Cherry Hill Township to create redevelopment plans for two gateway study areas

Cherry Hill Township is beginning to move forward with revitalizing two commercial areas on the west side of town.

The township planning board has completed investigations of two areas on the west side of the township and has determined they fit the criteria as areas in need of redevelopment. The two areas in question are an area along Route 70 where America’s Best Value Inn is located and the former Saunders Publishing complex on Hampton Road.

Council passed a pair of resolutions confirming the planning board’s decision in April. Paul Stridick, director of community development, said the planning board will now take a more in-depth look at each property.

“The next step is back in the planning board’s court is for them to develop a plan,” Stridick said.

The board will create a redevelopment plan to help rehabilitate those the properties and attract new businesses to each area. Stridick said there is no timeline on how soon those plans could be created.

To qualify as an area in need of redevelopment, the properties needed to meet certain criteria according to state law. The Route 70 area met the criteria because of the substandard condition of development and the property’s condition being detrimental to the community. The former Saunders Publishing complex qualified because the building’s discontinued use and state has led it to become tenantable, its location will likely not allow it to be developed through private capital, and its condition is detrimental to the surrounding community.

In November, council authorized the planning board to conduct studies on four areas identified as gateways to the township. All areas are properties on the west side of the township near the border of Pennsauken and are located near either Route 38 or Route 70. Mayor Chuck Cahn said the studies were the first steps in rejuvenating the area.

“For years now, these areas have been home to low-end motels and old vacant industrial buildings,” Cahn said in November. “It’s time we take the necessary steps to rejuvenate these gateways to Cherry Hill and transform them into more dynamic places to live and work.”

The other two areas where studies are being conducted are a section of Route 38 with motels such as the Hillside Inn, Feather Nest Inn and Days Inn, and the other area is along Cuthbert Boulevard and includes Inn of the Dove and the former Baker Lanes bowling alley. Stridick said the planning board is still conducting investigations on those two properties.

Veterans to get preference low- and moderate-income housing

An agreement between Cherry Hill Township and the Cherry Hill Partners at Park Place and Village Place will give veterans preference in applying for housing. Park Place and Village Place are the residential developments located at Garden State Park along Haddonfield Road.

“This gives them permission to provide a preference to veterans,” Stridick said.

The agreement will allow the complexes to set aside up to 50 percent of open housing specifically for veterans. Veteran applicants would still have to qualify for the apartments and condos just as other interested parties would.

Stridick described the agreement as a way for the township to help assist veterans in the community.

“It’s a good way to pay back,” he said.