In Warehouseville, the hits just keep on coming


Greg Bean

Will someone please stop the madness? Can it even be stopped?As if we needed any more depressing news during a dreary January, we got it last week in the North/South Brunswick Sentinel, in a story that said South Brunswick planners are considering a proposal to build yet another huge, ugly warehouse in the development nightmare that is the area of the township near New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A.

The proposal, by a company called TC South Brunswick Inc., calls for the construction of a 1.8 million-square-foot warehouse complex on a 118-acre parcel of undeveloped land on Davidson’s Mill Road and Cranbury-South River Road.

According to our story, if the application is approved, the complex will add significantly to the 1.4 million square feet of warehouse space — much of it still unoccupied — that the company has already developed in the state. The three warehouses, in the area zoned for light industrial development, will be 750,000 square feet, 600,000 square feet and 450,000 square feet respectively.

Keep in mind that this proposal, in the first weeks of the new year, comes on the heels of the nearly 5.3 million square feet of warehouse/office space proposed in this area of South Brunswick last year.

In 2005, Matrix Realty Association asked to build a 438,607-square-foot warehouse/office on Stults Road; Alder Development applied to expand its 231,804-square-foot warehouse on Ridge Road; Heller Park North applied for a time extension for its application to build four warehouses with a combined 2.7 million square feet on Ridge Road; Route 130 Associates LLC proposed two warehouses with a combined square footage of 432,995 square feet on Deans Rhode Hall Road, and the CNJ Co. applied to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot warehouse on Davidson’s Mill Road, a 101,331-square-foot warehouse on Commerce Drive and a 225,220-square-foot warehouse on Commerce Court West.

Add those warehouses to the number of warehouses that already existed along this small nexus of roads — Cranbury Road, Davidson’s Mill Road, Fresh Ponds Road, Deans Rhode Hall Road and Docks Corner Road — and you have a truly stunning disaster for area residents and commuters trying to maintain their quality of life, and navigate the narrow roads choked with truck traffic.

In the last few years, South Brunswick officials have allowed warehouse after warehouse to be built in this area for the simple reason that they want the tax ratables and believe they can sacrifice the eastern portion of the township because few of the community’s voters live there or pass through there on a regular basis.

But everyone who uses these roads, everyone who cringes as this once-pristine farmland is paved over with asphalt, is paying and will continue to pay the price for their gluttony.

All along, we’ve heard assurances from these people that the warehouses will not have a detrimental effect on quality of life or area traffic, but I don’t think they actually drive those roads often, if ever.

Last week, for example, I waited through three changes of lights at the narrow intersection of Davidson’s Mill Road and Cranbury Road, since six semi rigs were lined up before me and only two of them can negotiate the sharp turn during a single sequence.

In the evenings it’s even worse, with truck traffic not only clogging that intersection, but the intersection at Cranbury and Jamesburg Road/Browns Corner Roads as well. And just wait until the shopping complexes currently under construction — one at the intersection of Davidson’s Mill and Cranbury, and the other just down the road at the intersection of Cranbury and Jamesburg Road — are completed. Then, not only will commuters and residents trying to get home to South Brunswick and East Brunswick have to negotiate a fleet of big rigs bringing traffic to a standstill and endangering lives, they’ll have to deal with traffic entering and exiting the shopping centers as well.

At that point, my commute from East Brunswick to Freehold via Route 522 — which used to take 35 to 40 minutes — will take an hour and a half, if I survive it at all.

Thanks, guys.

Last week, the South Brunswick Planning Board heard testimony from the proposed developer of the new warehouse complex, as well as questions from members of the Eastern Villages Association, a community group opposed to the warehouse proposal and concerned about potential flooding from water draining from the sites. They plan to continue discussion of the matter Feb. 1, after this column goes to press.

Between now and then, maybe a few members of that board will come to their senses, say enough is enough, and resolve to turn this proposal down — at least until more definitive, independent engineering studies have been completed.

That might happen. I hope it does.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Wall Watch: Week Three

It’s now been over two weeks since Holmdel Committeeman Terence Wall turned on his running mate, Mayor Serena DiMaso, and accused her of making anti-Semitic comments — comments Wall said he had on tape but refused to release due to a possible “legal issue.”

It’s now been over two weeks since DiMaso vehemently denied the story and called on Wall to either prove the nuclear accusations he made against her, or resign. It’s now been over two weeks since I made the same call in this column.

It’s now been over two weeks of continued silence from Terence Wall, who has neither produced the evidence, nor resigned. In fact, he seems to be hoping the whole thing will just blow over.

It’s my belief that Wall made the disgusting allegations simply because he was angry that DiMaso was named mayor — a post which he apparently wanted for himself and was angry at being denied. I don’t think there ever was a tape, and I don’t think Wall could produce one, even if he wanted.

So I’m not going to let this go away. Produce the tapes, Mr. Wall, and submit them for authentication. If you can’t produce them, do the honorable thing — apologize to Serena DiMaso and resign from office.

We’re waiting (until the next update of the Wall Watch).

But we’re not holding our breath.

Gregory Bean is executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers.