EDISON – The Glendale and Silverlake neighborhood has garnered support from township officials and the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders to preserve the property at 41 Glendale Ave. as open space.
Mayor Thomas Lankey has written a letter to Freeholder Director Ronald Rios requesting the county consider the purchase of the property through the Middlesex County Preserving Open Space program.
The township’s Open Space Advisory Committee wrote a letter to the mayor and Township Council in support of preserving the area as open space. In the letter they recommended the township engage a professional land preservation organization such as The Land Conservancy of New Jersey to manage the acquisition of the site. The organization has experience dealing with developers and knows how to apply for funding for preservation, the committee said.
The council unanimously supported the mayor’s efforts and the Open Space Committee’s recommendations through a resolution at a meeting on Dec. 7.
The site is currently proposed for warehouse development. The Planning Board began hearing two applications on Nov. 2 – a proposal for a minor subdivision for an existing contractor’s business, J. Sheer Industries, on one lot and warehouse/offices on a vacant lot and a proposal to construct a 176,630-square-foot warehouse with offices on the vacant lot at 41 Glendale Ave.
The area is in the light industrial zone.
Scott Turner, engineer for 41 Glendale Avenue LLC, testified most of the lots were vacant except for a one-story masonry building, a two-and-a-half story structure, which was one time a residence, and two masonry garage buildings. Turner said the buildings are owned and utilized by J. Sheer Industries.
During the meeting, an issue of whether or not tenants still lived at the former residential structure needed clarification before they could move forward. The hearing date on Dec. 7 was cancelled.
The residents along Silver Lake Avenue and the intersecting streets have been protesting the proposal of the warehouse since they learned about it in August through resident Ron Loeffler. Signs of “Protect Silverlake – No Warehouse” line the street.
Loeffler told the council the community is excited to explore open space and preserve the riverfront and wildlife in the area.
Councilman Robert Diehl moved the resolution forward. He said their support of open space is not against development.
“I don’t think anybody here is against development,” he said. “We understand development and how important it is to our township. It is very, very important to the vitality of the township.”
Diehl said the situation in the Glendale and Silverlake neighborhood is a quality of life issue.
“Right now our town of [a population] of about 100,000 is 95% built out or better,” he said. “There’s not a lot of open space left and with parcels that are left, it is important that anything that we do with them does not negatively impact the residents that it surrounds.”
The residents have set up a Facebook page Silverlake Edison and have a “No Warehouse Silver Lake Edison” GoFundMe page.