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Jackson planners approve Phase 3 of Adventure Crossing project

JACKSON – Members of the Jackson Planning Board have approved Phase 3 of the Jackson Crossing 2/Adventure Crossing project.

The board’s approval was granted during a special meeting that was held on July 26.

Jackson Crossing 2/Adventure Crossing is being developed on Route 537 between Interstate 195 and the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson, near the Millstone Township border.

Phase 3 proposed residential and commercial uses at the site, according to the General Development Plan for Adventure Crossing and planner Ian Borden, who represents the developer, Cardinale Enterprises.

Adventure Crossing Phase 3 was the subject of a Planning Board public hearing on June 21 and then at a special meeting on July 26.

Cardinale Enterprises was represented by attorney Salvatore Alfieri, affordable housing expert and planner Art Bernard, traffic engineer John Rea, and Borden.

The Phase 3 application proposed the construction of 480 apartments (48 of which will be designated as affordable housing and/or as housing for individuals who have special needs), plus a clubhouse and 61,700 square feet of commercial space. All of the proposed uses are permitted in the Route 537 zone.

Resident Vincent Scatuccio submitted his own feasibility study entitled “What Adventure Crossing USA Could Be” prior to the meeting and was accepted by the administrator. He spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I want to thank the board for consideration of the feasibility study. I have been in Jackson for about 10 years and I consider it what I call an unincorporated town. Jackson does not have any town center, as you would say. We all live in different places and we have to drive basically where we want to go in Jackson,” Scatuccio said.

Scatuccio has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and worked in the civil engineering field of construction for more than 40 years. He is now retired.

He called Adventure Crossing “a good project for the most part” and said, “I think it has an opportunity to become a town center. The concept is a very good one, but it doesn’t bring the town together. What I am proposing is basically a flip, flip Phase 2 with phases 3 and 4. We are not thinking about the community.

“By flipping Phase 2, which is basically the warehouses, with Phase 3 (new housing), you start to develop a neighborhood. This neighborhood could be expanded to the Anderson Road community. It would expand not just to the retail (uses) and restaurants, all being developed currently in Phase 2.

“You could also have if you move the apartments to phases 3 and 4 where the warehouses are, the people now have access to all the restaurants, everything that is going on in Phase 1. They would also have access to the (Jackson outlet mall), which is right across the street,” Scatuccio said.

He said there would be greater pedestrian access to the Adventure Crossing sports complex, hotels and restaurants.

“It is a half-mile walk from the Phase 2 housing to the Taco Bell. Who is going to walk that on gravel? OK, yes, you put the road in and people can drive there. If you move the community and switch it around, you have access to everything in one location. If you move it there will be less truck traffic,” Scatuccio said.

He called the way the Adventure Crossing phases were planned by the developer a “mish-mosh.”

However, the only issue before the board on July 26 was Phase 3, so Scatuccio’s proposed shifting of phases was off the table.

“Everybody has ideas,” board member Michele Campbell said. “And some people, especially people in the professions, certainly have a right to express their ideas. Unfortunately, we have to look at things as they come before this board, and this board has already approved sections of this plan in specific places, and this is a long-term project. So these are great ideas.”

Campbell said she liked the idea of a town center.

“I have lived here since 1970, there is no downtown Jackson … you (Scatuccio) are right, maybe these would have been good ideas two years ago, but it is too late in the day for us to start talking about flipping areas.

“We have to go with what we got, and we also have to encourage businesses, and growth, and ratables, please God, in Jackson. So (these were) great ideas from a person who obviously knows what he is talking about, but we have to consider what is good for Jackson as far as we know it, when we know it, at the time we know and the places we are dealing with, so we have our restrictions, too,” Campbell said.

She praised the Adventure Crossing project as it has been presented by the applicant.

“This project, not only is it going to create some new living conditions in Jackson, it is going to give us ratables, it is going to give us an area we can be proud of and it is going to bring lots and lots of jobs to Jackson, of all different types. Construction jobs, good union jobs, retail jobs, people are going to be able to live close to where they work,” Campbell said.

“To me, this is the ideal kind of project for Jackson. Yes, traffic is terrible. I have lived here since 1970, there was a single lane on County Line Road, but that is life, and we have to look forward,” she said.

Resident Tracy McKinney asked if anyone reviewed a traffic camera that is at Anderson Road and Route 537.

“There has been a camera unit there since about Father’s Day and I was wondering if that has been reviewed at all … to look at the amount of very close calls at that intersection, myself included.

“(The traffic issue) is not just down at Six Flags, it is right at that intersection. People run the stop sign all the time coming off (Interstate 195) and then we are just running into people going left and right, stopping, blocking traffic,” McKinney said.

Rea said the camera to which McKinney referred is an Ocean County camera and not the applicant’s camera.

“We are going to put up some cameras and count that intersection, too. I haven’t seen any of the data, Ocean County is still collecting the data. I don’t know if they are going to wait until the end of the summer to conclude their data collection, but we are going to start collecting some traffic counts and it is going to be a combination of our traffic count people and putting up some cameras,” Rea said.

He said Monmouth County technically has jurisdiction on Route 537.

“They have been looking at that intersection for over 30 years and cant figure out what to do with it. However, from what I have been told, the last information I got, they are possibly looking at (creating) a roundabout for both the Anderson Road intersection and maybe even up at the Jackson outlets,” Rea said.

He said the county will be addressing the Anderson Road and Route 537 intersection, and said county representatives recognize the concerns McKinney expressed.

Board member Timothy Dolan said that overall, he believes the Adventure Crossing application is good for the area and that it is wise for representatives from Monmouth and Ocean counties to examine the traffic issues in the vicinity of the planned development.

As the meeting moved toward its conclusion, a motion was made to approve the Adventure Crossing Phase 3 application.

Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak, Vice Chairman Leonard Haring Jr., Township Councilman Martin Flemming, Jackson Business Administrator Terence Wall, Manuela Brito, Joseph Riccardi, Jeffrey Riker, Anthony Luisi, Campbell and Dolan voted “yes” on the motion.

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