Saturday, August 27, 2005

More on Petty's Island

A few weeks back (I really am behind in my blogging,) Mayor Jack Killion of Pennsauken and the Cherokee Investment developers put forth their new, detailed proposal for Petty's Island. 1000 homes (condo, townhome and single-family,) a golf course, hotel, and shopping are all on the new map township officials would like to draw for this brownfield island overlooking Philadelphia. The Courier-Post has a map in their article here.

Even though the size of the development has been scaled down from half to a third of the island, bad publicity seems to be hounding the proposal, and the pro-development folks are feeling the strain. From the C-P: " "For one day, gives us a little credit. We're trying to improve the future of Pennsauken," an impassioned Mayor Jack Killion said during a news conference at the municipal building."

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: " "Would you rather have this?" asked Killion, pointing to an enlarged photo of the huge oil storage tanks and industrially scarred land. "Or would you rather have this?" he asked, gesturing to the developer's rendering of the island. "... We know this is 1,000 times better." This shock tactic is silly, since no matter what, Citgo will be required to clean up their mess; they just want to donate the island so they can do it while avoiding as many fines as possible.

There are other ways to improve the future of Pennsauken. Substantial parts of this Southern Jersey town are in need of redevopment, which could benefit more residents. The new homes on the island would be out of range for current township residents; C-P article quotes a resident who states the price of the housing would be "way too steep" for most to afford. At the very very least, the development could be clustered in one area of the island, instead of fragmenting the habitats of the island's wildlife.

After Pennsauken has 30 days to review the information from Cherokee, other regulatory agencies can weigh in on the plan. It is expected that the Department of Environmental Protection will revise the size of the development but they're not making any statements yet.

Since this has all started, the eagles that were at the heart of all the controversy have moved on. I guess they were tired of hearing all the politicians squawk. Unfortunately, they've moved to Camden's Cramer Hill, where a development project is being planned by... none other than Cherokee Investment.

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