Cherry Hill Township Council officially adopts Park Boulevard redevelopment plan

It is soon going to be out with the old, in with the new at the Park Boulevard redevelopment area, as Cherry Hill Township Council officially adopted a redevelopment plan and is now moving forward with a second ordinance to acquire the property.

Council approved the ordinance adopting the Park Boulevard redevelopment plan on second reading at last Monday’s meeting, giving the green light for 192 residential units to be constructed on a 7.3-acre site between Route 70 and Park Boulevard. The site is home to America’s Best Value Inn, Palace of Asia restaurant and a vacant building formerly known as Faith Life Christian Center.

Community development director Paul Stridick said there have been no changes to the plan since the ordinance was introduced on Feb. 8. The plan includes a 176-unit apartment building stretching three to four stories high. The building will run along the Park Boulevard side of the property, with many of the units overlooking Cooper River Park. There will also be 16 townhome units next to the 176-unit building across Donahue Avenue, which will be housed inside two buildings and will also run along the Park Boulevard side of the property.

Cherry Hill Land Associates has already been named developer of the site. The Park Boulevard area was one of the redevelopment zones named in the township’s agreement with CHLA last summer. The agreement allowed CHLA to build residential developments on three sites in Cherry Hill in exchange for preserving Woodcrest Country Club.

The redevelopment plan now will go back to the planning board for a full site plan review. The township can also now begin work on acquiring the property. Council introduced another ordinance on first reading authorizing the township to acquire the America’s Best Value Inn property.

According to the ordinance, the township will first attempt to negotiate a purchase of the property. If the township and the property owner cannot come to an agreement, the township can then acquire the property through eminent domain. The township will sell the property to CHLA after it has been acquired.

The second reading and public hearing of the ordinance will take place at council’s next meeting on Monday, March 8.

Council approves series of grants

Cherry Hill Township got a large influx of grant money at last week’s meeting after council approved five separate grants totaling more than $230,000.

Four of the five grants council approved were related to the police department. The largest of the four was a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for body cameras. The grant, worth $82,525, took a while to apply for, according to Police Chief William Monaghan.

“We’re the only municipality in the state of New Jersey to be awarded this grant,” he said.

Monaghan said the grant money is going to be used for second generation body cameras, and added the police department is in the process of evaluating them right now.

The police department also received a grant for $11,697 to purchase new body armor. Monaghan said the police department’s body armor needs to be replaced every five years and the grant helps offset the cost.

Two other grants the police department received include a $3,977 Drunk Driving Enforcement Grant allowing the police to offset costs of extra DUI patrols throughout the year, and a $2,800 Cops in Shops grant to fund the cost of undercover cops to frequent liquor stores in the township and prevent underage people from purchasing alcohol.

Council also officially approved the township’s recycling tonnage grant for $139,961. The grant was announced earlier in February and is the 13th largest awarded in New Jersey.

The grant is a little less than the $164,279 the township received last year. Township business administrator Lenore Rosner said the decrease does not reflect lower recycling numbers in the township, however.

“It’s a reflection of the amount of money the state has put into this grant,” she said.

Cherry Hill was also one of the first recipients of a new $25,000 bonus grant from the Department of Environmental Protection, created to reward municipalities that have food waste recycling, scrap tire removal and public space recycling initiatives. Rosner said the township plans to enhance its recycling efforts in public space with the money.

“We’re going to use it to put in recycling containers and possibly a new truck for parks and recreation,” she said.

The new recycling containers could be in place at parks across the township within the next couple of months.

CHTown