On Oct. 26, the Sparta Township Council passed a resolution, among 14 passed that night, to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure to serve a warehouse complex on Demarest Road.
The proposed structures will be situated on 70 acres, total 888,000 square feet, have 181 truck bays, and be six stories high.
The Sparta Environmental Commission held a Zoom meeting on the project on Feb. 24 and is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. In the meantime, the Sparta Planning Board will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, as this paper goes to press (click here for the Zoom link and more information).
Readers have been expressing their concerns about the project’s size and environmental impact.
Cris Kalaskey of Lafayette wrote in a letter to the editor this week that the Sparta project will affect many other communities: “Are you going to consult your neighboring towns who will be impacted, especially Lafayette and Andover? I read that this will generate almost 1,500 truck trips in and out of the area. Are you serious? Can you imagine the backups on Route 15? Can you imagine all the homeowners on Houses Corner, Limecrest, and Sunset Inn Roads through to Andover being affected?”
But Jim Castimore of Sparta writes in his letter that the developers “are longtime stakeholders in this community,” that the project will keep taxes low, and that the traffic it brings “will be less intrusive than the current sand and gravel facility as well as the North Village project.”
The council’s resolution designates the site the Sparta Warehouse Sewer Service Area in order “to continue to provide for the orderly development of wastewater facilities within Sparta Township.”
It says the proposed sewer service area “is supported by the goals and objectives of the Sparta Township Master Plan, including economic redevelopment of an existing quarry site and use of existing rail infrastructure and is therefore consistent with the municipal master plan.”
The resolution notes that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requires that wastewater treatment and conveyance facilities conform with an approved Water Quality Management Plan. The Sparta council in May 2021 asked Sussex County to amend its Water Quality Management Plan to include a designation for the Sparta Warehouse Sewer Service Area.
The proposed service area is located in the Economic Development Zoning District, where warehouses and office building uses are permitted and therefore consistent with township ordinance, the resolution states.
“This resolution shall take effect immediately,” it states. “If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase in this resolution is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this resolution.”
Mayor Christine Quinn added a resolution, also passed unanimously, approving the professional services agreement between the Township of Sparta and Greenman-Pedersen, an engineering and design company that does work on infrastructure, power, transportation, and telecommunications projects.
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