Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission Advances Local Sustainability Efforts

In a concerted effort to enhance sustainability and environmental stewardship, the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission addressed several initiatives in their recent meeting. Top on the agenda was the advancement of a native plant and pollinator project, the planning of a tree giveaway event, and discussions on recycling and composting strategies. Additionally, the commission deliberated on the construction proposal for a property on Twin Falls Road, the renewal of their Sustainable Jersey status, and technical issues hampering the scheduling of virtual meetings.

The project aims to bolster the local ecosystem by encouraging the proliferation of native flora and fauna. Plans were also made to distribute surplus seeds from the received batch during a local block party, further engaging the community in the ecological initiative.

The logistics of the event were planned, covering aspects such as the reservation of space and sourcing of tree saplings. The commission also expressed the intent to explore alternative tree sources. The tree giveaway represents a tangible step towards increasing the township’s tree canopy and fostering environmental awareness among residents.

A proposal for a two-story addition and a new deck on Twin Falls Road sparked a discussion on sustainable building practices. Despite the proposal falling within the maximum allowed coverage, the commission recommended the incorporation of pervious paving and the implementation of stormwater runoff retention on the property. The proposal was well-received, with a motion to accept the recommendation made.


The commission’s forward-thinking approach extended to waste management through the exploration of composting initiatives. Angus Chen presented three possible composting avenues: municipal-funded composting, a drop-off site at a sustainable goods store, and a residential pickup service. The commission weighed the costs and logistics of each option and acknowledged the need for further analysis to determine the most feasible solution. The conversation included the consideration of the end use of the compost produced and specifics about residential pickup routes.

In addition to these environmental programs, the commission addressed the renewal of their Sustainable Jersey status. This certification requires a set of actions to be completed, one of which is updating the natural resources inventory. The commission discussed the timeline for renewal, which extends until November, and the necessary steps to maintain their certified status.

The meeting also broached the topic of the Berkeley Heights township newsletter. The commission members, with Julie contributing to the conversation, exchanged ideas on potential content that would highlight the township’s green efforts.


Concerns were voiced regarding the River Park and Trails project, specifically the delay in receiving a grant, which has stalled progress. The commission discussed plans to develop the area between Park Avenue and Columbia.

The B City USA resolution was another point of discussion, with expectations set for the Environmental Commission to take an active role in promoting pollinator-friendly habitats and planting. The Master Gardeners of Union County and Garden Clubs were also recognized as potential partners in this endeavor.

Lastly, the commission tackled technical difficulties with scheduling and accessing Zoom meetings, which have hindered their ability to conduct virtual sessions smoothly. The members shared different perspectives on the cause of these issues and agreed to find solutions offline.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Angie Devanney
Environmental Commission Officials:
Richard Leister, Angus Chen, Renee Ciesla, Kim Diamond, John Leo, David Harris, Alvaro Medeiros, Eduardo Veyan, Nirit Rotenberg

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