Mayor's Round Table: Town Planner Discusses Redevelopment and Master Plan

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff spoke with Township Planner Mike Mistretta of Harbor Consultants about the Master Plan.

  • Information on Redevelopment
    • Close to shovels in the ground at the former Berkeley Florist property on Springfield Avenue -- the representatives closed the deal with Elite Properties, a developer that has control of the old Berkeley Florist property and Vito's property on Plainfield Avenue. This should enable Elite Properties to focus on Vito's property.
    • Request for Proposal to potential bidders for the new Municipal Building.
      • Dates to know as posted on the Township of Berkeley Heights Facebook page:
        • The RFP for the new Municipal Complex was advertised 1/5/18
        • Meeting with potential bidders on 1/9/18
        • Bids are due back on 2/9/18
        • Review of bids 2/12/18 to 3/2/18
        • Best and final bids due 3/29/18
    • Two or three of the properties will be going in front of the Planning Board.
    • 55 Locust Avenue -- raised the property.  
  • Mayor Woodruff discussed with Mike Mistretta about the statute requirements of the Master Plan and what the town will look like within 10 to 15 to 20 years.
    • "The citizens need to know this is where we are going, this is why we are going and this is how we will get there," said Mayor Woodruff. -- "The era of the old small town has really passed us by." What do we have to do to make changes, perhaps in our own ordinances, to make ourselves more competitive with other towns. A lot of the towns -- are intending to deal with Trenton with respect to various issues on liquor licenses which may help restaurants, which may help downtowns, he said.
  • Master Plan 
    • Mike Mistretta has been the town planner for 14 years
    • What is the Master Plan -- Land Use Plan and the Housing Plan elements
      • Housing Plan has already been approved and is on file in the Planning Department and with the Clerk
      • Downtown -- consists of three zones -- Begins at the Elite Property (the former Berkeley Florist) to Primrose School. HB2, HB3 and DD zone -- Collectively, they make up the downtown. 
    • The Master Plan is required to look at overall town. "Zone map, the town is predominantly built out with very little vacant land left. We have concentrated our analysis as a piggyback of what we started in 2007 which was the revitalization and redevelopment of our Downtown. That is where all of our building is being concentrated," said Mistretta.
    • Mistretta discussed the contribution of Downtown Beautification Committee and other committees, organizations and services to assist him. "-- as these new projects are coming online -- the look, the scale, the mass -- the architecural features --- coming up with guidelines -- what do we need to do as a town to prepare the town for these new projects coming in." 
    • Housing Plan element gives you all the details of the projects that are proposed in our town at this time.
    • Land Use element takes it to another level -- what should we prepare for with street scape and walk ways for schools, do we need more open space. What do we need to do as a town to prepare for the onslaught of these projects, said Mistretta.
    • Parking
    • Mistretta explained how the Master Plan will try to connect residents to the open space, fields and schools.
      • Possibility of acquiring properties -- some undersize properties, if they become available, they should look into acquiring, said Mistretta, for small park areas with benches.
      • Peppertown Park -- Developer of the Kings complex will reconstruct the streetscape from Lone Pine Drive to Plainfield Avenue. Sherman Avenue will become a second main street. 
    • What's Berkeley Heights going to look like in 2025 and 2030? -- Mistretta said the hope is that these new projects and streetscape are fully constructed. -- "We are responsible to putting the zoning in place --- we don't control the timing, except for the redevelopment of the town hall. All of the developers are going through the process themselves."
  • At the end of this episode is a Power Point presentation that walks through downtown redevelopment slides.
  • Community Corner Public Service Announcement
    • Berkeley Heights Rotary Club President Jim Ramentol -- Medic Alert Program
    • Community Policing helps citizens to be informed about drug trends in Berkeley Heights through community programs.


The show will be aired on Comcast 34 and Fios 47: 

  • Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays at 8 a.m.
  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 7 p.m.

The show will also be shown through this column on TAP into Berkeley Heights and the Township Website. (A DVD will be placed at the Public Library.)

Citizens of Berkeley Heights are welcome to email a question for the "Ask the Mayor a Question" segment of the  show. Your email must state your full name, postal address and phone number. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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