Planning and Development

“South Orange has unlimited potential to secure its position as a leading smart-growth town - leveraging financial investment, walkability, transit access, and a bustling restaurant, shopping, and performing arts scene. Communities can provide something for everyone when they are created by everyone.” - Sheena

A state-wide leader in comprehensive planning, land use, redevelopment and project finance, Sheena brings proven expertise to the Board of Trustees enabling her to negotiate more than $150M in new investment downtown with financial terms that benefit taxpayers. As the architect behind the 21stcentury comprehensive South Orange Master Plan initiative, Sheena spearheaded the community-centric approach to rewriting and updating antiquated land-use goals which has collected dust since the late 1970s and discouraged community re-investment. This follows on the heels of her “Business Code Review” initiative which eliminated outdated codes making it difficult to do business in the town.

Throughout her tenure, Sheena has focused on engaging citizens in the decision-making process, hosting and participating in dozens of public meetings regarding redevelopment. From downzoning Orange Lawn Tennis Club to preserve open space to negotiating rent caps in new retail offerings to support small businesses, Sheena has identified and implemented a myriad of creative ways to get the job done.

A passionate champion for affordable housing, Sheena quadrupled developer payments into the town’s affordable housing trust fund, added a veteran’s housing set-aside into new projects, and led the board in rewriting affordable housing policies and agreements that will ensure one in every five new units is for moderate and lower-income families.

Moving forward, Sheena will work to:

  • Finalize and adopt the village’s new comprehensive Master Plan developed by community stakeholders entitled “Shaping Our Shared Future”. The plan will feature elements related to land use, community form and design, mobility, historic preservation, recreation and open space, health and sustainability, and civic life.
  • Complete the renovation of the historic Village Hall into a destination restaurant and beer garden, infusing greater nightlife and activity into the downtown.
  • Lobby Trenton on liquor license reforms to enable greater access and opportunity to small businesses and eliminate the antiquated license monopoly.
  • Design and open a community co-retailing and incubator space for local makers, enabling a consortium of entrepreneurs to coordinate and collaborate on delivering a retail destination.
  • Identify property owners, a redeveloper and operator to finally bring a hotel to South Orange.
  • Adopt a town-wide bicycle network, introduce and enhance wayfinding signage, expand jitney operations, and better promote walkable urbanism.
  • Ensure all development and redevelopment projects adhere to the strictest standards of good planning and design, inclusionary affordable housing, and yield favorable financial benefits to the village.