Editor's Note: The article was edited to reflect a more complete list of groups in Berkeley Heights which have been invited to comment on the Master Plan.
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley reported that the Downtown Beautification Committee (DBC) had met and started its review of the Master Plan, which is "due to be updated in 2017."
Her comments came during the May 9 meeting of the Township Council.
The plan, which covers every aspect of the physical development of the township, including land use and design standards, is modified and revised from time to time by the Planning Board. The first step in the revision is the gathering of comments from ad hoc township groups such as the DBC, official boards and commissions, such as the Environmental Commission, the Township Planner and others familiar with the existing Master Plan. After all the input from those sources is collected and considered, the Planning Board makes its recommendations for changes, the public has an opportunity to comment on the revised plan and, finally, the Township Council either approves or disapproves the changes.
"Notices went out to most of the committees and select people throughout the town from the planner to get their input" and their comments. The DBC is reviewing the document and members are noticing "some changes to the design standards in Article 19 as opposed to design standards in Article 5 need to be reworked." When they are, the DBC will make recommendations on the plan.
Resident Tom Maciejewski asked Kingsley, "Were these meetings open to the public?"
She responded that they were not and assured him "there will be public discussions on the Master Plan as well."
Council President Marc Faecher, who was serving as Acting Mayor, asserted the recommendations were "advisory in nature," and that the Planning Board would see the recommendations, there would be public input and, finally, the Council would act to approve or reject the revisions to the plan.
Near the end of the meeting, Kingsley expanded her comments on those who were invited to comment on the Master Plan. She said, the Master Plan document "is really a vision for the town" that "lives and breathes for a good ten to fifteen years." Groups which were invited by Township Planner Michael Mistretta to participate in the initial process of revising the plan included the Downtown Beautification Committee, "Environmental Commission, Recreation Commission, PTOs and Board of Education," she said.
To see a video of her remarks, go to livestream.com/bhtwp and see the entire meeting or watch her comments from about 49.55 to 51.50.