Haddonfield Borough and RCA representatives talk tentative Bancroft purchase agreement

The Haddonfield Planning Board once again tabled a discussion on the status of the Bancroft site as a redevelopment area. However, this time it was due to the announcement of a possible agreement between the borough and Recovery Centers of America.

Attorney Jack Plackter of Atlantic City-based Fox Rothschild, LLP, representing RCA CEO J. Brian O’Neill’s holding company, II Hopkins Lane, LLC, revealed a tentative agreement signing over the Bancroft property to Haddonfield is very close to being reached. Because of this, he asked the board once again table the redevelopment determination until the next meeting in January, which the board approved.

“We request to preserve our rights and allow us time to settle this agreement … Rather than doing a cross examination, we would rather focus our time and effort on something that Haddonfield would be in favor of and that we would be in favor of,” Plackter said.

The borough has been meeting with O’Neill and his representatives over the past few months, working to come to an agreement that would satisfy both parties.

Plackter said the agreement would sign over O’Neill’s agreement of purchase with Bancroft to the borough and, in turn, the borough would agree to allow O’Neill to do renovations and have developmental rights for a residential development on the site.

“In essence, what the agreement does is (sign over) our agreement with Bancroft to the municipality and the municipality is going to agree to give us back, which we’re going to pay for, renovations and certain development rights to do residential development. We all believe that is in the best interest of the community,” Plackter said.

According to Borough Solicitor Mario Iavicoli, the two parties have come to a consensus with a purchase price, development and other matters, however there hasn’t been a final agreement. The necessary documents to move forward were not received until 5 p.m. the night of the meeting, so Iavicoli as well as the commissioners did not have time to review it. He also said it would need to be put before the public at a meeting.

Plackter said he believes an agreement would be made by the next Planning Board meeting on Jan. 5. He also thanked Mayor Jeff Kasko and Iavicoli for working with them to come to an agreement.

“I would just like to thank the mayor for his leadership, as well as Iavicoli, for working with us. They are not easy negotiators, but I know they are trying to keep Haddonfield’s interest and at the same time balance something that the developer is interested in,” Plackter said.

Commissioner John Moscatelli, the representative to the Planning Board, told Plackter publicly that if a settlement is to be reached for that January date, they must work together to get things done soon.

“Given that we are in the holiday season, I strongly encourage that we work together sooner, rather than later. I think a number of weeks earlier in November could have been utilized a little more fruitfully to push this forward a little faster. So especially, if the Board of Commissioners is going to have to schedule a meeting to do something, we’re going to need to have this done sooner, rather than later, if we’re going to have everything wrapped by the Jan. 5 date. So please keep that in mind as we are moving forward,” Moscatelli said.

The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.