BORDENTOWN CITY: City withdraws from Park Street housing plan

Takeover developer did not bring property into conformance with city code

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
   Commissioners have withdrawn a developer’s agreement with the company that took over the Park Street townhouse project.
   Deputy Mayor Lynch made the announcement during the commissioners meeting July 8.
   ”We have withdrawn our developer’s agreement with the BLB Trading Company (of Florida),” Mr. Lynch said. “We signed a developer’s agreement two years ago on following through on Park Street on those four townhouses there that remain unfinished.”
   According to Mr. Lynch, there is some “serious litigation” that was “too lengthy” to talk about at the meeting.
   ”There was a maintenance bond of $260,000 that we have in an account in the city’s name and in the city’s account that was supposed to be used for that particular project,” Mr. Lynch said.
   According to City Solicitor Richard Hunt, of Parker McCay PA, a law firm in Mount Laurel, the developer’s agreement was created in August 2011.
   ”Prior to that time, we were fortunate enough to reach a resolution with the bonding company for the prior developer who had become insolvent to get the funds from the performance bonding company to give to the city,” Mr. Hunt said. “We held that money with the understanding that this takeover developer, BLB, would finish the townhouses and bring the property into performance with our code and city ordinance.”
   Mr. Hunt continued, “Unfortunately, that didn’t take place although there were a lot of assurances that did not happen and after several letters from the city on July 3 under the direction of the City Commission.”
   According to Mr. Hunt, the city sent a letter to BLB and its designated representative, Eastern Pennsylvania Sietz Construction, on July 3 to declare the developer’s agreement “null and void.”
   ”They are being put on potential condemnation action,” Mr. Hunt added. “This frees the city up to take a necessary action to remediate the property and, if necessary, to take over the property. We now hold those funds from the bonding company. That’s still legally the city’s, and we will do what the city has to address that property.”
   Mr. Lynch said, “We will keep you informed as we move forward, but I can tell you that the three of us are not happy with what has transpired from when these buildings were constructed. They have been an eyesore. They have not been conducive to the neighborhood. Trust me, I feel what happened, and I’m not happy. We will proceed to do what we have to do.”
   During the meeting, Mayor Joseph Malone appointed members to the newly formed Housing Committee. They are expected to meet within the next 10 days to two weeks, which would be prior to the next commissioners meeting rescheduled for Aug. 26.