Government

Council to Hold Fifth Public Hearing on Municipal Redevelopment: Bussiculo Named Berkeley Heights Township Administrator

355f7524ab78f2cb783a_IMAG0132.jpg
Newly appointed Township Administrator John Bussiculo with Councilman Bob Woodruff. Credits: Bobbie Peer
355f7524ab78f2cb783a_IMAG0132.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The planning of a fifth public meeting was discussed at last week's Township Council meeting with respect to the redevelopment of the municipal complex and land swap.

At the last public hearing on Oct. 6, it was recommended that a portion of the council's public meeting conference session be dedicated to the land transfer and redevelopment to engage in dialog with the governing body and the community.

Councilman Kevin Hall spoke of his observations and recommendations following the four public hearings as it relates to the redevelopment of the municipal complex and the "proverbial land swap." A fifth public meeting will be held, "designed to really pull it all together," said Hall.

Sign Up for E-News

Hall's two observations and recommendations:

  • Schedule a fifth public hearing and pull it together to form a focused dialog.
  • Request the township planner to present different scenarios [residential, mixed-use, commercial] for the Park Avenue property and speak to the particular touch points that the residents have brought on.
    • Present at a council meeting as soon as possible to launch a more formal discussion to the development of the redevelopment plan.

"This is so important, as a council, we are going to have to take it to the people," said Council President Jeanne Kingsley. "I think we need to host a number of coffees and go to the people and talk of the issues and get additional input."

"We need more than 300 people to know what the options are," said Kingsley.

When Little Flower Parish presented the "land swap" concept to the governing body in 2012, as elected officials, Hall explained the need to engage in every opportunity to solve infrastructure issues in town that include roads, storm water, waste water and the building. "When Little Flower brought this to us, it was hard to size up, so we went out there and had professionals to study the problem and provide us with the findings so we could start a focused dialog," said Hall.

"My recommendation is to have another hearing. Get all of the information that was presented in the first four and formulate in such a way that tells the story," said Hall. "Pull out the priority pieces and try and present something that sounds coherent to us and explains the major issues and moving parts to the community."

The fifth hearing will be presented by the professionals and the governing body. "We have to transition to start a dialog between the community and the governing body," said Hall. "This gives the venue to talk through the issues."

There has been public confusion of the Park Avenue property, said Hall. "A lot of people believe there is a foregone conclusion - that there is a plan in place. Which is, in fact, not the case."

A redevelopment study was performed to determine if the property was appropriate for redevelopment. "What was presented was a hypothetical by the planner to aid in discussion," said Hall.

Hall listed the issues as it relates to the redevelopment of the Park Avenue property that include:density; impact on traffic; building height; set back; environmental impact; tax impact - positive and negative with town, school and county; PILOT program; beneficiaries; who would be harmed as far as tax.

"To start the discussion on the redevelopment plan, I recommend and challenge the planner to respond to the residents' questions. Come up with three scenarios - residential, mixed use and commercial. Given each scenario, speak to each issue and talk about the implications to the property, neighborhood and the town - so we can have dialog and organize our thoughts," said Hall.

"Time for throwing daggers at each other is over," said Mayor Bruno. "We know we have to do something - doing nothing will make this building [Park Ave.] deteriorate further. It won't get cheaper to do down the road, it only gets more expensive."

Camille Aragona asked the council why the presentations didn't show detailed schematics to build the municipal complex at the current site. Kingsley responded that a schematic of the footprint of the property was presented, explaining that the trigger to the investigation was the proposal by Little Flower to entertain a land swap. "The professionals were engaged in seeing if the Little Flower campus could make strategic and economic sense," said Kingsley. 

"The word is getting around that a plan has been approved, but that is not correct. It was clear that this is not the case," said Bruno. The planning board has made decisions on the redevelopment study, the redevelopment plans will need to go to the planning board for approval.

In other town news, Berkeley Heights has received their second Silver Certificate for Sustainable New Jersey. "There is a point system to make silver," said Councilman Ed Delia. "It is the second time we have obtained it. We did a really good job and commend Richard Leister and Len Berkowitz - they put in a lot of effort."

The council approved Mayor Bruno's nomination of John Bussiculo as Township Administrator to be effective as of Nov. 3, 2014.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...

ReNew Salon and Spa Welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo

July 17, 2018

GILLETTE, NJ - ReNew Salon and Spa welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo to their staff. Mormilo brings with her over 20 years of excellent customer service in the salon and spa industry.

She has extensive product knowledge, focuses on keeping up-to-date on industry standards and practices, believes in mentoring young stylists, and is a team player who strives to ...

Complete the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) Program at Union County College in Five Weeks

CRANFORD – Union County College will be offering the American Society of Administrative Professionals PACE Certification (Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence) from Monday, July 23 through August 22. If you are an executive assistant, office manager, paralegal, program analyst, benefits administrator, supervisor or meetings and events planner, this program is for you.

17 Years Running and the Pizza is still Hot!! The Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza is July 25, 2018

The 17th Annual Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza, now more often referred to as the ‘Pizza Run’ will be here in no time! Don’t forget to sign up for a night of running, pizza, prizes, and entertainment! The event will be held on July 25, 2018 with a start time of 7 pm. Register online at PracticeHard.com before our Monday July 23, 2018, at 11:59 pm deadline will be ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Festival Continues July 18 at Echo Lake Park Featuring 5 Against 1

The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series continues on Wednesday July 18, with the band 5 Against 1, a Pearl Jam  tribute band, taking the stage at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

The free series, presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders,is held at Echo Lake Park during July and moves to Oak Ridge Park in Clark during August.

5 Against 1, which ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood Warnings in Effect for Berkeley Heights Tuesday Afternoon

July 3, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Union County until 2:30 p.m. and a flash flood warning until 5 p.m.

“Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to flash flooding,” the service warned. “Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.”

Sign up for our free enews and get ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 10:00 AM

Healing the Children, new providence

Summit Old Guard

Giving Back

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Story Time & Craft with DIVA DELORES AND THE ...

Other

Carousel_image_b91f21bd7ac6c164e408_wednesday_matinees_at_trailside

Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_f315283ead6566b0f0d0_24b31797abd0cb2d199e_senior_bbq

Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Senior Summer BBQ at the Summit YMCA

Food & Drink

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website, www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov.

 

The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...