Sunday, October 01, 2006

The "Art" of Warehouse Building

Just What Color is the Sky Anyhow?

After attending dozens of warehouse hearings in South Brunswick, I thought I’d heard it all. Not so. One trip to Upper Freehold Township proved me wrong.

I was asked by members of a local citizens group to attend a Planning Board meeting in Allentown where residents are battling against a large warehouse applying to build on lands next to their homes. They felt some of my insights into the impacts of such development here in South Brunswick would be a help to their case.

As I listened to the developer’s lawyer question the Township planners who had opposed the development, I was in familiar territory. Every argument was one I’d heard before.

But then it happened. The developer began to plead his case as to why he could not build the berms and tree buffers high enough to completely block the warehouse walls from view where the residents’ houses were.

The developer’s solution?

“Well, since we can’t screen the upper few feet of the building, we’ll just paint it sky color.”

My jaw dropped. Sky color? What, with animated clouds too—the facetious suggestion of one planning board member?

No offer hear to make the building smaller so a larger berm could be constructed. Just complaints that getting trees tall enough would be a hardship and an offer to artistically disguise their walls to match the sky, so on the exact day that the sky’s color matched their paint, then maybe, just maybe, the residents’view would look natural.

Ludicrous to be sure, but just one more example of how out of touch developers can be with reality when their minds are focused on getting the most for their money.

Watch out, South Brunswick. This new idea may take hold. We’ll have a new market for our artists’ community and murals in place of horizon.

Not exactly my idea of upholding a buffers ordinance.


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