Residents in one South Jersey town are banding together to fight a plan to site a giant warehouse in their community.

Russo Development is seeking approval to construct a 2 million-square-foot warehouse facility on 160 acres of vacant farmland in Mullica Hill, near Exit 2 on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Adam Pennypacker, who lives with his family in the Casella Farms development, right across from where the warehouse could be built along Route 322, is leading the charge to block the project from moving forward.

Petition against warehouse

Pennypacker, who is president of his Homeowners Association and the driving force behind the online “People against warehouses in Mullica Hill” petition said local officials have had zero engagement and contact with members of the community about the plan, which will increase traffic and noise and danger.

“Our communities are full of small children ... bus stops, they ride their bikes in the streets, they play in yards across the street from each other, it’s a very open community,” he said.

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He said if the warehouse is approved it will dramatically increase truck traffic, cause traffic jams and force other vehicles into side streets where families are living.

“None of this has been planned for, there were no traffic studies for any of this, they didn’t do any traffic studies on any additional roadways.”

He also expressed concerns about people avoiding the town altogether, which will hurt local merchants.

Courtesy People Against Warehouses in Mullica Hill
Courtesy People Against Warehouses in Mullica Hill
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A danger to children?

Stephanie Wallen-Fort, the owner and program director of the Holding Hands Family Child Care & Play Center, is also worried about what’s happening.

She said if the warehouse is built it will be concerning for her, for parents “and for the children that are going to be playing in the back part of my property, which directly is adjacent to the parking lot where the trucks will be pulling in and out.”

Pennypacker said if the Harrison Township Joint Land Use board approves the project as expected on Thursday evening, December 1, it will then go to the Township Committee for a vote.

Mullica Hill is part of Harrison Township.

Mayor Lou Manzo said he will not discuss the warehouse project while an application is pending.

Russo Development released a statement indicating the company will be “respectful of our neighbor’s interests and(the project) will be beneficial for the community and region.”

The Casella Farms Homeowners Association has hired a law firm to review the project and possibly challenge it moving forward.

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