On May 14, 2015, Indoor Soccer, LLC, appeared before the Long Hill Township Committee to propose a significant change in zoning and expansion plans for the development of their new sports facility on a property along New Vernon Road customarily referred to a Copper Springs. Adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, the area currently includes a small pond with surrounding wetlands. The pond and the wetlands serve as wildlife habitat, and help reduce flooding and stormwater runoff problems in the Meyersville area.
Under the plan submitted on May 14, the company sought to expand its enterprise to include four new indoor sports domes capable of serving a larger client base. In addition to asking the Committee to enact a zoning change—reclassifying Copper Springs from a conservation zone to a recreation zone—the original proposal called for a significant increase (from 30% to 40%) in impervious coverage on the parcels, and a number of other actions that would normally require variances approved by the Township’s Board of Adjustment and Planning Board.
When brought before the Long Hill Township Committee, the developer’s gambit to circumvent the two other Township boards, failed to pass on two different occasions. The developer must now propose his expansion plans to the Long Hill Board of Adjustment.
The successful defense of conservation zoning, habitat protection, and stormwater management, was largely carried on the back of comments and testimony given by the Great Swamp Watershed Association’s (GSWA) Executive Director Sally Rubin.
This triumph at Copper Springs represents an important environmental victory for GSWA’s advocacy program, and especially Sally, the advocacy program’s director.