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Bellmawr Mayor & Council At Odds Over BDA; Is a 100,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse for Marijuana Planned for Redevelopment Area?

The May 24, 2018 monthly Bellmawr Mayor and Council meeting grew heated at several points as Mayor and Council disagreed over raising taxes and the rescinsion of the Bellmawr Redevelopment Authority (BDA).

The May 24, 2018 monthly Bellmawr Mayor and Council meeting grew heated at several points as the governing body disagreed over raising taxes as well as a Resolution that called for rescinding the Bellmawr Redevelopment Authority (BDA).

Prior to the matter being brought to a vote, Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek asked to wait a month before this is voted on so that a meeting can be scheduled for all involved principals. He stated that Council previously voted 6-0 to appoint commissioners to the BDA. “Why are we changing it?” he asked.

Councilman Jamie Casey stated: “Council continues to hear that the Board is doing things behind their backs. That is why.” He stated that professional appointments were approved.  “We understand that there are already plans for the waterfront property that Council had no idea for,” he said.

At one point, Councilman Jim D’Angelo asked about a recent presentation and Councilman Paul DeAngelis said that as a town councilman, he had no idea that the “marijuana people” had proposed plans that would include building a 100,000 square foot warehouse on the landfill /redevelopment area.

Mayor Filipek responded: “They had to go to the developer [to see] if they can fit you or they have you in their future. That’s the redeveloper. We don’t own that property.”

Councilman DeAngelis stated he saw a picture and was told that solar panels were also proposed for the landfill/redevelopment area and that “outside growing” was being prepared for.  DeAngelis said he was told: “The State of New Jersey is going to go forward into an outside growing area, which means they will have to have a giant fenced in area for outside growing of marijuana, also inside in a 100,000 square foot building.”

Mayor Filipek spoke about permission being needed from Washington and that the matter will still “come in front of Mayor and Council and also the Planning Board to put their plans down because nothing is finalized until they come to Mayor and Council or the Planning Board.”

Councilman Casey said that a 99-year lease was offered.

Mayor Filipek reiterated that this is still proposed.

Several motions were made. First to bring the matter back off of the table. Second, for Council to vote on the Resolution which would rescind the creation of the Borough of Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency.

Initially, Councilmen Paul DeAngelis, Jamie Casey, and Jim D’Angelo voted yes (to rescind the BDA) and Councilmen Steve Sauter, Steven Hagerty, and Ray Bider voted no — leaving a tie. Mayor Filipek broke the tie by voting no (not to rescind it).

Later on, Councilman Steve Sauter stated that he made an error with his vote and thought he was voting to re-table the motion until a meeting could be arranged for all principals to meet and have their questions and concerns addressed.

That motion carried, which means the matter still remains on the table until such time that a meeting can be arranged.

Voting yes were: Councilmen Paul DeAngelis, Steve Sauter, Steve Hagerty and Ray Bider. Councilman Jamie Casey abstained and Councilman Jim D’Angelo voted no.

Watch: Exclusive SJO Video Excerpt of Bellmawr Council’s May 24, 2018 meeting: