November 24, 2010
The township planning board has rejected an affordable-housing proposal for the Short Hills Farm neighborhood, but an almost decade-long fight over the issue seems far from over.
“We have no choice but to go to court,” Peter O’Connor, executive director of Fair Share Housing Center in Cherry Hill, said in the wake of the board’s decision Tuesday. “This project will ultimately be developed.”
The board’s decision marked a sharp reversal for the plan to put 54 apartments on 4.2 acres off Evesham Road.
The planning board in 2001 had approved a plan that O’Connor described as “substantially the same” as the one rejected Tuesday. The 2001 plan for the “Evans-Francis Estates” survived a legal challenge brought by unhappy neighbors, then stalled for years until financing could be found, O’Connor said.
The developer returned to the planning board in July, seeking an extension of its original approval or, barring that, a new approval. No board member voted in favor of either request.
O’Connor asserted the board’s rebuff of the plan, which came around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday after a five-hour meeting, was influenced by opposition from Short Hills residents.
“The board sided with the neighbors,” said O’Connor. “It’s unfortunate that local politics has prevented an opportunity to house people who really need it.”
Read remainder of the story at CherryHillNewJersey.com