There are many issues and projects coming up in Bernardsville, Bedminster and the Somerset Hills for 2013 that could bring changes in how those towns look, anticipate their future, or operate by the end of next year.
Here are some of the topics sure to come up in the New Year:
Bedminster will have a new mayor for the first time in eight years:
After Holtaway did not run for re-election in the 2012 elections, and re-elected committeeman Steve Parker is slated to serve as mayor in the coming year.
Bernardsville will have two new council members following an election race among local Republicans:
Even without a race along party lines, two new Republicans will join the all-GOP Bernardsville Borough Council at a reorganization meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Jeffrey DeLeo and Michael DePoortere will be the new council members, after defeating incumbents John McCrossan and Charlotte Foster in the June primary election.
Bernardsville officials must decide whether to pursue the turf field at the Upper Polo Grounds:
Voters rejected by 1,699 to 858 a referendum proposal in November to use a chunk of the dedicated open space funding available to install a turf field at one of the athletic fields shared by the public and local schools at the Upper Polo Grounds off Seney Drive. But the referendum was non-binding. In addition, officials said they had revised the original proposal so no additional taxes would need to be raised for the project. One way or another, the topic is sure to be discussed in 2013.
The Somerset Hills Shopping Center may expand, get facelift:
The Somerset Hills Shopping Center in Bedminster, including the A&P market, has looked the same for a long time. The Bedminster Township Land Use Board already has heard a preliminary proposal for an expansion, including a fresh market, and a major overhaul to the way the center looks. But the application reportedly has a long way to go, says Land Use Board Chairman Lance Boxer.
Mount Airy Road and roadside walls in Bernardsville to be overhauled:
Somerset County is supposed to undertake a major renovation of Mount Airy Road just north of Olcott Square in 2013, starting with a scheduled replacement of a water main in January. The road also is due to be resurfaced, and crumbling retaining walls are due to be replaced. Road closures are expected for part of the year.
School security to be re-examined after Newtown shootings:
The shocking massacre in a Newtown, Ct. shooting on Dec. 14 is prompting area schools to re-examine security and reach out to parents to offer assurances and listen to concerns. Bedminster School Superintendent Carolyn Koos released a statement about the tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School, saying that the administration will be reviewing its security procedures in the coming days. The Somerset Hills school district also offered support to students and staff.
JCP&L's performance during Sandy likely to be further scrutinized:
The Somerset Hills was hard hit during Sandy in late October, with some sections left without power for two weeks — or even longer. Officials and residents are asking for a review of JCP&L's response and communications during the storm, and Bernardsville already has held an information gathering session with input to be passed along to the power company and the state Board of public utilities.
Far Hills Race meeting's alcohol regulations to be reviewed:
Officials complained about the unregulated use of alcohol at this year's Far Hills Race meeting in October and vowed that regulations may change in the future at the long-running steeplechase horse race, a fundraiser for the Somerset Medical Center. A suggestion was that alcohol may be sold on the premises, with closer supervision, instead of allowing racegoers to bring their own.
Bedminster seeks to regulate solar panels through proposed ordinance:
With solar panels becoming more common, the Bedminster Land Use Board has proposed an ordinance to regulate their installations.
Bernardsville to collect logs and storm debris left by Sandy
While Bernardsville waited for the new year and a place to stage a collection operation for storm debris left by Sandy, piles of logs and brush have been growing at curbsides around the borough. The cost of the collection also is climbing beyond original estimates, officials said.