HomeHaddonfield NewsCamden County judge affirms September ruling on Bancroft site

Camden County judge affirms September ruling on Bancroft site

New order memorializes original agreement for ‘age-restricted’ construction.

A Superior Court of Camden County official who was responsible for hearing a lawsuit filed by Haddonfield Encouraging Responsible Development (HERD) against the Borough of Haddonfield regarding redevelopment of the Bancroft property issued a new order on Wednesday affirming the original settlement agreement between the parties.

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Judge Nan S. Famular’s ruling stated that the borough will take steps to alter the planned construction to provide “age-restricted” development, rather than pursue the “age-targeted” approach borough commissioners and developer J. Brian O’Neill promoted until recently. 

This new order was issued after both parties appeared for a second hearing on the matter on Oct. 22. The most recent gathering was necessary because, following the initial Sept. 27 hearing, borough commissioners denied a settlement had been reached. The order Famular issued Wednesday reflects the contents of the September settlement.

The triumverate in charge of borough affairs now has to join forces with the developer, in good faith, to craft a proposal that provides for the construction of between 64 and 71 age-restricted units at Bancroft. Ten units included in the reworked agreement are to be designated for low-to-moderate incomes.

It is also expected the agreement will eliminate the original 30 percent tax break offered to O’Neill, but will retain the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes designation. As a result, once the project is complete, Haddonfield is expected to receive a larger-than-normal share of Bancroft residents’ tax payments.

“We are grateful we were able to get to a point where we will see age-restricted housing on the Bancroft site,” said former Mayor Jack Tarditi, one of the driving forces behind HERD. “It is a good position for the Borough of Haddonfield, and I’m looking forward to working with the commissioners and the developer on this issue. We’re moving in the right direction.

“I want to congratulate the developer as well for having the willingness to look at an alternative, which is a far-more attractive option to the original, age-targeted proposal,” Tarditi added.

According to language stipulated in the ruling, if the parties (the borough and O’Neill) fail to do so, the plaintiffs (HERD) have the right to reinstate their complaint.

HERD’s concerns regarding “age-targeted” housing have revolved primarily around the possibility of families with school-age children purchasing the units, thereby inflating the population of the local primary school, J. Fithian Tatem Elementary. Another issue at the forefront was the need to ensure the housing units would be designed for senior citizens, borough residents looking to downsize as they age. HERD asserted that “age-targeted” housing units can be sold to anyone. 

The original suit brought by HERD was dismissed without prejudice to refiling on Sept. 27, and both sides were, in theory, supposed to begin working on a new plan for the site. 

“We accept the order and are already working on an age-restricted plan, and hope this is the end of any legal fighting,” Borough Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko said in an email Thursday. 

 

BOB HERPEN
BOB HERPEN
Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.
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