Applicant revises aspects of proposal for Manalapan warehouse project

MANALAPAN – A civil engineer outlined several revisions to the proposed Manalapan Logistics Center before a packed meeting room in the Manalapan municipal building.

Countryside Developers Inc. is proposing to build two warehouses on Route 33 near Pegasus Boulevard. A decision on the application was not reached during the Planning Board’s Jan. 9 meeting and the public hearing was carried to Feb. 27.

The warehouses are proposed for an 86-acre parcel at 203 Route 33, on the eastbound side of the state highway, approximately across from the Four Seasons at Manalapan adult community. Pegasus Boulevard is an entrance to and an exit from Four Seasons.

The rear of the development tract is separated by a natural buffer from a residential development that includes Gramercy Lane and Astor Drive.

Attorney Salvatore Alfieri represented the applicant during the Jan. 9 meeting. Testimony regarding the Manalapan Logistics Center ran for about 90 minutes.

Civil engineer Julia Algeo of Maser Consulting testified on behalf of the applicant and described several revisions that have been made to the development plan since a previous meeting was held.

The revisions include the reduction in the size of a proposed area for trailer parking from 100 spaces to 26 spaces; additional landscaping around the trailer parking area; the creation of two parallel parking truck spaces as a truck waiting area to allay fears of back-ups at the site; the addition of a solid 6-foot-tall fence at the rear of the property to shield the project from neighboring residences; and the addition of a conservation easement on the southern boundary.

Algeo said 24 acres of the site (approximately 28% of the property) will comprise a conservation easement.

Board members questioned Algeo about issues ranging from the mature height of the trees that would be planted on the southern boundary, to water run-off from the site, to the potential use of solar panels on one or both buildings.

Raymond Walker, of Maser Consulting, testified that he was asked by the applicant to secure a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wetlands permit. Walker said wetlands have been verified on the property and he said the permits are pending the resolution of what he described as minor issues.

Walker said the applicant has revised the plan and would provide more than a 50-foot-wide wetlands transition area. He said the proposed wetlands transition area on the eastern side of the parcel would range from 50 feet to 150 feet in width.

Walker testified that the applicant “has been assured by the DEP that what we have proposed will be acceptable to them.”

A lake that is near, but not on, the property that has been proposed for the development of the warehouses has been identified as a possible foraging site for bald eagles that nest at the Manasquan Reservoir in Howell, according to Walker.

He said the lake would be a source of food (fish) for the eagles during their visits to the area, but he said no nests have been located in Manalapan.

Several board members indicated they would like to see the proposed wetlands transition area be a uniform 150 feet in width, and not vary between 50 feet and 150 feet. The matter was not settled that evening.

The board also heard testimony from Norman Dotti, an acoustical engineer. Dotti said he was asked to study projected sound from the warehouse site.

First, he conducted an ambient sound study to determine the levels of sound now, without warehouses at the location. He concluded that sound from motor vehicles is above limits for this site most of the time.

Dotti said because sound cannot be measured from warehouses that have not been built, he applied various methodologies and the experience of 47 years to calculate the sound that would be produced at the location.

“If someone has a complaint about noise at the site, there is a mechanism to address that. Monmouth County will come out and measure the sound and can issue fines for exceeding the sound limits,” he said.

For the proposed operation, Dotti said sound levels would meet the nighttime (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) standards and he said the project would comply with sound standards as listed in Manalapan’s ordinances.

The site where the two warehouses are proposed is in Manalapan’s Special Economic Development zone and warehouses are a permitted use.

Countryside Developers is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval from the Planning Board to remove existing structures on the site and to construct two warehouse distribution buildings.

One warehouse (Building A) would total 313,875 square feet and include 13,000 square feet of office space.

A second warehouse (Building B) would total 302,250 square feet and include 15,000 square feet of office space.

The application proposes an entrance driveway from Route 33, an exit driveway to Route 33, employee parking, 108 loading spaces for tractor-trailers and other site improvements.

In addition, two attorneys have identified themselves as representatives of interested parties. Ron Gasiorowski said he represents concerned neighbors and residents of Astor Drive. Michael Lipari said he represents the Village Grande at Battleground Homeowners Association.

The Village Grande adult community is about 1 mile from the development site, near a location where trucks that leave the warehouses might make a U-turn to access Route 33 west.

Before the Manalapan Logistics Center application was heard, the board members conducted their 2020 reorganization meeting.

Kathryn Kwaak was re-elected as chairwoman by her fellow board members. Todd Brown was re-elected as vice chairman. Daria D’Agostino was re-elected as secretary. Planning Board members are appointed by the Township Committee and serve without compensation.

The board’s professionals for 2020 are Lisa Nosseir (recording secretary), Nancy DeFalco (administrative officer), Ron Cucchiaro (attorney), Brian Boccanfuso (engineer) and Jennifer Beahm (planner).