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Burlington Zoning Board approves pet supply distributor expansion

Nov 22, 2023

BURLINGTON TWP. — A & E Cage Company, a family owned pet supplies distributor, now has township permission to roughly double the size of its facility at 4451 South Route 130.

The company, which designs and makes a broad line of bird cages and toys, needed a Zoning Board review and approval because the site falls within residential and business zones with differing construction standards. The board unanimously approved the site plan after a hearing Wednesday night.

John Lance, a Moorestown resident who owns the business, testified the expansion will provide much needed storage capacity.

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Lance said the company, which bought the site in late 2013, meets some storage needs now using on-site trailers. It also has a storage site in another municipality, according to testimony.

Company attorney Duncan Prime said the expansion reflects that the business is doing well.

"It will provide a nicer, more aesthetically pleasing, architecturally more modern building," Prime told the board. "The site will be brought into more conformance, you might say, with … striped parking dedicated on site more so than there is now, today."

Project engineer Ahmad Tamous said the expansion would add 51,681 square feet of building area, very slightly more than stands now. The design calls 40,000-plus square feet for warehousing use, and 10,336 square feet for office uses.

On completion, Tamous said the facility will have 103,308 square feet. There will not be manufacturing on the site, according to testimony.

Lance said the only change in operations in the last few years is that the company no longer stores or sells live animals.

A & E Cage started animal sales in December 2019. The company had to obtain retroactive zoning approval in July 2020, after the township learned of the practice. Lance did not say when or why those sales stopped and did not rule out restarting them.

Despite the expansion, Lance expects to keep his payroll at 22 workers barring further growth in the business.

Tamous said the project, despite its scope, will reduce the amount of impervious surface coverage by about 10,000 square feet. There is no need to improve on the existing storm water control system as a result, he said.

Tamous said most of the property falls inside a B-2 Highway Business Zone, with the rear area inside a R-12 Medium Residential Zone. There are residential areas to the property's east and west sides, he said.

Members voting "yes" were Chairman Richard Ransom Jr., Vice Chairman Matthew Farr, Martin Blazy, Varinder Bal, Kimo Thomas-Denis, and Larry Gaines. A minimum of five votes was needed to approve a use variance the company needed.

Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey more than 30 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.

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