RANDOLPH, NJ - On Monday night, the township’s planning board had their regular scheduled meeting discussing two new business applications submitted for driveways in town.
The applications were from Robert Phelan and Sheryl McAfee, and one from the Randolph Business Campus Condo Associates. Though the meeting only had two orders of new business, the meeting ran over three hours.
The first application (MSD 03-14) to be presented in front of the board was located at 1 Merchant Lane, requesting a minor c variance lot line adjustment to their driveway. The current driveway for the property does not confer with the buffer requirements in Randolph. After their attorney presented the case and site plans, the application was approved with the residents being responsible for maintaining the driveway.
The Randolph Business Campus Condo Association application (MSP 02-14) sparked controversy and had many town residents come out. They applied to have a c variance driveway put in at 961 Route 10 from the business campus to Morris Turnpike to enable drivers to be able to go west on Route 10.
Currently driver’s are only able to go east where they have to go down approximately a mile before going around a jug handle to go west where they have to drive past where they came out in the opposite direction.
Qualified engineer Kevin Page representing the Business Campus Condo Associates said, “The purpose of this...every owner, every employee, every customer, every visitor who wants to go west, has to go from the driveway one mile east, to the jug handle, and I understand some personal experiences of both my clients that, that jug handle is not easiest to make at five in the afternoon or four in the afternoon and then you have to drive 1.1 miles west to get to the traffic light.”
There are currently two access point on campus. The proposal is to put a 12 foot wide driveway from the campus in the open grass area. The driveway would be limited to passenger vehicles only and be illuminated by reflectors only with grass swell for drainage. The driveway would have two “Do not enter” signs, one stop sign, a “no left turn” sign and a sign indicating no vehicles over 4 tons.
If approved, the driveway will only cut down one existing “dead” tree and pass by three houses located near it. The Business Campus Condo Associates say the driveway will help traffic and be a convenience for those visiting the business campus and alleviate traffic for the other intersection.
At least 10 residents around town had different opinions about the drive way. Eileen Hockenbary, whose backyard would be adjacent from where the driveway would be placed said "It would be a severe effect on our quality of life.” She and her husband Richard, testified that the construction would never give them any peace and quiet at home considering some of the businesses are open until 10 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.
The Business campus team argued back assuring that the plan would benefit everyone and that traffic would not be that bad, but had no traffic studies to back their opinions.
“There’s a lot of questions you don’t know the answers to, yet you’re sure this won’t be detrimental,” said council member Michael Guadagno.
Local resident Tinpani who lives on block 45, lot 5 said, “For 30 years they've been inconvenienced because they have to go to Route 10 to make the jug handle and come back up, theres 1,000 maybe 2,000 businesses on route 10 and they all have to do that. Once you come out onto the highway, you go in the direction of the highway, you go to the next u-turn and then you leave. If I go down the street to go to Dairy Queen and I buy an ice cream, I have to do the same travel, I have to go up the road, hit the jug handle and come back. It’s an inconvenience, but you do it.”
Residents that came out are worried that the already hectic traffic on Canfield Avenue and Sussex Turnpike will worsen with the installation of the new driveway. They argued that the Business Associates were trying to connivence those visiting, but making more of an inconvenience for the residents living in the area.
After many testimonies and questions from both sides, the board ruled that there just was not enough information or evidence from either side to conclude anything. The board said a traffic study of the whole area Route 10, Canfield Avenue and Sussex Turnpike would need to be conducted. On top of that a water run off plan would need to presented to go further in this case.
The next meeting opened to the public will take place on August 18.