Home News Warehouse sprawl collides with 55+ community in N.J. town

Warehouse sprawl collides with 55+ community in N.J. town

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Jan Brant left everything she knew in Maryland behind and moved to New Jersey last spring with her husband, a doctor who was working in the Garden State.

Brandt, 62, thought there was no better place to start over than Canal Walk, a community of over 55 people in Franklin Township, County Somerset. By setting “Charm”, builder premier development.

They fell in love with the views from their home near Schoolhouse Road and Mettler’s Road, the township-designated scenic corridor of Franklin Township. Based on the 2019 Historical Preservation Plan.

“I look at my backyard now, and it’s beautiful farmland and wetlands, beautiful birds and deer,” Brandt said.

Her fresh start was interrupted just over a year later when Brandt said she received a township notice over Memorial Day weekend. It was about an application to build her two large warehouses totaling 244,975 square feet in her backyard along Schoolhouse Road and Mettler’s Road.

“We were shocked,” Brandt said.

Now, residents like Brandt from Canal Walk’s senior community are banding together to protest the proposed Schoolhouse Road development and other warehouse projects in their area.

Citizen warehouse activity group of Canal Walk started Petition Against Warehouse Sprawl in Communities Concerns about pollution, public safety, and mental health implications were also raised as a result of unimpeded warehouse development. public meeting.

The fray in Franklin Township is just the latest example of a growing wave of opposition to the construction of a rapidly expanding warehouse. In recent years there has been resident-led resistance to warehouse proposals in West Windsor, Lawnside, Piscataway and Mansfield Townships.

Aerial view of the planned warehouse development on Schoolhouse Road and Mettler’s Road. Indicates close proximity to Canal Walk homes. Photos submitted as part of the DEP application are available on his website in town.

Canal Walk residents’ concerns will be taken into account, said a spokeswoman for Link Logistics Real Estate, the company behind the warehouse application along Schoolhouse Road.

A spokesperson for Link said, “We strive to be good neighbors by engaging with and giving back to the communities in which we operate.” We have listened to and addressed their concerns and will continue to work with them throughout the process.”

Canal Walk’s Citizens Warehouse Action Group is arguably paying off in its lobbying efforts.

In July, the township council approved an ordinance restricting where warehouses could be built in Franklin, allowing warehouses to be used conditionally in business and industrial zones, and permitting warehouses on land within 500 feet of residential areas. Prohibited to build.

Lawyers for several of the town’s developers have said they plan to oppose the ordinance and challenge its legality ahead of a legislative vote.

The ordinance “is consistent with the State Planning Report’s ‘Best Practices for Local Government Mitigation’ recommendations and is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Township Master Plan,” the township said on its website. I’m here.

The referenced report was released by the Office of Planning Advocacy in June. first time guidance Where should warehouses be located in New Jersey, and how should warehouses be approved to help local governments address the growing number and proposals for building sprawling buildings within their communities? About what.

Mettler's Road from Canal Walk

The photo above shows the current view from the patio of Canal Walk resident Jean Brandt, overlooking the scenic corridors of Mettler’s Road. This area is included in the site approval plan for two large warehouses.

View from School Road - Warehouse B

According to the link, this photo shows building B as seen from the school road. Building B will have a total area of ​​73,600 square feet.

Canal Walk’s Citizens Warehouse Action Group has backed Franklin Township’s warehouse ordinance, but is also concerned that it is “too little, too late,” Kiki Anastasakos said at a conference in July.

“As we all know, there are already five applications in the Planning Commission’s records that will not be affected by the ordinance,” said 67-year-old Canal Walk resident Anastasakos. I was.

The ordinance, which went into effect on August 8, will apply to future permit applications. who submits a complete application to the town. It will not affect applications deemed completed prior to adoption, according to town officials.

A Link spokeswoman said the new ordinance changes are not expected to change previously submitted plans.

A hearing date for the developer’s Schoolhouse Road warehouse application has not yet been scheduled with the Planning Commission.

Brandt, on the other hand, said she feared what was about to happen. More than the beautiful scenery was at stake, she said.

Brandt, a retired nurse, said she fears the unknown health effects of living near two large warehouses filled with traffic and gas fumes.

“I feel like I’m locked inside the house and I can’t get out or open the windows,” Brandt said. “It’s not just about aesthetics. It’s really about our health at stake.”

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Jackie Roman can reach [email protected].

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