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Warehouse project opponents let their voices be heard

Opposition to Route 322 plan was loud and clear at meeting

Joseph Metz / The Sun. The project causing so much consternation among Mullica Hill residents involves building warehouses at Route 322 and Tomlin Station Road site. Neighbors are concerned about noise and potential environmental damage.

The Harrison Township Joint Land Use (JLU) Board meeting on Dec. 1 came to a sudden end after a much larger-than-anticipated crowd showed up to protest the Russo Development warehousing project.

A vote on whether to proceed with the plan for two warehouses was the stated subject of the meeting. The project – which has yet to begin construction at its Route 322 and Tomlin Station Road site – has been met by fierce opposition from Mullica Hill residents who believe it will bring problems that include environmental damage and loud noise. The board will take the issue up again at its next meeting on Dec. 15.

The atmosphere was definitely charged to say the least,” said Scott Scheyer, a resident at the earlier meeting. “The fire marshal first closed the door on the residents outside once the capacity was reached.”

Scheyer said the door to the municipal building courtroom was eventually reopened to the rest of the crowd, bringing the room to its maximum capacity. But after the Pledge of Allegiance to restart the session, there were loud chants of “You sold out” directed at Mullica Hill Mayor Louis Manzo and members of the Joint Land Use Board. The mayor was unable to comment on the situation.

Some of the loudest voices in opposition to the plan are members of the public Facebook group People Against Warehouses in Mullica Hill, which numbers about 1,000 members. 

“Between the new 55-plus community being built on the corner of 322 and Main Street and these proposed 2.1-million-square-foot worth of buildings, the traffic will certainly amount to failures along all neighborhoods that use 322 as an entrance exit,” Scheyer pointed out. 

“When the 322 bypass was constructed, they had to do a 20-year traffic study on the roads, and per the company who drafted the findings, they said by 2027, some of these entrances would be grade F (failure),” he added. “And this was prior to all the new 322 warehouses closer by the bridge and the new 55-plus community being built.”

Scheyer noted that the 55-plus community will also be impacted by the warehouse project.

“Bob Meyer, who is building the new 190 homes for the 55-plus, has sold homes, which will also be affected by the increased traffic, noise, lighting which these warehouses will cause right in the backyards of these new homes,” he said. 

“From what I’ve heard, he is also against the warehouses, as are his buyers, who he’s had to now warn what may be coming down the pike.”

The Joint Land Use Board meeting on the 15th will begin at 7 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley School gymnasium, in order to accommodate the large crowd expected to attend.

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