Florence Township does not support massive warehouse development around Exit 52 of Interstate 295
Over the weekend it was reported on Social Media about massive warehouses being proposed on both sides of Florence-Columbus Road near Exit 52 of Interstate 295. Not surprisingly, Social Media got it wrong: erroneously implying that Florence Township is working with the developer to encourage this development.
In fact, since 2017, Florence Township has stood in opposition to this type of development in this area since is does not have the proper infrastructure to support this type of intense development. When it became obvious that a developer and others wanted a massive development built on both sides of Interstate 295, Florence Township withdrew its support. Our concerns were both traffic related and that the properties were in areas designed to remain rural and were outlined in Resolution 2017-151 (Link below). And since 2017, nothing has changed — Florence Township does not support massive warehouse development in the vicinity of Interstate 295. Florence Township has encouraged Farmland Preservation since 2017 in this area.
So, now we see the massive warehouses that have been built on the Margolis property in Mansfield. We also know that the former Vanco property has its approvals for warehouses. These developments are located in Mansfield and are going forward because Mansfield Township agreed to allow Burlington City and Township to provide sewer service to that area of Mansfield, which is in a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-designated non-sewer service area. This expansion of sewer service, which Florence Township did not support, was approved by the State. Given the laws of New Jersey, Florence Township has no control over what other municipalities, the State do. And that type of silence is frustrating. And while the Legislature has considered proposals to give neighboring towns a voice, no bill has been able to overcome the opposition of the land developers and special interests. So, while we do our best to voice our concerns and strive to convince state, county, and municipal agencies to do the right thing, there is no mechanism to make them listen.
It is important to know that warehouses in the Interstate 295 area of Florence Township can only be served by onsite wells and septic systems because the area is located a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-designated non-sewer service area and New Jersey State Planning Area 4, both of which require only onsite wells and septic systems regardless of the type of development that is built. Florence Township has been able to keep growth under control by not extending sewer service east of the NJ-PA Turnpike Extension. More information about this can be found in the Florence Township meeting minutes from June 21, 2017 and July 19, 2017.
Craig H. Wilkie