Local municipalities look forward in the new year to improving their communities in various capacities. For the township, the near future includes several potentially big topics of discussion that could reshape Voorhees.
Most likely, the largest topic of discussion for the township is the eventual transformation of the Voorhees Town Center, an ongoing topic with the property expected to be sold to Brandywine Financial in the coming months.
Late last year, the township committee passed a Redevelopers Plan, setting forth certain goals for the new owner to reach within certain time frames. Mayor Michael Mignogna says the township committee is eager to see real plans from the new developer sometime this year.
“We look forward to working with Brandywine Financial to redevelop the Voorhees Town Center into an exciting destination site,” he said in a written statement to The Sun. “The Redevelopment Plan gives the developer flexibility and will serve as a guide to create a mixture of commercial uses with green space and high-quality housing opportunities.”
As The Sun previously reported, township committee passed two resolutions in early December regarding the desired construction of 180 additional town homes at the town center. Brandywine also is set to redevelop 30,000 square feet of the site within one year of acquiring the property, with the first year potentially focusing on the food court area, according to township officials.
In later years, Brandywine will have additional space to redevelop within certain timelines, a total of 100,000 square feet that must be developed over five years. Such potential changes would have to go through the township’s planning board for approval, which has not yet been scheduled, according to Mignogna.
“Brandywine has not requested a date to come before the planning board, but we expect the application to happen soon,” he added.
When it goes before the planning board, Mignogna said he expects Brandywine to bring plans and renderings showing its potential vision for transforming the town center over time.
Another large topic of discussion that only gained traction in recent months is the possibility of medical marijuana facilities coming to the township. In December, township committee passed a resolution authorizing a letter of endorsement from Mignogna that would allow those seeking licenses from the state to list Voorhees Township as a potential business location. Possible licensees would still have to negotiate with the township and receive various approvals before being able to set up shop.
Mignogna says he also considers the issue of recycling to be a “major story” for the township — as well as the state and nation — in 2020. The Sun previously reported that Voorhees Township, like various municipalities across the state, is losing money on recyclables due to varying factors, including that foreign nations have stopped taking such materials from the U.S.
Moving forward, Mignogna says the township is working with the county and state to address the issue and as it seeks multiple potential options.