Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Opposition Stalls Warehouse Approval Process

Tom Bolosky of Citizens for Sensible Development talks about next steps in the group’s efforts to stop the Jaindl warehouse proposal. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

More than 150 people crowded into or attempted to crowd into the meeting room of the
White Township Municipal Building, and in doing so, accomplished their goal of getting the
Township Planning Board to postpone its June 13 meeting.

The Planning Board was expected to decide if the application for 2.6 million square feet of
warehouse space submitted by Jaindl Land Development Co. must start over because of
changes proposed in road access to the site on Foul Rift Road. The new access road would be built opposite the Red Wolf Inn, and opponents of the warehouses believe this amendment is major enough to warrant requiring the application to start again.

In addition to resistance in White, residents and officials from nearby Knowlton, Hope and
Blairstown have voiced concern over the hundreds of tractor-trailers projected to travel Route 46 and other local roads.

The application has already been before the Planning Board for more than three years. Being sent back to “Go” could mean the warehouses would be subject to revised zoning regulations.

Tom Bolosky of Citizens for Sensible Development, which opposes the proposal, said their goal for the June 13th meeting was to have so many people want to attend that the board would be forced to postpone and hold the meeting at a larger venue.

Planning Board Chairman Timothy Matthews said at the truncated June 13th meeting, that they next meeting would take place at White Township School, adjacent to the Municipal Building July 11th.

Planning Board Chairman Timothy Matthews announces the June 13th meeting has been cancelled because of the crowd. Photo by J. Phalon, 6/2023

Bolosky said that by having the meeting moved out of town hall more people will be able to
attend at the school. He chided the board for not moving the meeting in the first place.

“The Planning Board should have known,” Bolosky said from the back of a pickup truck to a
large gathering of opponents at post-meeting rally in the parking lot. “They should have. When this is rescheduled, and it has been rescheduled now, it will be at the school right behind you, July 11th, and we need you all back again.”

Matthews, the Planning Board chairman, after gaveling the aborted meeting closed, said the board was unaware that many people would show up at the meeting.

“We did not know,” Matthews said. “We haven’t had a crowd like that before.”

Jaindl, of North Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania, in 2020, announced plans to build two
warehouses—one 1.8 million square feet and the other 800,000 square feet—on 585 acres on Foul Rift Road near Route 519.

The application has been before the Planning Board for three years.

In February, Jaindl presented revised plans for the new driveway on Route 519 in response to a directive from Warren County officials to shift the original planned access road away from nearby county office buildings.

The issues before the Planning Board at the July meeting include whether these changes are serious enough to require the dismissal of the application and if so, would a resubmission have to conform to changes the township master plan made since the first application was filed.

Planning Board attorney Tara St. Angelo has said those questions are unclear, particularly since Jaindl has already sued the township over the changes, which would limit the sizes of
warehouses in White.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.