Cranford officials OK warehouse on Linden, Winfield Park border

Image Courtesy of Maxine Giordano
An architect’s illustration shows the front of the building at the lot, where 33 parking spots will face Raritan Road.

CRANFORD, NJ — The local zoning board has paved the way for a developer to build a 33,800-square- foot warehouse and more than 8,000 square feet of office space on a vacant parking lot in the township.

The board voted unanimously to approve a series of variances and waivers for the proposed building on a rectangular strip of land between Jackson Drive and Raritan Road in the southeast part of the township near the Linden and Winfield Park borders.

Trucks will access the warehouse at the rear section of the building from Jackson Drive. They will pull to the left and back up to the three bays.
In front of the building will be 33 parking spaces. Originally, attorney Stephen Hehl presented a plan for 35 spaces, but board members asked for an island to be included in the lot that will run across the front of the building facing Raritan Road.

The offices will be situated on two floors. Each floor will have 4,200 square feet of office space.
The applicant is listed as 40-42 Jackson Drive LLC, and attorney Chris Erb declined to disclose the identity of his client.
Most of the discussion at the June 25 meeting centered around the buffer between the building and the homes to the east.
Charles Honara, a Linden resident, said he was concerned about the noise the trucks would generate while unloading. He said it was likely the trucks would be making deliveries at night and in the early morning.

Planner Victor Vinegra said some existing trees at the property will act as a barrier and proposed to add more trees for a sound buffer.
Vinegra said the plans call for a 50-foot buffer between the building and the property line to the east. He said there is only a 25-foot buffer between the property line and the vacant parking lot.

Vinegra also said the plans could be altered to include a sound buffer around the loading bay at the rear of the building.
Vice chairman Kevin Illing clarified the zoning rules pertaining to the building’s distance from a residential zone. He said a 100-foot buffer is required in most cases. However, since the parking lot was constructed 25 feet from the residential zone, the 100-foot rule does not apply.
Board Chairman Ronald Marotta asked Vinegra if the plans call for a cross-dock warehouse, which he said would create significantly more truck traffic. Vinegra said a cross-dock warehouse is not in the plans.

There was also discussion at the meeting about the side-yard minimum buffer between the proposed warehouse and the one next door to the west, which houses the business Vinegra argued that, although the plans did not meet the 50-foot minimum, there was still enough space for, say, a rescue vehicle to drive between the buildings.