Conclusion

The true impacts of high cube and automated warehousing uses are yet to be fully determined. These emerging land uses pose both positive and adverse impacts to a community’s transportation network, economy, municipal budget, character and viewshed. Municipalities have an interest in protecting the health, safety and general welfare of their residents through regulation of these types of warehousing. The manner and approach to regulating these land uses are based upon whether the plan is for a new construction project, redevelopment of an existing lot or renovation to an existing structure.

Municipalities are encouraged to begin early in planning for this evolving land use. The most desirable outcomes benefiting communities are achievable by leveraging proper regulations in the subdivision and land development ordinance, zoning ordinance and building codes. These tools serve to assess the real impacts of a proposal, identify appropriate locations for development and ensure the prevention of additional costs to a community. Further, they serve to support the long-term success of a development.

Continually assessing the effectiveness of subdivision and land development ordinances and zoning ordinances allows a municipality to remain abreast of rapidly evolving development and industry trends, such as high cube and automated warehousing. Engaging with the private sector, relevant municipal departments, public safety organizations and residents early and often in the planning process facilitates widespread and comprehensive understanding of overall needs, resulting in the best possible outcome for all parties.

Be proactive. Install new regulations now, before they arrive.

148-foot Americold High Cube warehouse in Atlanta, Ga. Photo courtesy of Griffco Design/Build, Inc.

Resources

Project Examples

https://www.wibw.com/content/news/Frito-Lay-one-step-closer-to-building-new-warehouse-486523091.html

https://www.westfaliausa.com/resources/case-studies/organic-valley

https://www.prologis.com/industrial-logistics-warehouse-space/washington/seattle/prologis-georgetown-crossroads

https://www.gcca.org/system/files/coldfactmagazine/0584_GCCA%20ColdFacts%20CEBA%20Insert%202019_V6_lowres.pdf

https://rsmowery.com/project/prologis-warehouse-park-33-building-1/

Land Use and Zoning

https://dced.pa.gov/download/planning-series-07-special-exceptions-conditional-uses-variances/

Lower Macungie Township Zoning Example: Specific Criteria for Warehouse, Wholesale, Storage, or Distribution uses:
https://ecode360.com/34785641

Economic Impacts and Incentives

https://www.easternlandpa.com/listings/parcel-9northampton/LERTA.pdf

https://www.nber.org/papers/w27249.pdf

https://www.itprotoday.com/artificial-intelligence/us-recession-will-automation-help-or-hurt-recovery

https://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/future-of-warehouse-work/

https://hbr.org/2015/06/robots-seem-to-be-improving-productivity-not-costing-jobs

Workforce

https://gizmodo.com/fully-automated-warehouses-are-a-decade-away-amazon-sa-1834459784

Reusability

CBRE Marketview, Pennsylvania I-78/I-81 Corridor Industrial, Q1 2020, Market fundamentals remain strong amid speculative development starts, 2020, www.cbre.com/researchgateway.

Sustainability

https://www.prologis.com/sustainable-industrial-real-estate/environmental-stewardship/LEED-certification?title=&page=0

Traffic Impacts

https://www.ite.org/pub/?id=a3e6679a%2De3a8%2Dbf38%2D7f29%2D2961becdd498