By JACQUELINE DURETT
SAYREVILLE — A proposed office and warehouse complex on Jernee Mill Road has received preliminary approval.
The complex, Jernee Mill Center LLC, which would be across from the Colony Club development, would be comprised of four, flex-style, one-story buildings totaling 46,000 square feet. Of that total, 6,000 would be earmarked for office space; the remainder would be warehouse space for small contracting businesses, according to information shared during the Sayreville Planning Board meeting on March 1.
In addition, the site would have 51 parking spaces, exceeding the requirement of 33.
The property is zoned industrial and is owned by Joseph Chadwick and his family. Chadwick, according to his attorney, Kenneth Pape, owns many parcels on Jernee Mill.
The site has some special characteristics. The first is its proximity to wetlands and the South River; an appropriate buffer has to be established. In addition, there is what Pape called a “man cave for a heron” on a pond on the property. That bird habitat has to be protected, and Chadwick’s representatives have been working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on those requirements.
In addition, the site has to have some architectural adjustments to minimize the flood risk, including a dry detention basin.
Chadwick’s team addressed architecture, engineering, environment and traffic. Board members had few questions, but Michael Macagnone said he was concerned about overnight operations.
Pape did confirm the facility could be operational 24 hours a day, as there is no borough ordinance limiting operational hours.
Macagnone said the borough has received complaints from late-night operations on nearby Hartle Street, citing, “four o’clock, five o’clock in the morning, backup beepers and trucks, forklifts picking up things and dropping them.”
Pape stressed that the businesses would comply with the borough’s established noise ordinances.
In addition, the application did draw some concerns from Colony Club residents.
Bridgette Brown said she was concerned about traffic, particularly at rush hours. The applicant’s traffic expert Scott Kennell told her he had done research and found there was a significant drop-off in traffic after 5:45 p.m. Brown said she felt there was still significant traffic between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Yogita Ramnarayan, a board member of Colony Club, said she was speaking on behalf of the association and had questions on their behalf.
She was concerned about flooding, as the pond near the site has overflowed into her neighborhood. She said her neighborhood just missed the flooding resulting from superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Chairman Thomas Tighe explained that based on what the experts testified to, the detention pond would mitigate all but the most severe flooding.
Ramnarayan also said the quiet nature of her neighborhood was important to her. The applicant and board told her the nearest building would be 390 feet from the development.
She also asked if a traffic light was appropriate.
Borough Engineer Jay Cornell told her that because the driveways for Colony Club and this project do not align, the state would likely not approve a traffic light for the site.
Tighe said she could petition the Borough Council for one, but that the newest traffic light in town on Main Street took 10 years to put in place.
Once testimony and the public session were closed, the board unanimously agreed to give preliminary approval to the application. The applicant plans to return for final approval after all agencies, including the county and the state, provide their approvals, Pape said.
“Thanks for doing business in Sayreville,” Tighe said as he registered his vote.