If you use Hillcrest Road to access Route 78, Route 22 or the Watchung Circle, please read this:
THE QUALITY OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS ABOUT TO CHANGE FLOODING HILLCREST RD AND EMERSON LANE WITH MORE TRAFFIC:
We oppose the 51,000 sq. ft. commercial building and 215 car lot on 15 wooded acres in our back yard on Hillcrest Road. The proposed development will be built in a residential neighborhood that requires 1.5 acres per building lot.
The neighbors of Berkeley Heights, Watchung and Warren are asking for your support and assistance to stop the development of the Berkeley Aquatic Center on 15 acres of undeveloped land on the border of Berkeley Heights and Warren. Land purchased by the developer is not only sited in Warren but in Berkeley Heights Township and will adversely impact Watchung as well.
The planned development project sits in a residential neighborhood zoned for 1.5 acre lots (R-65), or in zoning requires 65,000 square feet per lot. However, Berkeley Aquatic Center , swimming/training facility, is proposing a 51,000 sq. ft commercial building on 15 wood acres with a 215 car parking lot on a wooded lot between Berkeley Heights and Warren. With this large development, we can expect tree removal and significant disruption to environmentally sensitive areas.
Before the Warren Township Planning Board, BAC has testified they expect up to 500 participants during any single organized swim meet event, flooding our suburban road with 200 cars on Hillcrest Road to residential Emerson Lane and beyond. These meets will take place on a weekly and regular basis. The BAC facility hours of operation would be 5:30 AM to10 PM daily, essentially operating 16.5 hours daily in a residential neighborhood. Car traffic, parking lot lights and other troublesome environmental noise will disrupt both the quiet neighborhoods around the facility and its surrounding plant and animal habitats.
Further, we expect we will face even more significant traffic snarls on Hillcrest Road, which will create a bigger bottle necking delay from the Watchung Circle intersection because of the intensity of use to this site. During rush hour and school dsimissal times, the Watchung Circle is responsible for 1 mile back-ups. Moreover, we believe there will be an increased traffic on Emerson Lane, a narrow country roadway, because it will become a logical cut-through to local streetsin Watchung, Berkeley Heights and Warren.
As homeowners in historic Free Acres and quiet suburban neighborhoods on streets near this development, we are faced with a view of a commercial building and a large parking lot instead of wooded land and fields. We did not settle into our homes in bucolic Berkeley Heights, Watchung and Warren to share our residential neighborhood with a commercial building.
A coalition of residents have formed to build a grassroots effort, http://www.stopthebac.com/ or http://www.youtube.com/user/Stopthebac , to prevent the degradation of 15 acres in Warren and Berkeley Heights as well as traffic congestion in Watchung.
We are asking you, our friends and neighbors to oppose this development because of the harm it poses to our neighborhoods and our communities.
We appreciate your attention to this very critical situation.
The Neighbors of Berkeley Heights, Warren & Watchung