East Penn Press

Monday, September 24, 2018

UPPER MILFORD TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 by JULIA F. SWAN Special to The Press in Local News

Special meeting set on Kohler tract plans

After an occasionally contentious debate last week about Kay Builders’ plans for the Kohler tract, a 29-acre parcel off Mill Road, supervisors tabled action on the plan and scheduled a special meeting for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 to continue the discussion.

The preliminary plans for The Fields at Jasper Ridge show 123 lots with single family homes and duplexes. Supervisors, who have already been involved in disputes over Kay Builders’ plans for the Fields at Indian Creek, expressed concern at their Sept. 21 meeting that Kay might start construction before complying with all the conditions the township planning commission has asked for before approval of the preliminary plans.

“How do we make sure everyone’s on the same set of plans?” Supervisor Robert Sentner asked.

The planning commission had recommended preliminary approval of the plans contingent on the developer abiding by several conditions recommended by the township engineer, as well as receiving approval from other agencies.

Jim Preston, attorney for Kay Builders, said they have no problem with most of the conditions, but object to one stating there should be no earth-moving done on the site until all approvals from outside agencies have been received.

This is not consistent with the state subdivision law, he said.

Sentner and township engineer Jeffrey Ott both said they are concerned about the developer complying with all conditions before construction begins. They both indicated their concerns are based on the experience the township has had with the Fields at Indian Creek, where the township had to issue a cease and desist order when an emergency access road in that development was not constructed according to specifications.

“Let’s address the elephant in the room,” Sentner said. “We don’t want to go down that same path again.”

At that point, Preston got up to leave the meeting, saying, “We’re done with you. We’re done with your silliness.”

Also concerned about the preliminary plan was Anthony Tosco, who owns a business near the site. He wanted to know how runoff from the site will be controlled.

Scott McMackin, engineer for Kay, promised, “We’re going to control it. It’s going to be less than it is now. That’s the purpose of the stormwater management system we’re proposing.”

In other business, supervisors approved several waivers on minor issues and contingent approval for New Tripoli Bank’s plan to build a full service bank at 4892 Buckeye Road, on the site of the former Hinnerschietz Auto. Spokesmen for the bank said it is not just a branch, but will provide full financial services. Plans are to break ground by early November with completion in spring 2018.

Sentner remarked, “It’s been a pleasure dealing with a developer who plays by the rules.”

Supervisors also told Robert Dennis there will be a meeting Oct. 2 on the site of the logging operation on South Mountain which Dennis has had questions about. The township zoning officer, a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources forester and a representative of the Lehigh County Conservation District will all be present.

Dennis and several of his neighbors attended last week’s meeting to voice their misgivings about the logging on the Breinig tract at 4930 S. 5th St. and the Kirk tract at 5232 South Mountain Drive.

Dennis has repeatedly argued the township is not abiding by its own regulations in granting a permit for the logging.

Supervisors Chairman George DeVault said he has been researching the relevant state laws and has found there is wide latitude for logging operations. Forestry is allowed in all zoning districts, he said, and municipalities can’t place greater restrictions on it than provided for by state law.

Among Dennis’s concerns, he said, are that he hasn’t been able to find any information on the company that is going to be harvesting the timber. “How do we know their track record?” he asked.