Residents question Sparta engineer’s intentions

Sparta. Residents claim Sparta Engineer Stan Puszcz “deliberately misled” the Sparta Township Council into passing an ordinance that allowed the Diamond Chip warehouse on Demarest Road to go forward.

| 05 Oct 2022 | 10:17

Residents voiced their continued opposition to the proposed mega-warehouse during public session on Sept. 27 Sparta Township Council meeting, focusing their criticizm on the town’s engineering consultant, Stan Puszcz.

Three residents questioned Puszcz’s intentions in advising the town in changing a land use ordinance that would make the proposed Diamond Chip mega-warehouse on Demarest Road a permitted use.

“You deliberately misled this council for your own advantage...and in doing so, you thrust our entire community into this saga with Diamond Chip,” Jack Wright said addressing Puszcz directly.

Township resident Neill Clark referenced an email dated Nov. 17, 2020, from Diamond Chip’s engineer that indicated Puszcz knew about the warehouse proposal.

“When I look back at the documents prior to passing of the ordinance, it’s clear to me that town professionals knew a warehouse was forthcoming,” he said.

Clark asked why Puszcz didn’t inform the board of the intended warehouse.

“That goes to the heart of how you’re running this town and how your professionals are not keeping you in the daylight,” he said.

“I don’t question any of your good intentions. I question your information,” said Anand Dash, who along with Clark filed a lawsuit against the town on behalf of residents opposed to Diamond Chip’s proposed development. “Puszcz let us down. I’ve seen a lack of professional reporting duty to each of you.”

Various messages left for Puszcz were not answered by deadline.

Township resident Shirley Miller said she has been unable to find anyone who is in favor of the proposed warehouse project.

“And I really haven’t heard from the professionals on any of our boards what the perceived benefits are of building one gigantic warehouse, third largest in the State of New Jersey, and something approximately 10-times larger than what we’ve been living peaceably with for years,” she said.

Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith said she has been waiting for that answer, as well.

Clark also raised concern about the impact a mega-warehouse could have on the Germany Flats aquifer.

“Water is the most precious resource,” he said.

Clark also said other businesses, aside from a mega warehouse can drive revenue. He also asked the councilmembers to preserve the Highlands’ national resources and use them to drive new revenue to Sparta.