Home Cherry Hill News Residents take to social media in ProBuild case

Residents take to social media in ProBuild case

The Barclay Area Civic Association has taken to the web and the streets to raise funds to help cover attorney costs for a court appeal.

Last fall, the Cherry Hill Zoning Board approved a use variance for Buckingham Partners LLC to build 152 apartments at the former Haddonfield Lumber/ProBuild site at the corner of Brace and Kresson Roads.

In December, a special council meeting to hear the residents’ zoning board appeal of the 152 apartment variance was postponed following a question regarding the hearing’s transcript quality.

The meeting was never rescheduled.

“We believe the council did not want to have to vote on the variance after it had attracted so much public opposition,” association member Bob Shinn said.

According to township spokeswoman Bridget Palmer, Shinn was given the opportunity to rectify the insufficient transcript, but that did not occur prior to Jan. 11, which was when the statute to hear the appeal expired.

“We’ve heard their concerns,” Palmer said.

Currently, the site plan for Buckingham is on hold, she added.

The association now has until Feb. 18 to file a legal brief in opposition to the variance to New Jersey Superior Court, and is looking for donations.

More than $8,000 had been raised by late January, Shinn said, with contributions ranging from $5 to $500, with an average of about $35 to $40.

Given the short amount of time to raise the funds, he said, the amount is “remarkable.”

Of that, nearly $1,500 had been raised through the “STOP ‘Illegal Spot Zoning’ in Cherry Hill” Facebook page and the “donate” option on www.barclayarea.com.

According to the website, to send a check, make it payable to “Barclay Area Civic Association,” and mail it to Phyllis Jones, BACA Treasurer, 1117 York Road, Cherry Hill NJ 08034.

There have been other ways that residents have tried to raise money for the court costs, Shinn said, including a sign mobile parked near the proposed site, as well as a human sign walking in front of the site to warn of the development.

The association is still in need of donations, especially if the need arises to appeal the decision if not successful at the superior court level.

“We’ve made some significant process and have retained an attorney,” said Shinn, referencing Lynda Yamamoto.

“We’re finding people from all over Cherry Hill who are offended by the way in which the decision was made,” said Shinn.

The situation is personal, as taxpaying residents of the township, said resident Martha Wright, pointing out that citizens have been digging into their own pockets.

Wright has lived in the township for 56 years and has been on her feet, dropping off handouts at homes and putting up signs in neighborhoods and parks.

“We’re just trying to raise awareness,” she said. “It’s so frustrating.”

According to resident Bert MacKay, the Barclay Area Civic Association is located to the north and west of the site and has taken an active role in the process. However, other bordering sections of the town have also shown their support.

Leading up to the original zoning board hearing, the township was only required to notify residents within 200 feet of the property, he said, which was only a few houses.

“Our reach has gotten much further,” MacKay said.

“It shows that the people are just not happy with this kind of behavior,” added Wright. “It’s a bigger issue.”

According to Shinn, residents are worried about traffic congestion in the area worsening and the possibility of the character of the neighborhood changing.

The site is close to Croft Farm, which is tranquil, he said.

Residents just want the township to go down the right path, said MacKay.

“We stand to gain nothing from this financially,” he said.

Visit www.facebook.com/CherryHillSpotZoning for up-to-date information regarding this case.

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