Vineland's City Council Chamber was packed Thursday night, as the city's Zoning Board of Adjustment met with officials from a company called Magic Sports, who are hoping to build an enormous sports complex in Vineland.
Thursday's meeting grants the company access to build a 65ft domed sports arena, a five story hotel, and an 85ft water slide, all within the $350 million dollar indoor–outdoor complex.
Michael Fralinger, Magic Sports' attorney, told NBC40, "Because some of the structures that we are requesting to construct are more than 10ft higher than the permitted height zone, we needed that relief and we were fortunate to obtain that this evening."
Seven out of the eight zoning board members said, "Yes," to Magic Sport's request, which will now allow the company to move forward with the next phase of their development.
Fralinger added, "It's the initial step that was necessary in order to basically give us a jumpstart on the project. See if this didn't happen here this evening there would be no project."
Local business owners, union workers, and many residents attended the meeting to learn about the changes that may soon take place in the Vineland community.
Many residents voiced concerns over traffic congestion that would likely come with the complex, but zoning board members and Magic Sports' officials ensured those traffic issues will be solved by the next phase of approval.
President and Founder of Magic Sports, Ron Nametko, said, "We're going to solve that problem. We're not going to have that problem."
Company officials from Magic Sports say they expect the complex to bring about 1,500 jobs to the region and millions of dollars in added revenue to Vineland. Many local residents told NBC40 that they don't have a problem with the complex because the land would have been developed sooner or later by another buyer.
Tommy Serra, a Vineland resident and business owner, said, "This is progress. This is inevitable, it is bound to happen and I think the complex is one of the greatest things that is going to happen to the city of Vineland."
The $350 million dollar sports complex now has to receive approval from the state of New Jersey and other local agencies, but according to Magic Sports officials, Thursday's meeting was a success.
"We're over the first hurdle," Fralinger noted. Ron Nametko added, "Everything happens for a reason. We made it tonight, tonight was the night we made it."