Public Service Electric and Gas Co. has proposed handling increased power demand by building an electrical substation on a heavily wooded lot on Evesham Road in Cherry Hill now owned by Congregation M’kor Shalom. The site borders Evesham and Voorhees.
The substation — to be built to the east of the synagogue near homes on Stoney Brook and Meadow Lanes in Evesham — is scheduled to go before the Cherry Hill Zoning Board of Adjustment at its meeting next Thursday. The substation also would be directly across Evesham Road from residences on Peregrine and Fulmar Drives in Voorhees.
An approximately 11-acre heavily wooded lot would be subdivided from the existing 21.1-acre lot and sold to PSE&G. The substation would occupy about three acres of the subdivided lot, according to the application.
A total of 591 trees on the subdivided parcel would be removed, according to the plans.
Although utility facilities are a permitted use in the zone, PSE&G needs zoning variances including structure height and fence height as well as preliminary and final site plan and minor subdivision approvals for the Echelon Substation, according to a letter to the zoning board from Timothy Holmes, PSE&G’s project manager. The unmanned substation would include switchgear, a control house, two transformers and breakers.
“PSE&G’s Marlton Substation currently serves over 22,000 customers, with over 80% of those in Cherry Hill and Evesham Townships, and is significantly overloaded,” according to the utility’s application. “The completion of the Echelon substation will relieve the system overload, improve local electric reliability, and prevent possible supply interruptions.”
The area around the Route 73 and Evesham Road intersection has seen significant commercial and residential development. The Cornerstone at Marlton apartment complex opened earlier this year on Executive Drive in Evesham, near the intersection. The Arbor Terrace at Marlton senior assisted-living complex now is under construction next to Executive Drive and the Evesham Planning Board last week approved a 124-unit, 55-and-older apartment complex on Executive Drive.
PSE&G identified the need for the new substation in 2019 and considered several properties in the area, according to documents filed with the application. The M’kor Shalom site was selected because it has no threatened or endangered species and the substation can be built outside of the flood hazard area, according to the analysis.
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