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Monday, June 24, 2024

Warehouse Plans Expected Back Before Blairstown Land Use Board December 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Knowlton resident Frank Arena, whose farm sits directly adjacent to a warehouse proposed in Blairstown, voices his concerns to the land use board. Photo by J. Phalon.

The twice-adjourned hearings for a warehouse proposal in Blairstown are expected to resume December 18, and anticipating a crowd, the land use board has moved the meeting to North Warren Regional High School.

At the most recent hearing in September, the developer, Hackensack-based developer Tritop Realty, presented revised plans for a triangular 8.9-acre tract that included a reduction in sub-units from 10 to nine and a smaller parking lot.

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

While those changes addressed some initial concerns of the land use board, many residents of Blairstown as well as Knowlton, which borders one side of the triangular-shaped lot, continue to object. Officials in Knowlton have voiced opposition to the warehouse, asserting their community will bear the brunt of any truck traffic resulting from the proposal.

The nearest connection to Interstate 80 is in Knowlton. 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.

Knowlton officials, including Deputy Mayor Debra Shipps, have urged residents to attend the Blairstown Land Use Board meetings to make their concerns known.

Since the last hearing, a major warehouse proposal in nearby White Township that had been before the local planning board was abruptly withdrawn after almost four years of hearings when the developer announced it was entering into an agreement to sell the 585-acre site to the state of New Jersey for preservation as farmland.

And Hillsborough Township officials in Somerset County on November 28 voted to use nearly $10 million from the township’s Open Space Trust Fund to purchase two vacant properties that were being eyed for possible warehouses.

While these events have no direct bearing on the Blairstown proposal, which is a fraction of the size of the scuttled plans for White, local residents hope some kind of similarly adaptive arrangement can be found with the site in Blairstown.

The meeting is set for December 18 at 7:30 p.m. at North Warren Regional High School. Those interested in the hearing should check the Blairstown Land Use Board web page as a postponement is always possible.

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.