A 90-bed addictions rehabilitation clinic will not be built on the Masonic lodge property on Haddonfield-Berlin Road, following a tentative agreement between Cherry Hill Township and Advanced Recovery Systems announced Monday afternoon.
Neighbors objected to locating the rehabilitation facility there when the plan was announced by the Florida-based clinic chain in February.
The township also opposed that location for the clinic and applied this year for funds from Camden County to purchase the former USS New Jersey Masonic Lodge No. 62 and preserve the site as open space.
"It was not a suitable site for any type of development," Bridget Palmer, the township's director of communications, said Monday. The clinic would have served people with addictions and eating disorders.
Under the tentative agreement, the township and county would pay Advanced Recovery Systems $300,000 for the right of purchase the company had with the Masons, and pay the Masons $1.4 million for the property.
The company's legal counsel, Baron & Brennan of Voorhees, could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
In a news release, Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn said the agreement "achieves the best possible outcome for our community, our residents, and the various stakeholders involved."
The township plans to demolish the building at the site and preserve the property as open space and for recreational use, according to the news release.
In turn, the chain, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., would open its proposed clinic in the vacant Baker Lanes property on Cuthbert Boulevard.
"They're two separate sites. The Masonic lodge is not an area in need of redevelopment. The Baker Lanes site is," said Palmer, noting that the company received no tax incentives to develop its project at the site of the shuttered bowling alley.
The terms were up for a vote of the Cherry Hill Township Council on Monday evening. The Camden County Board of Freeholders is to vote Thursday on the request to allocate open space funds to Cherry Hill's purchase of the Masonic lodge.
The agreement would end a lawsuit filed by Advanced Recovery Systems several months ago seeking default approval for the rehabilitation facility.
The clinic developer sued Cherry Hill, charging that the township had failed to respond to the company's application for the project within the legally required time. Township officials denied that.