Aleppo addresses parking woes caused by Amazon delivery vehicles

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 10:29 AM

Traffic patterns in Aleppo Township have changed since Amazon purchased and moved into a 70,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in the 79 North Industrial Park in 2018.

The warehouse supports a delivery model that largely uses vans and personal cars, according to Aleppo Township manager Gwen Patterson. An increased number of deliveries from the facility has also created a parking challenge, as the industrial park currently lacks the space to accommodate all of the vehicles.

In response, Aleppo’s planning commission has considered a zoning amendment that would facilitate the creation of new parking for the industrial park’s tenants.

The company intended to use the facility for its Amazon Flex program, which allows drivers to deliver packages in their own vehicles and set their own schedules.

While the warehouse – previously occupied by FedEx – is still used for the same basic purpose, traffic has increased since previous tenants operated there.

“The parking area on-site was not designed with this model in mind,” Patterson said. “So the owners of the industrial park approached the township looking for creative ways to house delivery vans in the industrial park, rather than renting space in different municipalities around here.”

A property management representative from Endurance Real Estate Group, an owner of the 79 North Industrial Park, did not return a request for comment.

At a Feb. 10 Aleppo Township board of commissioners workshop meeting, residents complained about an increase in litter and speeding since Amazon moved into the industrial park. The C-2 commercial district that contains the park also encompasses residential areas along Glenfield Road.

Fred Gregorich, who sits on Aleppo’s planning commission, voiced concerns about a parking lot being allowed in the entire C-2 area. He said the residential areas probably could not sustain the increased traffic a parking lot would bring. While the planning commission had voted to recommend approval of the amendment, Gregorich said he was opposed to it.

“I know there’s regulations you have to go through to create a parking lot, but you can do this with just an overlay district to keep (the parking lot) in the industrial park,” Gregorich said at the Feb. 10 meeting.

Addressing the resident complaints, Patterson said in an interview that “Amazon management has been very receptive and immediately tries to make changes to their procedure to respond to those concerns.”

Since Feb. 10, township officials have taken the comments from the workshop meeting into account, and the solicitor and engineer are working to craft a zoning amendment that would involve a parking overlay district for the industrial park.

Patterson also said that there is no lack of space in the industrial park to accommodate new parking lots.

After the engineer and solicitor finalize the details of an overlay district, the proposal would go through the planning commission, then come up for a public hearing before a final vote by the board of commissioners. Patterson estimated that it will be a couple of months before a final vote.

The overlay “would accomplish the goal of parking for warehouse use but contain it to the industrial area,” she added.