VINELAND — The large domed facility proposed for the new Magic Sports Complex will be smaller than originally designed, the attorney representing the complex told the Vineland Zoning Board at a special meeting Thursday night.
Attorney Michael Fralinger said after getting input from the community and city officials, the domed arena will be scaled back from a 160-foot-tall facility that could seat 10,500 people to a 65-foot-tall, more conventional building that would seat 5,000.
That facility, along with a 90-foot-tall water park and an 80-foot-tall five-story hotel were the three sites for which the project is seeking zoning variances.
If granted, the site plans would also require review.
The land proposed for the project on Lincoln Avenue near the intersections of Main Road and Route 55 is already zoned for industry and business, but that zoning has a height restriction of 35 feet and requires a variance. Fralinger said the rest of the project would come in within that restriction.
Experts during the presentation noted that since the site, a former sand mine, was not level, buildings would also not appear as high as they actually were.
The special meeting started at 7:30 p.m., and at 10 p.m. experts for Magic Sports were still testifying. Some area residents attending the meeting said they hoped to be heard before the meeting ended at about 11 p.m. and said their concerns were about traffic on Lincoln Avenue and Main Road, and also the noise and lights from the sports facility and water parks.
Bruce Farrell, director of development for the project, said peak periods would be 13 weeks over the summer when the planned youth sports tournaments would be held, and the water park would be most popular.
He called the project “amazing” and said it would be a regional destination.
About seven acres of the 287-acre site would be the water park.
Engineer David Scheidegg said the project would be divided up so that the sports arena area would be separated from the hotel and water park, providing more security for the young people participating in tournaments.
There was also some discussion of buffer zones and how many trees would be cleared, and how that would affect some residential areas near the project.
Videos were shown of the types of water rides that could be installed at the site, including a zip-line cable that would fly participants over the park. The height limit for the water park was requested to allow for more variety in the types of water rides, and to make sure they could be built safely and effectively.
Traffic engineer David Horner said that during the peak period, an estimated 4,200 parking places would be needed for the revised plan with the smaller arena, and the proposal calls for 5,200 parking spots.
When asked if a new exit off Route 55 could be added for the project, Fralinger said the simple answer was no.
Horner said proximity of the site to an existing exit would reduce impact on other roads. The peak traffic congestion areas are expected to be at Route 55 and Main Road, Lincoln and Main Roads, and Lincoln Avenue at Sheridan Avenue and Sherman Avenue.
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