Testimony about proposed warehouse will continue on Oct. 29

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The developer of a proposed warehouse on Princess Road, Lawrence Township, next to the Kramer Beverage Co. warehouse, will have to wait until the end of the month to find out whether the Planning Board will approve the application.

Representatives of Metrix Real Estate Services LLC offered nearly three hours’ worth of testimony at the Oct. 15 board meeting, but ran out of time for the board to act. The public hearing has been continued to to a special meeting set for Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, the public hearing for the proposed 340,400-square-foot warehouse drew more than 80 people, many of them residents from The Gatherings and Eagles Chase developments down the street on Princess Road.

Princess Road runs between Princeton Pike and Franklin Corner Road. The housing developments are off Princess Road, closer to the Franklin Corner Road intersection. The proposed warehouse is on Princess Road, closer to the Princeton Pike intersection.

The proposed warehouse includes 10,212 square feet of office space. There will be 103 loading bays and 64 trailer parking spaces, divided between the front and the rear of the building. It also includes 216 parking spaces that include 104 “banked” parking spaces that could be built if needed.

This would not be the first warehouse on Princess Road. The Kramer Beverage Co. warehouse, formerly occupied by Hub City Distributors, is 110,103 square feet, according to the Lawrence Township Tax Assessor’s Office. It sits on a 10-acre lot, while the proposed warehouse sits on a 31-acre lot.

Michael Nachamkin, Metrix Real Estate Services’ managing partner, said the proposed warehouse would likely attract many companies, from local companies to national companies, which would use it as a distribution point. No tenants have been identified at this point.

Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski, who sits on the Planning Board, said residents have called him and expressed concern about the application. He said they are concerned about the impact of tractor-trailer traffic on their quality of life.

“It is zoned properly (to permit a warehouse) and I get all that. But give the people a sense of what they should expect, the negatives,” Nerwinski said, as the attendees broke into applause.

Attorney Christopher DeGrezia, who represents the applicant, said this is a relatively small warehouse. Many warehouses average 1.5 million to 2 million square feet, he said. His client has developed many warehouses.

DeGrezia acknowledged that residents are concerned about truck traffic, but said steps have been taken to design the driveways to ensure trucks will be directed toward Princeton Pike and its intersection with I-295.

“We have done everything we could,” DeGrezia said.

Addressing traffic issues, traffic engineer Karl Pehnke said traffic overall on Princess Road is relatively light, and most of it is oriented toward the intersection of Princess Road and Princeton Pike.

“The site is attractive because there is immediate access to I-295. We believe the trucks are oriented to go to and from Princeton Pike,” Pehnke said. Signs will be posted at the warehouse to direct trucks to travel toward Princeton Pike.

When Planning Board Chairman Ed Wiznitzer asked about the type of trucks that will use the warehouse, such as tractor-trailer trucks, Pehnke said it would be a mix of trucks.

Pehnke said tractor-trailer trucks would deliver products to the warehouse and smaller trucks would likely pick up the products and distribute them to retailers.

“It is more that type of use. They would really probably be delivering to local stores,” he said.

Planner and landscape architect Thomas Stearns said that what has been proposed is a state-of-the-art “high cube” facility. The building would be 47 feet tall and have 44 feet of clearance inside.

Stearns also said the nearest home in The Gatherings is 1,800 feet away, and Princess Road curves away from the proposed warehouse site. He said much of the existing woods will be preserved and the building will be screened from view by landscaping.

The project architect is expected to testify at the Oct. 29 meeting, which will also include time for public comment.