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Zoning Approved for Brandywine Expansion

The Haddonfield assisted-living facility seeks to expand by 65 percent.

After a nearly six-hour meeting, the borough zoning board unanimously approved a plan for a major expansion of a retirement home early Wednesday morning.

The approval of a preliminary and final site plan, and a use variance, ends a contentious seven-month gauntlet of land-use boards, and clears the way to demolish and reconstruct of the facility.

"Our residents will get to come home soon and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to provide services in the borough of Haddonfield," said Brenda Bacon, executive director of Brandywine Senior Living, a for-profit company that owns retirement homes in five other states, including one in Moorestown.

Bacon said the next step is to get approval for the project from the state Department of Community Affairs. She hopes to break ground in March and complete the project before the end of 2013.

The company plans to expand its aging assisted-care facility at 132 Warwick Rd. from 23,378 square feet to 35,569, about a 65 percent increase. The footprint of the building will grow from 9,880 square feet to 15,151, a nearly 63 percent increase.

Brandywine says it needs the upgrades to demolish the existing 59-year-old structure and upgrade it with amenities such as showers in the units and widened hallways to accommodate dual wheelchairs. An existing historic home that acts as the front facade of the facility will remain unaltered.

The plan had galvanized some neighbors in opposition. About two dozen turned out Tuesday and sat through hour after hour of building professionals testifying about the project to the zoning board. After the meeting and after addressing the board to urge them not to approve the proposal, Dave Gottardi, a leader of residents against the project, said the fight is not over.

"Next, it's on to the courts," he said at the end of the marathon meeting.

Brandywine is prepared to spend up to $16 million to renovate the Warwick Road site, including underground parking. The company expects to pay $320,000 a year in taxes to Haddonfield if the project is approved. The previous owner of the facility, formerly known as the Haddonfield Home, was a nonprofit company and paid no municipal taxes.

Brandywine won an approval from the borough planning board after a series of contentious meetings. The process included two rejections from the borough Historic Preservation Commission, which were overruled by the planning board.

Dave Gottardi December 19, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Hey Mike, I dont know where you live but I hope its by the Acme, or the PNC Bank on Haddon, or the Speedline, or Christ The King. Because all of these places have been mentioned for potential development in town. Dont expect the Planning & Zoning Boards to protect these areas either....We will see how much you whin when its your neighborhood thats not being protected the way it should be by our own Boards.
Whiny Bia December 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The best!
George December 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I've often wondered why the big business Brandywine would spend 1.7 million to purchase this propery if they didn't know that they would get approval for their proposed and " needed " expansion to make this purchase viable. It certainly would not be considered a wise investment in my mind. But then again, obviously they are smarter than me.
Tom Morrissey December 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Personal agendas aside, there is no way you can say "zero affect" to adjoining properties. Nor should a board member be allowed to continue serving the borough after displaying such conflict of interest. I hope the alternates are prepared to step up!
Brian Kelly December 19, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I think Haddonfield is the best community around but we sometimes have trouble looking out for each other. I don't care who did what or who lives in what neighborhood. Brandywine will be built right up to the back yards of our neighbors at Moore Lane. I'd hate that in my backyard Radnor Field field was donated and the only piece of open space left in that part of the neighborhood. It was not meant to be sold under any circumstances. If Mr. Radnor saw what people have tried to use it for he'd be doing flip flops 6 feet under. If Bancroft passes the Haddonfield sports campus is a reality. They'll be no need Radnor Field. As it was already up for proposal to put COAH housing in you better believe sooner or later it will be sold to pay down the unbelievable debt we'll have accrued. In 1980 I talked to Dudley Newbold, then top realtor in Avalon. He told me the 42nd st. bay expansion was the only time Avalon marshland would be developed. He cited Federal wetland protection. Drive 30th st. leading into town and take a look to your left. There are condos and houses built on marshland that look like they're about to fall into the causeway. Any piece of property can be sold, especially Haddonfield real estate. We're facing fractious times in Haddonfield. Our neighborhoods need to look out for each other.
Brian Kelly December 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Tom, I agree with you on alternatives stepping up. We have a severe lack of leadership going on.
Bill Tourtellotte December 20, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Radnor was never seriously considered for development and the public will would never allow it to happen. Fields are in too short supply and there is no way that will ever be sold off. We saw that and everybody took it seriously.
Bill Tourtellotte December 20, 2012 at 01:19 AM
What most quality suburban communities seem to understand and and what appears to be lost on our boards, commissioners and some residents is that high density is a threat to our village-like quality of life. Trying to jam too much activity and building density onto certain parcels is simply a bad idea. The people on Moore Lane and Warwick understand that, and I will bet the people on Center Street wish that all of that extra density thrown on top of Kings Court was not exacerbating the parking shortages in their neighborhood. High density creates new stresses upon otherwise balanced neighborhoods and neighbors are smart to resist such intrusions, particularly when the landowners possess no specific rights to create the density.
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:04 AM
What is the conflict of interest you are referring to? How does Brandywine expanding and paying even more in property taxes hurt anyone? More tax revenues from non-residential taxpayers is BAD?
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Brian, are you opposed to COAH housing in Haddonfield?
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Another red herring.
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Well stated. How do our current zoning laws protect us from high density housing? On the flip side, COAH almost certainly will require high density housing so how are we going to balance it given we are landlocked?
Brian Kelly December 20, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Joe, I'm opposed to any building on Radnor Field, COAH or otherwise. Haddonfield has obligations to COAH. Build it in the lot behind the municipal building as the commissioners have already suggested.
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Ok, so No to anything on Radnor even COAH. Agree to no building on Radnor. How can we make sure to it? Re: COAH what if it requires high density to meet the silly calculations?
Brian Kelly December 20, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Radnor field was definitely considered. I was in attendance at the meeting held at the middle school when the COAH housing was proposed because it was the "less affluent" section of town. Remember that one? So does everyone in the Radnor Field area...such as the 500 people who signed the petition delivered at the 11/27 BoE to grant an easement...you know, because they don't believe the people who say it will never be sold. The next thing you know know, some fool is going to try and say it's a red herring
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Ha still a red herring. Not "seriously" considered. Brian, given your astute financial knowledge, I wonder how you feel about the fiscal cliff or the national debt. Do you think borrowing money to pay interest on borrowed money makes sense?
Mister Mike December 20, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Agree 100%. I'm not a Haddonfield resident as I reside nearby in Haddon Twp. However, I do have a vested interest as Brandywine Senior Living will not only serve the needs of Haddonfield residents but those of residents in other towns as well when it comes to extend care. This issue came to my attention when I read an letter to the editor in a local weekly community paper from an anti Brandywine person. While I've lived in Haddon Twp for over 23 years and was familiar with the Haddonfield Home, I never realized there was a facility behind it. So, I took a drive down Moore Lane and also onto the Brandywine property. I observed that the homes on Moore Lane are well buffered by the natural wooded areas on the Brandywine property. Even with a 65% increase in the footprint, the homes will still remain well buffered. Also, there is no entrance/exit from Moore Lane into Brandywine now or in the the plans. Brandywine (Haddonfield House) was there long before Moore Lane was constructed. Original home buyers knew it was there and it may have weighed it their decision to buy a home on the street, and buy they did. Same goes for subsequent buyers when a home went on the market over the years. If property values have slipped in recent years it's likely due to the housing market, not the existence of Brandywine. Homeowners on Moore Lane, Warwick Road and other nearby streets need only look out their front window at the dozens of yellow and green signs on their front lawns for the answer.
Mister Mike December 20, 2012 at 05:15 AM
RE: "Brandywine will be built right up to the back yards of our neighbors at Moore Lane." What proposed expansion plan are you looking at?!?
Brian Kelly December 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Joe T. Given your astute knowledge of anything stick to the topics of Bancroft, turf and its cost to the taxpayer instead to trying to change the topic to other avenues of finance and taxation like you do all the time. No matter how much Bill Tourtellotte and I argue on points I respect him because says what he believes and stands by it. By your own admissions you're a turf fundraiser and your way of operating is to post other people's property taxes lower than yours while stating yours at 14k. What was the purpose of that? You pay higher taxes so that makes you more important than other residents? if you're smart you'll stick to the subject at hand and defend your turf. It needs it. Personally, I love it when you throw the other nonsense out because people have you figured out.
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Brian, that's what I like about you. You claim its all about taxes and finances but you don't know anything about how taxes and finances and budgets work. You're all emotional just look at your words. You call names. You tried to sneak one past everyone about open space without doing research because its emotionally charged. You said the site was considered. Bill says it wasn't. Who is right? I say Bill. By my own admission, I was at a turf fundraiser? I know you like to make up stuff to help your point of view but I have never been to any turf fundraisers. I shared with the public links and data that is public and that makes me a bad person. I thought you were cool with information sharing and transparency. Are you saying you only like it when it suits your needs. If someone is paying $5k locally and the local tax is 17%, that cost is $850 a year....that is a great deal for twp services. I can defend turf all day long because the cost benefit is off the charts and it solves a multitude of problems. That means many. You can't explain why its bad except its all taxes and finances and budgets...... Oh well, this is like arguing with DC liberals who also uninformed. They think borrowing money to pay interest on borrowed money is a good thing and that raising taxes to pay for 8 days of spending matters. Did you know that the average cost of new government debt last year was $3500 PER PERSON!! And here we stand debating a few hundred bucks tops.
Maryann Campling December 20, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Holy cow.....how did this get into a forum about our National debt (and before you start calling me a left leaning Liberal, Joe T. I can assure you I'm not!) However, if you are going to post....stick to the subject and consider using your real name and not hide behind some nom d' plume....I don't always agree with Bill, Brian or others, but at least we have the courage of our convictions and the cajones to use our real names!
Jack S December 20, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Unfortunately, Joe Taxpayer's posts are always about how "stupid" and "liberal" people are. I know many in Brian Kelly's group and they run the full spectrum from conservative to moderate to liberal. They share a common interest in excellent education for our kids (and I have one myself in the public schools) at a reasonable price. Anytime we complain about the increasing costs we're branded Saul Alinsky "liberals" one day and tea party "conservatives" the next. Clearly there are those who will lob any sort of charge in order to make attempt to make their point, which ultimately they fall to make.
Joe Taxpayer December 20, 2012 at 06:02 PM
"Clearly there are those who will lob any sort of charge in order to make attempt to make their point, which ultimately they fall to make." Exactly! Reread the posts attacking the BOE and commissioners from everything from being stupid to not having the best interests in mind to conflicts of interest to misinformation about grants and revenue offsets and open space uses....you name it. Maryann, the issue in this story and all others is always the same....taxes, money and finances. the article and comments above are about that. Brandywine will invest money in our town (money) and then pay more taxes to help offset other expenses. That's what is so great about it! but if we are gonna have a strict rule about comments, then whoever brought up Radnor field here should get detention. Jack S, I don't believe I called you a liberal or tea partier. Reread my post, I highlighted that DC libs don't have basic math skills yet they spend money they don't have causing us to borrow more and more and no one here complains about it except when the same exact thing is being discussed for us. Are all new taxes and all new spending and new debt bad or not? I don't like hypocrisy.
Jack S December 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Joe Taxpayer, your questions are repetitive. And they've been asked and answered before. In terms of calling people stupid, I've never done that on Patch before. I do, however, see constant posts from you questioning others' expertise on the price of tea in China. Since many of us are posting anonymously, why do you make the assumption that others do not have a pedigree in many of the areas you attach them on? You're diminishing your own arguments. Enough of my observations, can we return this page to the Brandywine issue? Or, do you still want to debate the fiscal cliff? If so, let's do that over a cup of coffee. Feel free to message me.
Reed Rothchild December 21, 2012 at 03:59 PM
If I lived directly in that area my main concern would be the outside lighting after the construction is completed. If there are lights blaring 24/7 like behind the Tarditi (Lincoln) Commons you can guarantee that the residents will be effected by the light pollution. Nobody would want to deal with that. If there is anyway for the zoning or laws to make sure the same thing doesn't happen there as it has behind the Tarditi Commons I highly suggest making that a priority. Therefore Mr McCready I will say that your statement of "ZERO effect" is quite inaccurate. Especially considering the drastic % increase of the footprint.
Mike McCready December 21, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Reed - It's an existing facility with lights. They are not installing new lights. And another thing, I love how Gottardi so cavalierly says "Next, it's on to the courts" and couldn't care less that all of us taxpayers now have to pay an attorney to defend this frivolous lawsuit. Dude, you lost. Twice. Just admit defeat, accept it, and move on.
Reed Rothchild December 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Mike, You statement couldn't be more inaccurate: "It's an existing facility with lights. They are not installing new lights." By the looks of the new proposal (picture above) the footprint and building will be completely changed and expanded. There is ZERO chance that there won't be a significant more amount of external light fixtures adjacent to and around the new (much larger) facility...most likely encroaching into the backyards of the nearby homes. I don't understand your logic? Please feel free to elaborate.
Mike McCready December 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Reed - Ahh maybe you're right, but it's not my backyard so I don't care!
Tax Paying Resident December 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Open arms and closed eyes (and ears)
I checked the facts in Haddonfield December 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Bottom line planning and zoning cannot vote against the codes - if they do the applicant can take legal action against our town. A case we cannot win. Therefore we spend our tax money defending a case we cannot win. A waste of our money. If you want change you must focus on changing the codes. I'm sure that brandywine legal team knew this simple fact BEFORE the advised to by the property...it's simple because they read our code. I'm sure if everyone read our code they would understand this simple fact. The little guy didn't lose - the code was enforced.

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