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Townhouses Coming to Sicklerville?

Roughly 185 townhouses could be built behind Lowe's if a redevelopment plan is amended.

A new 185-unit townhouse community could be built in a redevelopment area in the township's Sicklerville section.

The proposed residential development would be built behind Town Square Plaza—a shopping center located along the 400 block of Cross Keys Road and anchored by Target and Lowe's—but the developer must first garner a series of approvals from the Township Planning Board and Council.

The first step is to build consensus among various officials that a shift from the redevelopment plan's initial focus is a good thing for the township.

That process got underway during Monday's Council work session.

Council President Glen Bianchini is anxious to see the project move forward after he and other members of Council joined the developer and concerned residents for a series of meetings.

"I want that to continue and I want that to continue in an expeditious way, so that we are moving this along in the proper manner and it's not sitting on anybody's desk, it's not being held up," he said. "I want the residents out there to be informed of how it's going along, so that they can continue to be a part of the process."

The vacant plot of land, known as the New Vision redevelopment area, sits behind the Lowe's end of the Town Square Plaza shopping center, according to Ken Lechner, the township's director of community development and planning.

Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Newman Development Group LLC, which was responsible for bringing Town Square Plaza to Gloucester Township, owns the New Vision redevelopment area.

Township officials are expected to consider amending the redevelopment plan for the roughly 20-acre plot of land.

It is anticipated Newman Redevelopment Group will present a revised plan to the Township Planning Board sometime in January. The Planning Board would consider the proposal, then potentially forward an amended redevelopment plan to the Council for adoption as an ordinance.

Newman Redevelopment Group would then have to seek a series of site-plan and other approvals before construction could begin.

The initial New Vision redevelopment plan called for commercial or light-industrial uses on the land, but area residents stood opposed to more development of that kind in their backyards.

"We're never going to please everyone, but I really believe that this is a result of many, many discussions," Newman Development Group LLC principal David Newman said during his discussion with Council members and township professionals Monday night. "There were so many ideas that were thrown out, but this was the one that was universally accepted."

A series of meetings were held with residents of the Wye Oak development, which is located nearby the New Vision redevelopment area. Those residents opposed uses permitted under the initial redevelopment plan, as well as another potential residential use, officials said.

"The residents came to an agreement that the townhomes would fit nicely, would fit better, than any light industrial (use), which could have been put there, or apartments, which could have been put there," Bianchini said.

"I think the process worked. I think we got the residents involved," he added. "We didn't say, 'This has to go there.' As Orlando stated, there was a lot of give and take, and a lot of patience. Sometimes, we all got angry, and other times we continued to work at it."

Paul J. DiBartolo December 08, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Follow the money. BTW, when I read "...Township officials are expected to consider amending the redevelopment plan..." I figure it's a done deal and such language is only semantics. Look, when the planning board "...unanimously granted preliminary and final approval..." on a project, as was the case with the variance granted for billboards along Rt. 42, you know the fix is in and this doesn't look much different. Besides, don't we need more townhouses in Gloucester Township? We must be running low on them by now.
Conrad December 08, 2011 at 01:52 PM
If we are going to build townhomes, I hope they offer features similar to single homes, such as 2 car garages, somthing lacking in our town, and in many of the surrounding towns. Also, priced in the mid to higher price range. We have enough low end townhomes in the twp already.
LBuckley December 08, 2011 at 02:40 PM
I live in Wye Oak, the township did not contact me. Who is this Bianchini referring to? I am directly effected by the enormous increase in traffic with the Target/Wawa/Lowes/etc complex. There is now a highway in my backyard (Erial Williamstown Rd). A constant flow of speeding cars, trucks and big rigs. And you want to bring more to this area? When is it enough? How many homes are up for sale and you want townhomes built? Can we leave any land alone? I am counting the years down to moving away from over taxed area- that is absolutely jam packed with people, cars, and buildings!
LBuckley December 08, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Great question...I checked with Mayor Mayer in the beginning of the summer, plans were still on, but that can't possibly still be the case six months later, can it?
Darren Gladden December 08, 2011 at 03:17 PM
I do not support this at all. We have to many empty homes in the township already . If the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Newman Development Group LLC want's to build then let's start REBUILDING the broken down area's of the Township . Once again MAYOR Stache and his crew has failed us all once again , They have two more years of running this town into the ground People are moving out of this TOWN not moving in. Get a clue Mayor and council . . .....................Just care I do .
Abby December 08, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Gloucester Township will leave no space unturned! What a joke! Isnt it congested enough? Townhomes no less! Maybe in 20 years it will be another Brittney Woods. Do they care that GT residence may not want this??
Sean McCullen (Editor) December 08, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Different location, George. The proposed baseball complex was to be put in on the other side of Erial-Williamstown Road. From what I'm hearing about that project's financing, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to come to fruition. Not saying it won't happen, but it was supposed to happen in time for an August tournament, and it didn't, so ...
LBuckley December 08, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Both locations are within a half mile or less of my home. One is right across the street from the other, with the New Lakeside construction in the middle of it, so although not the same lot, more congestion on top of more congestion. All of this within a square mile....
Michele Timm LeMasney December 08, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Seriously? Enough already! Can we not have ANY undeveloped land in Erial left? Our schools are already so crowded and you want to bring in another 185 houses with the potential for that many more students? Not exactly a wise move as far as I can tell...regardless of the tax revenue that it brings in!
matilda howard December 08, 2011 at 07:25 PM
I agree -- just what Gloucester Township needs more homes and more children in the schools and more taxes. This is precisely why people are attempting to leave GT. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to unload GT homes!
Darren Gladden December 08, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Council President Glen Bianchini is anxious to see the project move forward after he and other members of Council joined the developer and concerned residents for a series of meetings. "I want that to continue and I want that to continue in an expeditious way, so that we are moving this along in the proper manner and it's not sitting on anybody's desk, it's not being held up," he said. "I want the residents out there to be informed of how it's going along, so that they can continue to be a part of the process." WoW the people of Gloucester Township just voted him back in now he pushing this hard . Please Mr . Council Prez wake up and get off the GREED Kool Aid . See you folks on Monday night . If the people of this township does not get together and STAND up against the GREED of Dave Mayers team we are doom. THEY HAVE HOUSES UP FOR RENT BRAND NEW what makes you think you can sell 185 townhomes COME on GET A CLUE . http://youtu.be/Bh3AfbByoDg
Charles December 08, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Follow the $$$. Who is behind the scenes, getting richer and paying off political debts? WHY would anyone in their right mind want to build more housing in GT, which is over-developed already? WHO will pay for the new schoolrooms and staff needed for the children from this development? Has ANY thought gone into this project at all, except for the "Build and Leave" promoters?
M. Donahue December 09, 2011 at 02:30 AM
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES!!!
Steven Fluharty December 09, 2011 at 02:37 PM
This land has been zoned for residential development for sometime now - and I anticipated this impending development will occur. To township officials, please plan metricuously!
MJ December 22, 2011 at 05:01 AM
Maybe if we overcrowd the schools with Gloucester Township children we will be unable to educate the undocumented students that attend our schools and pay no GT taxes.
LBuckley December 22, 2011 at 02:19 PM
I would love to hear the details on this. I have heard rumors. I have heard of the NJTransit bus dropping Camden kids off to high school at Timber Creek, but can only say these are rumors. If anyone has first hand knowledge of this, shouldn't it be investigated?
Paul J. DiBartolo December 22, 2011 at 10:32 PM
I don't worry too much about out inability to educate undocumenteds, I am more concerned about our inability to educate our legal kids.
Michelle Wolfson December 23, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Good point Paul. Do you think the development will have an impact on that? Simply because it will create larger classes with (presumably) no additional staff? Or do you have other reasoning as well?
Michelle Wolfson December 23, 2011 at 05:07 PM
I guess where you come from really makes perspective a lot different. I totally get what you are all saying. I can absolutely see why you are against more development in your areas. Having been born and raised in Philly though, I look around and I don't see the area as being overdeveloped at all. I can see grass and empty space and trees, and parks which is way more than I grew up with, so I guess my view is different than what someone who may have lived here all their liives might see. I had never thought of the schools as being overcrowded either. And as far as the "Camden kids" being dropped off at Timber Creek, having gone to a high school where people were bussed in from all over the city of Philadelphia, I never would have even thought that to be an issue. I guess it's all a matter of what you are used to. This is all so very interesting to me.
Darren Gladden December 23, 2011 at 06:56 PM
Well Michelle come to the next council meeting and I will give a report on WHY I feel you should not build MORE townhomes in GT .......Just care I do
Paul J. DiBartolo December 23, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Michelle, I'm sure you wouldn't want to know what my reasoning is. Someday soon I'll blog about it but I'm sure it won't be pretty.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 23, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Will that be at the Re-org meeting, Darren, or the one after?
Darren Gladden December 23, 2011 at 07:57 PM
there one this Wednesday Night , I'm even going to get dress up .
Charles December 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Michele, the issue is the bill for these children from Camden. That city pays for nothing! WE pay for their kids, whether in the city or here; however, when here, they cost us more. It is neither fair or reasonable for GT to have "undocumented" children sneaking into our schools.Also, it is illegal. I can understand that some parents are willing to break the law to keep their kids out of the failing schools of Camden, but I, for one, do NOT want to pay again for their solution. Stop a block from Timber Creek when the outbound bus arrives just before school. You may be surprised at the sight.
LBuckley December 23, 2011 at 09:51 PM
As a GT taxpayer, is it reasonable for me to expect that officials should be making the trip to Timber Creek to observe this practice and then to act accordingly (if it is eyewitnessed)? How many people are involved in this and are covering this up?
Michelle Wolfson December 24, 2011 at 05:01 AM
Darren is that the Jan 2nd meeting, or the following one? I'll do my best to be there.
Michelle Wolfson December 24, 2011 at 05:02 AM
Interesting. I did not realize. So, how is it that are able to register at schools here in GT?
Paul J. DiBartolo December 24, 2011 at 01:29 PM
It's probably as simple as coming up with an address. This can easily be accomplished with the help of a relative or friend living in the township.
Charles December 24, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Paul is quite correct. School resources are insufficient to follow-up by investigating questionable enrollments. After all, they have only 11 vice-principals who are needed to hold the hands of kids and make them feel good, not actively engage in enforcement of rules/laws. OK, maybe too harsh, but this should be part of their job description.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 24, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Truth be told, Charles, you're being too kind in your description.

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