PRESS RELEASE: Four-Year Battle Against Proposed White Township Warehouses Comes to an End
For Immediate Release: November 2, 2023
Julia Somers, Executive Director
BOONTON, N.J. November 2, 2023 – A grueling 4-year battle between the community and developers over two proposed warehouses, totaling almost three million square feet, to be built on the banks of the Delaware River in White Township, came to an abrupt and surprising end at the White Township’s November 1 Planning Board meeting. At the meeting, Anthony Sposaro, the attorney for the developer, appeared alongside the Deputy Director of the State Agricultural Development Committee to announce that there would be no warehouses built on the site, and that the State of New Jersey would be purchasing most of the property to be preserved as farmland.
Local grassroots group Citizens for Sustainable Development (CFSD) formed in 2019 to oppose the development which would bring significant impacts to the rural Warren County community and neighboring towns. This would include dangerous levels of traffic congestion and air pollution, risks to public safety due to truck traffic on Route 519, water pollution and stormwater runoff in the Delaware River watershed, and the potential for sinkholes caused by the discharge of stormwater and wastewater on the site. “If [the larger warehouse] were online today, it would be the 8th largest warehouse in the entire United States,” explains Tom Bodolsky, Vice President of CFSD. “It would be a half mile long – long enough to land small airplanes on its roof.”
With the support of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition and Delaware Riverkeeper Network, CFSD was able to successfully defend their community and thwart Jaindl Enterprises, a multi-billion-dollar developer based in the Lehigh Valley, where warehouse sprawl has profoundly changed the region and grown beyond any expectation. The sudden announcement that the developer would be selling the land to the State of New Jersey came as a surprise at what was supposed to have been a regular Planning Board meeting.
“We were expecting Sposaro to go on again about why the developer had no submission for an updated stormwater management plan,” recalls Theresa Bender-Chapman, President of CFSD. Instead, Mr. Sposaro announced that the land would be sold to the State and preserved as farmland. “We were in disbelief,” she said. “It was a very surreal feeling. We’ve dreamed of this moment for the last four years. To actually hear it was phenomenal.”
After the meeting concluded, both sides convened separately at the nearby Red Wolfe Inn, located directly across from the site. “There was definitely a great feeling of relief from both ends that there’s a finale,” says Theresa. “I don’t think there was a sense of anyone losing. It was almost celebratory.”
CFSD will continue keeping an eye on the State’s purchase of the land, but will takee a well-deserved rest before engaging in opposing other poorly sited warehouses throughout the State, with local projects already proposed in nearby Phillipsburg, Alpha, Union, Franklin, Lopatcong and Pohatcong Townships.
Photo caption: members of Citizens for Sustainable Development and New Jersey Highlands Coalition celebrate at the Red Wolfe Inn in Belvidere.