Monty Planning Board Reviews Redevelopment Plans for Rt 206/518 Corner
By Barbara A. Preston | March 3, 2022
The Montgomery Planning Board reviewed a redevelopment plan for the Route 206/518 intersection on Monday.
“We have declared that an area in need of a re-development study, and perhaps condemnation,” Montgomery Administrator Donato Nieman told The Montgomery News.
The boarded-up doors of this abandoned office building have now been pried open by vandals and the exterior is spray-painted.
Planner Lori Savron says the township has begun the official redevelopment process. A 70-page document titled “Phase 1 Gateway Redevelopment” is available at www.montgomerynj.gov.
This preliminary investigation is focused on one property in particular — the old Princeton Gamma-Tech Instruments tract is located behind Wawa, near the ShopRite shopping center.
The Montgomery Township Committee is considering it as a “condemnation redevelopment area,”such that “the use of the power of eminent domain could be used, should it be so designated,” according to the 70-page document.
Mayor Devra Keenan told the business community a recent meeting that, “We need to address this. It has been an eyesore and a problem for many, many years. So let’s get it done.”
The decrepit gas station on the other corner, next to Tiger’s Tale, is also included in the redevelopment area. It was not, however, the focus of the February 28 meeting.
The study has been broken into segments with the most needy properties to be prioritized.
The Princeton Gamma-Tech Instruments, Inc. Tract
The 38,055-square-foot two-story condemned office building that is caving in on itself sits on a three-acre, weedy parking lot behind Wawa. It has been like that for almost a decade now. It is a Superfund site, which complicates matters.
The interior of the abandoned office building is spray-painted, and littered with empty beer cans and alcohol bottles. Ultimately, Montgomery governing officials hope to lay the groundwork to clean up and redevelop the property.
The township construction official had issued a Notice of Imminent Hazard ordering the demolition of the building by August 12, 2020. To date, the building has not been demolished.
The township health department issued a Notice of Violation for public health issues at a vacant property. During a June 30, 2021 site visit, the health department determined: “The building is not fully secured. Doors and windows were observed open. This is providing rodent harborage. There is graffiti spray-painted on the building, [both inside and out], which means this site is already attracting trespassers.”
On May 22, 2020, the Honorable Margaret Goodzeit ordered that property be declared an abandoned property.
The property was placed on the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites in September 1983 based on the detection of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the groundwater. One of the groundwater treatment facilities is located on the Princeton Gamma-Tech property.
In 2020, the EPA conducted its third five-year review of the site and concluded the remedies were still functioning as intended.
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If the Planning Board determines the Gamma-Tech property meets the requirements to become a re-development site with condemnation, the next step would be to hold a hold a public hearing. Notices for the hearing are required to be published in the newspaper of record and a notice mailed to the last owner of record.
Once the hearing has been completed, the planning board makes a recommendation to the township committee. The township committee may then adopt a resolution determining that the delineated area, or a portion, is to be redeveloped. ■