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Per their architectural plans and Environmental Impact Study, Beth Medrash Govoha's planned expansion on land they are under contract to purchase from Georgian Court University consists of a total of 600 residential apartments, playgrounds, a child care center with a capacity of 300 children, and a 530 patron capacity banquet hall.

Curiously, when BMG submitted their application to the Ocean County Planning Board, they did not submit their architectural plans. They also did not mention the 530 patron capacity banquet hall.

Despite this attempt to cover up the banquet hall, County officials have learned about it.

The County previously granted contingent approval to the application. Due to the large scope of the application, County officials conditioned their approval on BMG submitting a new traffic study which "analyzes the County Line Road and Forest Avenue and County Line Road and Cedar View Avenue intersections, and determines impacts to westbound left turns from County Line Road at each intersection."

BMG has now submitted a revised traffic study, anticipating that the County would rubber stamp it. Instead, County officials have halted their approval, stating that this revised traffic study fails to mention their 530 patron capacity banquet hall! Accordingly, the County directed BMG to submit a new traffic study that does count traffic for the banquet hall.

This is a very important decision as the County can require applicants to pay for traffic improvements, however, they are only in a position to make such requirements if the traffic study indicates that improvements are warranted.

Now that the County is paying a keen eye to the banquet hall and requiring their traffic to also be considered, we are one step closer to getting much needed traffic improvements!

Aside from the failure to mention the banquet hall, the revised traffic study also raises additional eyebrows.

A key glaring point is that while they emphasize that most of the students will walk to BMG, and most of their children will attend the on-site child care center,  and they contend that most traffic "will be attributed to the spouses of the married students," they don't count very much traffic for the spouses. While they are providing 1,295 parking spaces for a project to which they insist the Township only requires 669 spaces, they claim the site generated traffic for the am peak hours will only be; in 86, out 290, total 376, and for the pm peak hours it will be; in 231, out 205, total 436...

If the Township would require 1,295 parking spaces then they could simply explain that they won't actually have so many cars, however, they are simply providing the required spaces. However, as they are providing way more than required, obviously they believe that they will have that many cars on site. In that case, how is it possible that they will generate such few peak travel traffic??

The original traffic study counted area traffic only 9-10am, and 3:30-4:30pm. Traffic counts were done in September 2022.

Once the County required them to redo traffic counts on County Line Road at Forest Avenue and at Cedar View Avenue, they also counted traffic 7:30-10:30am and 3:00-6:00pm.

This new traffic count yielded some significant differences.

PM peak travel counts are in parenthesis, next to the AM peak travel counts.

September 2022

County Line at Forest EB

Straight 152 (90)

Right 50 (28)

Left 27 (6)

County Line at Cedar view EB

Straight 4 (4)

Right 44 (41)

Left 8 (8)

January / February 2023

County Line at Forest EB

Straight 525 (447)

Right 119 (94)

Left 47 (72)

County Line at Cedar view EB

Straight 796 (633)

Right 29 (11)

Left 134 (37)

Oddly, though they revised their traffic counts at these two County Line Road in the traffic logs, their existing conditions calculations page still shows the old numbers. More shockingly, their 2032 post-development graph, which is supposed to calculate traffic from their development as well as from nearby approved development, is also based on their September 2022 traffic counts, which, as noted above, was significantly lower than their new January - February 2023 counts.

One example of this issue is that their 2032 post-development graph counts 40 vehicles making left turns out from their new Cedar View Avenue extension driveway onto Ninth Street. The problem with this count is that, as previously reported here on FAA News, the police department recommended that the Planning Board restrict left-hand turns in and out of that driveway, and the board recommended that the applicant address this recommendation. Accordingly, all of these 40 vehicles (which will likely be way more) will need to exit through one of the other driveways, which will lead to additional traffic (and the possibility of the County requiring the appropriate traffic improvements) at those intersections.

The traffic study concludes:

The 3 site roadway connections to Fourteenth Street, Forest Avenue, and Ninth Street are projected to operate at level of service D or better for the peak hours analyzed.

The Site Access Plan provides access at strategic locations to the development in order to provide an efficient distribution of site generated traffic to the area roadway network.

The internal roadway network provides positive on-site circulation to all the access points as well as the residential buildings, daycare center and parking areas.

However, as the traffic study is erroneously based numerous times on the old traffic counts - as noted above - it is extremely questionable if this conclusion is also based on the old traffic counts, or on the correct traffic counts.

The good news is that County officials have rejected the "revised" traffic study and directed BMG officials to submit a new traffic study which accurately considers the traffic from the 530 capacity banquet hall. The County's approval of this massive application is dependent on them receiving an acceptable traffic study.

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BMG neighbor which did not get Notice said...

The next revision of their traffic study should be required to also include the peak evening/night hours when the simcha hall will be mostly utilized. Obviously, we should expect to see a 10-year projection as well.

Anonymous said...

County Line Rd is already overwhelmed with traffic. The county needs to look at the big picture before it ends up being just one big parking lot. I don’t care who’s putting an application in for consideration, it doesn’t matter if they meet the requirements if in the end it ends up being detrimental to the town. The so called “educated experts” need a lesson in common sense.

Anonymous said...

These apartments and banquet hall are badly needed. If people have an issue with traffic they can move to Timbuktu

Anonymous said...

@bmg neighbor sell ur house and move somewhere more sensible you should be able to get top dollar for that area. Why do you live near big if you hate them?