Proposed Metuchen Sportsplex Developers Continue Their Case to the Zoning Board

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Recycland went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment last night to provide further testimony with regard to their desired indoor sports facility, which would transform the abandoned warehouse adjacent to the facilities at Vidas Park. (See earlier posts regarding this property)  Civil and traffic engineering plans were presented.

 

First to testify was Steve Coppola, a civil engineer from Bohler Engineering in Warren, NJ, who spoke primarily about the exterior layout of the facility - the landscaping, signage, parking, access roads, lighting, and storm-water drainage.  Board member Daniel Spiegal voiced concern over parking lot access and pedestrian safety; he would like consideration of a one-way loop throughout the two primary lots as he feels it would help protect children getting in and out of cars.  The developer agreed to consider the suggestion with his engineers and report back to the board.

A very interesting aspect of the overall construction plan is the development of a roadway that would lead from Durham Avenue through the length of the Sportsplex property in phase one development, and eventually run all the way through to Middlesex Avenue (next to the Somerset Bank building).  A request of the Borough and not part of the developer's original plan, this thoroughfare would presumably go a long way in alleviating traffic congestion on Central Ave and would provide an easy departure route for customers returning to 287.   

 

There was a lot of discussion about the proposed road and the traffic easement it could provide.  But, with the lot between the warehouse and the bank not yet being considered for development, neither the board nor the planner was certain that completion of the road at this time was prudent.  All agreed it needed more consideration.  

 

Landscaping plans on the property call for 47 shade trees, 12 evergreens, over 100 shrubs, 200 ground covers, and almost 800 perennials.  The trees planted along the Hampton side of the property would be planted higher up on the hill - before the property begins its dip down toward the building.  This is intended to provide residents a tree-view that will somewhat block the side of the building.  

 

Charles Olivo of Atlantic Traffic Design Engineering discussed the results of a traffic impact analysis.  He studied the five intersections in town that would be most impacted by the projected traffic to the site with consideration given to projected borough development and traffic changes. 

 

In order to quantify the number of trips per use at the facility, two Sportsplex facilities were studied for traffic volume at peak and non-peak times.  Data showed that peak use is between 8:00 - 11:00 pm weeknights and midday on Saturdays, not during rush hours.  At weeknight peak hours, an average of 68 additional vehicles per hour are expected on the road and for Saturday midday, that number goes up to 208 additional vehicles per hour.  This volume amounts to volume increases of 3.5% at affected intersections during peak and <1% at off-peak hours.

 

Jim Constantine recommended that the traffic engineer review and leverage the DOT traffic studies that have recently been conducted for town.   

 

Regarding Mr. Spiegel's concerns about pedestrian safety, Mr. Olivo suggested extra lot signage and low-growing plants but did not see 2-way circulation through the parking lots to be a safety concern.  He also pointed out that a sidewalk leading from Durham Ave to the front entrance would further enhance pedestrian safety.     

 

Board Member Suzanne Andrews questioned when the NJDEP case worker for this property, Linda Taylor, might come before the board to answer public questions about the lingering environmental concerns.  Property owner Stuart Schooler advised that Ms Taylor and/or her supervisor, Mark Pederson, would respond to an invitation to appear from the board.  Board attorney Robert Munoz advised he would send the invitation.

 

Mr. Munoz also advised the developer that Mr. G. Windos of Robins Place has hired an attorney and planner to testify on his behalf as an objector to the Metuchen I, LLC application. No further details were provided at this time.

3 Comments

Just get it done already, approve this thing.

The folks speaking out against it have an agenda, they are not concerned about Metuchen but are concerned about protecting a different devleoper.

Or else this will continue to be another eyesore adding no new revenue to the town. We need to stop driving businesses away from town, the same folks trying to stop devleopment in Metuchen are usually the same folks whining about how high are taxes are. Let them keep whining, and let the development happen.

I probably agree. If the town wants it, the sooner that road is completed all the way through to Middlesex, the better. Hopefully, the traffic department will address the lefts out of Vidas and the sportsplex. Maybe consolidating them to a single access point would help.

I don't see how this road is going to help anyone other than sportsplex patrons who want to avoid having to turn left onto Durham from the sportsplex. If it's not going to be connected to Middlesex right away, it is not going to be of immediate help to them either.

If you are coming North on New Durham/Middlesex to turn left on Central, that is usually not a problem. You can drive right past the long line of people waiting to go straight through and make your left. Who would bother to cut through the sportsplex complex to get to Durham? If you wanted to get to Durham from New Durham you would have used John Street or gone directly onto Durham at the fork by the gas station.

It does seem like that will be a dangerous left turn out of the sportsplex, but there is currently a similar bad left turn situation out of the Vidas Park parking lot.

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  • Anonymous: Just get it done already, approve this thing. The folks read more
  • stuartdschooler: I probably agree. If the town wants it, the read more
  • Anonymous: I don't see how this road is going to help read more

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