State Bank to Give Woolwich Funding for Development Plans

by Robert Holt

woolwich twp webWOOLWICH TWP. — During the Woolwich Township Committee meeting on Sept. 21, Director of Community Development Matt Blake announced that the State Bank Board approved $5 million for the community’s Transfer of Developmental Rights plans.

The money was contingent upon Woolwich Township cost-sharing at least $2 million toward the auction. Also, the State Agriculture Development Committee has to approve final auction mechanics and deed restriction language.

TDR programs are designed to encourage a shift in growth away from open space regions of a municipality to development designated areas. Landowners in areas where land use is restricted are allowed to sell their development rights. Development credits are given to sending area parcels based on pre-existing zoning and environmental restrictions and other criteria.

Purchasers of the development credits then may use them to build in a designated growth area at a higher density than is normally allowed in a town’s zoning ordinance. The State Bank aids the buying and selling of credits by acting as a clearinghouse.

The auction allows real estate companies to bid on developmental rights for the properties. Woolwich Township hopes to hold the auction before the end of the year, according to Blake. Woolwich has already given landowners the option to be placed on a registry of people interested in selling their credits.

And plans are in the works for Logan Township to extend its sewer treatment facility, erasing a big stumbling block to development progress. Logan Administrator Lyman Barnes commented, “Sewage treatment capacity has been a limiting factor for growth for years in Logan and Woolwich.”

Barnes added that companies looking to expand their facilities could buy the necessary capacity.

Elsewhere, Blake reported that the United States Department of Agriculture has approved Woolwich to enter into a 25-year agreement to receive payments for establishing and maintaining a grassland/wildflower meadow in a recreational trail system at the Palladino property and back fields at LaPalamento Park.

The LaPalomento Family Park is at High Hill Park on High Hill Road, while Palladino back fields are west of LaPalomento Park. The USDA will provide guidance in establishing the meadow, and is currently studying how to determine the proper seed mix.

Blake reported that Woolwich would receive an initial payment to install the meadow, and annual payments to maintain it. He also noted that the USDA’s approval could not have happened without the help of local resident and farmer Gary Stecher. Stecher provided crop history and other information.

In ordinances, the Committee approved the appropriation of $12,485 for Public Works equipment, and they authorized $375,000 for various 2015 road improvements by and in Woolwich Township.

The Committee tabled an ordinance that would amend part of the township code for Parks and Recreation. Increases in fees to children’s sports leagues for field usage would be involved, and representatives from local non-profits came to the meeting questioning the costs.

In resolutions, the Committee appointed Woolwich Police Sgt. Richard Jaramillo to the position of Police Chief. Mayor Sam Maccarone called it a “good, good decision, and wished Jaramillo luck on Jan. 1.”

The Committee also established and made appointments to a Green Team Advisory Committee. “Now we will obtain a bronze certification from Sustainable Jersey,” remarked Blake. “That will help us gain points on future grants.”

One member added was Dr. Richard Chapas, a University of Delaware professor who teaches a Sustainability/Green Business course.
In her school district report, Committeewoman Jennifer Cavallaro listed 1,729 students under enrollment in the Swedesboro/Woolwich School District which is under the total number previously projected for this school year, and an average classroom size of about 20. “School building projects are on hold for now, and may be considered later,” she added.

For Streets and Roads, Committeeman Jon Fein reported that they were able to secure salt for the area for 2016 at 2015 rates. “Winter is coming,” Fein forewarned. “But I hope we never have to use it.”

One Response

  1. Robert,

    Good coverage! I think it important to also stress that the $5 million grant received from the State of New Jersey, along with the required $2 million match from the Township, will be used to preserve farmland and open space within the community – not to fund development plans. Under the Twp’s TDR program, which was established in 2008, about 3,000 acres will be preserved in perpetuity, in addition to the 2,000 acres already preserved. Yes, developers can buy TDR credits to build at higher densities in the Rt. 322 Regional Center, but that development also pays for open space and farmland preservation, thus saving Twp taxpayers a lot of money. In addition, the development being fostered by the TDR program within the Center, will adhere to rigorous design standards, and will occur in the right place and in the right way. By concentrating development to where it makes sense, the Regional Center will be more attractive to new job-creating businesses, and a wider variety of commercial and retail tenants that wouldn’t otherwise locate within the Township without more rooftops and consumers in place, which will generate important taxable ratables.

    Landowner’s who have been allocated TDR credits within the “Sending” or preservation area, will be able to voluntarily participate in the so-called reversed auction, where they can offer to sell their credits for purchase by the Township for later sale to developers for use in the Center. Residents can expect to learn more about the TDR credit auction in the upcoming Twp Newsletter, which should go out by the end of the month or early November. In the coming weeks, letters will also be sent to Sending Area landowners who own TDR credits, and provide them with much more detailed information, including dates for public information sessions being planned prior to the auction.


    Matt Blake, Director of Community Development
    Woolwich Township

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