No Warehouse On Howard St
Phillipsburg Riverview Organization
Update December 2022
LATEST CHRONOLOGY OF WAREHOUSE APPLICATION ON HOWARD STREET
Councilman Piazza, Marino and Kennedy voted in favor of the cold storage facility, including a variance to exceed the height limit by 15 feet, to 65 feet tall. The 15 extra feet would house the refrigeration units and ammonia and other cold storage equipment. Mayor Tersigni signed the ordinance. We don’t know how loud this equipment will be in the surrounding neighborhood, but a quick Google search reveals that chemical leaks, such as ammonia, can occur.
Councilman Kennedy explained that he voted “yes” because the owner Perrucci could sue. In reality, though, the town has granted every request of the developer beginning in 2006 when the 32 acres were approved to be more than 400 units. A citizen law suit is not the basis for Perrucci to sue the town. Till this date, Mr Kennedy has not articulated a reason for his changed vote, except liking the railroad access aspect.
And it must be understood by Councilman Kennedy that even if the railroad connection does not happen, the ordinance that he voted for has an escape clause! Even without the railroad infrastructure, the warehouse gets built. Kennedy voted for he warehouse with no guarantee that train access is likely, or even possible.
Employee turn over in cold storage facilities is high because of the hostile working environment, according to testimony given during the presentation by the cold storage company to town council and reported in Lehigh Valley Live And because of the hostile environment in cold storage facilities, they lead the way in the trend towards automation, thereby eliminating the need for workers.
The developer has made promises about jobs and railroad usage but without information about the actual owner, and their products, it’s hard to pin down employment or whether railroad access is a viable and practical possibility
Citizens were caught flat foot when Councilman Kennedy decided not to wait for the judge’s written opinion on the first citizen’s lawsuit. Remarkably, though, legal bills have been paid down. This enabled a filing of a law suit against this new zoning change based on identification of a new conflict of interest, of a voting council member
HISTORY OF THE SITE
Immediately adjacent, is the Delaware River Park, which was the route of the Morris Canal and eventually the town dump. Tippett and Wood was west of Howard Street. The area of Fayette and Howard Street - known as the Flats- was residential until the 1970s, when town council sought to access the Bel Del line and demolished the houses in the neighborhood, creating a new industrial zone. However, railroad access requires expensive infrastructure and some way to connect to the Conrail line that runs through Union Square. It never happened.
The railroad historians eyed the 32 acres as a transportation museum but that was not funded
In 2006, Mr Perrucci came along and paid nearly $4 million for the 32 acres.
Since the property has limited access, and exits only to S Main Street, each residential approval, since 2006, required a Howard Street extension, to bring traffic south to Center Street. Mr Perrucci called the residential development Riverview, yet, with industrial zoning, he claims that it shouldn’t be thought of as near the Delaware river.
Instead of extending Howard Street, this warehouse approval calls for the demolition of the structure at McKeen and South Main Street to allow for the wide turns of tractor trailers and for all the trucks to proceed south on S Main Street. It is the limited access -only onto S Main Street - that has caused observers to conclude that the developer over paid for the parcel and that he is now attempting to have the town bail him out
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UPDATE October 16, 2022: There is currently a lawsuit in place by the Citizens of Phillipsburg against the Town of Phillipsburg. The citizens that brought the lawsuit do not want a warehouse(s) built in downtown Phillipsburg on the Delaware Riverfront property off Howard St.
This warehouse(s) would bring semi-truck traffic to some residential streets that have a weight limit now of no more than 4 tons (8000 lbs.). This would wreak havoc in more ways than one, the noise, vibration of the truck traffic, and property depreciation.
The lawsuit is specifically challenging Ordinance 2021-14, which is the ordinance that rezoned the Peron Howard Street property along the river from residential to industrial.
The grounds for the lawsuit is that we believe multiple Council members had a conflict of interest with Michael Perrucci. Michael Perrucci is the sole owner of Peron Corporation and is also a named partner of a law firm that has provided extensive personal legal representation to the Council members in question.
The status of the lawsuit is that oral arguments were heard on August 10, 2022, and we are awaiting the judge's decision.
Peron Corporation, owned by Michael Perrucci, has provided Council with a new ordinance, Ordinance 2022-30. If Ordinance 2022-30 passed, it would essentially replace Ordinance 2021-14 without the members of the Council that were conflicted voting.
Peron Corporation has made some changes in the size and other aspects of the warehouse they wish to build in downtown Phillipsburg along the Delaware River. However, we remain opposed to a warehouse along the Delaware River.
We urge Council members to continue to not vote for or vote against, the new ordinance that would do an end run around the current lawsuit by residents of the Town of Phillipsburg.
Many, many residents have contributed varying amounts of money towards legal services and supporting the lawsuit. There is strong opposition to the warehouse by residents of the Town of Phillipsburg. We urge Council members to let the lawsuit play out before taking any action that would allow the warehouse to move forward.