HomeTri TownTri Town NewsPlan to combine two buildings into one in Jackson stalls at planning...

Plan to combine two buildings into one in Jackson stalls at planning board

JACKSON — A hearing on an applicant’s proposal to combine two previously approved warehouse buildings into one building did not reach a conclusion during the Sept. 19 meeting of the Jackson Planning Board.

The applicant, 340 West Commodore, LLC, was represented by attorney Salvatore Alfieri, planner Ian Borden and traffic engineer John Rea.

In introducing the application that is now before the board, Alfieri said that in May 2019, 340 West Commodore, LLC, received approval to construct three buildings at 340 West Commodore Boulevard. The property is in an LM (light manufacturing/light industrial) zone and the use is permitted in the zone.

One of those three buildings is under construction and consists of 91,560 square feet of warehouse space and 6,125 square feet of office space, according to the attorney.

On Sept. 19, the applicant was before the board seeking amended preliminary and final site plan approval to consolidate the two remaining previously approved warehouse buildings into one new building of 248,500 square feet of warehouse space and 17,000 square feet of office space.

The property is bordered by West Commodore Boulevard, Interstate 195 and Diamond Road. There are residences and commercial uses along West Commodore Boulevard. Access to the warehouse site is only provided from West Commodore Boulevard.

The application was heard by Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak and board members Leonard Haring Jr., Jeffrey Riker, Township Councilman Martin Flemming, Township Administrator Terence Wall, Mordechai Burnstein, Tzvi Herman and Lisa DiMarzo.

In a related development, municipal officials told the Tri-Town News that in recent weeks, Timothy Dolan and Joseph Riccardi resigned from the board.

During his testimony, Borden said a tenant has not been identified for the single remaining building the applicant wants to construct. The loading docks were moved from in between the previous two planned buildings to one side of the proposed combined building.

Borden said the applicant was seeking the board’s approval for shipping and receiving activities to be conducted between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The 2019 approval did not include shipping and receiving between those hours.

He said “changes in the market have led to the request to permit shipping and receiving between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.”

The plan submitted by the applicant showed a parking area for tractor-trailers at the rear of the site on the side that borders Interstate 195. There is no access from the highway to the warehouse property.

Board members expressed concern about various aspects of the amended proposal, including the tractor-trailer parking area near Interstate 195 and the applicant’s request for shipping and receiving activities to occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“If the board approves the proposal without the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shipping and receiving (activities), we understand,” Alfieri said during the discussion.

When the hearing on the 340 West Commodore, LLC, application was opened to public comment, several residents came forward and expressed concern about the proposal.

Liesel Treacy said she lives across from the project site and expressed concern about the number of trucks that would be coming to and leaving the site, and the impact that would have on residential property values.

“93 residences on this road are going to lose their shirts. I can’t believe you are asking for 24/7 (shipping and receiving). Kill me now,” Treacy said.

Paul Staffieri asked the applicant to stick to its original plan to construct three buildings, with the loading docks in between the two buildings that are not yet under construction.

“The market has changed, but the neighborhood has not,” Staffieri said.

Alfieri called on Rea to address traffic issues after some of the residents who spoke mentioned trucks.

Rea said the proposed change to combine the two remaining buildings into one building would not have an impact on trip generation that was included in the 2019 approval.

With a small decrease in office space in the combined building as compared to the two remaining approved buildings, Rea said there would be a small decrease in the number of trips to and from the site.

At the conclusion of public comment, Alfieri acknowledged the application would not be concluded that evening.

Hudak, the board’s chairman, summed up the hearing by stating that the board members seemed to be in agreement that shipping and receiving activities would not be permitted between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

He said the board members would like the applicant to consider moving the loading docks away from their proposed location on one side of the combined building because of that location’s proximity to residences.

The application of 340 West Commodore, LLC, was carried to the Planning Board’s Nov. 21 meeting. Alfieri said the applicant’s professionals would use the time between hearings to review the board members’ concerns and the residents’ concerns before returning to continue the public hearing.

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