Will Lawrence Declare This Site As Area In Need Of Redevelopment?

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – On March 20, the Lawrence Township Planning Board will be meeting to discuss the preliminary investigation report for 3131 Princeton Pike.

The Board will consider whether this area should be designated as an Non-Condemnation Area In Need of Redevelopment.

The site is located in the central portion of the Township, south of Interstate 295 and to the west of Route 1. Executive Park Plaza Road bisects the study area while serving as a connection to Franklin Corner Road and Princeton Pike.

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Following the discussion, a public hearing will be held.

On Dec. 6, 2022, the Mayor and Township Committee adopted a resolution authorizing the undertaking of the study to determine whether the parcels – Block 3801, Lots 2, 3, 6, 18 and 19 – may be designated as a “Non-Condemnation” Area in Need of Redevelopment.

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By branding it “non-condemnation,” the property can be redeveloped without it being condemned by the township.

The study area dates back to around 1970 and over the past 50 years, different approvals and permits were sought, according to the report prepared by Kyle and McManus Associates (KMA).

For the site to be designated non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment, it has to meets one of eight criteria in the local Redevelopment and Housing Law.

According to the study, two criteria are applicable to the site – Criteria B and Criteria H.

Criteria B refers to discontinued use of building, abandonment of building and significant vacancies.

There are six buildings on the lot which have been experiencing significant vacancies for the past six years. In 2021, 42 percent of the buildings were vacant, according to data provided by the Municipal Assessor’s office.

Since 2019, the assessed value of the site has also decreased by over $12 million, the study noted.

Criterion H is defined as the “designation of the delineated area is consistent with smart growth planning principles adopted pursuant to law or regulation.”

The municipality’s smart growth principles align with the potential redevelopment of the site, according to the study.

“Additionally, the Study Area is in close proximity to I-295, a major interstate connector. By targeting redevelopment efforts in areas with existing public infrastructure, and access to existing transportation networks smart growth principles are met,” the study said. It also noted that there were very limited environmental constraints within the site.

To read the full report, click here. For the Planning Board meeting agenda, click here.

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