Planning Board Resumes Hearing Of B9 Schoolhouse Warehouses

CROSS-EXAMINATION – Stuart Lieberman, an attorney representing a residents’ group opposed to the warehouses, questions three of the developer’s witnesses at the May 3 Planning Board hearing.

The developer of two proposed warehouses at Mettlers and Schoolhouse roads took another shot at approval May 3 in a marathon hearing before the Planning Board.

Link Logistics presented a plan that has been scaled down from its original, with an emphasis on landscaping to shield the two warehouses from residents of adjoining Canal Walk and Summerfield 55-plus adult communities.

As they did when they were presented with the original plan during a January hearing, and under the watchful eyes of the more than 200 residents at the hearing, Planning Board members critiqued the project and presented the developer with their wish lists of things they’d like to see incorporated in the plans.

The developer’s representatives – an engineer, architect and landscape architect – also came under sharp questioning from an attorney hired by a group of Canal Walk residents opposed to the project.

The project, known as B9 Schoolhouse Owner, has been the subject of months of criticism from Canal Walk residents and others. Lobbying by those opposed to the proposed development spurred the Township Council to enact a de facto ban on future warehouse development in the township.

The revised project presented to the Planning Board on May 3 was about 30,000 square feet smaller than the original.

Plans call for two buildings on the 20-acre lot, with the first building being 144,450 square feet and the second building measuring 70,970 square feet.

The first building will have 42 loading docks, while the second building will have 18 loading docks, the Board was told.

Peter Lanfrit, the developer’s attorney, emphasized the landscaping plan in his questioning, attempting to show residents that they won’t really see the warehouse when all of the planned foliage matures.

That assertion was met with skepticism by some Board members, who pointed out that illustrations of what different views would look like like in 10 years, shown by the landscape architect, didn’t show the pictured trees and shrubs in the Fall and Winter.

The developer’s landscape architect, Brian Hanes, did not have an answer when he was questioned how long it would take for the planted landscaping to actually have an effect on shielding nearby residents from the warehouse buildings.

Board members also told the developers what they would like to see incorporated into the design.

Board vice president Charles Brown said he would like to see sidewalk along School House Road, as an extension of that which is now on Mettlers Road.

Brown said he would also like to see a plan to allow employees to safely walk from one building to the other.

The developer’s engineer testified that only the larger of the two buildings would be built to accommodate solar panels. Board chairman Michael Orsini said he’d like to see the smaller building built to be solar-ready, even though it’s not required on buildings that size.

In response to an earlier question about potential operating hours, Lanfrit told the Board that the Township’s ordinance does not prohibit 24-7 operations, but he could not say what the hours would be because the warehouse as yet has no tenants.

“No ordinance is ever written that covers every possible thing that needs to be covered,” Board member Robert Thomas said. “I think the fact that this is adjacent on two sides to very large residential areas … (allows) consideration to a limitation of hours.”

Stuart Lieberman, an attorney representing a group of Canal Walk residents opposing the development, also questioned the three developer’s witnesses on their testimony

Lieberman’s questions ranged from the suitability of the soil on that tract for development, to the types of trees planned to be planted, to what noise mitigation efforts were planned.

The next hearing on the application is set for 7:30 p.m. June 21 at the Board of Education administration building, 2301 Route 27.

Lanfrit is expected to conclude his presentation at that meeting, and Lieberman is expected to present rebuttal witnesses.

Canal Walk’s Homeowners’ Association has also hired an attorney, and he is expected to ask questions of the developer’s witnesses at that meeting as well.

Following is the Franklin Reporter & Advocate’s live stream of the meeting:

Here are some scenes from the meeting:

Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …