Brandywine Senior Living had a site plan to expand the Haddonfield Home on Warwick Road rejected in late May by the Historic Preservation Commission. The senior living organization proposed that the current 25,000 square foot facility — which was built in 1953 — be demolished and a new, two-story 40,900 square-foot addition be built on the property.
Lee Albright, Chairwoman of the HPC, said the organization rejected Brandywine’s plan for several reasons.
The plan would negatively impact the historic character of the site by reducing the amount of open space, trees and landscaping already existing — which are historically appropriate — for the ‘backyard’ of a historic residential area, she said.
Secondly, it would intensify the already non-conforming aspect of the existing commercial and institutional buildings in a residential area by allowing an even larger commercial and institutional building.
Finally, it would detract from the already existing historic structure on the site, she said.
It’s a disappointment for the senior living organization, said Brenda Bacon, president of Brandywine Senior Living.
“It’s fair to say we’re disappointed. We worked hard; we had lots of meetings with the neighbors, a lot of redesign of the plan and discussion with the HPC, so we would still like to find a way to be a part of Haddonfield. We will be meeting with the planning board, which will decide whether or not it will accept the recommendation of the HPC,” Bacon said. “As we’ve said from the beginning, we want to bring quality assisted living services to Haddonfield in the confines of where we’re located. We’re not asking for any coverage variances, the building that we’ve designed fits into the setbacks allowed in that residential zone, so we’re hoping the planning board will be supportive. We’ll see how it goes.”
Bacon said Brandywine will meet with the planning board whenever they’re ready for the senior living company, which will most likely be in June or July.
The plan was met with considerable worry from neighbors of the Haddonfield Home. Dave Gottardi, a member of Preservation Haddonfield, and a neighbor of the current senior living facility said it was a “no brainer” for the HPC to reject the plan put forth by Brandywine.
“This mega size addition is inappropriate in our historic district and in this very residential neighborhood. The neighbors are not opposed to Brandywine’s renovating and improving their current facility and keeping within the current footprint of the building, but the mass and scale will not work in Haddonfield’s Historic District,” Gottardi wrote in a statement.
The plan would have removed trees from the property and constructed a second floor to the current one-floor structure.