Monroe mayor threatens to block truck access in escalation of feud with Cranbury over unproposed warehouse

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, MonroeNow, July 2, 2019

MONROE – The township mayor renewed his attacks on Monday over unproposed warehouses in Cranbury near the Monroe border saying he would block tractor-trailers access routes to his municipality from the site.

“I will not allow tractor trailers on our residential streets,” Monroe Mayor Gerald Tamburro said in a township statement on Monday.

However, he did not provide any specifics on how he would close off access points from Monroe and the township did not return a message on Tuesday seeking greater clarification.

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

He said that “initial proposals” show the warehouses with a “direct connection to municipal roads in Monroe.”

Cranbury officials have stated that its offices have not received any proposal for the warehouses, but are aware that at some point a proposal could come.

What is known at this time, is that a developer is considering using part of a 43-acre site near Ely Drive, Halsey Reed Road, and Hightstown Cranbury Station Road. However, Cranbury has not received any official plan.

“I know our residents cannot stand this excessive tractor trailer traffic to and from the Cranbury warehouses on our roads,” Tamburro said in the statement. “I’m sure the good people of Cranbury would be equally frustrated and angered by Mayor [James] Taylor’s decision to add even more trucks to their roads. That is why I hope we can all meet and discuss a plan that works best for everyone.”

The mayor in Cranbury does not approve or deny construction projects. The township’s planning or zoning board members decide on those applications.

“If I were a Monroe resident I’d be more concerned at the moment about what I perceive to be election tactics and my tax dollars being used,” said Taylor in response, “in a clear attempt to garner votes than I would on a warehouse proposed to sit on 14-16 acres of land, not 43 acres and which has no plans yet filed to be built.”

The mayor has complained publically about the 43 acres of farmland in Cranbury on Monroe’s border potentially becoming warehouses.

In May, Tamburro said that warehouses in that area would “negatively impact” residents in both communities. In the May statement, the township wrote that “to help protect residents from increased truck traffic, poor aesthetics, excessive noise, and other concerns, Monroe officials have developed a professional study” looking at the area between Hightstown, which is Cranbury Station Road and Halsey Reed Road in the Southwest corner of Cranbury.

The study recommended using the property for low-density residential construction with an agricultural mix. The lot is zoned for light industrial.

Following the initial May statement, the mayor said he received a letter from Taylor, which he called “unproductive,” and “was certainly disappointed with the unnecessary tone … noting Monroe has enjoyed a superb relationship with Cranbury and hopes to continue to do so.”

He also said Taylor’s letter praised Monroe’s study, calling it “very well done,” but that “impacted residents in Monroe should have and could have done their homework before purchasing in this area,” and that these choices are “not Cranbury’s responsibility or concern.”

Tamburro maintains his willingness to work with Cranbury “to find a solution. We have worked together in the past many times. But I caution that I serve the people of Monroe. They need to come first.”

Taylor says the Monroe mayor has not contacted him about the issue.

“As I said a month or so ago, if Gerry really had concerns for Monroe residents then he would not have spent money on the planner and legal, but called me and said ‘we have a concern about this warehouse, can we talk?’,” Taylor said. “If Gerry is serious about having real conversations and not sound bites for a campaign then as I state before I would be happy to meet.”

He went on to say, “He repeats his comment in this press release that he wants dialogue and yet, I have not heard a word from him since I responded to the report, which asked Cranbury to take illegal action and throw away 30 years of proper planning.”

Cranbury did try to purchase the site in question, according to officials, however, the landowner was not willing to sell it to the township.

“I do not recall Monroe asking us our views when they placed more homes on our border than we have in our entire town,” Taylor said. “Seems rather disingenuous to now demand that Cranbury consult them.”