Home Depot tries to hide in Wal-Mart’s shadow, hoping that citizens will not consider them as objectionable as a Wal-Mart supercenter. But the fact is, Home Depot is just Wal-Mart with a hammer. The residents of Franklin township, New Jersey, are the latest community to see Home Depot close up. Here is an update citizens in Franklin filed this week with Sprawl-Busters: “Edgewood Properties, owned by Jack Morris, a politically-connected developer, has conned the town planning board and council into including a large commercial development, featuring a Home Depot, as
part of its Affordable Housing Plan submitted to the state’s Council On Affordable Housing (COAH). This despite the fact that the development is to be built on land crossed with tributaries of a category 1 protected stream, wetlands, and habitat for an
endangered species (red-shouldered hawk). This land fronts on a 2-lane state highway already at capacity. We have formed a non-profit citizens group, Franklin Residents Against Improper Development (FRAID), hired an attorney and experts, who testified,
and have filed complaints against both the town council and planning board. Originally, the planning board excluded this project from its affordable housing plan, but then the council and its attorney intimidated the board to get them to agree it should be part of the plan. COAH is reviewing the town’s submission, the law suits are pending, and FRAID will file an objection under COAH. Our web site is www.FRAID2006.org.
This group’s website explains that “Franklin Residents Against Improper Development, FRAID, was organized in December of 2005 to resist the persistent efforts of New Jersey mega-developer, Jack Morris and his company Edgewood Properties, to develop property clearly unsuitable for what is proposed. Specifically, Jack Morris seeks to develop a large tract of land bounded by Bennett’s Lane, Veronica Avenue and State Highway 27, which would include a gas station on the corner of Bennett’s Lane and State Highway 27, a Home Depot plus additional commercial space, and a housing component of over 600 units. Some of these units would be included in Franklin Township’s submission to the state to satisfy its Mount Laurel obligations. It is the contention of FRAID that this area should not be included because it would exacerbate traffic conditions, exacerbate flooding, and take a negative toll on the municipal infrastructure due to the size and scope of the proposal.” For local contacts in Franklin, contact [email protected], or go to the group’s website.