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 carte blanche to develop 91 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, 2018, 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 current status of the lawsuit is that Judge Famular has ordered the Borough to "re-do" their February 13, 2018, meeting and place on record -- with video -- their specific reasons for adopting the amendments over the 8-0 recommendation of the Planning Board.  This "re-do" meeting is now scheduled for April 27th, 2021.

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!

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Chris Maynes 
Haddonfield, NJ