BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer
MILLSTONE — Confusion over traffic counts for a proposed miniature golf course has the developer agreeing to pay a traffic engineer to assist the Zoning Board in interpreting data.
Thirty-Six Flags Game and Golf Adventure's attorney, Kenneth Pape, made the suggestion at the Oct. 22 Zoning Board meeting. The board agreed to have the developer pay and carried the application to its Dec. 11 meeting.
Thirty-Six Flags Game and Golf Adventure would like to build a 36-hole miniature golf course and related "pro-shop" on four acres down the road from Six Flags Great Adventure and between the Dunkin'Donuts and KFC on Route 537. The project requires a use variance and a bulk variance.
At last month's meeting, the applicant's traffic engineer, John Jahr, said traffic counts for the project were done at a Dunkin'Donuts on Route 1 in Edison in Middlesex County. When board members asked why, Pape said the counts were done there under his direction because the local Dunkin'Donuts just opened a few months ago. Since nearby Great Adventure is just open on weekends during the fall, Jahr said he would get the local Dunkin'Donuts receipts to estimate traffic counts and use times and would report back at the next meeting.
At the Oct. 22 meeting, the applicant's traffic engineer, Richard Maser, testified that the golf course would generate a relatively minor amount of traffic. He said the Dunkin'Donuts peak hours of operation are 8-9 a.m., and the miniature golf course would not open before 10 a.m.
Pape said traffic counts were taken Oct. 3-5, a sunny weekend when Fright Fest and the Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk were taking place at Great Adventure.
Receipts from both Dunkin'Donuts and KFC were also introduced into evidence at the meeting. Pape said that both fast-food restaurants and the Millstone Inn have interconnected parking lots and a shared parking agreement. The lots have a total of three entrances and two exits, he said. All traffic exiting the lots must head west on Route 537.
Board member Anthony Conoscenti referred to data from the applicant that showed 19 vehicles entering the complex and 227 vehicles exiting.
"Where are they coming from?" he asked.
Board member Barry Frost said he has seen cars backed up on Route 537 to the I- 195 exit in the summer when Great Adventure is open. Maser said the number of vehicles going into the site is comparable to that of any shopping center.
After Pape's suggestion of having the applicant pay for a traffic engineer to work with the board, Township Engineer Matt Shafai said he would contact Jerry Cantor, who has worked for the township before.
Maser said that, at the board's request, his firm would do hand-counts of traffic at the site last weekend.