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Housing, shopping, train stop part of Galloway Route 30 project discussion
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Housing, shopping, train stop part of Galloway Route 30 project discussion


GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — A multimillion-dollar, mixed-use commercial and residential project at Pomona Road and the White Horse Pike is consistent with the township’s master plan, the nine-member Planning Board unanimously agreed at a recent meeting.

Also discussed during the meeting was the promising possibility of a train station nearby, a concept that while not new, may have a more serious chance this time, officials said.

The project is called Pomona Commons, which will appear on a future agenda of the Township Committee, which will decide whether to enter into a redevelopment agreement with the developer, ARK Innovations LLC.

The land is currently zoned highway commercial. Pomona Commons would be mixed use with some residential and some commercial, including a grocery store, according to conceptual plans.

Pomona Commons would offer both market-rate and affordable housing and commercial and office uses, said Jen Heller, a planner for the township’s Planning and Zoning boards.

There will be a mix of for-sale and rental housing. Twenty percent of the for-sale housing and 20% of the rental housing are required to be affordable, said Emily K. Givens, the township’s redevelopment counsel.

The land where the project is proposed is currently owned by the Diocese of Camden and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Givens said.

Givens said she believes the area is in need of redevelopment, and the proposed project is consistent with the township’s master plan.

Since the meeting was only to determine whether the proposal fits the master plan, neighbors who live within 200 feet of the project were not notified of the June 3 meeting.

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Planning Board member Don Purdy said residents should know what is being planned in their backyard. Member Anthony Coppola, who also is on the Township Committee, said residents will be notified during the project’s site plan process.

The Pomona Commons plans include 100 parking spaces for the possibility of a train station nearby, Andrew Kennedy, managing partner of ARK Innovations, said after the meeting.

Planning Board Chair Ken Sooy asked whether NJ Transit is committed to the station. There have been some recent discussions, Givens said.

Stockton University, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey all have an interest in seeing a rail station in the Pomona section of the township, Coppola said.

Even though the idea of a train station stop in the township has been talked about as long ago as 1969 and again in 1987, nothing has come as far along as the current talks, Coppola said.

Coppola also brought up the sanctuary, also known as the grotto, on the southeast corner of Pomona Road and the pike where the old Assumption Church once stood.

When it came time for the public to speak, Anna Jezycki, a fixture at Galloway’s public meetings, said the diocese may not have any money to move the sanctuary, and the sanctuary may not even be able to be moved.

“It’s not officially a place of worship,” Jezycki said, while noting there is no place to light a candle besides the grotto. “We need spiritual things more than ever.”

Coppola, Deputy Mayor Mary Crawford, who is also on the Planning Board, and Mayor Jim Gorman have all expressed a desire to preserve the grotto, Givens said.

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