Tonight, Mountainside’s Board of Adjustment will consider the by Triboro Sports near the Springfield border.
As they have in the four prior meetings over the project, Springfield residents with homes near the border are urging them to vote no.
The proposal by Triboro Sports, LLC calls for a new indoor 80,645 square foot sports center to be built at 270 Sheffield Street in Mountainside. The sports center would include fields for soccer and lacrosse as well as space designated for retail sales and a café. The developers are before the board because Mountainside’s zoning laws do not specifically permit the construction of this kind of facility.
Opponents to the facility, by and large residents of Springfield, fear it will bring more traffic to and increase the likelihood of accidents in their neighborhood. The developers contend the residents are overestimating the facility's impact.
"We are concerned about everything from traffic, to noise, to safety, to crime, to the value of our homes," Springfield resident Brenda Bucci said in an email. "This is a neighborhood that they are plopping a very large building into an area that is not zoned for this business."
The opposition is both vocal and visible. Lawn signs dot numerous properties in the neighborhood that would be impacted. Several residents have written to the Mountainside planning board and dozens have attended the Mountainside BOA meetings to protest the facility. Springfield resident Richard Blecker, whose property adjoins the site, called the proposed 31-foot building a “monstrosity” and said the footprint of the new construction would be unreasonably close to his property in letters to the Mountainside board.
Triboro Sports, LLC rested its case at the meeting after calling for additional testimany from traffic engineer Elizabeth Dolan of Dolan and Dean Consulting at the BOA December meeting. Dolan estimated the Triboro facility would attract 20 more cars per hour during peak hours to the nearby Springfield streets.
Attorneys and engineers hired by project opponent Ben Caiola—who was not personally present and whose interest in the project is not clear—testified against the project. Traffic expert Hal Simoff said that similar New Jersey indoor sports facilities often split their fields into quarters, and that up to 160 participants could use the facility at once. Such numbers would be too much for the parking planned for the facility, Simoff said.
Blecker believes the facility would attract as many as 1,600 cars per day to the neighborhood on peak weekend days.
They said that while drivers approaching the facility from the North East on Summit and Mountain Aves. during weekday evening peak hours may use residential streets to access Sheffield, it would add about 20 to 25 more vehicles per hour to the area, and would therefore “not have a perceptible impact on Charles Street, Possum Pass or Briar Hills Circle.”