Letter

June ___ 2017

Burlington Township Council and Zoning and Planning Board
851 Old York Road
Burlington Township, NJ 08016

Attn: Mayor Brian J. Carlin, Councilman Michael K. Cantwell, Councilman E.L. Pete Green, Councilwoman Joyce R. Howell, Councilman Robert W. Jung, Councilman George M. Kozub, Councilman Carl M. Schoenborn, Councilwoman Patricia M. Siboczy, Councilmember@twp.burlington.nj.us

Attn: Burlington Township Planning Board

CC: Burlington Township Zoning Board

CC: H. Daniel McCollister, CEO, McCollister’s Transportation Group, 1800 Route 130 North Burlington, NJ 08016

CC: Frank Petkunas, SVP New Jersey and Pennsylvania, DCT Industrial, 200 Barr Harbor Drive, Suite 250, West Conshohocken, PA 19428, 484-532-5430, fpetkunas@dctindustrial.com

 

Dear Mayor Carlin, Council, and Planning Board Members:

I am a Burlington Township resident writing to express my concerns about the proposed DCT Industrial mega-warehouse development project at the McCollister property on Neck Road, Route 130, and along the Steeplechase neighborhood. Specifically, I strongly propose that the Township reject the 5-year tax abatement designed to encourage DCT to build over 1 million square feet of warehouse space adjacent to my home.

The abatement allowed by N.J.S.A 40A:12A is intended for areas “in need of development” and to encourage industrial development in “blighted” areas in “underutilized” areas. “Blight” and “underutilized” in no way describes my home and a field that has provided farmland and safe, healthy open space to my community for over 50 years. In fact, our community is harmed by this industrial development and the safety, health, property value and quality-of-life issues that becoming part of a warehouse district bring with it. The warehouse itself brings blight—not the farmland or housing that could exist in its place.

I am a ___ year resident of the Township and have lived in my current home on _____ for ___ years.

[Add any other personal background that you would like to include if any, along with any specific hardships or pain and suffering that your are faced with, for example:

“I have a small child with asthma” or “I just bought this house to raise my family, and I am worried about the value lost, and am worried about my kids even being able to ride their bikes or run around behind their own house.” “Owning this home is part of my retirement plan, and I have spent my whole life working for this home.” “Traffic in my area is already crippling, and I can’t imagine an even longer and worse commute.” “I am not able to move from home” or “It will break my heart to leave my home and a life of memories and hard work behind.”

 [Please feel free to include, delete or edit the concerns below.]

Because my home is not in a “blighted” area, the project leaves me and my community extremely concerned about the following issues:

  • Loss of Property Value
  • Loss of Sale-ability
  • Loss of tax revenue for 5 years if DCT gets a 5-year abatement.
  • Character of the Neighborhood
    • The residential area is turned into the warehouse district.
    • This would be the only warehouse in Burlington Township abutting a residential area
    • Truck traffic and pollutants affect quality of life.
  • Loss of Farmland. Once it is developed, it can’t go back to being healthy farmland.
  • Were Steeplechase home buyers misled by the original sellers?

Concerns Specific to DCT’s Site Plan

  • Appearance
    • Sight lines
    • Maintenance of plantings
    • General upkeep of property
  • Drainage / Aquifer across from 806 Neck Road
    • Has the water table been tested in the vicinity of Neck Road? At one time there was an “underground river” at the site near Neck Road and the water table was very high. Before the curbs were put in, vernal pools would be created on both sides of Neck Rd.
    • Has there been an environmental study of the full possible environmental impacts, especially of water containment injection walls
  • Flow of truck traffic on the property
    • Plan shows tractor-trailer accessible roads close to houses in Steeplechase development.
  • Hours when the minimum 18 months of construction may occur
  • Hours of operation for warehouse tenants
  • Fumes from trucks
  • Hazardous material storage
  • Job creation: what kinds of jobs/salaries, and for how long?
    • Wages and job conditions
    • Impact of increasing warehouse automation
  • Lights shining in homes
    • Privacy
    • Annoyance

Light going above berm and fence and into 2nd story bedrooms

  • Noise Pollution (day and night) in residential area
    • Would the berm and fence dampen sound that reaches 2nd story living space?
  • Rodents population / Pest control
  • Safety
    • speed limits, tractor trailer restrictions on Neck Road
    • Increased street traffic
    • Sidewalks?
    • Plantings crossing property lines (potential for falling branches)
  • Security
    • Trespassers
    • Privacy
  • Taxes
  • Road Traffic
    • Noise
    • Traffic jams
    • Truck traffic on Neck Road
  • Waste Disposal
  • Wildlife (plants and animals)

I am also deeply concerned to learn that DCT Industrial filed a lawsuit against Upper Macungie Township in Lehigh County against stipulations meant to help residents’ concerns. In August 2016, DCT sued the Township over a stipulation that was meant to address residents’ concerns by limiting truck traffic and mitigating industrial water run-off. The Upper Maguncie township asked for a cap on 128 truck trips per day from DCT for that warehouse–and that was a warehouse the third of the size of the ones planned for the McCollister property. DCT sued the township to lift their cap on weekend hours and some environmental water runoff issues as well. These are not the actions of a good neighbor. Nor are they the actions of an ethical Burlington business citizen.

The mega-warehouse and resulting increase in traffic will also affect surrounding neighborhoods, especially Steven’s Station, Pinewald, And LaGorce Square.

The DCT mega-warehouse project is unwanted by your residents. It is short-sighted, and irresponsible to the community your serve. I look forward to working with my neighbors and Township counsel on resolutions and restrictions that will instead keep our community safe and healthy for many years to come.

Sincerely,

NAME, ADDRESS

 

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