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

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

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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Free Public Panel Will Explore Sexual Assault and Consent

April 20, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites members of the public to attend a panel discussion on sexual assault and consent on Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. in Room N-4 at Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The panel will feature a question and answer session.

The panel discussion is intended to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent in ...

Annual Fishing Derby Returns to Oakwood Park on Saturday, April 28

Mark your calendars!  The annual Fishing Derby returns to Oakwood Park Saturday, April 28th, rain or shine, from 8:00 – 11:00am.  Co-sponsored by New Providence P.B.A. Local #132 and New Providence Recreation, this family favorite event is one of the borough’s “signs of spring”!

Bring your rod, reel & bait to fish for trout of varying sizes stocked in ...

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

Our Lady of Peace , New Providence

Our Lady of the Peace Church Holds Healing & ...

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival


Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Education Other

Sun, April 22, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Celebrate National Poetry Month @NPML

Arts & Entertainment