A weekly update of stories previously reported

Three and a half years ago: Pinelands Commission issues violations to Buena Vista Township

Construction at some of Buena Vista Township’s biggest destinations, including the train station at Richland Village and the Saw Mill and Michael Debbi parks, have been slowed for a few years as the township works to resolve an issue with the Pinelands Commission.

The state agency filed multiple violations to the township dating to 2009 for performing infrastructure improvements without first receiving proper permitting. The township must now redo some of the work and do additional planning for the sites before any new work can be done, Mayor Sue Barber said. This includes new playground equipment at Michael Debbi Park and sidewalks along Saw Mill Park.

The Township Committee replaced its auditor, attorney and engineer at the January reorganization meeting, Barber said, which she hopes will bring a quick resolution to the problem. Committeeman Chuck Chiarello, who was ousted as mayor in 2011 following a political split with other committee members, said the body must work quickly to approve funds to do the work to resolve the problem.

Barber said she does not have an estimate on the cost of the additional work, but resident and environmental activist Mark Demitroff — who is working with the committee on this issue — estimates it will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Richland Village, a tourist attraction on Route 40 that includes businesses and a train station, had been hailed as a successful development project in the township — especially within the Pinelands —- but Demitroff said the issues with the planning have caused more costs than originally realized.

Barber said the township bonded nearly $1 million dollars to purchase more land in Richland Village between 2004 and 2005 and the plan was to seek a developer to buy the site. But since the economy slowed down in recent years many businesses have closed. 

Pinelands spokesman Paul Leaken said communication with the township is going well and they are working on a solution.

One year ago: Success of Northfield business causes headaches from neighbors

Carluccio’s Coal Fired Pizza opened a year ago on Tilton Road in Northfield to more success than its parking lot could handle.

As the pizza place grew in popularity, residents had to deal with customers parking in front of their homes on neighboring streets as the parking lot of 15 spaces wasn’t enough to handle everyone.

City Council President Lisa Brown said city officials have spoken with Carluccio’s owner Carlo Citera, who reached an agreement to have his employees park in a neighboring business’ lot at night.

Council is considering a bill to make the first three homes on Davis Avenue next to Carluccio’s residential parking only. The bill will be voted on April 9.

“It’s a good compromise,” she said. “We are very fortunate to have a very successful business in Northfield. (Citera’s) doing everything he can to alleviate the situation for the city and we as a council have to do our part to help the residents.”

Seventeen months ago: Group forced to leave Shore Mall

For six years, the South Jersey Garden Railway Society had more than 100,000 people view its free model train display at the Shore Mall, but the organization had to leave in October 2011 when a new tenant moved in.

Anita Brown, president of the club, said the deal for the new tenant actually fell through and the club was invited back, but the group had already torn down its large exhibits.

“We really missed the mall and particularly the children who ran Thomas the Tank and marveled at the layouts,” the Absecon resident said.

The members now all meet at each other’s homes monthly, and the group is discussing holding open houses for the public.

The society will hold an open house for its displays and a tutorial for the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at The Green Planet Nursery, 1022 Monroeville Road in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County.

For more information, visit www.trainweb.org/sjgrs

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