S Orange Ave             Façade improvements; cooperation with Newark. No façade
                                    improvements have occurred.
        26 Elmwood Ave              Local historic district designation from Sanford St to Halstead St.
                                    An historical designation has not been pursued.
        27 Derby St                 Change from vacant to residential use through development on
                                    vacant tract. Status of the tract is uncertain.
        28 National Paper           Change from industrial to institutional or office use through
           Company                  adaptive re-use. The property is still being underutilized.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • Efforts should continue to rehabilitate housing in the ward.
   • Efforts at reducing traffic problems and nuisances created by businesses in
     residential neighborhoods should be further pursued. However, the city should
     re-examine the policy of requiring parking supply to conform with modern
     standards for all redevelopments, as needed redevelopment projects are
     sometimes prevented.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
  • Practices aimed at increasing the livability of the Greenwood Area neighborhood
      were suggested in the 1990 Master Plan. These include closing some streets,
      making others one-way, and improving street landscaping. The neighborhood has
      continued to deteriorate since 1990. There are problems with squatters, drug use,
      vandalism, and fire hazard. The greatest area of concern is the portion bounded
      by 14th, Eaton Place, 17th, and Park Avenue. A redevelopment study is currently
      underway to evaluate the Greenwood area. See table below.
  • The Plan recommended seeking developers to improve the South Munn Avenue
      neighborhood. Preserving the architecturally significant apartment buildings in

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        this area was seen as a key to attracting new residents to the ward. Possible
        designation as an historic district was also suggested. Only one large apartment
        building is now vacant on South Munn; one of the city’s hospitals may purchase
        and demolish it to create more parking. With some upgrading of the
        neighborhood, the city hopes to attract professionals who work at the nearby
        hospitals to move into the neighborhood. See table below.
    •   The appearance of the numerous public spaces in Ward 4 was identified as key to
        the public image of the city. The Plan recommended improving the physical
        appearance of the East Orange Oval, the Civic Center, and the Grove Street train
        station. Additional suggestions were made for improving the appearance of the
        Garden State Parkway and I-280 rights-of-way. The Grove Street train station
        was demolished. See table below.
    •   The Plan advised taking full advantage of East Orange’s access to I-280 and the
        Garden State Parkway by identifying underutilized parcels that could be marketed
        for parking, warehousing, or distribution facilities. No systematic efforts have
        been made to target specific parcels.

                                   Ward 4 Recommendations, 1990 Master Plan
        Rec       Location                                    Description
        29 Greenwood                 Residential rehabilitation; street circulation improvements; preserve
            Redevelopment Area       neighborhood identity. Traffic and streetscape improvements have not
                                     been implemented. A redevelopment study was completed in 2002 that
                                     recommended the rehabilitation and new construction of single-family
                                     and two-family residential dwellings.
        30   Hollywood Ave &         Residential rehabilitation. Most homes in this area are well-kept, but
             Steuben St              there are some vacant properties. Speeding traffic is a major safety
             neighborhood            concern, especially on Hollywood as cars enter East Orange from
        31   S Munn St               Residential rehabilitation; local historic district designation. Some
                                     rehabilitation and upgrading of apartments has taken place.
        32   East Orange Oval &      Improve physical appearance. No major changes have occurred. The
             Civic Center            grounds are still in need of much improvement.
        33   Along Garden State      Improvements and landscaping. No major changes have occurred.
             Pkwy and I-280          There is a strong need for aesthetic improvements.
        34   S Grove St to N 15th St Development of vacant properties for regional parking, warehousing.
                                     No major changes have occurred.
        35   City Hall Plaza         Coordinated urban design theme; streetscape improvements. A major
                                     renovation of City Hall Plaza was completed in 1996.
        36   Freeway Dr E to         Coordinated urban design theme; streetscape improvements. No major
             Oraton Pkwy             changes have occurred.

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The Sussex Mall and neighboring Arcadian Gardens apartment complex have
     become an increasing concern because of crime and abandonment. The city
     received a Hope VI grant for both properties, and the Arcadian public housing
     development has been demolished. An area investigation for the Arcadian
     Gardens is underway.

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    •   A redevelopment study was completed for the Greenwood Redevelopment Area
        in 2002 that recommended the rehabilitation and new construction of single-
        family and two-family residential dwellings.
    •   The Gateway property is owned by the City. The redevelopment of this property,
        which serves as a gateway into the city from Newark, would be an important step
        in rehabilitating East Orange’s image. In the meantime, the city should ensure
        that the vacant parcel is maintained.


Major Problems and Objectives in 1990 and Status and Changes since 1990
  • Three sites in Ward 5 were recommended for inclusion in formal redevelopment
          the Worthington Pump and Ward Bakery tracts
          a vacant apartment building on Park Avenue, between Vernon Terrace and
          Stockton Place
          the southeast corner of the ward, near Eaton Place and the Greenwood
          Redevelopment Area
          See table below.
  • The Plan recommended targeting several areas for public and private
      reinvestment. Several suggestions for potential funding sources were made,
      including Urban Enterprise Zones, Balanced Housing funds, and Special
      Improvement Districts. The areas recommended for reinvestment were:
          Ampere Strip – streetscape improvements to the commercial district
          Hoffman Boulevard Stores – façade improvements and filling of empty stores
          Park Avenue Apartments – restoration and recruitment of tenants
          North 19th Street, Rutledge Avenue Buildings – recruitment of new tenants to
          underutilized commercial or industrial space
          Whitney Place Bank Building – restoration or adaptive reuse
          See table below. The city’s Urban Enterprise Zone came into existence in

    •   Three problem areas in need of immediate attention were identified in the Plan.
        A combination of increased code enforcement, capital improvements and
        assistance from the City, and increased police activity were recommended to help
        improve these areas before they developed into larger problems.
            Vacant lots and buildings – clean up, make secure, and reuse
            Pedestrian Mall at 4th Avenue and 18th Street – make more secure or dismantle
            Abandoned gas station at 4th Avenue and N. 16th Street – reuse

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                               Ward 5 Recommendations, 1990 Master Plan
        Rec      Location                                Description
        37 Ward Bakery sites        Change from industrial to office/residential use through
                                    redevelopment. The Ward Bakery site has been converted into
                                    multi-family housing with commercial/institutional space on the
                                    ground floor.
        38 Park Ave & N             Multi-family residential rehabilitation. 329 Park Avenue has been
           Arlington                rehabilitated.
        39 Park Ave, between        Multi-family residential rehabilitation. Status unknown.
           Vernon Terrace &
           Stockton Place
        40 Greenwood                Blight conditions study; redevelopment plan. The area is
           Redevelopment Area       undergoing assessment to determine property owners and tax liens
                                    to identify properties for infill housing. The area has continued to
                                    deteriorate since 1990.
        41 4th Ave & 16th St        Demolition of abandoned gas station, possible re-use for park,
                                    retail. No changes have occurred.
        42 4th Ave/Ampere Plaza     Physical improvements. The Ampere train station was destroyed by
                                    fire in 1994 and was demolished. No façade improvements or other
                                    enhancements have occurred. There is still at least one vacant
        43 Hoffman Blvd             Façade improvements. No changes have occurred.
        44 TLC Building,            Commercial rehabilitation and re-use. This building remains
           Rutledge Ave             vacant. Rutledge is a potential redevelopment area.
        45 Factory, N 19th St &     Commercial rehabilitation and re-use. The building is currently
           Springdale Ave           being used for manufacturing but is still somewhat underutilized.
                                    Aesthetics and cleanup are still issues.
        46 Bank building,           Commercial rehabilitation and re-use. Building has been converted
           Whitney Pl & N 18th      into a Muslim house of worship (Masjid).

Changes Recommended for the Master Plan
   • The pedestrian mall at 4th and 18th Streets is marred by vandalism and loitering,
     and its redevelopment needs to be evaluated. Pedestrian malls have failed to
     improve conditions in many places since their use was first advocated in the
     1970’s, and their use in East Orange should be regarded skeptically.

Since 1990, the City has taken significant strides in its economic development and overall
revitalization. As noted earlier, the City currently has 11 redevelopment initiatives
underway. With the growing interest in “smart growth” planning strategies focused on
older urban and suburban communities, this is a pivotal moment for the City of East
Orange. Its Master Plan should reflect the major changes that have occurred, those that
are underway and those that are planned.

While the 1990 Master Plan addresses all required areas and presents adequate
information on existing conditions, it is no longer current and many of its recommended
policies have been eclipsed by the passage of events. A new master plan with the
following elements should be prepared:

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        •   Land Use
        •   Economic Development
        •   Housing Element
        •   Circulation Element
        •   Historic Preservation Plan
        •   Community Facilities
        •   Recreation and Open Space
        •   Consistency with other County and State Planning Initiatives

The Plan should include specific objectives and polices for adoption in addition to
general goals. Through a visioning process, key elements and goals can be identified.
This type of process would produce a plan that reflects the diversity and on-going
revitalization of the East Orange community.

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