Homeowners association files lawsuit regarding warehouse on Princess Road

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A lawsuit challenging the Lawrence Township Planning Board’s approval of a 340,400-square-foot warehouse on Princess Road, which runs between Princeton Pike and Franklin Corner Road, has been filed by The Gatherings at Lawrenceville Homeowners Association.

The Gatherings at Lawrenceville is an age-restricted condominium development located off Princess Road, near the intersection of Franklin Corner Road. The warehouse would be located at 10 Princess Road, near the intersection of Princeton Pike.

The lawsuit, which was filed against the Lawrence Township Planning Board and developer PSIP Metrix Princess Road LLC in Mercer County Superior Court on Jan. 17, seeks to overturn the Planning Board’s approval of the project.

Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski declined to comment.

The Planning Board granted preliminary and final major site plan approval with variances and design exceptions in November 2018, following three public hearings on the application for the warehouse.

The Planning Board approved the application with several conditions – that it will not be an Amazon-like fulfillment center, and that trucks must enter and exit the warehouse property using the Princeton Pike/Princess Road intersection, thus avoiding The Gatherings at Lawrenceville development.

But The Gatherings at Lawrenceville Homeowners Association’s lawsuit claims that the Planning Board’s approval of the application was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and that’s why it is seeking to overturn the board’s approval.

The proposed 340,400-square-foot warehouse includes 10,212 square feet of office space, 103 loading docks and 64 trailer parking spaces on the 31.2-acre lot. Although the township’s zoning ordinance allows warehouses on Princess Road, several variances and design exceptions were needed.

The lawsuit is challenging the granting of the variances and design exceptions, which include a 2-foot height variance and permission to build loading docks and trailer parking spaces in the front yard instead of the side yard. The applicant claimed the irregular shape of the lot required the variance and design exceptions.

The other variance and design exceptions that were approved involved signage and parking lot setbacks and layout, landscaping, lighting and building design.

In its lawsuit, The Gatherings at Lawrenceville Homeowners Association stated that the applicant provided testimony that granting the variances would benefit the applicant, but did not address how it would benefit the community as a whole.

The Gatherings at Lawrenceville’s experts offered testimony that approving the warehouse would be detrimental to the community, but the applicant did not prove that the positive benefits would outweigh the negative consequences, the lawsuit said.