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Monday, May 27, 2024

Mega-Warehouses Face Possible Doom July 11th

Opponents of mega-warehouses are expected to turn out at the July 11 Planning Board meeting in White Townshp. Photo by Joe Phalon, 7/2023

In what could be a make-or-break decision regarding mega-warehouses in North Warren, the White Township Planning Board on July 11 will consider a ruling that could effectively kill the plans that have been under review for several years.

The venue for the meeting has been changed to White Township School because of an expected large turnout of residents opposed to the plan.

The 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 revised 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.

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—and more stringent—zoning regulations.

Officials of several municipalities say development of warehouses will result in hundreds of tractor-trailers being added to Route 46, particularly through Knowlton.

The Planning Board was expected to review the changes at its June 13th meeting, but a large turnout of opponents of the warehouses forced the board to adjourn the meeting without taking action.

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

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 off Foul Rift Road near Route 519.

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.