Applicant reduces size of warehouse at Manalapan Logistics Center

MANALAPAN – The applicant seeking to building two warehouses in a Special Economic Development zone on Route 33 has reduced the size of one of the proposed buildings.

A public hearing on the Manalapan Logistics Center application continued during the Feb. 27 meeting of the Planning Board.

Countryside Developers Inc. is proposing to build two warehouses on Route 33 near Pegasus Boulevard.

The warehouses are proposed for an 86-acre parcel on the eastbound side of Route 33, 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 Feb. 27 meeting. He asked civil engineer Julia Algeo of Maser Consulting to review changes that were made to the plan following the board’s Jan. 9 meeting.

The primary change described by Algeo is a reduction in size in one warehouse (Building A) from 313,875 to 304,866 square feet. A second warehouse (Building B) remains unchanged at 302,250 square feet.

Algeo described other revisions to the application, including reduced disturbance to a stream corridor buffer; landscaping at the rear of the property to be installed at a higher elevation, which will provide better screening from the residential zone behind the site; a modified wetlands transition area to coincide with the applicant’s New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection permit; 24 acres designated as a conservation easement; and 6 acres to be revegetated agricultural areas.

Discussion between Algeo and the board’s planner, Jennifer Beahm, centered on a stream corridor buffer. The applicant is requesting relief from certain stream corridor buffer requirements.

“If the proposal was smaller, for example, if you remove the building closest to Route 33, you could give us the 100-foot buffer we require,” Beahm said.

“That’s true,” Algeo responded.

“Nothing in this application requires us to grant the waiver (for relief). If you reduce the scope of the project, these waivers will not be necessary,” Beahm said.

The stream corridor buffer issue was not resolved that evening.

Ron Cucchiaro, the board’s attorney, said the revised plans that were submitted by the applicant would be reviewed by the board’s engineer and therefore there would not be a decision on the application that evening.

Board members had a chance to question Norman Dotti, an acoustical engineer who initially offered testimony on Jan. 9 regarding sound studies he conducted at the site.

Issues such as trucks idling at the Route 33 property and how sound from the site could impact neighboring properties were raised and discussed by board members and Dotti.

In the end, Cucchiaro said the proposed warehouses “are a permitted use (in the Special Economic Development zone). The warehouses are going to create the noise they create. They will not be able to violate regulations. You (board members) could not form a denial (of the application) based on (noise).”

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. Access to and from the warehouses would be provided on Route 33.

Two attorneys represent interested parties. Ron Gasiorowski represents residents of Astor Drive. Michael Lipari 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 may make a U-turn to access Route 33 west.

The Feb. 27 public hearing was adjourned without cross-examination of the applicant’s witnesses by the other attorneys. Cucchiaro said those attorneys would address issues of concern to their clients after Alfieri has concluded the applicant’s case.

The Manalapan Logistics Center application was carried to the board’s April 23 meeting.