At the Nov. 18 regular meeting of the Mt. Laurel Township Council, a resolution was passed designating Delco Development LLC as a redeveloper for a portion of the redevelopment zone known as the Route 38, Ark Road and Fostertown Road Redevelopment Area. At the council’s latest meeting, an ordinance passed on second reading amending the plan for this redevelopment zone to reflect the developer’s proposed plan to convert the existing requirement for 120 family-style units to be constructed as 120 age-restricted affordable rental units.
Copies of the full plan, entitled, “Redevelopment Plan NJ Route 38, Ark Road and Fostertown Road,” amended to reflect this change, were made available to the public at the meeting. The plan includes detailed information about the history of the site’s designation as a redevelopment zone as well as what redevelopment will look like and how it will fit into the township’s overall master plan.
According to this latest iteration of the plan, the redevelopment process starts with a preliminary investigation by the municipal planning board to determine if the area in question meets the criteria to be declared “In Need of Redevelopment.”
The area, according to the redevelopment plan, met the following criteria as prescribed by New Jersey’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law:
- “Lands owned by the municipality and where (sic) vacant more than 10 years and that are remote and lack of (sic) means of access and is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital.”
- “Faulty arrangement; the prevalent significant deterioration of parking and traffic circulation area pavement, to include that of the access roadway.”
- “A significant portion of structures therein are in a deteriorated or substandard condition.”
- “More than half of the housing stock in the delineated area is at least 50 years old.”
- “There is a pattern of vacancy, abandonment or underutilization of properties in the area.”
The final report from the preliminary investigation, dated Nov. 9, 2018, concluded the study area did in fact qualify for declaration as a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment.
The redevelopment area lies within five different zoning districts: O-3 Office Residential, Industry, FR-MX (mixed-use development designed to create 600 residential units, which will include a 20 percent set-aside of affordable units), R-3 (provides for single-family dwellings, public parks and facilities, golf courses and municipal facilities, banks and fiduciary institutions and any form of agriculture or horticulture) and NC Neighborhood Commercial (provides for retail business and personal service establishments which are clearly of a neighborhood service character).
According to the redevelopment plan, objectives for redevelopment start with developing a variety of “complementary mixed uses” that are in line with surrounding uses. Objectives also include goals to promote Mt. Laurel’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and play, support the township’s economic viability, assist in the township’s affordable housing obligations and provide increased access between the Senior Affordable Apartments District and future senior housing to be located within the redevelopment area.
A full copy of the redevelopment plan is available on mountlaurel.com under the “About Mount Laurel” tab in the page entitled “Redevelopment.”
The next phases of the project will be an item of discussion during future planning board meetings. The next meeting of the Mt. Laurel Planning Board is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Mt. Laurel Municipal Center.