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Applicant proposes constructing two warehouses on Howell Road

HOWELL – The Howell Planning Board is expected to hear additional testimony on Oct. 21 regarding an application that proposes to construct two warehouses on Howell Road.

Testimony on the application was most recently heard on Sept. 2.

The application has been filed by AAFFHW Property LLC as applicant and Clayton, Peter and John A. Forman as owners. The proposal seeks preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct two one-story warehouse buildings with office space.

Building A totals 325,737 square feet (305,737 square feet of warehouse space and 20,000 square feet of office space), with 55 loading bays, two drive-in bays, 161 vehicle parking spaces, and 68 tractor-trailer parking spaces.

Building B totals 98,828-square feet (89,828 square feet of warehouse space and 9,000 square feet of office space), with 28 loading bays, two drive-in bays and 94 vehicle parking spaces.

The applicant is proposing site improvements to include lighting, landscaping, storm water management facilities, an irrigation pump house, a sanitary sewer pump station and an optional fire water tank.

The plan proposes extending a public water main from Fairfield Road and the sanitary sewer force main from Adelphia Road to the proposed warehouses at 29 Howell Road.

Attorney Kenneth Pape, engineer Patrick Lynam, architect Sean Naeger and environmental scientist Raymond Walker represented the application at the Sept. 2 meeting.

Lynam said the site proposed for the warehouses totals 29.5 acres. There is frontage along Howell Road to the east, Okerson Road and Michael Curtin Lane to the north, and the Route 33 bypass to the south.

The property is between Business Route 33 and the Route 33 bypass, and is southwest of the intersection of Howell and Five Points roads at Business Route 33.

He said the site currently has access points on Okerson Road and on Howell Road.

Lynam described the way the property drains and said there are no formal drainage systems on the property at the present time.

According to the testimony presented on Sept. 2, the proposed buildings are not intended to be what are referred to as fulfillment centers similar to Amazon facilities.

“The (proposed) buildings are not large enough to be fulfillment centers, so they are intended to be warehouses with offices, which is a permitted use. We are also considering light manufacturing uses as well … not a fulfillment center,” Lynam said.

Pape said the applicant envisions the operation to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, despite not knowing who the tenants would be.

In his testimony before the board, Walker said the 29-acre site is an active agricultural field and has been since at least 1931. He said the property does not contain any freshwater wetlands.

“The property also does not contain any streams, lakes, rivers or other water bodies, and it is not located within the flood hazard area of any water body. All drainage from the property, as Mr. Lynam indicated, is directed to adjacent properties,” Walker said.

There is a cemetery northwest of the subject property, “but there is no work associated with this (warehouse) project proposed in that cemetery,” Walker said.

He said the property is not environmentally sensitive. The site has been farmed for decades and does not contain any steep slopes, wetlands, flood hazard areas, threatened or endangered species, or cultural resources.

The board’s professionals and the applicant’s representatives indicated they would continue to examine the proposed storm water management plan and farmland buffers. The application was carried to the Planning Board’s Oct. 21 meeting.

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