Civic Group, Mayor Meet on Affordable Housing Project in Haddon Twp.
The public meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. West Collingswood extension residents are concerned about possible new affordable housing.
A civic group in the West Collingswood section of Haddon Township has invited Mayor Randy Teague to a public meeting tonight to discuss the possibilities of an affordable-housing complex being built on land now occupied by the Black Horse Pike Auto Complex.
The meeting will be at the civic association building on Lynne Avenue at 7:30 p.m.
A company building a market-rate apartment complex in the Westmont section of town is reportedly also interested in buying the auto complex at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Route 130 to build 52 units of affordable housing. Teague and the township's other two commissioners, John Foley and Paul Dougherty, approved a resolution this month to recommend the auto complex be declared a redevelopment zone.
West Collingswood residents are concerned that affordable housing, targeted to people with low to moderate income, will damage the character of their neighborhood.
"This will change the landscape of this neighborhood," the civic group said in a statement. "This proposition is to benefit Westmont, so they can continue with the DyDee and Russell Stone projects. We need to come together as a community and discuss a plan of action."
The Walters Group is the developer for the Russell Cast Stone project for 82 units of market-rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments in Westmont, just off of Haddon Avenue, behind the Keg & Kitchen restaurant. The DyDee project is a town-center development nearby, also along Haddon Avenue.
The Walters Group is also interested in buying the auto complex for a possible affordable housing project. The builders were awarded a PILOT, payment in lieu of taxes, agreement with the township for its Westmont project and may seek a similar deal if it builds housing at the auto complex. That property is currently in a bank foreclosure.
Teague said Tuesday that fears about development at the auto complex are premature.
"Nothing has been proposed at this point," Teague said Tuesday. "But if you look at the property now, anything would be an improvement. Cars are all over the place. It's not aesthetically pleasing."
But Teague added, "They are talking about doing affordable housing there as a negotiation to get out of a lawsuit from Fair Share Housing."
The Walters Group, the township and Fieldstone Associates, the DyDee developers, are defendants in a law suit from the Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center, a legal advocate for affordable housing in the state. Teague said he thinks the township has met its current affordable housing obligation. A Fair Share lawyer said Tuesday that the township was trying to meet its affordable-housing obligation with just senior housing, which is not allowed.
Fair Share sued the Walters Group to include affordable housing in the Russell Cast Stone project.
The entire issue of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations for affordable housing is being challenged in court by Gov. Chris Christie. Fair Share is part of those proceedings.