HOWELL – The Howell Planning Board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in the municipal building to continue hearing testimony from representatives of an applicant that is proposing to construct nine warehouses at the intersection of Randolph and Oak Glen roads.
Monmouth Commerce Center, the applicant, and Lawrence Katz and Felix Pflaster, as owners, are proposing to construct nine warehouses ranging in size from 85,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet, totaling 1.2 million square feet, on a 99-acre parcel. The plan proposes parking for 706 vehicles, 142 trailer parking spaces and 234 loading spaces.
The applicant was represented by attorney Meryl Gonchar and planner Elizabeth McManus at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting.
McManus described the location of the proposed development as being “wooded, with a handful of roads surrounding the property that have been (the subject of) significant discussion throughout the course of the application.”
The roads in the vicinity include Randolph Road, Oak Glen Road, Brook Road and Monmouth County Road 547.
McManus said there is a mix of residential and non-residential uses in the vicinity of the property, including but not limited to the Arnold Steel parcel. She said there are commercial and industrial uses along Randolph Road’s corner with Route 547.
The property where the warehouses are proposed is in a Special Economic Development (SED) zone. McManus said the purpose of the zone is to provide for a variety of economic development opportunities in areas of Howell where rail and highway infrastructure are readily available.
“This proposal certainly provides (for) a significant source of economic activity in terms of jobs and tax revenue,” McManus said, noting that warehousing and distribution are permitted uses in the SED zone.
Outdoor storage is one issue being discussed as part of the application. McManus said the applicant’s interpretation is that parking spaces for trailers do not constitute outdoor storage.
“The term ‘outdoor storage’ is typically applied to things like inventory or materials being stored for future disposal, or future use of a business … ” McManus said.
Attorney Craig Bossong represents residents who are objecting to the application and said, “The idea that a trailer on a site, loaded with inventory, for an indefinite period of time, is not considered outdoor storage is just ludicrous. In that sense (a trailer) could continuously sit at the site, loaded with inventory, and (be) exempted” from outdoor storage regulations.
Bossong said there is a second ordinance regarding the issue and he detailed that ordinance for the board.
In response, Gonchar said she would stipulate that trailers would not be parked at the site for more than 60 days. She said not every trailer that was parked at the site would contain items.
The board’s attorney, Ron Cucchiaro, asked if that meant every trailer parked at the site would be empty.
“Every single trailer is not going to be filled, the same as the trailers in the loading bays, there is no difference,” Gonchar said.
Chairman Robert Nash asked his fellow board members to vote on the matter and the vote was unanimous that trailer parking constitutes outside storage. It was indicated the applicant will have to ask the board to grant a variance regarding that item.