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Twp. Wins Again in Westmont Theatre Case

from The Retrospect

On Tuesday, Haddon Township’s governing body received another ruling in its favor for severing a redevelopment contract involving the Westmont Theatre.
Haddon Township Mayor Randy Teague welcomed the news and said the commissioners will continue to pursue development of the theater.

The U.S. Court of Appeals decision lays blame for the failed contract on former redeveloper Westmont Development Group, LLC (WDG), which had been formed by Philadelphia promoter Joanna Pang.
The decision notes that the agreement between the town and WDG required a “redevelopment project plan” by Sept. 23, 2004. In the court’s view, “WDG did not submit a project plan by that deadline or at any time thereafter.” That alone placed Pang’s group in default, the ruling says.
The ruling also notes that the township liberally granted extensions, which would have been under former mayor Bill Park’s administration, for a project plan to be submitted by WDG. Pang’s group, however, submitted extensive conceptual plans for the town’s planning board. According to Tuesday’s ruling, however, WDG never submitted any of those conceptual plans for consideration by the commissioners as the project plan.
The opinion further states, “WDG was in default of the agreement for more than two years before Mayor Teague’s administration took office.”
Currently, Teague said, at last three groups remain interested in the theater. He said he plans to meet with Allen Hauss of grassroots group Neighbors Celebrating the Westmont (NCW), which formed to turn the theater back into a performance venue. NCW developed a business plan, which it has discussed with Teague already. The group has decided to unveil details of the plan when the township announces what it intends to do with the theater.
The NCW plan includes creating a non-profit entity to manage the theater and book shows at the 1,200-seat venue. Potentially a parking structure could be built at the site, too.
Also interested, Teague said, is Fieldstone Associates, developer of the DyDee site, which informed him some time ago that its proposal for the theater still stands. Fieldstone envisioned dinner theater, retail and housing units.
A third entity, The Goodman Group, is also in the running.
Teague said that yet another group, representing an international Chinese dance company, has not submitted anything but had toured the theater.
Teague expects the commissioners will discuss what to do with the theater and whether to do another round request for qualifications at an upcoming caucus meeting.

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6 Responses

  1. Happy to read about Westmont Theatre. Hope the mayor and commissioners choose wisely with redeveloping the theatre. They should consider someone other than Fieldstone. Let Fieldstone handle only the DyDee location. The mayor and commissioners should keep in mind the Lumberyard fiasco in Collingswood, although the DyDee site is a better location than the Lumberyard. Also in the Retrospect there was a nice ad for the Haddon Township Town-Wide Yard Sale. Why is there a $10 application fee? Since it is town-wide it should be free. Will Ms. Burns drive around town to check on everyone who has items for sale to verify if they applied for the application? What will be done with the monies collected from town-wide yard sale?

  2. A $10 fee is charged for all yard sales.

  3. I should have added that to hold a “legal” yard sale, you have to purchase a $10 permit. Yes, it’s a way to make money but it’s also a way to keep your neighbor from selling stuff on your lawn each week.

  4. Anyone having a yard sale should have a permit. However this is a town wide yard sale and it should be done as a day for neighbors to come out and have a good time and maybe make some money if they have items to sell. For something such as this the permit should be waved. Will someone be around on May 8, to check that everyone with items on their lawn has a permit. Audubon just had one on April 10, will verify if permit was needed.

  5. sean the fee is $5 on the form if you are holding your own yard sale on the twp web site so why not apply with the twp form and save 5 bucks

  6. Jim, you are right, the fee is only $5 to hold your own, I assumed wrong. I don’t know why they are charging $10. I know they are advertising it but the extra $5 seems a lot. I could understand if a few neighbors got together on their block and charged $5 extra, as advertising in the Courier Post, with a few lines, will set you back $40 but an extra $5 for the whole township seems out of order.

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