Friday, August 10, 2007

Warehouse Woes, Somewhere Else

Now It's Matrix

The EVA has long battled warehouses in our area without a lot of support from other areas of town.

Ever since the 8A corridor was defined, the lands east of the NJ Turnpike have fallen to bulldozers and warehouse development despite our efforts and concerns. Our residential areas have been adversely affected by truck traffic, light pollution, noise, and stormwater runoff concerns.

We worry about the aquifer's being covered by pavement and buildings and have seen one house after another along Cranbury-South River Road go up for sale as residents moved away to escape the encroaching industrial development.

Meanwhile, on the southeastern side of town, residents and the Township Government joined forces to protect wetlands and residential areas from Route 92, the Turnpike's solution to an east/west route across the Township.

Route 92 may have gone by the wayside, but now in its place, come the warehouses.

Residents are, like us, rightfully up in arms about this kind of intrusion on their homes. They too fear truck traffic, light pollution, noise, and stormwater runoff. Ironic how easily the battlefield changes in this town.

The Township governing bodies have "sold" the majority of residents on the idea that warehouses are good clean ratables with nothing but benefits to the Township's tax base. The trouble is, the majority of residents to not live in the "warehouse districts" identified by the Township. So, as long as they don't have to suffer the direct impact of such development, the sales pitch that warehouses are good business for South Brunswick plays well to them.

We have tried to change this concept with limited success. Now another group of residents finds themselves in the same position. We share their frustration.

I spoke with an active resident of Millstone Township--accessible to the world through Route 95-- and discovered once again a refreshing and positive concept. Millstone's attitude is that open space and farmland is actually the highest and best use of land. They have established 10 acre zoning. As well, Upper Freehold Township has signed on to protecting its rural areas and just recently fought off an attempt by the Rockefeller group to build a huge warehouse complex in their area.

It's time South Brunswick reevaluated its warehouse ratings chase. The huge CNJ warehouse on Davidson Mill Road, completed nearly a year ago, still has its "for rent" sign posted and no sign of activity there. Those builders swore there was a "desperate" need for bigger and bigger warehouses in the Township.

Something doesn't make sense.

And putting warehouses in people's back yards doesn't make sense either.

It's time for a different approach, even if it's too late for the EVA's acres.