Warehouse generic

BELVIDERE, N.J. – Warren County is welcoming newly released state guidance aimed at helping address increasingly high demand for warehouse space in New Jersey.

During Wednesday night's meeting of the Warren County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner James Kern III said he participated in the annual New Jersey Planning and Redevelopment Conference last week, which focused on warehouse development.

"It was a great discussion to hear from stakeholders all around the state," he said, noting that 300 people watched it live and shared their concerns about the proliferation of warehouses in the state. "We've heard some similar concerns."

In its newly released guidance to control warehouse development, the New Jersey Office of Planning Advocacy, on behalf of the state planning commission, recommends a regional approach to planning and siting warehouses. It also suggests that municipalities consider updating their master plans and review application requirements for warehouses.

The report notes that New Jersey is fertile ground for warehouses because of its geographic position in the Northeast, skilled workforce, major consumer markets and robust transportation infrastructure.

Warren County asked the state planning commission two years ago to take an active role in addressing warehouse development, said Kern, who requested that the county's planning department come up with its own thoughts and comments and deliver them to the board.

"I think that there might be some state funding that's associated with those who actively participate in this type of regional approach," Kern said, adding that he was happy to see the new guidance.

A September 2020 study funded by the New Jersey Highlands Council, a regional planning agency, under the direction of the county's planning department identified 15 sites totaling 4,000 acres and more than 45 million square feet of gross floor area that could potentially be developed for industrial uses such as warehousing in the county.

The report cited Warren County's proximity to Interstate 78 and Interstate 80 as the reason for increased interest in warehouse development.

The public has until July 29 to comment on the Office of Planning Advocacy's warehouse guidance. Comments can be emailed to warehouses@sos.nj.gov. The state planning commission is expected to vote on a final draft at its Aug. 3 meeting.

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