SPARTA — The developers behind the proposed 880,000 square foot warehouse complex on Demarest Road will submit a revised site plan to Planning Board officials who questioned parts of the original proposal.
Diamond Chip Realty has agreed to submit an updated proposal for the Diamond Chip Logistics Park complex, at the request of counsel and board members following several questions about the existing plan this week.
Chairman Drew Reina said the application appeared to contain “material design flaws that do not conform” to the township’s ordinance for a plan of this scale.
Diamond Chip officials expect all updated plans to be submitted to council by July 27 so that township professionals have time to review them before the next hearing on August 17 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday’s hearing began with the continuation of the environmental review of last month. Township experts and planning board members asked about stormwater management, lighting and other aspects of the site plan, which includes two buildings on 68 acres of the Sparta Redi-Mix property. located near Route 15.
Board Member Christine Quinn asked for clarification regarding Building B, the largest building at over 500,000 square feet, and cited language in a canton ordinance indicating that a structure within 500 feet of a railway track has a higher allowable impervious cover. She wondered if Building B would qualify for this exception since, unlike Building A, it does not depend on rail.
Board attorney Tom Collins advised Diamond Chip officials to revise the application because “the proposal as now presented does not meet the standards of the Rail Use Ordinance. and rail for Building B”.
George Parker, another member of the Planning Board, expressed concern that the applicant does not have a specific activity in mind for the proposed warehouse complex. Developer Jim Ford has said in previous meetings that the facility was intended to store groceries and consumer goods for distribution to local retailers, but Parker suggested the council establish some parameters for demand before proceeding. review it for approval.
“We were told that we were going to have a high percentage of hardware going in and out, so if you don’t know the tenant, you can’t answer that question,” Parker told Diamond Chip representatives. “We need to put some sort of regulation here, what are the minimums. I still don’t understand how you put in so much money and don’t have a tenant.”
Council’s comments were followed by applause from the crowd of residents in attendance.
Residents attended previous hearings and organized opposition to the project. A online petition against the proposed complex has garnered more than 3,500 signatures while two Sparta lawyers representing themselves and other residents have repeatedly challenged parts of the plan.
Ford, on behalf of his team, accepted the request to review the initial site plans. He said he had always intended to make the entire facility dependent on rail and wanted a tenant who would constantly move products to and from the site.
“Having a user in there that’s going to change two cars a year or something, that’s not a development benefit,” Ford said. He later added that he would be happy to come back with “some major tweaks to this, especially the rail perspective”.
Quinn asked Diamond Chip to consider community feedback when revamping its sitemaps. In particular, she suggested that the updated app show a warehouse that conforms to a “campus-like setting,” as other similar Spartan projects do.
“I think that’s why a lot of people were surprised when they found out how many warehouses we actually have in Sparta, because when you drive around they look like businesses,” Quinn said. “They have really nice fronts, and all the cargo and all the trucks and stuff is in the back.”
Ford agreed to keep the public in mind when creating the updated app. He also said he would be mindful of previous requests regarding stormwater management and other environmental and landscape factors.
The story continues under the gallery.
“We are here to adhere to what has been established,” Ford said.
The proposed warehouse in the township is one of many popping up across the country and state.
Long before COVID-19, New Jersey, like the rest of the country, was experiencing a growing need for warehousing space spurred by expanding online sales and next-day delivery services.
The pandemic fueled this growth into a boom.
New Jersey’s warehouse and distribution center boom is being bolstered by the state’s proximity to ports, which are seeing record levels of trade volume as the global economy recovers, Newmark research shows, a global commercial real estate company.
Warehouse and distribution space inventory has grown an average of 10% over the past five years in the New York and New Jersey area, Newmark said.
Quick access to numerous highways and railroads near ports and airports, combined with a large population for quick access to consumers, makes North Jersey very attractive to developers. Although most of the land in these populated areas of New Jersey has already been built on, developers plan to redevelop existing properties such as empty office parks. When that’s not an option, they look for open space or farmland in Sussex and Warren counties in northwestern New Jersey.
New warehouses in North Jersey
Here are some of the most recently built or soon to be built warehouses in North Jersey:
Bogotá/Ridgefield Park – 30 Cross St.
- Dual municipality project: 6 acres, 83,600 square feet in Bogota, and 5.7 acres, 92,400 square feet in Ridgefield Park.
- Approved by the Urban Planning and Zoning Council of Bogota on February 22.
Mahwah – 1 international boulevard.
- 471,000 square foot warehouse on 30 acres adjacent to the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel.
- The site includes a zoned area that can accommodate up to 800 residential units; no applications have been submitted.
- The warehouse application is pending approval by the Mahwah Planning Board.
Mahwah – 1000 MacArthur Blvd.
- 208,000 square foot warehouse distribution facility.
- Should generate 66 tractor-trailer trips per day.
- Approved by the Mahwah Planning Board on October 11, 2021 and commemorated on October 25, 2021.
Passaic – IDI Logistics: 28 Jefferson St.
- 111,000 square foot warehouse on 8 acres.
- Construction completed in fall 2021, but no tenant has signed a lease.
Sparta – Diamond Chip Logistics Park: 33 Demarest Road
- Plans for two buildings, 506,880 square feet and 373,600 square feet, on 68 acres.
- No specific tenant, but the facility is intended to store food products and consumer goods for distribution to local traders.
- The discussion will continue at the Sparta Planning Council meeting on April 6.
Wanaque – 30 Union Ave.
- Planned 272,000 square foot warehouse on 35 acres between Greenwood Avenue and the Passaic County Community College campus.
- The Passaic County Planning Board withheld approval at its March 10 meeting so the proposed rock cuts and retaining walls on the property could be better defined.
Woodland Park – Logistics Center 46/80: 1150 McBride Ave.
- 205,000 square foot mixed-use warehouse and retail on 16 acres.
- Broke out on August 4, 2021.