The Westville Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing on Monday, August 1, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. at the Borough Hall for the purposes of investigating and determining whether certain properties within the Borough qualify as a condemnation “area in need of redevelopment.”
The Following Areas Have Been Studied:
- Downtown Preservation District or any part thereof, specifically Block 12, Lot 1
- Block 13, Lots 1, 2 & 3
- Block 14 Lots 1, 2, 3 & 4
- Block 17 Lot 1
- Block 18 Lots 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8
- Block 21 Lots 1, 2, 3 & 4
- Block 24 Lots 1, 2, 3, & 4
- Block 28, Lot 1
- Block 30, Lot 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5
- Block 31 Lots 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25
- Block 33 Lots 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.01, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 23, 24, 25 & 26
- Block 33.01 Lot 1
- Block 34 Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36.01, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 & 43
- Block 47 Lots 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 & 49
- Block 48 Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.01, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18
- Block 50 Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6
- Block 51, Lots 1, 2, 3, & 4 (the “Study Area”), within the Borough.
Specifically Excluded From the Study Area:
- Block 31, Lots 16, 17, and 18
- Block 51, Lot 11
The Study Area is approximately comprised of parcels located along Broadway from Duncan Avenue north to the Brooklawn Borough border.
The western boundary generally extends to Gateway Boulevard.
The eastern boundary extends south from the Brooklawn border to Timber and Edgewater until the Poplar Avenue intersection.
During the meeting, the Planning Board will hear any persons who are in attendance who are interested in or would be affected by a determination that the above-mentioned property is a redevelopment area.
A map and report have been prepared by the Westville Planning Board’s Professional Planner (Bach Associates, P.C.), which will be submitted to the Board and will be on file with the Westville Borough Clerk’s Office ten days prior to the hearing for any interested members of the public for review and consideration at the hearing.
We will update this post after we have the opportunity to visit the Clerk’s Office to take photographs of the map and view the report.
At the conclusion of the hearing and after listening to the testimony of the Planner and members of the public, the Planning Board will determine whether or not the above-referenced properties are in need of redevelopment.
The Governing body of the Borough of Westville has determined that it will use its eminent domain powers for the proposed redevelopment area and that the proposed redevelopment area will be a “condemnation redevelopment area.”
A resolution finding that the properties are or are not in need of condemnation redevelopment will be forwarded to the Governing Body for consideration.
Affected property owners will have 45 days from the date of determination that a property is in need of redevelopment to challenge the redevelopment designation.
Prior to the public hearing, questions or comments may be directed to the Land Use Secretary, Nicole O’Hara at 856-456-0030, ext. 110.
In a letter posted on the Borough of Westville’s website, Mayor Fritz Sims, Jr. wrote about the Redevelopment Study.
As to why this study is being conducted, Mayor Sims wrote:
For many years, Westville’s elected officials have made many efforts to revitalize our downtown business district area with little success. However, for the past two years, Council has made redevelopment a priority and have been vigorously marketing the entire town by meeting with business professionals and private developers to explore ways to bring much needed business to help stabilize our tax base. Through our efforts over the last two years, we have made significant progress compared to previous years as evidence by the new businesses in town such as: Fade Hair Studio and Barbering, Executive Cigar Club, Westville Brewery, Virtue Salon and Spa, Kola Cups, D2 Athletics and Erin Layton Photography and the refacing of 124 Broadway that have joined our current businesses.
To keep Westville’s Redevelopment Plan moving forward, we are following State laws that give Municipalities the authority to use eminent domain, only when needed. Please understand it is not the intention of the Governing Body to use eminent domain on just any property but rather only those structures where due to a lack of cooperation and movement by some current property owners (located in the Redevelopment area) continue to be blighted and uninhabited and it is those properties where the Borough could possibly begin the condemnation process.
Additionally, be advised the Redevelopment study has nothing to do with the proposed Gloucester County Line (CCL) Train project, the Gateway Diner condemnation plan with the State of New Jersey and Route 47 Bridge project or flooding issues.
Mayor Sims also wrote about the goal of the redevelopment plan:
Blighted buildings and houses have sat empty for years with the owners letting them deteriorate which has compromised our town and our redevelopment efforts. To rectify this situation, the Borough needs to make certain we have all the redevelopment tools readily available to move forward with the redevelopment efforts that will give us the leverage needed against property owners who continue to let their property deteriorate while sitting vacant. Now is the time to proceed with our Plan to address the abandoned properties because if we don’t, the Borough will continue to have empty store fronts in the downtown area and deserted properties
Mayor Sims concluded his letter by encouraging “everyone with concerns and questions to please attend the Land Use Board Meeting.”
To view Mayor Sims’ letter in its entirety, click the image below:
*Post updated on 7/25/2022 at 6:35 p.m.