Jackson Planning Board approves warehouse on Herman Road

JACKSON – The members of the Jackson Planning Board have voted 8-1 to grant preliminary and final major site plan approval to an applicant who plans to construct a 35,361-square-foot, one-story warehouse on Herman Road.

The application of 498 Herman Jackson, LLC, was heard during the board’s June 6 meeting in the municipal building. The applicant was represented by attorney Jennifer S. Krimko of the firm Ansell Grimm and Aaron, PC, Ocean Township., engineer Thomas Muller and architect David Collins.

Krimko told the Tri-Town News a different applicant received approval to construct a warehouse at the same location in 2018. She said that application proposed a different warehouse and said that building cannot be constructed as designed and approved.

Krimko said her client redesigned the project and presented a new application, which the board initially heard in December.

The property where 498 Herman Jackson plans to construct the warehouse is 4.8 acres and is a permitted use in the LM-Commercial Office/Light Industrial Zone. The parcel is undeveloped and is constrained by state-regulated freshwater wetlands and steep slopes.

The environmental constraints and steep slopes necessitated the applicant’s request for several setback variances, which were ultimately granted by the board.

The warehouse, which was initially proposed at 35,910 square feet and later reduced to 35,361 square feet, will have three loading docks, approximately 900 square feet of office space, off-street parking, lighting, landscaping, and storm water management and related site improvements , according to testimony presented during the meeting.

The applicant also proposed the following off-site improvements: construct water and sewer main extensions in Herman Road from East Commodore Boulevard to and along the entire frontage of the property (approximately 1,900 feet), which will make water and sewer service available to all existing residential and commercial developments along Herman Road; installation of fire hydrants along Herman Road; and full width repaving of Herman Road from East Commodore Boulevard to and along the entire frontage of the property.

Muller provided the bulk of the testimony during the hearing. He reviewed changes in the application that had been made since December. The project engineer said the plan previously would have required trucks to use Herman Road to back into the loading docks, which are on a front corner of the building.

In a significant revision, the applicant has created a paved area on its property that will permit trucks to pull into the site and use that paved area, which Muller referred to as a “hammerhead” area, to make all necessary movements to back up to the loading docks. No vehicle maneuvers will be required on Herman Road, he said.

“We heard the concerns of the board” in December, Muller said in explaining why certain changes were made to the application.

Muller said the warehouse, which is not an Amazon-type fulfillment center, will be able to accommodate one, two or three tenants. He said fencing and security walls will be placed on the perimeter of the site and he said landscaping has been added to help shield the building from Herman Road.

Krimko said “the revised plan will be more aesthetically pleasing from the street.”

The warehouse will be 40 feet tall; The maximum permitted height in the zone is 50 feet, according to the testimony. The roof of the building will accommodate solar panels. A charging station for electric vehicles will be provided on the site.

Muller testified that approvals for the application have been received from the Jackson Environmental Commission, the Ocean County Soil Conservation District, the Ocean County Planning Board, the Jackson Township Municipal Utilities Authority and the Ocean County Utilities Authority. The applicant is waiting for approvals from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The warehouse will be constructed of precast concrete wall panels, according to the testimony.

Board members Jeffrey Riker and Township Councilman Martin Flemming, both of whom are firefighters, expressed concern regarding various firefighting issues at the site, including “collapse zones” and how that would affect equipment parked at the location.

In addressing those concerns, Collins, the project architect, described the proposed building as being “non-combustible,” but explained that if a fire that originated in materials such as wooden pallets or cardboard boxes was hot enough, it could cause interior steel to heat to a point at which one or more of the building’s concrete panels could collapse.

He said the applicant could place a fire department connection at a location that would allow firefighting vehicles to be parked outside of a potential collapse zone while still having access to a water source to fight a fire.

Collins also said an early suppression, fast response (ESFR) sprinkler system could be provided in the building. He said the ESFR system, combined with a public water source, would produce a volume of water in a sprinkler system that would help to suppress a fire.

Collins said no hazardous materials would be stored in the warehouse.

Krimko said there are no prospective tenants for the building and could not provide specific information regarding hours of operation, but the attorney said the operation of the warehouse would comply with Jackson’s ordinance.

No one from the public commented on the 498 Herman Jackson application when given the opportunity to do so.

In her summation of the application, Krimko asked the board members for consideration of the variances the applicant requested based on the site’s environmental and topographic constraints; she said extensive landscaping would be provided in what is essentially an industrial area; and she said the applicant addressed the board’s concerns regarding firefighting safety.

Board member Michele Campbell made a motion to approve the application, which was seconded by Flemming.

On a roll call vote, Planning Board Chairman Robert Hudak, Vice Chairman Len Haring and board members Joseph Riccardi, Timothy Dolan, Noah Canderozzi, Riker, Flemming and Campbell voted “yes.” Jackson Business Administrator Terence Wall, who sits on the board, voted “no.” The 498 Herman Jackson application was approved in the 8-1 vote.

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