Monroe mayor concerned about possible warehouse in Cranbury; Cranbury mayor responds

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, MonroeNow, May 3, 2019

MONROE – A possible warehouse development project in Cranbury on the border with Monroe has caught the ire of the township’s mayor and elicited a scathing response from the Cranbury’s mayor.

In a Monroe Township press release sent on Friday, Mayor Gerald Tamburro is attributed to “expressing great concern” about the project and that it “would negatively impact residents and neighborhoods in both communities.”

The Monroe mayor’s statements were not well received from his counterpart in Cranbury.

On Friday, Cranbury Mayor James Taylor said in response, “If anybody is going to take suggestions for planning, the absolute worst town to go and get advice from is Monroe.”

Requests for comment from Monroe’s mayor via the township’s public information office and the administration were not returned.

Though not officially proposed, a developer is considering building a 330,000 square foot warehouse in Cranbury near Route 130 between Hightstown-Cranbury Station Road and Halsey Reed Road, which is by homes in both towns.

“It is my sincere hope that our friends in Cranbury realize the potential impact of warehousing on this site,” Tamburro said in the statement. “We consistently hear concerns from residents about the traffic generated on our streets from warehouses in neighboring Cranbury. We lose quality of life, while paying for the expense of road maintenance, to benefit companies that pay taxes to a neighboring community. It is unfair, it is not right, and we will do everything we can to educate Cranbury about the impacts of these large warehouses on the entire region.”

The Monroe statement notes that the 408-acre site could lead to “more megawarehouses could be built on the border of Monroe in Cranbury,” and that “such development would create even more traffic, particularly tractor-trailer traffic, on Monroe and Cranbury streets.”

Monroe’s consulting planner Mark Remsa created a report finding that “warehouse and associated trucks and employee traffic would negatively affect the quality of life for adjacent residents from Cranbury and Monroe,” particularly those who live in the Stratford housing development in Monroe.

“The second element is the fact that majority of the trucks trafficking Cranbury are going to either [Turnpike exit] 8A Route 130 or are going to [Turnpike] exit 8 via Route 130, all of which border Cranbury without having to go through Monroe,” Taylor said. “However, the number of residential cars from Monroe going to the train station, going to the shopping centers, going to Target, that come through on a daily basis is over 2,000 on Cranbury roads.”

The Remsa report, according to the township release, recommends the area used for low-density housing, with an agricultural mix “ensuring any potential development enhances the surrounding residential neighborhoods in Monroe and the historical hamlet of Cranbury Station in Cranbury.”

Though, the report also noted that of the 408 acres, 75 percent is wetlands, leaving approximately 100 acres available for development.

“As evidenced by their unchecked residential growth, their $146 million school referendum and the fact that they are consistently having to impact the residents’ taxes for the last 30 years, Cranbury has been a model of proper planning as evidenced by our ability to keep our school taxes flat for a number of years over the last 10 years,” Taylor said, “our ability to give the residents a 10 cent tax [rate] decrease this year and our future plan of zero- tax increases over the next three years.”

Remsa said in the report, according to the township, that “residents on Ely Drive/Halsey Reed Road in Monroe could take the brunt of any major development, as this road connecting Halsey Reed Road to Station Road could become a significant thoroughfare. Monroe would fight any connections to Ely/Halsey Reed Road and Old Halsey Reed Road.”

The township’s statement said the planner “urged” Cranbury leaders to focus on “maintaining the rural or residential character of that neighborhood, while maximizing the use of remaining farmland for viable business opportunities.”

“We typically have ignored the unchecked residential growth in Monroe because we felt that it was not our place to interject our concerns on our neighbors. Clearly, Mayor Tamburro does not understand boundaries.”