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).   


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  • 18-year resident; children graduated from Governor Livingston High School
  • Over 25 years experience in the Retirement Planning Industry – knows the importance of being responsible with other people’s money
  • Married with 2 children 

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?

First, it’s critical that the Council act in a transparent and open manner on any redevelopment issues that come before them. Without meetings being streamed or televised, and with no town newsletter, many residents are left in the dark when a new project is brought forth. 

When it comes to the legal limits, the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment have the authority of approving or rejecting applications for commercial and residential development. That said, Rina and I fully share the concerns of our residents when it comes to the potential for overdevelopment. At any rate, we must strike a balance in attracting and keeping local businesses in our downtown. We welcome any suggestions as to how we can best achieve our goals by contacting us at 

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

There are always projects for which Union County’s support can help save taxpayer money, including road repair and recreation grants. We won’t be able to fully realize those benefits if we continue to maintain an antagonistic attitude towards the County. We’re also seeking outside funding from the local private sector. Rina and I will fight to get the most out of Union County’s grant opportunities by seeking cooperation, not confrontation.