Cranbury Planning Board Advances Industrial Development with Comprehensive Discussion

In a recent Cranbury Planning Board meeting, members conducted a examination of a proposed development on Acre Road and Cranberry Metal Campus, addressing a myriad of details including stormwater management plans, traffic impact assessments, environmental considerations, and proposed variances. The application by Ary Associates LLC for preliminary and final site plan approval requested several variances for the construction of a new headquarters for A&M Industrial, which includes warehouse and office space.

The proposed development plans involve demolishing an existing building and constructing a new 85,000 square foot building on one lot, while maintaining an existing warehouse and billboard on another. The project’s civil engineer presented exhibits illustrating the site’s current conditions, proposed changes, compliance with zoning regulations, and environmental factors, including a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) affirming the delineated wetlands boundary.

The board addressed the intricacies of the project’s stormwater management, with plans including three bio-retention basins designed to handle 10-year and 100-year storm events, surpassing DEP standards for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) removal. The applicant also discussed utility infrastructure, ensuring it met existing standards with minimal changes, and the community impact of development, noting minimal effects on municipal services and a positive impact on tax revenue.

During the meeting, the topic of traffic impact was a focus. An expert’s traffic study estimated that the new warehouse would generate fewer trips in the morning and evening peak hours than the NJDOT’s threshold for an increase in traffic. Concerns about parking, ADA accessibility, and waste management were also discussed, with the applicant clarifying the safety and aesthetics of an unenclosed trash compactor and confirming the provision of two EV charging spaces.

The Planning Board carefully reviewed variances and design waivers related to parking, driveway width and location, and signage regulations. The planner presented the positive criteria for the project, emphasizing its alignment with zoning purposes such as promoting appropriate land use, ensuring safety, providing adequate light and air, promoting a desirable visual environment, and supporting the free flow of traffic. The discussion of variances involved parking spaces located closer than the required distance to a property line, parking in the front yard due to the turnpike’s presence, and the minimum width of driveways. Clarifications were provided that design waivers were not variances, highlighting the need for accurate categorization of the requests.

A debate emerged over a signage variance request for the size and number of signs on the facility’s facade. The applicant argued that the proposed signage, while larger than allowed by ordinance, would not create clutter and was proportionally appropriate given the building’s setback from the turnpike. Concerns about setting a precedent for the size of warehouse signage were addressed, with the applicant agreeing to reduce the sign’s height to meet the recommended proportional size. The board aimed to tailor the approval to the unique circumstances of the building’s location on the turnpike.

Environmental cleanup responsibilities were also a point of discussion, with explanations provided about ongoing remediation efforts and monitoring. The board moved to approve the application, subject to all conditions and acceptances on record, and the motion passed unanimously.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Eman El-Badawi
Planning Board Officials:
Dominique Jones, Mike Ferrante, Evelyn Spann, William Gittings, Jason Stewart, Wayne Wittman, Jason Mildenberg, Deanna Anderson, Robin Tillou (Land Use Administrator), Sharon Dragan, Esq (Board Attorney), Elizabeth Leheny, PP (Board Planner), David Hoder, Pe, Pp, Cme, CPWM (Board Engineer), Andrew Feranda, P.E., Ptos, CME (Board Traffic Consultant), Thomas Decker, P.E. (Conflict Board Engineer), David H. Horner (Conflict Board Traffic Engineer).

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