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Saturday, June 15, 2024

White Township Warehouse Woes Come to an End

In 2022, opponents of two mega-warehouses in White Township made their feelings known. Photo by Joe Phalon.

The long municipal nightmare is over.

The White Township warehouse saga came full circle last week when 566 acres of farmland that were intended to become home to more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space was conveyed to the state of New Jersey in the same room where it began more than four years ago. 

The State Agriculture Development Committee completed the purchase of the land from Jaindl Land Co. for $27 million—$48,000 an acre—to preserve it as dedicated farmland. 

The genteel closing exercises in the White Township municipal building were a far cry from the acrimony that ran high as residents of White Township, Knowlton and other nearby municipalities fought the proposal during four years of planning board hearings held in the same room, except when crowd size dictated a move to a larger venue. 

During the home stretch of the hearings last year, dozens of orange tee shirt-clad opponents protested along Route 46 and other roadways that would be affected by the proposed buildings. 

Then just like that…the half-decade-long battle came to an unexpected close with the abrupt announcement the state would purchase the property for preserved farmland.

The announcement came as a relief not only to people in White Township but also surrounding communities—particularly Knowlton—that feared they would bear the brunt of truck traffic traveling to and from the warehouses.

Anthony Sposaro, attorney for developer Jaindl Land Development Co., announced the plan at the White Township planning board’s November 1 meeting. He said the company had a tentative agreement to sell the 566-acre property to New Jersey Agriculture Development Committee.

Jaindl, which has proposed two warehouses on Foul Rift Road, one measuring 1,860,000 square feet and the other 860,000 square feet, purchased the property in 2019 for $11 million, the same property the company just sold for $27 million. 

The November announcement came just days after the Warren County planning board said in an October 23 letter to Jaindl that it was marking the application for the warehouses closed because after more than four years of consideration, there were still too many questions Jaindl had not addressed.

During the placing of a sign indicating the property is now preserved farmland, Warren County Commission Director James Kern III said more than 300 farms and close to 30,000 acres in the county already have been preserved, with Warren ranking fourth in the state in farmland preservation.

“Warren County is a farming community,” Kern said.

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.