Haddon Twp. Planning Board Meeting Postponed
Some residents had expected the board to consider a resolution from the commissioners to establish a redevelopment zone at the Black Horse Pike Auto Complex.
Thursday's scheduled planning board meeting was canceled because the applicants postponed their hearings until April, the board administrator said Wednesday afternoon.
In its February meeting, the board ordered the township engineering and planning firm, Key Engineers, to evaluate a resolution approved by township commissioners to designate an area near the Black Horse Pike and Walnut Avenue as a redevelopment zone. In January, Mayor Randy Teague told residents at a tense meeting about the redevelopment zone, and a developing plan to build an affordable-housing apartment complex, that the planning board would likely consider it at its March meeting.
The redevelopment zone was expected to help the Walters Group, a builder considering erecting 52-unit of affordable-housing apartments at the Black Horse Pike Auto Complex, which is in foreclosure and encompasses the redevelopment area. When township commissioners approved the resolution in January to explore a redevelopment zone in the area, the Walter's Group plan was also briefly discussed.
The Walters Group already has a township-approved plan to build a 82-unit, market-rate apartment building near Haddon Avenue in the Westmont section of the township. It's located on the old Russell Cast Stone site behind the Keg & Kitchen restaurant.
The builder is being sued by a local housing advocacy group to include affordable units in that project. Township officials say the Walters Group is considering buying the Black Horse Pike Auto Complex to build affordable housing that it hopes will satisfy the Fair Share Housing Center, the local advocacy group. That plan will allow its Westmont, Russell Cast Stone project to include no affordable-housing units.
"We're treated as a stepchild," one woman said in the meeting where few identified themselves and many spoke out of turn. "We don't feel loved by you people. We just want you to leave us alone!"
Teague fielded questions from the angry crowd for nearly two hours and promised them a chance to express their concerns at the planning board meeting this month, which was scheduled for today.
Teague, John Foley and Paul Dougherty, the township's three commissioners, approved a resolution in January to instruct the planning board to consider designating the Black Horse Pike Auto Complex as a redevelopment zone. That designation would start a process to help determine a suitable use for the property, including incentives to developers, such as a PILOT(payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.
One such developer could be the Walters Group.