Video Story: Planning Board Gives Chilly Reception To B9 Schoolhouse Warehouse Developer

Concerned residents packed the School District office community room at the January 4 Planning Board meeting to hear testimony on the proposed B9 Schoolhouse warehouse project.

A proposal to construct two warehouses totaling nearly 250,000 square feet at Mettlers and Schoolhouse roads was given a chilly reception by the Planning Board at its January 4 meeting.

With about 200 people – most of them from the Canal Walk gated community – looking on, Board members grilled the project’s architect, and the Board chairman went toe-to-toe with the developer’s attorney over the introduction of a document.

Known as B9 Schoolhouse, the project entails two 40-foot-tall warehouses, one 171,135 square feet and the second, 73,600 square feet.

The development is near the Canal Walk and Summerfield 55+ communities. It is Canal Walk residents who have led the fight against the proposal.

At the Planning Board hearing, held in the school district’s community room on Route 27, representatives of the developer, Link Logistics, were met with some stiff questioning by Board members and an attorney hired to represent the Canal Walk residents.

Adding to the tension is the fact that the Canal Walk residents opposed to the development have split from their Home Owners Association’s board of trustees, who have also hired an attorney and have been working with the developer.

It was an HOA resolution outlining mitigation efforts agreed upon by Link and the HOA that was the first major point of friction between the Board and developer.

Link’s attorney, Peter Lanfrit, sought to have the HOA resolution introduced as an exhibit into the record, but he was opposed by Board chairman Michael Orsini.

Orsini’s contention was that the resolution would provide no new information that wouldn’t be provided by Lanfrit’s witnesses in testimony, and, he said, the resolution could prove prejudicial.

Orsini compared the resolution to third-party agreements some applicants have presented to the Board concerning their developments, in that the HOA board members, like the third parties, could change over time, effectively nullifying any agreement.

Lanfrit argued for submittal, but the document was not accepted.

Board members also expressed concern over the quality of exhibits presented by the project’s architect. Board members said they were expecting three-dimensional drawings so they could get an idea of what the warehouses would look like, and instead were given skeletal outlines.

Board member Robert Thomas reminded the developer that they must be cognizant of teh fact tha tthe proposed development is close to two residential developments.

“One other little thing you can keep in mind as we go down the road here,” he said. “You property is adjacent to two intense residential zones. To me, that puts an additional burden on your client to go above and beyond what’s required and what’s just legal.”

“You have an obligation to show me there’s no impact, or very little impact, on residential zones,” he said. “Going above and beyond will go a long way to convincing me that your client is taking that seriously.”

The next hearing on the application is set for 7:30 p.m. on January 18 at the school district community room, 2301 Route 27.

Here is the live stream of the meeting:

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