Matrix warehouse plan classic example of sprawl

As the New Jersey state government focuses on preventing sprawl and overdevelopment, now is the time for local officials and the Residents for Smart Growth to take advantage of the political climate to see if they can do anything to minimize the impact of a massive warehouse complex, planned just over Upper Freehold’s border in neighboring Washington Township.

The Matrix Development Corp. got the OK from the Washington Township Planning Board to build the warehouse complex, despite the vehement opposition of the Residents for Smart Growth, many of which live in the Lynwood Estates, an Upper Freehold subdivision very close to the proposed warehouse site.

The Matrix project is a classic example of why the state needs to move toward some type of regional planning mechanism. Such a mechanism would prevent towns from approving projects on their borders to increase ratables while essentially dumping any problems generated by such developments on their neighbors.

Even though the complex is located in Washington Township, the residents of Upper Freehold and Allentown will be forced to bear the brunt of the tractor-trailer traffic on what are currently country roads.

Our bet is that the emergency services personnel in Allentown and Upper Freehold will also get a lot busier when and if the complex goes up and the heavy trucks start rolling into the eight warehouses that are planned.

Unless the Residents for Smart Growth prevail in the lawsuit against Washington Township and Matrix that is currently pending in state Superior Court in Mercer County, the best Upper Freehold and Allentown can hope for is to minimize the traffic impact of the development by pushing for the strongest traffic control plan they can obtain, including direct access to the complex from Interstate 195.