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Somerset Run Civics Club Hosts Meeting About Warehouses

Mark Healey, the township’s director of planning, points out various development zones in the township during the Somerset Run Civics Club meeting.

Residents of Somerset Run received a primer on the township’s warehouse situation on September 8.

The venue was the 55-plus community’s clubhouse, and the setting was a meeting of the Somerset Run Civics Club.

Featured were township representatives Vince Dominach, the township’s economic development director; Mark Healey, the township’s principal planner; Councilwoman Shepa Uddin (D-Ward2) and Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (D-Ward 3.)

During the roughly 90-minute meeting, residents were presented with a rundown of Dominach’s duties as economic development director, and an explanation of the township’s new warehouse ordinance by Healey.

After the presentation, residents asked a number of questions about warehouses and the township’s warehouse ordinance.

The new ordinance establishes a 500-foot buffer between the property lines of a residential zone and a warehouse development. One resident asked how the 500-foot distance was arrived at.

Dominach said the Township Council relied on warehouse zoning guidance from the State Planning Commission, which suggested a 500-foot buffer as a starting point.

He said the Council “acted quickly” to create the ordinance after residents from Canal Walk showed up at meetings to protest a planned warehouse near their development.

The Council, he said, has directed the Planning Board to review the ordinance and make any suggestions for change it sees fit,.

“We didn’t have time to say this area should be 500 feet, this area should be 1,000 feet,” he said.

Another residents asked if the warehouses could operate 24 hours a day. When Dominach told him yes, the resident said, “If you have a 24-hour warehouse across from your residential area, you’re going to be up all night.”

In response to a question about warehouses being “revenue enhancers” for the township, Dominach said that warehouse space has tripled in value over the last 10 years.

“They can get $150, $200 a square foot … for a typical warehouse,” he said. “They usually get $50 or $60 in this area. It is a revenue enhancer to the township, there is no doubt about that.”

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