In preparation for the Berkeley Heights Township Council election on Nov. 3, questions were submitted to each candidate.

There are four candidates running for two open seats on the Township Council.  The candidates are incumbents Craig Pastore (R), and first time candidates Michael D’Aquila (R), Bill Machado (D) and Rina Franchino (D).   

GET TO KNOW INCUMBENT BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATE RINA FRANCHINO (D):

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Background 

  • 23-year resident; graduate of Governor Livingston High School
  • 8th grade English teacher – knows importance of leading by example 
  • Married; 2 children – husband runs local landscaping business 

1. In light of projected new developments (i.e. Little Flower Church on Roosevelt Ave, New York Marts), what are the legal limits to prevent residential and/or commercial overdevelopment in Berkeley Heights?

The Council will be revising its Master Plan in 2016 and 2017; we’ll work to include legal provisions that can prevent overdevelopment while revitalizing our downtown. We will fight especially for greater transparency and communications with residents on such projects whenever possible. 

Bill and I recognize the importance of avoiding overdevelopment in Berkeley Heights. As we look at the Master Plan, we want to encourage a diverse downtown which attracts new businesses and allows new businesses to thrive. 

This has to be done while considering factors such as density, height, traffic and noise impacts. We should seek smart development, not any development.

We welcome your ideas and comments on this or any other issue at billandrina4council@gmail.com, because together, we can do better!

2. Union County gives out Community Grants to towns.  What specific projects would you ask to be funded by such a Grant?

Beyond annual grants for projects like road repairs, there are other opportunities to save taxpayer money through better relations with Union County.  The Council initially refused to spend $7,000 to give the Fire Department a much-needed “jaws of life” machine, which extracts victims from car wrecks. If we had a better working relationship with the County we could have explored the possibility of the County providing grant funds to assist.