MONROE – The township mayor’s objections to a not-yet proposed warehouse project in Cranbury are because he is up for reelection, his challenger said on Monday.
“In my opinion [the mayor’s comments] are for the election only, so he can get the voters’ support,” said Councilman Charles Dipierro, after reading the mayor’s statements.
Dipierro, a Republican, is challenging Mayor Gerald Tamburro, a Democrat, in November for the township’s top elected post. There are also two council seats up for election.
Tamburro did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment.
“He knows what the master plan of Cranbury is, he knows what the master plan of Monroe is,” Dipierro said. “You can’t tell a town where it’s zoned commercial ‘we don’t want your truck traffic.’ How are you going to police or patrol the road other than putting a weight-limit sign on it and then you have to enforce it, you have to have cops there and you’re going to restrict our local businesses that we have to in that area that cannot get truck traffic.”
This week and in May, the township issued statements from Tamburro criticizing a potential warehouse at a 43-acre lot in Cranbury in the area of Ely Drive, Halsey Reed Road, and Hightstown Cranbury Station Road. Through, the mayor has said he’s seen initial proposals, Cranbury officials maintain that no plans have been submitted or reviewed.
In Monday’s statement, Tamburro said he would block the access routes trucks would use from the warehouse that connects with Monroe.
“I will not allow tractor trailers on our residential streets,” Tamburro said in the statement released Monday.
The mayor has said warehouses at the 43-acre lot would negatively impact residents in both communities and increase truck traffic.
“I know our residents cannot stand this excessive tractor trailer traffic to and from the Cranbury warehouses on our roads,” Tamburro said. “I’m sure the good people of Cranbury would be equally frustrated and angered by Mayor [James] Taylor’s decision to add even more trucks to their roads. That is why I hope we can all meet and discuss a plan that works best for everyone.”
Development decisions in Cranbury are decided by the planning or zoning boards.
“As the leader of our township, which is the mayor, I think this is just political decisions that he’s making to get the voters’ support,” Dipierro said. “But real voters know that this is just political, and that’s true.”
Residential development has concerned many Monroe community members. Some have taken the step to directly blame the mayor, though, just like Cranbury planning or zoning board members make those decisions.
From 2000 to 2017, the township’s population has increased from 27,999 to an estimated 45,332, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. In 2010, the population was 39,132.
As a real estate broker, Dipierro could benefit from development in Monroe, but he recuses himself from legislation that he has a connection to.
However, he said that his real estate experience would benefit the community as well as living in the township for more than 50 years.
“My knowledge of real estate, land and properties help,” Dipierro said. “It helps to show taxpayers that I’m capable and well-experienced to steer, to help the town go in the right direction. Right now, we’re overbuilt and we’re purchasing land that is non-buildable for open space.”