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Council passes affordable housing ordinance at recent meeting

Gloucester Township will add 1,014 units by 2025

At its most recent meeting on Aug. 24, Gloucester Township council gave its final approval for a proposed affordable housing complex in the Lakeland Redevelopment area, adopting phase three of the Lakeland Redevelopment Plan by a unanimous vote.

At a second reading, no residents addressed the council during a public comment portion before the vote. The township’s planning board had heard and approved the ordinance at a special meeting earlier in the month, according to Department of Community Development and Planning Director Ken Lechner.

The proposal calls for a mix of commercial property and apartments on eight acres of land next to a mixed-use development in Washington Township.

According to information provided by township Business Administrator Tom Cardis, the project will help satisfy the township’s third-round obligations for affordable housing units to be constructed by 2025. The township is currently required to add 1,014 affordable housing units by 2025.

The township met its prior obligation of 359 units in the previous round and is also in the process of rehabilitating 135 units, according to Cardis. The ordinance passed at the most recent meeting allows for zoning changes that make affordable housing units easier to build across Gloucester Township.

Also during the meeting, council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would vacate Maple Avenue within the township. Resident Paul Krug questioned the purpose of the ordinance.

“That was a request given by PSEG,” said Solicitor David Caralamere. “Right off the Black Horse Pike is the dead-end street of Maple Avenue. They’re doing some expansion of their facility there.”

According to Carlamere, the electric services company had previously been located on one side of the dead-end street, but PSEG has since purchased the rest of the properties along Maple Avenue. Cardis added that it is his understanding the company plans to expand a substation in the area.

The township also approved a resolution during the meeting that authorizes the borrowing of over $1,000,000 as related to the previously completed work for the Redwood Street Culvert project. According to Cardis, the resolution allows the township to “draw down money from the state” with a low interest rate.

Resident Sam Sweet submitted a question through the GT E-GOV service to request information regarding township spending on two recently refurbished playgrounds, a matter that has been discussed in recent council meetings.

“I am still not clear of the funding of the two recently repaired and refurbished playgrounds,” Sweet said in the submitted question. “One hundred and thirty thousand was originally borrowed through the capital budget of 2019 and slated for a playground in Woodshire. A petition was signed by residents against this playground; the playground was nixed by the administration.”

Sweet said he was told the money was then moved to different playgrounds over the next several weeks. Cardis provided some information following the question.

“How much was spent on these playgrounds in total was $250,735; the breakdown on that is Laurel Hills $120,876 and Woods Edge was $129,859,”  Cardis noted.

“As Mr. Sweet indicated, the (Woodshire playground) was petitioned … and prior to moving forward, we discovered that the Green Acres Grant allows for applications for playground structures … so we filed for applications for both Woodshire and Erial.”

Cardis said the township succeeded in receiving grant funds for various playground projects, having gained approximately $276,000.

Council will have its next scheduled meeting Monday, Sept. 14, at the municipal building. 

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