At its most recent meeting, the Haddonfield Board of Commissioners moved to scrap an ordinance dealing with the Bancroft property.
Ordinance 2019-02, the Application for a Long Term Tax Exemption & Authorizing the Execution of a Financial Agreement with 2 Hopkins Lane Urban Renewal, LLC, regarding age-targeted townhomes to be built on the Bancroft Hall parcel – whose vote and further public discussion upon a second reading had been tabled by the commissioners back on March 12 for its April 30 session – will instead be reworked by the governing body and a separate ordinance will be introduced at a later time.
“We had pulled the agreement in order to take some more time to look at it and see if there were any better alternatives down the road that could work for all the parties concerned. We had made a commitment to come back at tonight’s meeting to discuss that, however, due to the ongoing nature of the talks, we do not have anything new to offer. We have no new plan to offer to the public,” said Mayor Neal Rochford on April 30.
“In the future, we will re-introduce an ordinance which will have its first and second readings, and so there will be at least two public meetings to discuss this plan, once it’s established.”
On Friday, April 26, the borough issued the following statement regarding the ordinance:
“At their March 12, 2019, meeting, the Board of Commissioners tabled the second reading of Ordinance 2019-02, which was for the ‘Application for a Long Term Tax Exemption & Authorizing the Execution of a Financial Agreement with 2 Hopkins Lane Urban Renewal, LLC’; the PILOT program for the Bancroft site, to a specific date and time.
“Because the legal notice, required by State Statute N.J.S.A. 40:49-2(b and c), stated that the Public Hearing on this ordinance would be continued at the April 30, 2019, Commissioners Meeting, we must by law include this item on our agenda.
“Subsequent to the March 12 meeting, the Board of Commissioners has begun discussions with the Board of Education regarding the taxes that will be collected for this property once the construction has been completed. It is the intention of the Board of Commissioners to not act on this ordinance, but rather announce the abandonment of the document once the required Public Hearing has been opened.
“A new ordinance will be introduced at the appropriate time.”
Approval of the ordinance upon second reading was delayed in late February due to a wave of public sentiment against the “PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes)” program included in the deal, which would essentially give a tax break to anyone who purchases a townhome on the Bancroft site.
Pursuant to the deal between the borough and 2 Hopkins Lane, Haddonfield’s Board of Education issued its own statement prior to its Feb. 28 session, which also expressed concern for the tax structure of the agreement.
At the March 12 board meeting, Commissioner John Moscatelli assured those in attendance that any proposed ordinance would not be presented to the public until all sides had sufficient time to work out a revised financial agreement.
“We need to agree on something with the developer that the school board is on board with. We don’t have agreement among all parties yet. I think the school board and the borough have a pretty strong agreement as to where we want to be. We just need to make sure we’ve got the developer on board, so there’s no need to kill the entire project for it,” Moscatelli said at the April 30 session.
Borough commissioners later unanimously approved, upon second reading, Ordinances 2019-07 and 2019-08.
The former dealt with changes to traffic signage at four borough intersections: the removal of a yield sign on Glover Avenue at its intersection with Evergreen Avenue; adding stop signs on Glover at its intersection with Evergreen, on Spruce St. at its intersection with Lakeview Avenue, and on Winding Way at its intersection with Tavistock Lane.
The latter amended Chapter 135 of the borough’s land development code, which removed the requirement for owners of single-family homes or duplexes that are not part of a major residential development to submit a stormwater development plan for approval to the Haddonfield Planning Board or the Zoning Board.
In other news:
- Commissioners unanimously passed Ordinance 2019-09, which amended Chapter 220 regarding sale of tobacco. The amendment, as approved, makes it illegal in the borough to sell, permit to be sold, or offer to sell any tobacco product or electronic smoking device to any individual under the age of 21. The state, in 2017, raised the minimum legal age for purchase of tobacco from 18 to 21, and the borough created the ordinance to officially comply with state law.
- The board also passed Resolution 78 unanimously, enabling the borough to send a part-time tax collector to the Borough of Magnolia through a shared-services agreement.