Flexible warehouse/space plan in Manalapan pending jurisdiction issue

MANALAPAN – An application that proposes the construction of a building that would provide space for a warehouse and several smaller uses on Business Route 33 in Manalapan has been put on hold by the Planning Board.

Mercer Realty Partners, LLC, is seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval for a commercial development at 51 Route 33, Manalapan. The petitioner is represented by attorney Ronald L. Shimanowitz.

Testimony on the claim was originally heard on February 24. No decision on the request was made that evening.

On April 28, the planning council met in person at the municipal building for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020. Council meetings have been held virtually since March 2020.

Residents filled the meeting room to hear the rest of the testimony regarding the Mercer Realty Partners app.

The proposed warehouse/flex space location is adjacent to an off-ramp intersection that connects eastbound Route 33 freeway to eastbound Business Route 33. The property in question is near the adult community Village Grande at Battleground.

Shimanowitz began his presentation by stating that since the claim was heard in February, the claimant has revised the plan to eliminate the need for any waivers or waivers. He said the app is now fully compliant with Manalapan’s ordinances.

At this point, before Shimanowitz could present a witness, the question of which city council – the planning board or the adjustment zoning board – should hear the case arose.

Shimanowitz and Ron Cucchiaro, who is the Planning Council’s attorney, offered legal perspectives as to which council should hear the application. Their discussion touched on several aspects of flex space and they disagreed on which board should hear the case.

“We think we’re well ahead of that board,” Shimanowitz said. “We oppose going voluntarily to the zoning board.”

Cucchiaro said the matter is a fundamental matter over which the city council has jurisdiction. He said the members of the Planning Council would have to decide which legal argument to accept – his own or that presented by Shimanowitz.

The issue could hinge on the zoning board’s interpretation of a municipal ordinance, Cucchiaro said, before adding that the planning board “has no jurisdiction to determine jurisdiction.”

Jennifer Beahm, the council’s planner, previously said the application said the proposed building would be 97 per cent storage space and 3 per cent for other uses, but noted that township ordinance no. does not require a specific percentage allocation for flex space.

Board members seemed ready to accept Cucchiaro’s legal argument when Shimanowitz asked for a short break so he could speak with his client about the matter.

After a 15-minute break, Shimanowitz said that after consideration, Mercer Realty Partners would choose to go to the zoning board to seek an interpretation of the matter.

Council members accepted the lawyer’s position and agreed to adjourn the hearing on the application until the matter was forwarded to the zoning board and possibly referred to the planning board.

The property where Mercer Realty Partners proposes to construct the building in a Special Economic Development Zone and the Route 33 Overlay Area. The 26-acre lot is bordered to the north by Business Route 33 and to the south by the Route 33 freeway.

Access to the building is proposed from Commercial Route 33. There would be no access to the site from the Highway from Route 33.

The applicant is seeking municipal approval to develop the property with flexible space, landscaping, lighting, septic system, public water connection and storm water management facilities.

At the February meeting, John Kainer, a director of the plaintiff, said the building would have four spaces available: a warehouse of approximately 220,000 square feet and three spaces of 2,675 square feet each.

The type of tenants permitted in the 2,675 square foot spaces would be a contractor’s offices and stores; wholesale trade establishments; and establishments for the production, processing, assembly, fabrication, compounding, preparation, cleaning, maintenance and testing or repair of materials, goods or products, with certain restrictions.

Asked by one of the Planning Board professionals about the types of businesses that could occupy a 2,675 square foot space, Kainer said examples could be a carpentry shop operated by an individual craftsman, a print shop or a business. of robotics.

Testimony presented by the plaintiff’s representatives indicated that the warehouse would be a storage space for products such as tiles, flooring and paint that would eventually be distributed to wholesalers and retailers, but not to end users. individual.

Thelma J. Longworth