Proposed Warehouses Deserve Scrutiny By Policy Makers Before They Are Built
To the Editor:
The recent mayoral election in West Windsor centered around the need for transparency on how important land use decisions are made — specifically, pending proposals to build multiple warehouses, covering over 100 acres of open land in our community. What happens going forward has implications for neighboring Princeton, Lawrenceville, and East Windsor. Nearby communities like Robbinsville and Hamilton are also grappling with developers’ proposals to build large warehouses, which can average over 400,000 square feet in size.
Supporters of large warehouse construction claim that the warehouses will bring in needed tax revenue, and that they are a better alternative to building homes. This supposed tradeoff misses several important points:
1. Real estate appraisers in other communities have found that a homeowner’s proximity to a warehouse negatively affects home values (https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-xpm-2014-02-10-mc-lower-nazareth-warehouse-hearing-20140210-story.html, concluding that proximity to warehouses would result in a loss of 11.5 percent of residents’ home values).
2. The heavy traffic that emanates from warehouses impacts our roads and our air quality. Other communities require warehouses larger than 100,000 square feet to take steps to offset the serious air pollution impacts caused by the many diesel-fueled trucks that will enter and exit their facilities every day. See https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/08/climate/e-commerce-warehouse-smog-regulation.html. At the former Hughes Tract site, if plans for building the nine proposed warehouses go forward, some 3,600 parking bays for trucks and other vehicles would be permitted.
The good news for West Windsor residents: the two sites under consideration now — one at the former Hughes Tract and a second one east of McCaffrey’s along Route 571 — have preliminary site approvals only. Residents should continue to monitor any further developments on these sites which will require public hearings. When and if those hearings go forward, residents should be there in force and ask the hard questions that these proposals deserve.
Stonelea Drive, West Windsor
Samjan Circle, Robbinsville
East Kincaid Drive, West Windsor
Evans Drive, West Windsor