Ordinance regarding Park Blvd. project approved upon first reading by township council

PILOT program for area in need of rehabilitation given initial go-ahead.

At its most recent meeting, Cherry Hill Township Council approved, upon first reading, an ordinance granting a five-year phase-in, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes to a local company for a project revolving around the Park Boulevard Gateway Redevelopment Area. 

The site in question comprises two parcels of land resting between Route 70 and Park Boulevard. According to the township’s tax map, the former lot exists on an irregularly-shaped plot between the highway and Park, west of Donahue Avenue. The latter plot is a rectangular area squashed between Park to the south, an unnamed street to the north and bounded by Donahue to the west and Hoffman Avenue to the east. 

Owner of the property, FMP CH Park, LLC, applied for the tax exemption under a provision in state law that allows for a five-year tax abatement on properties intended for redevelopment if they are designated areas in need of rehabilitation. 

The redevelopment itself is intended to turn the plots of land, which are essentially abandoned, into three- and four-story apartments, along with three-story townhomes with a mixture of surface and garage parking, as well as courtyard areas designed for a wide variety of uses by tenants. 

“I’d like to see 5 percent of that devoted to the Cherry Hill school system, in that way you could be the leaders in the state in helping your community. I know 95 percent of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes is for you, and 5 percent is for Camden County … we need to do something that will help the schools, and I know most of you have children who go through the system. We have no money, we don’t have the resources to pursue grants. Five percent’s not asking a lot,” said resident Anne Einhorn during public comment on the issue. 

Mayor’s Chief of Staff Erin Patterson Gill told The Sun that the idea behind this particular PILOT is it offers an incentive for an owner to clean up a blighted property and give that entity time to enact a plan for development. 

“Since there are no taxes generated as of yet from the development of the property, no action can be taken with respect to the PILOT. In the future, when an actual financial agreement will be struck between the owner and the township for development of the property, we will take into consideration Einhorn’s suggestion. The mayor and township council continue to be supportive of Cherry Hill Public Schools,” Gill stated. 

Second reading and further public comment on the issue is expected to take place at council’s next meeting on July 22.

In other news

  • Council issued a proclamation lauding the efforts of residents Kellyann Bacho and Olivia Hale, a pair of Good Samaritans, in rescuing a husband and wife from their burning house on June 30. 
  • Council also urged residents to check out the township’s new, updated and redesigned website at its old address, https://www.cherryhill-nj.com/.
  • A resolution was also approved for the adoption of the temporary budget for Fiscal Year 2020. The budget will be formally presented in August and a public hearing will be held in September prior to formal adoption.