Seven accidents occurred at Sicklerville and Dickenson in 1998, said Dave Benedetti, the township planner. And many longtime residents said they had seen fatalities at the intersection. Building more homes on the two-lane road would only increase traffic at an already dangerous location, residents said.
The developer, John Hooper, and the project engineer, Jack Gravlin, presented their plans to the public Tuesday in an attempt to ease residents' fears. The proposal is still in the preliminary stages, and has not been formally voted on by the planning board.
Hooper and Gravlin said they would construct a private access road along Sicklerville that would have one entrance about 300 feet south of Dickenson and one exit at the other end of the development about 150 from the entrance to the golf course.
``The county is redesigning the roadway because that road is heavily traveled now, and it's an old road. It was never designed for current traffic flow,'' Gravlin said.
Still, ``we will prepare the plans so we can safely construct this project as the road exits,'' he added.
Gravlin said he would revamp his plans for access to the development after hearing the residents' concerns. One option would be to shift the access points to give drivers entering the road more visibility. Another option would be to go with one turnoff that would let people in and out of the development.
In addition to traffic concerns, the owners of the Freeway Golf course told the board that a 50-foot tract of forest separating the first hole from the homes was not enough to keep errant balls from breaking windows or hitting residents as they sat in their backyards. They said they did not want to be liable for injuries people might incur.
Gravlin said potential buyers of the homes would be aware of the danger.
Benedetti said another issue was where to place a spillway for water that might pour over from the storm-water detention basins during heavy rainfall. The township wanted to ensure that already existing homes would not be flooded by the runoff.
``It's certainly going to be necessary to revise the plans, perhaps significantly,'' Gravlin said, ``but I don't believe it is going to end up killing the project.''