The Union County Court’s dismissal of the appeal of the Jerome Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision for the FedEx project was a disappointment. The judge dismissed based on Lack of Standing and did not rule on the merits of the appeal.
The township, with support from the applicants, spent considerable funds to deny residents to present their legal brief stating their case to show how facts and evidence did not support the BZA’s approval.
None of the residents and businesses making public comments were in favor of this project.
Regrettably, only two of five BZA members agreed that this truck transportation facility didn’t meet Standards in the Zoning Resolutions. FedEx had burden of proof but failed to provide key evidence.
They failed to demonstrate how a 24-hour, 530,000 square foot facility, requiring a 20-foot concrete sound wall, would be harmonious with and not change the character of surrounding areas.
The noise study recommendations were not fully enforced. In addition to sound walls, specialized backup alarms were needed to minimize transmitted sound to neighborhoods.
The BZA only required $678,000 for off-site roadway infrastructure improvements to minimize the impact of the additional 4,566 daily trips along Industrial Parkway. Thankfully, the Union County Engineer’s Office acted in interest of public safety and required $7,000,000 for needed upgrades.
There was no study done on the impact of increased roadway traffic to residential property values.
There was no study done on the impact on air quality to the community.
The Noise Study did not investigate the additional noise from roadway traffic and potential health impacts.
Unfortunately, nearby families will suffer the consequences of the township’s decision.
We want to thank the 21 residents and businesses that spoke out against this project at the public hearings and to more than 50 donors that contributed to the GoFundMe account to oppose this project. However, after reviewing options from our legal counsel and due to limited funds, we decided not to pursue a further appeal of the court’s decision to dismiss to the next level with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Growth is inevitable, but we need smarter, more responsible development.
It is time for a change in Township leadership. For those in the community that agree, this November let’s make an effort to elect a Trustee that will be more responsive to the needs and concerns of residents, and not just the developers; and appoint zoning boards who will preserve our natural resources and protect the public welfare and safety.