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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Blairstown Warehouse Project Postponed to Nov. 20

One of the curves through Hainesburg that concerns Knowlton officials. Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

The hearing for a controversial warehouse proposal in Blairstown adjacent to Knowlton has been postponed to Nov. 20.

Proposed for a triangular 8.9-acre tract by Hackensack-based developer Tritop Realty, the plans underwent revisions that were presented to the land use board at a special meeting Sept. 25. The changes included a reduction in subunits from 10 to nine and a smaller parking lot.

Revised warehouse site plan submitted by Tritop Realty in September. Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

The revised plans also call for relocating a driveway, which would eliminate an earlier need for a waiver from the land use board.

Opponents of the warehouse were not swayed. The wedge-shaped lot has become a wedge issue between Blairstown and Knowlton. While the property lies entirely within Blairstown, it is located directly adjacent to Knowlton.

And therein lies the rub.

At a special meeting of the Knowlton Township Committee on September 28, property owned by Frank Arena on the Knowlton side of the border, abutting the warehouse site, was rezoned by the governing body to make the entirety of Arena’s property zoned FPZ, Single-Family Agricultural Residential, Farmland Preservation Zone.

Largely symbolic—the move would have no direct impact on the Triptop application—it was an opportunity for Knowlton officials to vent their angst over the warehouse, particularly truck traffic.

“We’re going to get it all,” said Committeeperson Michael Bates.

Knowlton Committee Member Michael Bates discusses truck traffic to the proposed warehouse in Blairstown. Photo by Joe Phalon, 10/2023.

Bates said he was concerned that most of the truck traffic to and from the warehouse would use Route 94 through Knowlton to get to Interstate 80. Trucks traveling to the warehouse via I-80 would traverse more than three miles on Route 94 within Knowlton then cross into Blairstown, where they would make the turn into the property after driving just 100 feet, or so, depending on the final site plan.

Samplings of GPS suggested routing via Google Maps recommends using Route 94 from Exit 4-C from all points east, west, north and south, regardless of the distance.

Knowlton Mayor Frank Van Horn said he was concerned about clearances in the two-lane tunnel on Route 94.

“Two trucks in that tunnel are going to be very close to each other,” Van Horn said, adding he plans to test and measure clearances with tractor-trailers.

The meeting is currently scheduled for 7:30 November 20, at the Blairstown Municipal Building.

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.