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Old 01-21-2014, 03:18 PM
Location: Voorhees, NJ
26 posts, read 65,827 times
Reputation: 16


Found this in today's Courier:


Medford looks to boost business
Mayor: Some rules in Route 70 corridor 'obstacles' for merchants, may be eased

Along Route 70 in Medford, motorists can easily miss restaurants and other businesses, even when looking for them.

That’s because regulations dictate shops be set back far from the roadway — 150 feet — and signs are limited in size and height. Now township council wants to make changes that will improve the road’s business climate.

Council will hold a planning board hearing Wednesday night to solicit input as part of a Route 70 corridor study. The study will identify impediments to economic development and recommend remedies.

“Our reputation is that Medford is difficult for business,” said Mayor Christopher Buoni. “We know there are some obstacles, so we are looking at them.

“We’re not in the chase-for-ratables game, but we want to see how we can make it more accessible for business. Often, when you drive along at 50 miles an hour, you don’t know what’s there.”

The mayor said most residents want economic development, especially on historic Main Street downtown. He believes increased Route 70 business would have a positive effect on the downtown.

Buoni said the study will look separately at the two sides of the highway; the southbound side is under Pinelands Commission jurisdiction and also subject to other environmental rules.

Councilman Frank Czekay, a planning board member, said it is important to retain and attract business while preserving the character of Medford.

Council last year loosened its signage ordinance to allow larger signs and more than one roadway sign at a shopping center. Previously, most businesses within a shopping center could post their names on their buildings but not along the roadway.

Many have not yet changed signage.

In the Route 70 highway business zone, buildings are limited in size to 35,000 square feet and must be set back 150 feet from the roadway.

A prior council limited the square footage of commercial buildings to keep big-box stores from the highway zone. That followed a 2006 controversy over a proposed Walmart, which was never built.

Buoni said 100 feet of the setback is controlled by the state Department of Transportation, which bans construction within that distance on either side of the highway.

The agency wants the land available in case it decides to widen the highway.

Setback cutback
The mayor said council was considering ending the 50 feet of additional setback required by local ordinance.

“This long distance creates a visual and functional disconnect between the business and highway traffic, so this and some of the regulations may be limiting growth along Route 70,” said Scott Taylor, president of Taylor Design Inc.

He added Route 70 business has been stable but has shown little growth over recent decades.

Medford has commissioned Taylor Design and its planning board to explore zoning, building size and other concerns along the highway. The planning board eventually will adopt any changes as a re-examination of the township master plan.
What do you think of this?

There is already a comment on FB that asks if they want 70 to look like 38 or 130.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:51 PM
Location: Voorhees, NJ
26 posts, read 65,827 times
Reputation: 16
Default Medford eases Rt. 70 restrictions for business development

Another article from Courier
Medford eases Rt. 70 restrictions for business development

The mayor is now supporting this. Also, according to this article, the 200 foot scenic corridor was implemented when Route 70 was going to built as a freeway, not as a way to keep the area looking green.

I'm personally against the measure. The business's knew what they were getting themselves into when they moved in, as well as the people who live there. I know the measure wasn't put into place so that the area would look nicer, but do we honestly need development there? Medford is known for it's nature. Even when a plaza is built, minimizing tree reduction is taken into consideration. The people who in town are no more than 15 minutes from a shopping center, anyway (70/73, East Gate, Promenade). Medford doesn't NEED to be a business destination.


Neither new shopping centers nor fast-food restaurants are permitted along Route 70 in the Pinelands community of Medford.

Only the smallest of new businesses can locate there because of restrictions on building size.

Those are among scenarios that would change if council approves planning board recommendations for land use modifications intended to add flexibility for business development along Route 70.

The planning board Wednesday endorsed several major changes to allow larger building sizes and eliminate an extra 200-foot scenic corridor setback along approximately 2.8 miles of the mostly two-lane highway.

The road stretches between the Evesham border on the west and Haines Creek past Main Street on the east.

Except for those long grandfathered, most businesses in the area are hard to spot because they are hundreds of feet from the state highway. And if a business owner wanted to expand his building, he could not exceed 35,000 square feet — less than most strip malls.

With the changes, businesses would be able to locate close to the roadway, but would still have to honor buffer zones and local and state highway setback restrictions on structures.

The Wawa on Route 70 in Medford is one of the newer businesses along the highway. While signage restrictions have been relaxed, businesses still must be farther back from the road than in most other towns

Council had asked the planning board to review the township master plan and hired Taylor Design Group of Mount Laurel to perform a study with public input.

The planning board approved the study recommendations following a public hearing in January and another earlier this month, after the planner presented the report.

"The goal is not to significantly increase commercial development and change the character of Medford, but to eliminate the arbitrary limitations of a 35,000-square-foot building and allow the market more flexibility in building size," noted Scott Taylor, vice president of Taylor Design Group.

For example, he said current zoning for highway commercial and highway management districts would allow a developer to put two 30,000-square-foot buildings on a site but would prohibit him from erecting one 40,000 square-foot building.

A major recommendation would triple or quadruple the current square-foot maximum to 100,000 for commercial retail and 125,000 for medical and professional facilities.

That could attract grocery stores, a theater or outpatient medical centers but would eliminate larger big-box stores such as a Super Walmart or Home Depot, which often exceed 100,000 square feet.
Mayor Chris Buoni likes the measures, calling them smart growth development, and doubts other council members will have concerns.

"We want Medford to be a business destination for our own residents," he said. "It is not. They (residents) often have to leave town for businesses and are going to the Promenade in Evesham, to Moorestown Mall or elsewhere for medical services."

According to Buoni, the township has gained a reputation as a difficult place for companies to invest.
"But the flip side is that our people love Medford because it is serene, wooded and quiet. We do not want to change our whole town, so (Route) 70 is a perfect place where businesses can better exist and do it in a way that we can appreciate."

On the setback issue, Taylor said there is still significant state right-of-way on both sides of the highway ranging from 110 to 270 feet. In addition to abandoning the 200-foot scenic corridor setback, the report recommends reducing the regular 100-foot setback by half, to 50 feet.

Taylor added the state never carried out its original plan to make Route 70 into a parkway and the township added the 200-foot scenic corridor years ago.

"When the Pinelands Commission came in and development to the east was severely reduced, the need for a parkway was diminished," he noted.

The few residents who spoke at the hearings took different positions.

Jerry Grey opposed more commercial development on 70, claiming its promise to lower taxes is an "urban myth." He also predicted changes will bring more traffic to an already congested highway.
Planner Taylor later responded, "The planning board believes Route 70 will not be a major destination for retail and bring in out-of-towners.

"The majority of people who will use the area are already on Route 70."
Resident Jeffrey Lucas praised the report. He said not all ratables negatively impact traffic and changes would bring development enhancement.

"It may save me from having to go to Moorestown or Cherry Hill."

Reach Carol Comegno at (856) 486-2473 or ccomegno@cpsj.com

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Old 08-01-2014, 07:54 PM
303 posts, read 297,165 times
Reputation: 613
Makes sense. I live in Mt Laurel and have no reason to visit Medford. Off topic, but I'm always reading of petty crime in that town. What's up with that?
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:42 AM
Location: Voorhees, NJ
26 posts, read 65,827 times
Reputation: 16
But does EVERY town need a reason to be visited? Not every town needs to be a "business central". I just don't get who this will be helping other than the developers. People living in Medford know about the buisness's in Medford. I'd focus more on the downtown mom and pop stores.

Last edited by DS Nightly; 08-02-2014 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:46 AM
Location: Voorhees, NJ
26 posts, read 65,827 times
Reputation: 16
Originally Posted by E-Z-B View Post
Makes sense. Off topic, but I'm always reading of petty crime in that town. What's up with that?
Bored kids with nothing better to do? :/ We occasionally have car break-ins - a line down the street with every unlocked car rummaged through.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:34 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
31,241 posts, read 32,249,123 times
Reputation: 40417
^^ Probably. It happened on my street a couple of times when I lived in Medford, Evesham. I remember the neighbor rushing toward me when I left the house one morning asking if I'd been robbed. Um, no. He'd left a few expensive items in his car and didn't even bother to lock it.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:21 PM
5,634 posts, read 3,293,061 times
Reputation: 7051
Medford is not a business destination, and the businesses there are to support the community. This will not help anyone except some of the business owners (very little at best), and destroy the look of the town.
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