Mayor's Round Table: Woodruff Recaps His First Six Months as Mayor

The parking lot plans were designed to correct the traffic flow of ingress and egress to the shopping center. Credits: Photo of plans provided by Township Engineering Department
Diagram of CVS building. Credits: Photo of plan provided by Township Engineering Department

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Township continues to be bustling with important issues. Among the big ticket subjects facing Berkeley Heights are municipal redevelopment and the "land transaction", affordable housing (COAH), downtown streetscape and construction,  and the milling and paving of roads. At this month's Mayor's Round Table, Mayor Bob Woodruff recapped the status of many of the projects since taking office.

Topics Discussed:

Berkeley Heights Shopping Center Parking Lot and CVS Construction

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  • The parking lot plans were designed to correct the traffic flow of ingress and egress to the shopping center. (Per plan attached.)
  • The double lanes of traffic from Snyder Avenue to Lone Pine Drive will run parallel to Stop and Shop and behind the post office. This traffic pattern is designed to get people traveling in this direction to use the exits on Snyder Avenue and Lone Pine Drive -- in an effort to discourage people from making a right onto Springfield Avenue from the front of the shopping center..
  • Lone Pine Drive has been widened and a traffic light will be installed.
  • For now, you can make a left or right turn onto Springfield Avenue at the exit by Dunkin Donuts. (This will be monitored, and if it becomes problematic, it will be addressed.)
  • The owners of the property are paving the sidewalks as well as adding the green lanterns to conform to the streetscape standards set by the Downtown Beautification Committee.

Township Streets

  • Together with the county, the township has completed 15 to 16 paving projects with more to get done in the next two to three months. 
  • If a resident "reasonably believes" their road needs to be addressed sooner than scheduled in the 15 year plan, they can contact the township and the engineering department will go out and take a look.
  • The new street sweeper is out every day and has completed sections one and two, covering approximately 275 miles of streets. (Distance going up and down the street.) The DPW is scheduled to go out every day to complete all five sections of town.

Redevelopment and "land transfer"

  • Woodruff addressed redevelopment and confirmed that the council has authorized the township attorney, Joe Sordillo, to enter discussions for the purchase of the Hamilton Avenue property and convert the "Memorandum of Understanding" to legal documents for the exchange of properties between the Township and the Church of the Little Flower.
  • Township professionals presented two plans for the redevelopment of the municipal complex at a recent council meeting: Plan A and Plan B. The professionals recommended Plan B. The architect will meet with landowners in the immediate area and take their concerns and considerations and get back to the council at the July 21 council meeting.
  • Township professionals will discuss the Hamilton Avenue townhouse development at the July 21 council meeting.
  • Topics to be discussed during August council meetings: A Plan B model will be ready with cost of building and selling the other property. What will that do to taxes? PILOT?  

Affordable Housing 

  • Paperwork has been filed and Woodruff is confident that the decision will be favorable to the Township, due to an initial decision made public for Monroe Township.

Burnt Office Building located at 308-310 Springfield Ave.

  • A month (plus) of underground work will begin on the burnt out building located at 308-310 Springfield Ave.

Ask the Mayor a Question Segment

  • Q: A resident would like to know how she can get Fios and Direct TV in the Highlands townhouse complex.
  • A: Comcast is the main provider in town, however, nothing is stopping or prohibiting Fios and Direct TV coming in and installing their products. This is not a township issue.  
  • Q: Why are costs associated with legal fees from litigation with Dr. Tom Foregger and costs associated with OPRA requests so high? And, have more requests been made in 2015? If so, what is the projected cost to the taxpayers and the Township for those requests?
  • A: TAP into Berkeley Heights will publish the recording of the Mayor's Round Table with complete answer.

Woodruff encourages citizens to stay involved and attend Township Council meetings twice a month. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room at the Town Hall located at 29 Park Ave.

Berkeley Heights Here and Now: Mayor, municipal offices will provide updates and the Communications Committee wants the citizens to be heard, wants to hear from the businesses and wants to hear from the community organizations. 

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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