Opponents of a proposed warehouse in White Township who had hoped to see the plans scuttled at an Aug. 8 Planning Board meeting left disappointed, but the mega-warehouses still have an uphill battle.
Attorneys for Jaindl Land Development Co., which has proposed two warehouses on Foul Rift Road, one measuring 1,860,000-square-feet and the other 860,000-square-feet, attended the meeting and gave testimony, negating a possible dismissal by the board.
According to Planning Board Attorney Tara St. Angelo, Jaindl had not submitted any recent substantive testimony and had not had a representative at the board meeting in several months.
At its July meeting, the Planning Board sent a letter to Jaindl indicating that it must present substantive updates at the August meeting or that the board would consider dismissing the application as inactive.
Had the application been dismissed, Jaindl could have resubmitted it, but the application would have to start the process all over. The current application has been before the Planning Board for more than four years.
Officials of nearby municipalities, Knowlton in particular, have voiced concern over the truck traffic that the warehouses could generate. Knowlton lies between the proposed site and Interstate 80.
As they have since this past spring, opponents of the warehouses staged as protest outside township offices before the meeting. Sporting orange shirts, around 200 stood at the four corners of Routes 46 and 519 urging passing motorists to honk support.
This time they had a folk singer and guitarist perform who adapted 1960s protest songs to fit the Jaindl resistance.
Several recent issues have taken on a circular logic. Jaindl says Warren County wants a dedicated right-turn lane off Route 519 at Foul Rift Road, which would be built on county property, said Jaindl attorney Anthony Sposaro. But the county has refused to so far to agree to sell the property to build the lane it says Jaindl must build, Sposaro said.
At the same time, Planning Board Chairman Timothy Matthews said the board has been waiting for upwards of a year for a report on stormwater management at the site. Sposaro said Jaindl’s engineers can’t complete the report until the road access to the site is resolved.
So things are at a bit of a stalemate for now, though Sposaro said he expects Jaindl’s report on the stormwater to be submitted by Sept. 1. He asked the board to continue consideration of the application under the presumption that the developer will resolve the Route 519 right-turn issue, adding that they may take the county to court.
The discussion will continue at the Sept. 12 meeting at 7 p.m.
Joe Phalon, 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.