In response to our Nov. 15 story on flooding in the Ivy Hill neighborhood of Newark and an op-ed on the subject by a Seton Hall faculty member published on Nov. 28, the University issued the following response and requested its publication by the Setonian.
Below is their statement in full.
Seton Hall has applied to the South Orange Planning Board for approval to develop a state-of-the art basketball practice facility on its campus, largely within the existing footprint of the Richie Regan Recreation and Athletic Center.
About the Proposed Basketball Practice Facility Project
Competing in the BIG EAST Conference provides the University with an enhanced level of visibility and recognition, particularly beyond the Garden State. This recognition helps Seton Hall recruit exceptional student athletes, attract top students from across the nation, and keep many outstanding New Jersey students in state.
A recent analysis revealed that Seton Hall’s basketball practice facilities are woefully inadequate, especially in comparison to competitor BIG EAST schools.
To retain our prominence within the conference and position the athletic program for future success — particularly in terms of recruitment and team preparation — a new practice facility is essential. It is imperative that Seton Hall’s facilities receive a state-of-the-art upgrade to align with the training requirements of today’s student athletes.
Listening to and Responding to Neighbors’ Concerns
In response to the University’s application, some of our neighbors in the Ivy Hill section of Newark reached out and expressed concerns that the proposed basketball practice facility would contribute to stormwater flooding in Ivy Hill. Our neighbors, like Seton Hall and other communities throughout the State, were severely impacted by the unprecedented rainfall that occurred during Hurricane Ida.
After hearing our neighbor’s concerns, Seton Hall immediately postponed the initial public hearing on its application. The University then hosted community meetings with Ivy Hill to present the development plans for the practice facility, hear concerns, answer questions, and evaluate how the University could improve the project
Following these discussions, the University swiftly took several steps which had been requested by our neighbors. By way of example, the University:
- Agreed to participate in a joint stormwater study;
- Increased the capacity for the proposed stormwater storage system associated with the proposed basketball practice facility well beyond all State, local, and other regulatory requirements;
- Modified its plans to provide for additional curbing and catch basins along the joint boundary between Seton Hall and Ivy Hill;
- Restricted egress through the swipe gate leading from campus to Woodbine Avenue in order to reduce pedestrian traffic, at our neighbors’ request;
- Installed privacy fabric on the fences between campus and the Ivy Hill neighborhood, at our neighbors’ request;
- Relocated trash receptacles located closest to site of the proposed basketball practice facility to other portions of the campus;
- Offered to examine applicable Newark sewer drainage outlets, whose maintenance and capacity may have a significant impact on area flooding.
We have always been, and remain committed to responsible growth by meeting, and often exceeding, the demands of state and local building codes and ordinances – by incorporating additional features geared toward environmental responsibility and sustainability.
Notably, the enhanced stormwater detention system for the practice facility exceeds all State and local requirements and, once installed, will improve existing conditions.
Seton Hall’s Commitment to the Community
Seton Hall has been a staple in the South Orange and Newark communities since 1860. The University prides itself on providing a world class education to its students, the majority of whom hail from New Jersey, and believes that investing in our students and communities is essential.
- We have and continue to strictly adhere to all building and environmental regulations in the design and construction of any improvements to our campus;
- The University’s plan for the project features an enhanced stormwater detention system. The stormwater detention system meets and exceeds State and local requirements for the project. It stores and detains approximately 16% more stormwater runoff then what is required under the applicable NJDEP and South Orange requirements for the project;
- Seton Hall was also impacted by flooding during Hurricane Ida, sustaining significant damage to newly-renovated facilities within the Recreation Center;
- University property in the Ivy Hill neighborhood also suffered damage.
We remain committed to working collaboratively with our neighbors, local elected officials, the City of Newark, and Essex County to foster greater understanding and to explore and arrive at mutually beneficial solutions. For over 162 years, we have done our best to be good neighbors, honoring our Catholic mission to do good in the communities of which we are a part.