Controversial warehouse project in Mullica Hill, NJ voted down during heated meeting

"This is definitely a town that came together and decided that this is worth fighting for," said Clint Guest of Mullica Hill.

Friday, December 16, 2022
Board votes no to NJ warehouse after 3-hour meeting
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A controversial warehouse development project in Gloucester County, New Jersey was voted down.

MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- After residents shared their concerns during a heated meeting that lasted more than three hours Thursday night, a controversial warehouse development project in Gloucester County, New Jersey will not move forward.

The Harrison Township Joint Land Use Board unanimously voted down the plan just after 11 p.m.

"We're all extremely excited obviously. This has been a long road for us. We've put in a lot of work, signs, community meetings, town halls," said resident Adam Pennypacker of Mullica Hill.

Hundreds of people packed the cafeteria at Pleasant Valley School, taking turns addressing the board.

Residents voiced concerns regarding the plan for a two-million-square-foot warehouse development in the fields across from Casella Farms, a residential neighborhood.

"This is definitely a town that came together and decided that this is worth fighting for," said Clint Guest of Mullica Hill.

"We went in there thinking that we weren't going to get the vote, and surprisingly at the end of the night, the board unanimously voted down the proposal," said Chris Zupsic of Mullica Hill.

Residents worried about a number of issues including air pollution, noise, traffic, local wildlife, and property values.

"Traffic, pollution- you name it; everything that a warehouse brings. It's just not good for this neighborhood, it's not good for this area," said Zupsic.

The project planned by New Jersey-based Russo Development includes four buildings in Harrison and Woolwich townships.

To accommodate traffic, Route 322 would have to be widened.

In the end, the board unanimously voted down the plan.

"This is not just for our community. This is for south Jersey in general. This is a problem all over the state. We're not just committed to defeating this project, but we look to help other communities in their fight. We're going to take this all the way up to the state legislature," said Pennypacker.

Russo Development released this statement to Action News on the vote:

"We are disappointed that the Harrison JLUB acted arbitrarily in failing to administer the applicable zoning of the property and approve our application which is fully compliant with zoning and the Redevelopment Plan governing the property. As property owners in the Township, we fully intend to pursue our vested rights to redevelop the property for this appropriate and expressly permitted use."

Residents told Action News they will continue to fight any future proposals.