Business & Finance

Change is Happening in Berkeley Heights: Suburban Chamber of Commerce Hears from Mayor and Council

This month's Suburban Chamber of Commerce Berkeley Heights networking breakfast was sponsored by Liberty Group featuring discussions with Mayor Bob Woodruff and council members. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Mayor Bob Woodruff walked through the development coming to Berkeley Heights. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Don Lusardi, President of The Liberty Group, spoke on behalf of his company as sponsor of this month's Chamber Breakfast. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Mayor Bob Woodruff walked through the number of units per development project being built in Berkeley Heights. All of these development projects include an affordable housing component. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Council President Jeanne Kingsley described how the upcoming Beauty and Wellness weeks will operate with 30 businesses participating. Credits: Bobbie Peer

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Suburban Chamber of Commerce has been building its presence in Berkeley Heights through monthly breakfasts held on the third Friday of the month. About 75 local business and civic leaders attended the April networking meeting. 

The theme of these meetings are really to be known, said Dr. Patrick Smith, Vice Chairman of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce. "We want to be known to one another." -- "We want to be known to the community and we want the community to realize what a wonderful town it is." 

This month featured a discussion with Mayor Bob Woodruff and council members Manny Couto, Peter Bavoso, Council President Jeanne Kingsley and Council Vice President Michael D'Aquila. In addition, BHPD Chief John DiPasquale, Township Administrator John Bussiculo, Recreation Director Tom Barton, Berkeley Heights Library Director Stephanie Bakos, Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad (BHVRS) President Joe Savino, BHVRS Chief Ori Sternberg, Rotary Club members, BHEF President Carla McGlynn, VFW Commander Thomas Lombardi and many local business owners were in attendance. 

Sign Up for E-News

Mayor Woodruff talked about the changes that are happening in Berkeley Heights. "The face of this town in the next few years will markedly change," said Woodruff. 

These changes are due to the development of various projects related to the court approved affordable housing obligations. "You are going to put the better part of 470 [new] units within a rather close relationship to all of your businesses, this can not but help us. The quality will attract the kind of people that you want in your business," said Woodruff.

In addition to these 470 units, he said that Connell is currently planning to put 328 high end units in Connell Corporate Park next to the newly opened Embassy Suites hotel. 

Woodruff explained the affordable housing obligations have allowed the township to control density and quality. "With change you have to manage it. When you have developers, you have to have rules, you have to have standards, and you have to have an understanding as to how things are going to be done," he said.  "The affordable housing has allowed us to develop the right stuff. We took vacant buildings to address our affordable housing issue -- but at the same time, help the town grow." 

Woodruff also talked about the township's status of choosing between developers -- and their goal of getting a shovel in the ground for the new municipal complex within the next few months -- starting with the construction of the salt dome.  

Woodruff invited the businesses to attend a May 10 meeting when Township Planner Mike Mistretta will hold meetings at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.  at the meeting room at the Town Hall. Mistretta will go into detail of all the construction projects going on, said Woodruff.  

Woodruff said that money coming in through the hotel tax of the new Embassy Suites and PILOT program dollars will address debt [to pay down the $28 million bond for the new Municipal Complex] and surplus. "It's not about buying toys," said Woodruff. "It is about keeping debt manageable and letting people know that they're getting quality with what is moving in town." 

Council President Jeanne Kingsley addressed the traffic light issue at the intersection of Snyder and Locust Avenues and said it is a requirement of the Locust Avenue developers. 

She also said it is important for the businesses to be informed about the real facts. "The goal is to drive business to downtown and into Berkeley Heights." This was accomplished with last fall's successful Restaurant Week and the goal of the upcoming Beauty and Wellness Weeks beginning April 28 through May 12.

Councilman Pete Bavoso was next to address the room with respect to evolving communication improvements and said the township is currently in the process of looking at a new municipal website and are working with a developer. Meanwhile, the current website is functional and advised the attendees to sign-up for e-alerts. He also said Berkeley Heights Here & Now [Formerly Mayor's Round Table] has been rebranded to include three segments: Mayor's discussion, community corner, spotlights on citizens and business. 

Upcoming Events: 

Wednesday, April 25 - Wine Down Wednesday at Sharing Network in New Providence

Monday, April 30 - 8th Annual Suburban Chamber of Commerce 'Tying the Communities Together Awards Dinner has been rescheduled due to inclement weather from March 21 to April 30. For information to attend or sponsor contact

Friday, May 4 - First Friday Networking Breakfast at Grand Summit Hotel - Michael Goldberg holds Knockdown Networking workshop

April 28 to May 12 - Beauty and Wellness Weeks. Visit website for details. 

Sunday, May 13 - Summit Area YMCA Mother's Day 5K to benefit Livestrong Program 

Friday, May 18 - Suburban Chamber of Commerce Berkeley Heights Networking Breakfast

Saturday, May 19 - Art in the Park in Peppertown Park

Monday, May 28 - Memorial Day Parade

Saturday, June 2 - Relay for Life of Berkeley Heights

Saturday, June 9 - Rubber Ducky Race

Sunday, June 24 - Berkeley Heights Street Fair

In addition to the networking opportunity, Smith discussed the accomplishments of the Chamber and how businesses can contribute and become more attached to the community by getting involved. The Chamber partners with many organizations in town working on projects and events that include BH Downtown Beautification Committee's Fill-a Basket Beautification project, Memorial Day Parade, Rubber Ducky Festival, Berkeley Heights Street Fair, Free Summer Concert in the Park Series, 5K Road Races, VFW Projects, and Clean Community Day and more.

Visit Suburban Chamber of Commerce website for information on how to participate and get involved. Contact Dr. Pat Smith for more information by emailing or phone (908)464-8899.

Liberty Group was the breakfast sponsor, Dunkin Donuts provided tea and coffee, Derco Print provided the event printing.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Honoring Sacrifice and Service on Memorial Day

May 25, 2018

On Monday, May 28, 2018, our Nation celebrates our most solemn event, Memorial Day.  In Berkeley Heights tradition, we will honor those who sacrificed themselves so that we may continue to live in the greatest country on earth.  I invite all residents to join us for the parade festivities and, most importantly, gather at our Veteran’s Park for a brief ceremony.

America has ...

Logic and Sensible Spending Take Priority

Logic.  It's what people use when endeavoring to complete things in the most sensible order.  Everyone knows that "logic" means sequencing events in a formulaic, predictable manner.  We learned this at a young age, as we observed Star Trek on TV and came to understand why Captain James T. Kirk relied on Spock as his first officer because his strategic plans were ...

I will draw on my experience to deliver a great future for Berkeley Heights

I am impressed with the day-to-day leadership of our Mayor and Town Council and I hope to help them continue to do great work. As I have been doing my research since deciding to run for a seat on our Town Council, I have learned a few things about all the work that has been happening in recent years.  For example, while plans for the Stratton House development were recently announced, our ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

Union County College President Received Prestigious Award from Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society

May 26, 2018

CRANFORD – Union County College’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin was one of 35 college presidents from throughout the nation to receive a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction during PTK Catalyst 2018, the Society’s annual convention, in Kansas City, Missouri, held from April 19-21.

The award honors college presidents who have demonstrated ...

A Better Summer with the Y: Join by May 31 and Have Your Joiner Fee Waiver!

From now through the end of May, new members joining the Berkeley Heights YMCA will have their joiners fee waived, because at the Y we believe that everyone deserves to reach their health and wellness goals. With a savings of up to $95, you can focus on the perks of being a Berkeley Heights YMCA member:

Unlimited attendance to more than 100 group fitness classes a week
• State of ...

The New Providence 2018 Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28

The Borough of New Providence and American Legion Post #433 invite all to attend this year’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28, 2018.   The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine, at Springfield and Central avenues. Post 433 and the New Providence Community Activities Department have co-sponsored the town’s Memorial Day Parade for more than 65 years. The parade, ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Cycling Champ Laura Van Gilder Returns to Somerville Memorial Day to Defend Race Title

May 26, 2018


SOMERVILLE, NJ – Laura Van Gilder, 54-year-old cycling champion from Cresco, Pa., will return to defend her title at the 75th annual Tour of Somerville on Memorial Day, attempting an unprecedented fifth win in the 25-mile women's race, just one of several races that begin at 10:30 a.m..

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness


Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Gov. Livingston Cafeteria, Berkeley Heights

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay ...


Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Gov. Livingston Cafeteria, Berkeley Heights

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay ...

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, June 1, 6:00 PM

Senior Center of the Chathams, , Chatham Township

Senior Center of the Chathams Glorious Garden ...

Food & Drink Home & Garden

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...