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Over the past year, I listened as many residents and business owners complained about how Cherry Hill Township was not “business friendly” or “community friendly” when it came to our development – or, more specifically, how our planning, zoning, construction and code enforcement processes operated in silos.
Over the past few months, I began looking for ways to improve and streamline the township’s operations, so we can better deliver efficient and cost-effective services for both residents and businesses here in Cherry Hill.
Promoting and improving business development in Cherry Hill, while balancing the concerns of the neighborhoods, is something my administration and I have focused on from the very beginning of taking office. After careful study, we recently implemented a more streamlined approach to planning and development within the township.
With the township council’s full support, last month we merged the offices of community development, code enforcement and building construction into one department under the leadership of our Director of Community Development Paul Stridick.
This will provide our businesses and residents a coordinated hub for all planning, development and construction in the township.
With a more efficient operation, our businesses and developers should save substantial expenses in engineering and legal fees, while speeding up the process, from approvals through construction and occupancy. Combining these departments will provide for greater transparency and make it easier to follow the progress of projects as they proceed through the development process.
My goal is to make Cherry Hill more business friendly, and to continue balancing the needs of both business and neighborhoods. This will provide us with the tools to better market our vacant buildings, our empty office spaces and develop new projects, while making our government friendlier and more responsive.
This integrated process will bring all stakeholders together at the start of a project to identify what permits, licensing and approvals are needed to move forward. By taking these steps up front, at once, we will save time and resources for the township on behalf of our residents, while at the same time, improving the experience for our prospective businesses looking to locate in Cherry Hill.
Cherry Hill’s Department of Community Development will continue to focus on coordinating development throughout the township. The department is guided by the vision of the mayor and administration, along with the township’s master plan, which seeks to balance and create a good pquality of life in Cherry Hill.
The department’s goal is to ensure Cherry Hill remains an attractive place to live and work, while balancing commercial development, preserving our precious environment, and enhancing our sustainability for generations to come.
The township’s new division ensures that all construction work complies with the building code requirements by providing inspections for compliance and by regulating the town’s property maintenance and other zoning standards. Cherry Hill’s building inspectors are dedicated to consistently protecting the general public by providing structural and life safety through the enforcement of ordinances and building codes. The new department housing all of these functions will enable a timelier, more effective response to any and all issues and concerns.
By working together, the combined office will help each applicant progress seamlessly and efficiently through the system to ensure a well-designed, safe, and quality product, whether it’s a small addition to a residential house or a large scale commercial development. This consolidation will make our town less complex and easier to navigate, so that residents and businesses alike know that we care about our community and that Cherry Hill is “open for business.”