HomeLawrence LedgerLawrence Ledger NewsWest Windsor Township Planning Board continues warehouse public hearing

West Windsor Township Planning Board continues warehouse public hearing

The West Windsor Township Planning Board picked up where it left off on an application for a warehouse distribution center on Quakerbridge Road on the West Windsor/Lawrence border, focusing mostly on traffic issues at its May 18 meeting.

Traffic engineer Karl Pehnke outlined proposed improvements to Quakerbridge Road and Clarksville Road that would be needed for the traffic generated by the seven warehouses, proposed for the former American Cyanamid site.

Developer Bridge Point WW LLC is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval and subdivision approval for the first phase of development on the 645-acre property.

The developer also has applied for preliminary major site plan approval for the second phase of the development, and would have to return to the Planning Board for final approval.

Despite its overall size of 5.5 million square feet, the warehouse distribution center would be a low traffic-generator, Pehnke said. The first phase of the development would add about 512 new trips during the morning peak rush hour and about 542 new trips during the evening peak rush hour.

The second phase of the project would add about 434 new trips during the morning peak rush hour and about 460 new trips during the evening peak rush hour.

This compares to more than 19,000 cars that enter and leave the Nassau Park Pavilion shopping center daily; 17,000 trips into and out of the Quaker Bridge Mall daily; and 10,000 daily trips into and out of the Mercer Mall, he said.

Nevertheless, there are plans to modify Clarksville Road, Quakerbridge Road and Route 1 north. Some of the improvements are anticipated by Mercer County’s mobility plan. Clarksville Road and Quakerbridge Road are under Mercer County’s control.

Clarksville Road would be widened to two lanes in each direction along the project site’s frontage, beginning at Quakerbridge Road. It would have a center turn lane, shoulders and a bicycle/pedestrian path, Pehnke said.

Quakerbridge Road would be widened westbound to three lanes, Pehnke said. There would a shoulder and a bicycle/pedestrian path. A traffic light is proposed for the intersection of Quakerbridge Road and Lawrence Station Road, he said.

A new street is proposed to bisect the warehouse distribution center, beginning on Quakerbridge Road opposite Avalon Way in Lawrence Township. It would end on Route 1 north, opposite the Nassau Park Pavilion shopping center.

On Route 1, the fourth service road lane, which tapers to three lanes, would extend past the proposed new road that runs through the warehouse development, he said.

Pehnke said the Clarksville Road bridge over the Amtrak rail lines is slated to be replaced, and that his client expects some tractor trailer trucks to use Clarksville Road to reach the Princeton-Hightstown Road/Route 571 and on to the New Jersey Turnpike. The trucks may also use Route 1 north to reach North Brunswick and the highways.

West Windsor Councilwoman Andrea Mandel, who sits on the Planning Board, said she was concerned about the trucks using Clarksville Road to reach the Princeton-Hightstown Road/Route 571. They will pass by the schools and the residential neighborhoods, she said.

Planning Board Chairman Gene O’Brien said he had discussed the issue with Planning Board attorney Gerald Muller, and that an ordinance to ban trucks on Clarksville Road would have to be approved by the West Windsor Township Council and the Mercer County Board of Commissioners.

Pehnke said his client would not object to it and would comply with the ordinance.

Pivoting from traffic issues to the architectural design of the warehouses, project architect Michael Baumstark said they would be of high institutional-grade quality and appearance in order to attract a high-quality tenant that would sing a long-term lease.

The buildings will be energy efficient, Baumstark said. They would be constructed of pre-cast, insulated panels. The overall color scheme is gray with blue accents. A small amount of office space is included in each warehouse.

The buildings are designed to handle solar panels. While the requirement is for 40% of the available roof to be used for solar panels, his client will commit to covering all of the available roof with solar panels, he said.

Planner John McDonough told the Planning Board that the application does not need variances. The warehouse distribution center is a permitted use in the Planned Commercial District.

McDonough described the project as an “essential use” and that it would be an “economic engine.” The property is between New York City and Philadelphia, and has “great access” to the ports on the rivers, he said.

“There has been a 19% hike (in activity at the ports). There are many positives to this application,” McDonough said, wrapping up testimony at the meeting.

The Planning Board will hear additional testimony and may have time for public comment at its May 25 meeting.

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