Appeal of Borough Ordinance 2018-01

On February 13th, 2018, the Haddonfield Borough Commissioners voted to amend the Bancroft Redevelopment Plan -- despite overwhelming opposition from our Planning Board.  The amended plan will:

(1) add scores of school-aged children to our district, increasing class sizes and further burdening the system’s finances and facilities;

(2) ignore our seniors, by negating a key objective of the original re-development plan, which was to create affordable senior-oriented housing.

(3) potentially nullify the usefulness of much of the remaining land (the borough’s parcel) by requiring our land be used for stormwater drainage from the developer’s parcel.  (This last point may not sound like a big deal, but, in reality, we could end up paying millions of dollars for land we can’t use, while still being burdened with the cost of maintaining that land.)

We are asking for your help to fund the legal appeal of the ordinance, which effectively handed the developer (Brian O'Neill -- the same developer who had previously attempted to place a drug addiction treatment center next to our high school) carte blanche to develop 92 housing units on the property without any further meaningful input from the Borough.

The amendments were requested by O’Neill and granted by the Commissioners, who acted against the best interests of their constituents in their dealings with O’Neill.  No concessions were asked of O’Neill in return for the concessions made by the Borough, and the concessions nullified the key goals and objectives of the original Redevelopment Plan -- to the detriment of Haddonfield and to the benefit of O’Neill.


Here are the facts:

1. The proposed housing is no longer age-targeted towards seniors. 

The median Haddonfield home is less than 2,000 sq ft and sells for approximately $450k -- why would a senior "downsize" to a 2,250 sq ft, multi-story, $600k townhome with higher property taxes than the home from which they "downsized?"

2. The proposed housing is now more likely to attract families, which will burden our already-overcrowded schools.

With our seniors out of the market, the townhomes will likely be occupied by families -- particularly families interested in spacious, low-maintenance homes in one of the state's best school districts.  Our schools are already operating above capacity.  We cannot afford to add 50 - 100 more students to an already overcrowded school district.

3. The proposed development does not meet modern sustainability standards, nor does it appear to properly account for stormwater drainage without draining onto the parcels proposed to remain under the Borough's ownership -- which could effectively render those parcels unusable or at least limited in their usefulness.

 

What is our plan and what does your donation do?
 
We are seeking a court order invalidating the February 13 ordinance because it is arbitrary and capricious, it ignores the findings of the planning board, and because it is one-sided and provides benefits only to O’Neill and none to the residents of Haddonfield.

The appeal is intended to force the Commissioners to deliver housing that (1) is truly targeted to seniors; (2) does not burden our schools; (3) and adequately protects open space.

It is estimated that a legal appeal process would cost between $15,000 and $30,000.  The process must be initiated before March 26, 2018, in order for the appeal to be filed timely by March 29th.  Please consider a donation in any amount to help this cause.  If 300 citizens donated $100 each, we can reach our financial goal and potentially ensure that the Bancroft property eventually achieves its highest and best use.

Our plan to get the funds from the campaign and put them to use is to combine our online GoFundMe contributions with the check and cash donations that we've received in order to pay our legal representative to prepare and file our appeal in the Superior Court of New Jersey.  UPDATE: The law firm of Hyland Levin filed our appeal yesterday, March 28th.

In conclusion, we must remember that whatever is built on the Bancroft property will be there for 150 years or more.  We must put the brakes on this process, and make sure we get it right!  Please donate NOW, and ask your friends neighbors to do the same!

Thank you!

Donations

  • William Malony 
    • $200 
    • 5 mos
  • Dion D 
    • $10 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 5 mos
  • Jordan B 
    • $500 
    • 5 mos
  • Daniel Tompkins 
    • $1,000 
    • 5 mos
See all

Organizer

Chris Maynes 
Organizer
Haddonfield, NJ
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