NBC10.com - Rosemary Connors
The latest salvo in the battle over the future of the Woodcrest Country Club comes from the South Jersey developer who is suing Cherry Hill Township in order to build more than 800 homes on the property. NBC10's Rosemary Connors has more in the "war over Woodcrest."
A 150 acre golf course is at the center of a dispute between Cherry Hill officials and a local developer.
Last Spring, the First Montgomery Group bought the Woodcrest Country Club for $10.1 million at a bankruptcy auction. The conflict began however, when First Montgomery announced its plans to build over 800 homes on the golf course.
“They went public and said from the beginning that they were interested in this as a golf course,” said Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn. “And they told our residents that. They went back on their word and now they’re talking about the development of 840 homes.”
First Montgomery officials are now suing Cherry Hill Township and insist they have a fundamental right to build the homes, which they claim are needed in order to fulfill Cherry Hill’s Affordable Housing obligation by law.
A spokesperson for First Montgomery told the Courier Post that the Woodcrest Country Club property has been “included in Cherry Hill’s affordable-housing plan since Cherry Hill executed a 1993 consent order (to settle an affordable-housing lawsuit).”
Mayor Cahn sent a letter on Friday to Cherry Hill residents claiming the developer “has spewed nothing but lies and deceit.” He also said the township “will not be threatened by school yard bully tactics.”
Those who oppose the development plan fear it would bring too much congestion to the area. The golf course is located at the already busy intersection of Evesham and Haddonfield Berlin roads.
A spokesperson with First Montgomery told NBC10 that the town’s opposition is “an abuse of power and exhaustion of taxpayer resources.” The email also highlighted First Montgomery’s Community Outreach, which includes charitable outings at the golf course, access for a high school team and discounts to the police, fire and military.
“We are the good guys,” the spokesperson insisted.
First Montgomery officials need zoning approval from the township planning board in order to build the homes. In their lawsuit, First Montgomery officials are asking the state court to intervene and allow zoning for development. Meanwhile, Cherry Hill officials told the Courier Post they would “exhaust every avenue” at their disposal to stop the development on the golf course.