Kid-related businesses find homes in industrial park


MILLSTONE – An area of town approved for light industrial, warehouse and office use in 2000 has become a place for businesses that cater to children.

Members of the township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment expressed their concerns about the types of businesses opening in the Moto Business Park at their March 31 meeting.

During themeeting, the board approved an application for Cheer University to locate in the park off Rike Drive after many members expressed mixed feelings about that type of use in the complex.

Cheer University will join Rising Star Gymnastics Academy and a Montessori school in the business park. However, the Zoning Board denied an application in 2006 for Extra Innings, a national batting cage facility for baseball and softball, to open there.

Boardmember Frank Curcio,who voted against the cheerleading, gymnastics and batting cage facility applications, took issue with three of the developed lots in the business park catering to businesses for children.

“We didn’t want to put kids in an industrial park,” he said. “When does it stop?”

Curcio said that if he were looking to build an industrial use in the park he would worry about the possibility of getting into an accident and hurting a child.

“It’s been an issue from day one,” he said. Chairman Michael Novellino asked whether the business park is still compatible with what the town envisioned for that area in its zoning plan.

“The plan is not getting executed,” he said. Vice Chairman Steve Barthelmes said the town may not be getting the types of businesses it wanted in the park, but noted worse things could go there.

Board member Steve Lambros said business owners have come before the board for variances to place their uses in the park. Lambros, who owns commercial property inManhattan, said he is uncertain if the business parks are doing their due diligence to find suitable companies for the location.

“I want to let the zoning stand on its own,” he said. “It could get to the point where we have to tell these light industrial guys to get out because we have too many kids.”

Thomas Pado, a Planning Board member who owns the site where Cheer University will be located, said finding occupants for the business park has been very slow moving. Pado’s 3.5-acre lot is one of the larger sites in the business park. The site contains Pado’s business, TLP Climate Control Systems Inc., and two small sales companies which rent office space from him.

“People come to me and say they need 20,000 square feet or they need 1,000 square feet for a small plumber,” he said. “I can’t accommodate either.”

He said most businesses that inquire about locating in the park are either too big or too small.

Pado said that of the 18 lots in the park, 11 are vacant.

Novellino said that the number of vacant lots remains about the same as when he brought up the issue last year.

Township Planner Richard Coppola commented that theMoto Business Park off ProdelinWay is off the beaten path.He said the park is geared toward small businesses, which face a tough climate right now.

Coppola also said that the lack of public water and sewer at the park may be another factor contributing to the lack of development there.

“You need a small building for permitting of the septic system,” he said. “Some may stay away because they can’t expand.”

When asked about rumors of another business park being developed in town, Township Engineer Matt Shafai said there is no formal application but there is a concept plan for another park to be located behindMoto Business Park. The area is zoned for such a use, Shafai said.