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Jackson planners approve Phase II of Adventure Crossing project

JACKSON – The Jackson Planning Board has granted amended site plan approval for Phase II of Cardinale Enterprises’ Jackson Crossing 2/Adventure Crossing project.

The approval came during a meeting on March 8. The board members were present in the Jackson municipal building with several of the applicant’s professional representatives.

Other professional representatives of the applicant were at remote locations from where they were able to participate in the meeting.

The meeting was live-streamed and members of the public were able to view the proceedings and offer comments on the application.

Following hours of testimony and public comment, a motion was made to approve the amended site plan.

Voting “yes” on the motion were Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak, Vice Chairman Leonard Haring Jr.,  Jackson Business Administrator Terence Wall, Township Councilman Martin Flemming, Michele Campbell, Timothy Dolan, Andrew Jozwicki Joseph Riccardi, Jeffrey Riker and Anthony Luisi.

“This is a permitted use and it is in line with the Jackson master plan,” Hudak said.

Jackson Crossing 2/Adventure Crossing is being developed on Route 537 between Interstate 195 and Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson.

Phase I of the project (90 acres) broke ground in July 2018 and consists of fast food and sit-down restaurants, a convenience store with a gas station, two hotels, a recreation building, four outdoor sports fields and an Air Dome building with a sports bar, party rooms, an arcade and physical therapy space, according to previous testimony.

Regarding Phase II (72 acres), the applicant was seeking to amend a prior approval in the following manner:

• Consolidate two approved warehouse buildings totaling 745,000 square feet into one warehouse building totaling 618,000 square feet;

• Eliminate a planned recreation building totaling 450,600 square feet and replace that building with a warehouse building totaling 384,377 square feet.

The two warehouse buildings that were eventually approved by the board will total slightly more than one million square feet.

Phase III of the project will be a mix of residential and commercial uses according to the General Development Plan for Adventure Crossing, according to planner Ian Borden, who represents Cardinale Enterprises.

Cardinale Enterprises was represented during the March 8 meeting by attorney Salvatore Alfieri, traffic engineer John Rea, engineer Graham MacFarlane and Borden.

Alfieri said the revised plan was fully compliant with municipal ordinances.

Borden said no variances or waivers were being requested.

Regarding a review of the Phase II plan from a traffic angle, Rea said the jurisdiction of Route 537 (also known as Monmouth Road) is somewhat complicated.

“The center line of Route 537 runs between Jackson (Ocean County) on the east side and Millstone Township (Monmouth County) on the west side, but the way the jurisdiction breakdown occurs here is that Monmouth County maintains the road (and) maintains jurisdiction over the road,” Rea said.

The Cardinale Enterprises site is in Jackson.

“Both counties are involved in the review of the site plan application (and) the traffic improvements that are proposed for the access points to Route 537. We have joint jurisdiction and both county engineering departments are reviewing the plans, so we have a good level of detail,” Rea said.

There were 87 residents viewing the meeting. During public comment that lasted almost three hours, residents voiced concerns about traffic, the effect of the project on the environment and what they called the over-development of this rural area of Jackson.

Resident Joyce Jolliffe asked questions about the site plan and said, “I would like to put the township on notice that Holly Tree Court, as well as Perrineville Road and Anderson Road, gets severe flooding.

“Therefore, we would like to know since this project is built up higher than us, how will they prevent flooding? … We get severe flooding because of poor grading on the street already and no proper drainage from the town. So how will the town, as well as this project, prevent us from getting underwater?” Jolliffe said.

Alfieri said the applicant’s representatives would be able to address the drainage impact of the development, but were not qualified to talk about off-site issues.

MacFarlane responded to Jolliffe and said, “All drainage will remain internal, all runoff will remain internal to the site (and will be) collected by two detention basins. (Water will be) discharged to the freshwater wetlands and there will be no drainage directed off-site to Anderson Road.”

In the wake of the board’s approval of Phase II of Adventure Crossing, the Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter issued a press release taking issue with the decision.

Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, was quoted in the press release stating, “Once again, Jackson has approved another massive development without listening to public input or looking at environmental impacts. Adventure Crossing … will impact fragile ecosystems, pave over wetlands and result in more flooding and more pollution.”

According to Tittel, during Phase II, 72 acres of undisturbed forest will need to be cleared to make way for several warehouse distribution centers that will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The Planning Board failed to really look at the traffic impact of this project. It will mean more traffic and pollution in this already over-developed area. … Building this project will mean more storm water runoff, flooding and water pollution in an area with two Category 1 streams. It will destroy the wetlands in the area that protects the Toms River and Crosswicks Creek, and will pollute Barnegat Bay,” Tittel said.

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