SportZone could open on Rte. 33


Staff Writer

MANALAPAN – If all goes well, a new sports facility could be in operation on Route 33 by this time next year.

A resolution granting preliminary and final site plan approval for an athletic complex on Route 33 has been prepared and is scheduled for action by the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Dec. 7.

If the board gives its consent, the resolution of approval will start the ball rolling on a 33,000-square-foot, two-story athletic complex to be built on Route 33 west. A new street, Madison Avenue, will lead from Route 33 to the facility. The location is about half-mile west of the Knob Hill golf course and residential development.

The SportZone would include indoor basketball courts, an indoor sports field and a snack bar. The project’s principals are Manalapan residents Mike Hammer, Todd Berman and Robert DeVino.

Because a sports facility is not a permitted use in the Special Economic Development (SED) zone where it is proposed, the application for the 5.6-acre site requires a use variance, as well as variances for side parking and setbacks for the building itself.

Those variances will be what the zoning board votes on.

In a previous interview, Hammer said the basketball courts will also function as volleyball courts and the indoor sports field will be used for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and other field sport activities. The facility will also include a room that will be available for private parties.

A SportZone operated by the trio is already in operation at the Ivy League Day Camp, Gordons Corner Road, Manalapan. That SportZone is expected to remain in operation, Hammer said.

DeVino spoke with a reporter last week regarding the pending approval for the Route 33 SportZone project.

“We will be a beneficial project for the town. We’re giving our town a beautiful facility they will be proud to have,” he said, adding that once the approval is in place it is expected that construction will begin in the spring and that the new SportZone may be operating by late 2007.