Rendering: Six warehouses would cover more than 4 million square feet
WHITE TOWNSHIP — Farmers are among the Warren County residents opposing a massive warehouse development proposed for this rural township.
The Jaindl family, originally Pennsylvania turkey farmers, have built several warehouse developments in the Lehigh Valley.
Now they have crossed the river.
While there is no site plan before the White Township Planning Board, the family brought a “conceptual landscape rendering” by Finelli Engineers of Washington to the township committee.
The rendering shows about 600 acres on Route 519 the Jaindls bought from Pennsylvania Power and Light.
The plan shows six possible warehouses, three of which are more than 1 million square feet, and two of which are more than 500,000 square feet. The sixth is just less than a 500,000 square feet.
“This is the best farmland in Warren County,” farmer Maria Menegus said while minding the family farm’s booth at the farmers market here. “It’s the top producing land.”
“I hate to see a farmer use land in this manner,” she said of the Jaindls. “First in Pennsylvania and now here. There are other places to build, they should utilize productive land for farming.”
She noted there are warehouses being constructed on the former Ingersoll-Rand site in Phillipsburg, a historically industrial property adjacent to Route 22.
The White Township land is currently being leased for farming. It includes the Tom Smith farm that was hit by a tornado several years ago.
PP&L was required to hold onto the land when they burned coal in the Martin’s Creek Plant across the river. Once the plant was switched to natural gas, the company could sell, explained Terry Urfer, a Hope Township Committeeman.
“The roads aren’t made to handle the truck traffic this will bring,” farmer Kent Kimball said at the same farmers market.
He said that his farm is far enough off County Route 519 that he doesn’t drive his tractor on the county road, but other farmers do.
Tom Bodolsky of Hope Township who is leading a citizen’s opposition group, produced a chart of average daily truck traffic estimates at a recent residents’ meeting.
The traffic going north on Route 519 from the warehouse site was estimated at 10,567 vehicles on Route 519 in White Township each day.
Of these, 2,821 would pass several working farms and the historic Moravian Village of Hope.
Resident are mostly concerned about truck traffic damaging the two-lane county road, Kimball said.
It is assumed much of the traffic will head north, through Hope, toward Route 80, but residents in Harmony, south of the site, are also opposing the idea of increased traffic.
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