Work To Start On Flyers Facility Despite A Lawsuit Filed By Residents, Construction Of The Voorhees Practice Center Is To Begin Next Month.

Posted: September 17, 1998

VOORHEES — Developers of the planned Philadelphia Flyers practice facility plan to begin construction in early October, even as 18 nearby residents continue to battle the project in court.

Sean Scarborough, the lead developer of the project, said yesterday that the lawsuit, filed in Camden County Superior Court, had no merit, and he could not let it jeopardize the project.

``We've looked at all the issues that they've raised with the township, and we think that their case is extremely hollow,'' Scarborough said. ``The decision has been made to soldier on because we have only a limited time to complete the project.''

In order for the Flyers to begin using the center for their first practice next year, construction must begin in October, Scarborough said.

Plans for the 75,000-square-foot center received final approval from the township Planning Board Sept. 2, but some had worried that the lawsuit would drive the Flyers elsewhere.

M. James Maley Jr., attorney for the residents, declined to comment yesterday.

``We prefer to make our comments about the case in the courtroom,'' he said.

The Flyers are dissatisfied with their current practice site at the Voorhees Coliseum. The new practice center would include a restaurant, game room, retail shop and surgical center, and would also serve as a practice facility for the Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate.

In August, 18 residents of the Carriagebrook Farms development, which is near the site of the planned facility, filed a lawsuit alleging that the Voorhees Township Committee and the Planning Board erred in declaring the site a redevelopment zone.

The redevelopment designation was necessary for Scarborough to proceed with plans for the $12 million twin-rink center, planned for 18 acres on Laurel Oak Road.

In the suit, the residents ask the judge to appeal the final site-plan approval and that the residents be awarded attorney's fees and costs of the suit.

The township has filed a countersuit contending that the residents' lawsuit was ``frivolous'' and was filed ``in bad faith solely for the purpose of destroying the project by causing delay beyond October 1998.''

The final hearing on the residents' lawsuit is scheduled for Oct. 22 in Camden County Court.

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