Double Bubble: Approved Ordinances Progress New Sports Facility Plans

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This week the Borough Council adopted a second ordinance facilitating development of a new athletic facility in town.  Metuchen resident Jeff Josell plans to develop an indoor sports complex near Prospect and High Streets and got the go-ahead from Council on Monday night. Slightly modified from the first proposal, changes now exclude sports that have been deemed dangerous such as archery and firing ranges, as well as facilities for ice skating or skate boarding.

The proposed complex is a private venture for profit, funded solely by Josell's company. Josell said the structure would not be a "huge revenue-generating facility." When the project was first under consideration, Josell explained that he was driven primarily by a "love of soccer. I have two kids who love soccer, and this will give them a place to play," Josell said. "I will do everything within my means to give all Metuchen sports access to this facility."

Councilman-Elect Justin Manley expressed complete support for Josell's proposal, the subject of some debate throughout the '08 elections,.  Believing the proposed development site is underutilized and "an eyesore," Manley sees the project as one that would benefit local sports teams and bring in out-of-town teams and fans for practices and tournaments. "This proposal is further proof of the desirability of our town to new businesses," said Manley.

 

An ordinance in October also made possible an additional multi-use sports facility near Vidas Park.  Recycland LLC, a firm from Bethesda, Maryland, operating as Metuchen I LLC, plans to build a sports complex with indoor soccer fields and a sport court surface for basketball, volleyball and in-line hockey, on what is now in and around an abandoned warehouse. This former New Jersey Superfund site, rehabilitated in 1997, consists of 17 acres altogether.  (Soil remediation required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection occurred years ago when the package was first purchased.)  The premises abut Durham Avenue adjacent to the Lehigh Valley Railroad right of way and Vidas Park. This is considered a Light Industrial Zone, meaning that recreation facilities are permitted as a conditional use.

 

On November 25th, the Metuchen Zoning Board of Adjustment will meet at 8 p.m. in Borough Hall to hear Recycland's requests regarding preliminary and final site plan approvals for the Metuchen I project--Recycland paid to meet with the Board to address additional concerns. Also on the agenda are Metuchen Land Development Ordinances concerning building signs and the area being within 500 feet of residential neighborhoods and the existing fields.

 

 

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