May 4, 2022
The Planning Board on May 4 adopted the Master Plan. The Township is moving full-steam ahead on the vision for Sherman Avenue described in the Master Plan. Our streetscape planner presented a draft proposal to present to Council on June 21, 2022 for approval to move forward.
April 20, 2022
The final draft Master Plan is now available for public viewing! After months of revisions following resident and stakeholder input over the past few years, via a series of public meetings and smaller group discussions, the Master Plan is en route to the Planning Board for a vote. That hearing and vote will be held May 4, 2022.
Click on the links below to view the documents.
This document has truly been a labor of love, as the Master Plan Subcommittee, with our planners from Phillips Preiss Grygiel Leheny Hughes LLC, worked on this comprehensive land use policy document that will guide the physical development of the community for the next 10-15 years.
The Master Plan outlines the community’s vision of its future and provides a roadmap to achieve it. At its core, the Master Plan provides the policy foundation to inform the Planning and Zoning Boards, Mayor, and Township Council’s decision-making on land use and development matters. It also serves as a guide for business owners, community groups, potential investors, residents and other stakeholders to understand how land use, transportation, natural resources and other factors will shape the built environment and quality of life of the community.
HUGE "Thank you" to resident photographer Lucinda Kiger Hayes for allowing us to use her beautiful photos in this very important document!
Section 2.1 VISION STATEMENT
A vision statement in this case describes what our Township desires to achieve in the long-run, generally in a time frame of five to ten years, or sometimes even longer. It depicts a vision of what our community will look like in the future and sets a defined direction for the planning and execution.
Berkeley Heights is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of residential development activity as a result of the Township’s Third Round affordable housing settlement agreement. The current growth presents both challenges and opportunities for the community. While the Township will continue to uphold its obligation to provide a realistic opportunity for the production of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households, it does not envision substantial future growth and development.
The Township will continue to enhance its community facilities and infrastructure to ensure a high quality of life for residents. Its residential areas will retain their strong neighborhood character defined by bucolic streets and eclectic homes for families, while offering improved walking and bicycling access to parks, schools, and the Downtown. At the same time, the Township will accommodate a variety of housing options, business services and open space and recreation facilities. Berkeley Heights will remain an attractive community for new households and provide enhanced housing options, services and amenities to allow older adults to age in place. Finally, the Township will embrace the values of diversity and inclusion and provide a welcoming community for residents from all walks of life.
Revitalized Downtown Berkeley Heights will be both a treasured community asset serving local needs and a destination that draws visitors from the broader region. With a backdrop of engaging architecture and walkable streetscapes, passive and active recreational spaces where the community can come together, a new public library, family-friendly programming and cultural events all-year-round, and a diverse mix of businesses, the Downtown will offer a distinct sense of place. Connell Park will augment the Downtown as a regional hub for economic activity, anchored by leading institutions and companies in technology, healthcare and medical services, real estate, finance, and other professional service sectors. It will also be a model for live-work-play communities that expand the local tax base, promote new employment opportunities and provide additional retail and entertainment options to complement the Downtown.
Finally, Berkeley Heights will become more sustainable and resilient as a community. With the protection of existing natural areas and open spaces as the top priority, the Township will incorporate sustainability principles in all stages of development and growth. There will be expanded use of alternative and renewable energy, enhanced stormwater management and flood risk reduction programs, tighter integration of green building and low-impact development practices, and strengthened stewardship of natural resources. With a focus on long-term growth and prosperity, the Township will be a sustainable and resilient community that is well prepared to adapt to future environmental challenges.
The 2022 Berkeley Heights Master Plan was developed over a timeframe of almost 3 years. The planning process involved close collaboration with Township administration and staff and incorporated input from various municipal departments, advisory committees and commissions, and community groups. Additionally, a Master Plan Committee was created within the Township Planning Board to steer the planning process. Throughout the course of the Master Plan project, the Committee guided the scoping of the Master Plan, served as community liaisons for public outreach efforts, and provided feedback on existing issues and opportunities, visions and goals, and recommendations and implementation strategies.
November 8, 2021
The Township of Berkeley Heights Planning Board will hold a public conference session and meeting via Zoom on the new draft Township Master Plan on Wednesday, November 17.
On November 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m., out Township planning team from Phillips Preiss Grygiel Leheny Hughes LLC Planning & Real Estate Consultants will present the plan to the public and the Planning Board. The draft Master Plan can be found here (insert website link later).
What is a Master Plan?
A Master Plan outlines a community’s vision of its future and the process to realize that vision. At its core, the Master Plan forms the policy foundation for the Township’s land use regulations and planning decisions and serves as a guide for elected officials, municipal staff, business owners, community residents, and potential investors to make informed decision in community development affecting land use, transportation, natural resources, and other factors that shape the build environment and quality of life.
Phase 1 - Existing Conditions Analysis
As the first phase in the preparation of the 2020 Master Plan, the Committee conducted research to understand the existing conditions of the Township. Over the course of several months, we collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data across many sources to document the demographic, land use, and transportation trends since the last Master Plan in 2007, and to identify priority areas to address in the new Master Plan. For Phase II in the Master Plan process, the Existing Conditions Report will serve as a starting point for establishing a shared vision for the future of the Township and identifying specific strategies to achieve that vision.
The following sections highlight the key take-aways from the existing conditions analysis. A full discussion of the results from the research and the key issues and opportunities identified are available in Berkeley Heights 2020 Master Plan Vol.1: Existing Conditions Analysis
Input From Public Outreach
In March, 2019, stakeholder interviews were conducted as part of the public outreach process. These meetings were facilitated by Mayor Devanney, Councilwoman Kingsley and Business Administrator Viana. The following Township Boards, Committees and Departments met to discuss input for the Master Plan.
- Downtown Beautification Committee
- Recreation Commission
- Peppertown Park Committee
- Berkeley Heights Business & Civic
- Berkeley Heights Police Department
- Environmental Commission
Berkeley Heights Master Plan Community Survey - Complete
The Township's new comprehensive Master Plan crystallized resident visions for the community and establishes a framework for future development and growth. Community input was critical to the process so a Community Survey was available to residents in early 2020, which guided the Township’s efforts in identifying goals and priorities, areas of opportunity and improvement, recommendations and strategies, and many other elements that helped shape the Master Plan. Full responses to all open-answer questions in the survey can be found in this document. Link to graphics below can be found here.