Government

Berkeley Heights Council Weighs Carving vs. Topping of Trees

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Mayor Joseph Bruno and council gather for July 23 meeting. Credits: Liz Keill
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Resident questions tree-trimming policy. Credits: Liz Keill
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Resident Steve Yellen speaks with BPW staff. Credits: Liz Keill
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Although tree-trimming wasn’t on the township council meeting’s agenda, the issue came up when one resident took the podium.
 
“They’re digging their own grave,” the resident said of JCP&L’s view of a township policy that was opposed to trimming trees below power lines.
 
 
Council members said they weren’t aware of a policy that favored carving versus topping trees, which was apparently established several years ago. Council President Kevin Hall suggested a meeting with a JCP&L representative, the township administrator and an Environmental Commission member.
 
Mayor Joseph Bruno referred to a trash hauling ordinance from 1998, which required a $100 fee for removing household waste. He said those fees have not been paid and come to $4,600 for several vendors over the past 15 years. 

 
“$100 may be an insufficient amount,” Councilman Robert Woodruff said. Peddlers' fees are $350 and solicitor fees are $200, according to the township clerk.
 
The township attorney said a vendor could not be prohibited from doing business, but could be penalized at $500 a day. “Let’s write a letter and get this ball moving,” the mayor said of the delinquent payments.
 
Mayor Bruno also asked for the council’s approval of a generator at an estimated $85,000. It would be covered by a grant from PSE&G. “These storms have knocked us out once already and the town hall needs to be a communications center,” he said.
 
Councilman Edward Delia reported on the July 16 fair, saying that a resident was not allowed back into her neighborhood after 6 p.m. because she did not have a pass. He asked that the police be more understanding of neighbors when they offer to show a driver’s license and registration. Bruno said he would speak to the Police Chief.
 
Delia also addressed road repairs. He said a hot coal patch is twice as expensive as regular asphalt and should not be used in hot weather. “It does a terrible job in fixing roads,” he said. The Department of Public Works will follow up. In addition, he had concerns about the inventory list, especially cutting bits for a break light. The mayor explained the equipment had been borrowed and the township needed to provide the bits.
 
The council adopted a resolution to enter a developer’s agreement with Berkley Square at 240-264 Springfield Ave. The mayor said brick pavers and coach lamps would be there soon.
 
The mayor noted that Congressman Leonard Lance had visited Berkley Heights and presented a $105,000 check to the fire department for communication signals. He also addressed students at the Police Academy. “He is a true friend of Berkeley Heights,” the mayor said of Lance. Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz of Summit also was present.
 
Bruno urged the public to attend the final two free outdoor concerts this summer.

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