With over 30 years of experience working in and helping create Special Improvement Districts (SID), Don Smart appeared in River Edge this week to tout the many benefits of a SID and improve the three business districts on Kinderkamack Road (Midland Avenue to River Edge Road; Madison Avenue to Windsor Road; and Main Street to Grand Avenue).
"It's a tool that you can apply locally in a variety of ways," Smart said. "Each SID are unique in New Jersey as a result of the desire by the local municipality to use them. The SID legislation allows you to set up and carve out in your community a district overlay that has within it those powers and authorities you wish to grant it. Setting up a SID does not require that you fund it or that you turn its operation over to another entity. You can choose to operate it yourself."
The SID is a model for managing the municipalities commercial corridor by providing business and property owners the ability to organize as a single entity, raise funds for activities that enhance or expand upon municipal services, and through a District Management Corporation, to manage themselves to become a more effective destination for commerce.
According to Smart, some of the benefits to River Edge with a SID would be the ability to institute design standards for signage, prohibit and restrict peddling and street foodcart vendors, provide a unified voice to recruit businesses to town, foster economic developement for better land use, and assist in negotiating new developments and redevelopments.
"A SID give you an extra tool in your tool box that goes beyond what a planning board or zoning board can provide for redevelopment or rehabilitation," Smart said. "It may or may not be applicable here, but as you investigate you have to decide what you would want to do with it before you create one."
No decision has been at this time about officially creating a Special Improvement District as the governing body will continue to discuss the creation of a SID and what they would want included in one.