May 8, 2023

The Highlands Council Sets Policy Standards for Warehouses in the Highlands Region

By Carly M. Clinton

The Highlands Council recently voted to accept a new policy standard prohibiting warehouses in certain areas of the region. The policy also establishes requirements for future warehouse construction in areas of concentrated development or in need of development in the area. This is the first policy in the region designed to ensure warehouses are restricted from areas where they would potentially pollute water or degrade natural resources and are subject to new restrictions if they are built elsewhere in the region.  

The Highlands region encompasses over 88 municipalities and more than 1,250 square miles. The Highlands is an essential source of drinking water for more than 70% of the state’s residents. The new policy standards come as the Highlands face high demand for warehousing due to its proximity to major highways, transportation hubs, and access to the New York Metropolitan area.

With the recent increase of warehouses in the region, residents are demanding special protections to preserve the watershed and woodlands. Residents are also concerned about industrial development affecting pollution, traffic, and community character. In response to the concern of residents in the region, the Council established this policy as a regional approach to warehouse placement and standards.

The policy sets forth “no-go zones” which ban warehouses in specific areas, including the Highlands Preservation Area, Protection Zone, and the Conservation Zone, all of which contain natural resources, farmlands, and woodlands. The policy permits the possibility of warehouse construction in designated Highlands Centers, redevelopment areas, and existing community zones, which are all areas designed for economic activity and contain fewer environmental constraints. In addition, the policy sets forth new rules that future warehouses must comply with, such as access and proximity to transportation, impervious coverage limitations, identification of appropriate sites, and specific site plan standards.

Understanding how this new policy will affect future warehouse applications and communities in the Highlands region is crucial. Our office is well-versed in understanding the new policy standards and the updates to warehousing in the Highlands Region. For more information on this new policy, contact Carly M. Clinton, Esq. at or 973-798-4961.

DISCLAIMER: This Alert is designed to keep you aware of recent developments in the law. It is not intended to be legal advice, which can only be given after the attorney understands the facts of a particular matter and the goals of the client.