Haddonfield commissioners, school board reach memorandum of understanding over Bancroft Hall parcel

Both sides planning to work on equal land swap in coming months

Haddonfield’s Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution at its Oct. 23 meeting to adopt a memorandum of understanding with the borough’s school board regarding a future land swap regarding portions of the Bancroft Hall lot.

“In the past, we had a joint meeting with the board, and we basically decided it was in the best interest of the school board to own that property next to the high school. And since the borough doesn’t have a desperate need for it, we’d rather the board have it and use it to its highest and best use,” said Commissioner John Moscatelli. “What was agreed, was they looked at the parcels they owned and they decided to swap Radnor Field for what we’re calling the ‘Hopkins parcel,’ so that’s the part of Bancroft that exists between Hopkins and the school itself.”

The path to making the deal is clear, Moscatelli said, but requires clearance through multiple steps in the bureaucratic process. Ideally, he explained, the commissioners and the board need to end up with valuations that show those two parcels are of about equivalent value. The borough has “Green Acres” money from the state that needs to be spent on preserving open spaces, needs a parcel of land to use that money on, and the school board cannot swap for something that’s worth less than the land it owns.

According to Moscatelli, the memorandum of agreement includes stipulations that the commissioners will pay for the appraisals on Radnor while the board will pay for the appraisals on Hopkins. However, he was quick to point out the agreement has not been executed yet, since all parties have to make sure all future requirements are satisfied.

“It’s already taken months, so I’ll leave it at ‘months,’” he added when asked how long the whole process might take before an agreement is reached. “We have to go through, since it’s in the historic district, the state historic preservation office in order to get our approval. They still have to get their appraisals done, then we have to go through further approval process of getting them to move grant money which was designated for Bancroft over Radnor, so it’s going to be a little while before we do it all.”

In other news:

  • Moscatelli announced a temporary change in parking regulations on Jefferson Avenue. The borough plans to move the curb line out two feet from its current limit and eliminate parking on Jefferson between Evans Avenue and Overhill Road from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. The new curb line will prevent residents from parking on the south side of Jefferson during that time frame.
  • Moscatelli ended the meeting by revealing that leaf collection in Haddonfield, originally slated to begin on Oct. 29, will be pushed back one week to Nov. 5, and the proper notifications will show up on the borough’s website and Facebook pages. He added the borough still plans on three pickups over a period of six weeks, and will also review the leaf situation in the meantime to decide whether to push back collection further.
  • The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution for the borough’s police department to sign an interlocal agreement with Cherry Hill’s police department to provide domestic violence counseling services. This occurred alongside a proclamation issued by the commissioners deeming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • Another proclamation was issued, recognizing the week of Oct. 21–27 as National Friends of Libraries Week.