Expert Witness Testimony for Warehouse Zoning Approval
A prominent player in the development of logistics warehouses and distribution centers, IDI Gazeley (IDI), is part of Brookfield Logistics PropertiesTM $3.5 billion logistics empire. With plans for a new warehouse project in the Lehigh Valley, IDI attorneys contacted Liberty Environmental for an Air Quality report and expert witness testimony services. The public hearing testimony provided by Liberty Environmental principal Gavin Biebuyckregarding the air quality and particulate matter pollution was critical to securing approval, without any air quality conditions, of the Conditional Use application for this project.
The proposed IDI warehouse is planned on a 54-acre property along PA Route 33 north of I-78. The property is located in a light industrial zoned area of Lower Nazareth Township. IDI submitted an application for a Conditional Use permit to construct a warehouse/distribution center in June 2013. Public Hearings commenced in December 2013 and testimony and legal argument was heard over the course of ten monthly sessions. Four attorneys made appearances on behalf of several objectors concerned about traffic, noise, air quality, and other impacts associated with the project. A Lehigh University environmental policy professor, numerous neighbors and concerned citizens provided testimony concerning potential impacts of fine particulate matter and diesel exhaust from truck traffic at the site.
Combining subject matter expertise and his experience in municipal zoning, ordinance development and air pollution dispute matters, Biebuyck prepared an expert report that demonstrated that air pollution from vehicles and trucks has steadily declined with the introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel and new federal vehicle emissions standards. In addition, air quality has improved in the Lehigh Valley and is projected to further improve even with increases in population and traffic. The report also demonstrated that air quality impacts from the proposed warehouse would not adversely impact neighboring properties or health, and that impacts would be less than those from heating plants at institutional facilities in the area.
With a commitment to serving as a trusted environmental advisor to our clients, Liberty Environmental takes a true business perspective to addressing municipal zoning and air pollution dispute matters. In this case Biebuyck’s testimony and approach in the expert report, not only supported the approval of the conditional use permit, but also allowed developers to move forward with the project without air monitoring and other potential costly conditions that could have been imposed.