What is a Master Plan?


“a proposal for development of the municipality”
“guides the use of land throughout the municipality in order to protect the public health and safety and to promote general welfare”
“a blueprint that depicts current land uses, and guides decisions for both growth and conservation”


By law, a Master Plan must include:

  • Statement of objectives, principles, assumptions and standards upon which the proposals for the physical, economic and social development as set forth in the master plan are based
  • Land Use Element
  • A Housing Element
  • Relationship with Other Plans


By law, a Master Plan must include:

  1. 1Preparation + Approval
  2. 2Establishment of a Hearing Date
  3. 3Notice
  4. 4Public Inspection
  5. 5Public Hearing
  6. 6Voting
  7. 7Notice of Adoption
View the Timeline

Statement of Objectives

This is an outline of the vision the community has for its future with a description of how it intends to pursue that future.

Land Use

This Element considers the proper location, range, and density of existing and future development within the Village along with the purpose they will serve (e.g. residential, commercial, recreational, etc.). It will also explore the implications for future zoning ordinances, key infrastructure such as roads and sewers, and the natural conditions that define the Village.

Civic Life

This Element describes how the Village will empower its most important asset, it’s residents, to participate in government, culture and placemaking. It will outline how the municipal government can best engage with residents to understand their needs, support their passions within the community and develop the next generation of future leaders.

Community Form + Design

This Element describes the desired physical layout of the Village in terms of building design, materials, and architectural style. It will establish parameters for an aesthetic signature for development in the Village that expresses its unique character.


This Element strives to maximize the efficiency of how people move about the Village by reducing traffic impacts, planning for adequate supplies of parking, providing safe and universally accessible pedestrian networks, and integrating with public transportation networks.

Historic Preservation

This Element identifies local buildings or areas that are significant examples of the Village’s past. These could be locations of historic events, homes of notable former residents, buildings or neighborhoods that exemplify a specific architectural style that embodies the community’s historic character, or any other location that creates a sense of place that connects residents to the community’s past.

Recreation + Open Space

This Element examines the physical places and facilities available for public use that support the community’s capacity for leisure, wellness or physical activity. In addition, it will also explore the programming offered to residents that support their pursuit of healthy lifestyles, community building and enjoyable natural assets.

Health + Sustainability

This Element outlines the support network available for residents to maintain an optimal level of health and well-being including access to medical care, healthy foods, physical activity, and social services. In addition, it will ensure the Village is proactively protecting its local waterways, air quality, and other environmentally sensitive areas while seeking to enhance energy efficiency and resiliency against natural disasters.

What makes it good?

Community-led, Evidence-based, Comprehensive, Clear, Specific, and Future-focused.

The Village has consistently expressed and demonstrated a commitment to civic engagement. The dozens of municipal departments and civic organizations involved have helped create opportunities for the community to be truly responsive, adaptive and exciting. Through these groups and organizations, we can tap into almost every stakeholder group within the Village in a way that helps residents feel comfortable with speaking as an expert on their community. It is our goal to exemplify all the amazing qualities of South Orange not only in the final product, but throughout the entire process.

What is it NOT?

While the plan will provide guidance on future land use decisions based on the expressed goals and desires of South Orange Village residents, a Master Plan does not:

  • Designate any redevelopment areas throughout the Village or enact any other zoning changes.
  • Make any recommendations for specific businesses or developers to work here beyond recommendations for general types of businesses that residents want to see.
  • Establish or change laws, nor do they contain an operating budget for the municipality.


Residents, do you have general questions about the South Orange Master Plan? Neighborhood Liaisons, do you need assistance scheduling and setting up events? Do you need guidance on conducting your events?

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Neighborhood Map

View the South Orange Neighborhood Map so see which Neighborhood you belong to.

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