Government

'Treetop Adventure' Project in Roxbury Scales Zoning Board Review

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Treetop Adventure welcome center designs
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Site in Ledgewood being eyed for treetop adventure course Credits: Roxbury Township
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ROXBURY, NJ – A plan to build in Ledgewood a “treetop adventure course” that would include aerial zip-lines advanced Monday as the Roxbury Zoning Board endorsed a number of the project’s new design ideas.

The Tree Top Adventure facility would be built on 45 acres along Mt. Arlington Road. It is a project first approved by township officials five years ago but one that was shelved until being revived recently under new ownership.

The outdoor adventure park, as approved in 2012, will have a number of “adventure venues” including zip-lines, obstacle courses and other features “mounted on trees near the tree canopy,” according to township records.

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A major topic of discussion at Monday’s meeting were design changes to the site’s proposed “welcome center.” Tree Top Adventure decided to change the building from a log cabin design to a more modern looking building with a shipping container exterior.

The purpose of this design change is to encourage people to spend more time outdoors than in the lodge, said Tree Top Adventure officials at the meeting. The interior will now be 1,664 square feet, while it was 1,972 square feet in the original design, they said.

However, the deck and exterior of the building increased in size under the revision. There will be seating outdoors on the deck, which will be split into a covered, shady section and an uncovered section. There will be a slide, in addition to a staircase, to lead people to the climbing area. 

Tree Top’s architect, Fred Wawar, said he wants to make the building "unique, memorable and fun, to reflect the uniqueness of the activity." The use of unconventional shipping containers in the design is supposed to serve the same purpose, but the board had many questions and concerns regarding the concept.

Zoning Board Member Joyce Dargel, the only board member to vote against the changes, said the design doesn't strike her “as something that fits on the property." Tree Top Adventure representatives said the company has other locations, namely in Arizona, where the designs have been successful

The building will not be able to be seen from any other buildings or any roads, it was noted.

The park's original proponent, Roger Saks of Saddle River, envisioned a children’s playground and a jungle gym. The new owners said they are scrapping the playground because it does not fit the business model.

The course will be built on the hilly, tree-filled land to the west of Mount Arlington Road between Route 46 and Howard Boulevard. The company will need to remove some soil to build the project; representatives said it should take about two weeks to move 173 trucks of soil.

There will be a 950-foot driveway winding up the mountain, as well as a back-lit, black steel sign to welcome visitors, they said.

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