Community Development and Planning headed by Director Kyana Woolridge, Esq. performs three functions.
- Planning and Zoning
- Property Disposition
These three functions will assist this Department’s in implementing it’s mission and accomplishing its goals and objectives. They will approach the Agency mission with synergy, integration and interdependence. They share data, modeling outputs, strategies and will collaborate on the best ideas to grow the Irvington economy.
The Irvington Office of Community Development and Planning’s mission is to encourage economic growth throughout the Township by strengthening the Township’s competitive position and facilitating investments that build capacity, create jobs, generate economic opportunity, grow the tax base and improve quality of life.
The organizational goal following from this mission statement is to create opportunities for economic development through (I) desirable business and housing growth, expansion, retention and attraction and (II) working to develop a climate conducive to maintaining a community of place for Irvington.
Redevelopment and Planning
This unit will be the engine for defining and developing the physical, economic and social fabric of Irvington. Supported by staff the Director is the Township Planner and the Township Redevelopment Officer responsible for signing off on required plans and studies and interacting with the land development review boards and private land developers.
In defining Irvington, this unit is the repository of data about all aspects of the community: from the entire Township down to statistical Census areas and neighborhoods. It will collect data from a variety of sources including surveys and using models, maps, charts etc. to analyze it into informative reports. Depictions of the Township across age groups, ethnic groups, wealth groups, gender groups, and market segments to name a few groupings will be published to provide decision-support to the Mayor, Municipal Council and the Township Land Development Review Boards and other consumers of information.
Business Growth and Retention
This unit focuses on the retention, expansion and relocation of businesses in Irvington Township. Supported by staff the Director will be the Township Economic Development Officer responsible for preparing economic development plans, studies, and programs and for facilitating interactions between the private sector and the Township.
The goal is to strengthen the business growth in the Irvington Center, along the main commercial corridors and on neighborhood corner. This objective will be achieved by supporting strategies explained below, to expand job growth and business development incentives throughout the business sector: professional, retail, labor and industry. This division will implement an Action Plan that will implement three core strategies to facilitate the growth of Irvington’s economy. As detailed below these strategies are:
- A Collaborative Approach to Economic Development
- Business Incubation, Grants and Micro-Loans
- Shuttle Connection Between Neighborhoods and the Center
Stimulating the transfer of abandoned and vacant public land into private, tax-generating ownership is the work product of this activity. Supported by staff the Director will be the Township Public Officer responsible for preparing and maintain a list of official abandoned property plans and assigning contractors for their rehabilitation.
While Redevelopment and Planning creates incentives for private under-performing land to be developed into activity centers, Property Disposition will convert unproductive publicly owned pockets of land into productive private ownership. Disposing of individual land parcels will be done through the following actions:
- Public and Developer Auctions,
- Surgical Demolition
- Vacancy Registration
- Land Banking
- Foreclosure control
- Strategic Township Lien Assignment
- Abandoned Structure Rehabilitation.
This work will coordinate property enforcement activities performed by inspectors of the Housing, Fire, Public Works departments of the Township. It will maintain property inventory records and be responsible for tracking trends in property conditions.
Under-performing and complex ownership of land creates costly problems for Irvington, including properties that have significant tax arrearage and tax liens but the physical condition may be up to code. They are a drain on the operating budget and divert Township resources to solve issues that private owners are otherwise obligated to address. They detract from the quality of life, as well as the economic opportunities of those living around them. They are an impediment to individual neighborhood redevelopment and, ultimately to the achievement of Township-wide economic development goals.
Minimizing the harm done by vacant and abandoned properties and restoring these properties to productive use are priorities for mayors across the nation, and many have developed successful strategies to accomplish this.