Public hearing for Cranbury warehouse renovation continues on Sept. 10

Scott Jacobs

A proposed renovation for a Prologis warehouse on Santa Fe Way in Cranbury still awaits final approval.

Cranbury’s Planning Board did not approve the application regarding the renovations during a special meeting on Aug. 20.

Board members instead carried the public hearing for the Prologis industrial real-estate company application to Sept. 3, which has since been moved to Sept. 10. The continued virtual public hearing is set for 7 p.m.

The planning board carried the application citing the need to see revised plans that accurately showed the changes regarding landscaping, lighting and walkways discussed at the meeting on Aug. 20. Those changes included removal of trees and additional straight crosswalks and pathways.

“What we have seen is that site plans that have been prepared have moved from applicant to applicant. So unfortunately for you guys you are the first ones at bat, you are going to get the most stringent work from us. I can’t accept a site plan like this,” Township Committeewoman Evelyn Spann said during the hearing. “It is the most disorganized that I have seen in my eight months of doing this. We need to see this cleaned up so that we are confident of exactly what we are voting on, because we had issues in the past where we have had conversations and if it was not carefully documented then changes do not happen.”

The planning board is seeking a revised overall site plan, a revised landscaping plan and revised lighting plan. Board members stated that they would like to see the plans detailing internal traffic flow, pedestrian access to the building and illumination diagrams for the lighting.

“This is stuff we see from every applicant. If we let this go, what’s the next application going to be? The presentation is confusing,” board member Michael Kaiser said. “The lighting exhibit shows one type of pedestrian walkway and the site plan shows another one. It is just confusing to me on what we are approving. A little bit of this and that is hard to hand off to our township engineer and zoning official to make sure this gets done the way we approve.”

The warehouse south of Half Acre Road sits on 27.7 acres and currently has 11 loading docks and 169 parking spaces for passenger vehicles, according to application documents. The building renovation is designed to attract market demand for prospective uses such as warehouse distribution.

“This application is really about a redevelopment of a parking area to permit 13 loading docks and the removal of some parking spaces in order to provide for those loading docks. The property itself is part of Prologis Cranbury, which is an industrial park,” said Christopher DeGrezia, attorney from the law firm Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath representing applicant Distribution Funding II, Inc., co-owner of Prologis. “The building was built in 1999 and it was designed around tenant a which was a food ingredients manufacturer.”

The warehouse does not have a new tenant currently signed for the building. The building itself is comprised of more than 189,000 square feet of warehouse space and 35,000 square feet of ancillary office space, according to documents.

The renovation proposes additional dock doors on the east side of the building and would reconfigure the truck court and parking lot to accommodate the new doors. Seventy-five parking spaces will be eliminated to allow for the additional loading docks. The applicant is seeking a parking variance.

Other renovations include a lighting upgrade, a reworking of the floor, reconfiguring/shrinking office space from 35,000 square feet, and upgrading existing dock doors.

For more information about the next regular Planning Board meeting and documents regarding this application, visit www.cranburytownship.org.