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Jackson zoners approve contractors’ warehouses off South Hope Chapel Road

JACKSON — The members of the Jackson Zoning Board of Adjustment have granted preliminary and final site plan approval to an applicant that proposed the construction of four buildings for contractor warehouse uses.

The application of Earle Investments, LLC, was heard by the board on Nov. 16. The applicant was represented by attorney Robert C. Shea, engineer Brian Murphy and traffic engineer John Rea.

Earle Investments proposed to construct three buildings each consisting of 13,000 square feet and one building consisting of 14,000 square feet, for a total of 53,000 square feet of space.

Each building will be subdivided into contractor units of about 1,625 square feet (150 square feet of office area and 1,475 square feet of warehouse area).

Each unit will have a 10-foot x 20-foot parking space at the rear of each building; an overhead door and a minimum of a 15-foot x 20-foot striped area providing access into the building with associated site improvements, according to information provided by the applicant.

The 8.26-acre site is on Earle Way in Jackson’s Pinelands Manufacturing zone. Earle Way is a private road that intersects with South Hope Chapel Road (Route 547).

In a legal notice published prior to the meeting, Shea said in April 2011, Earle Investments was granted preliminary and final major subdivision approval by the zoning board to subdivide two existing lots into seven new lots and use variance approval to construct a concrete manufacturing plant on one lot (existing facility across South Hope Chapel Road).

In January 2019, Earle Investments was granted variance approval to permit a heavy equipment training and teaching school for the property at South Hope Chapel Road, according to a legal notice published by Shea.

In brief remarks prior to the beginning of testimony on Nov. 16, Shea said the zoning board has retained jurisdiction following the approval of the prior applications. He said the proposed uses that were before the board are permitted in the Pinelands Manufacturing zone.

During his testimony, Murphy said the property on Earle Way is used as a storage site by Earle Asphalt. He said sand and gravel are stored at the location, which has three two-way access points along Earle Way.

Regarding the proposed contractor uses in the four buildings, Murphy said “carpenters, electricians, plumbers and the like” would be expected to be tenants. No retail sales will take place at the location and no materials belonging to a tenant will be stored outside the buildings.

Tenants would have access to their space from about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said. The exact hours of operation could vary depending on a specific tenant, according to the testimony.

The loading and unloading of materials will take place in the rear of all buildings through a garage door. There will be enough space for vehicles, generally box trucks and vans, to enter a building.

On occasion, a tractor-trailer may deliver materials to the site, Murphy testified.

Murphy provided various details to the zoning board, including that no tenants have been identified at this time; that landscaping around the new buildings would be provided; that proposed wells require approval from Ocean County and from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; and that each building can have multiple tenants.

During his testimony, Rea said he prepared a traffic impact analysis of the site. He said the intersection of South Hope Chapel Road and Earle Way will operate at an acceptable level of service and in a manner that is safe and efficient.

“This type of use, which is called flex space or contractors’ warehouses, is becoming popular in central New Jersey. I believe the site will operate safely and efficiently,” Rea said.

No one from the public commented on the application when given the opportunity to do so and none of the zoning board members raised a concern about what was proposed at the location. Board members said this type of use is needed in Jackson.

A motion was made to approve the contractors’ warehouses proposed by Earle Investments. On a roll call vote, Chairman Scott Najarian, Vice Chairwoman Lynne Bradley, Carl Book Jr., Jeanine Fritch, James Hurley, Steve Costanzo and John Spalthoff voted “yes” to approve the application.

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