Borough provides update on Route 73 redevelopment plan

Affordable housing settlement close; Land Use Board to view plans next month.

At the latest public meeting of Palmyra Borough council, the administration updated the ongoing process to redevelop a large tract of land adjacent to Route 73, in the town’s southwestern quadrant.

Borough Administrator John Gural said a redevelopment agreement for the approximately 182-acre parcel was signed two weeks prior by Mayor Gina Ragomo Tait, and the document is expected to be posted on the borough website as soon as there is a final agreement reached  with the Fair Share Housing Center.

Gural added the municipality is still engaged in discussions with FSHC at the moment regarding the extent of Palmyra’s affordable-housing responsibilities, but the two sides are expected to hold a conference later in the week and move the needle further on completion of a deal.

“These documents can be forwarded to the developer, to make an application to the Land Use Board next week some time, or by the end of that week. We’re that close,” he said.  “And then the Land Use Board will hear the application at their November meeting.”

Land Use Board sessions are typically held the third Wednesday of each month, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, a hearing will take place on Nov. 18. Gural, Tait and fellow councilmember Laura Craig Cloud are part of the 14-person board.

In response to a question about the scope of the redevelopment project maintaining existing trails and wetlands around Palmyra Cove, engineers present at the meeting revealed that plans are in place to subdivide and separate the western portion of the property so everything will remain intact.

In light of Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision prior to the Oct. 5 virtual session that Halloween should proceed in the state, Tait revealed the borough’s Halloween committee is getting the police and fire departments involved in holiday planning.

The mayor also said flyers regarding house decorating and scarecrow contests should be posted around town later in the week. All necessary and related forms will eventually be found on the borough’s website: boroughofpalmyra.com.

Borough governance also urged residents to complete the census, either online or when census workers knock on doors; the deadline has been extended through Oct. 31. To date, the borough has attained a 74.8-percent response rate.

With the onset of cold and flu season, Tait additionally revealed the borough’s official COVID-19 count had been increased to 82 total cases. She urged residents to keep wearing masks at all times and social distance if venturing outdoors, and to access the Burlington County Health Department website, https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/290/Health-Department, for further questions regarding coronavirus, flu and other maladies.

In other news:

  • Bryan Norcross and Mindie Weiner submitted letters of resignation from the Land Use Board to the borough. Weiner was later appointed, by passage of a resolution, as part-time deputy tax collector for the borough through Dec. 31.
  • Further approved resolutions paved the way for Josiah Murphy to become a lieutenant in the Palmyra Police Department, retroactive to July 1, and for Renay Montgomery as full-time police secretary, effective on the date of the meeting.
  • Gural revealed the next step in the future reopening of borough hall was to address bathroom situations between usage by employees and the public.