East Penn Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Thursday, December 21, 2017 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Industrial center discussed

The Dec. 12 meeting of the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission began with a discussion of the Millbrook Farms project.

The developer for Millbrook Farms is Tuskes Homes and their engineer is Van Cleef Engineering. The project will include 45 single family lots and one lot with a detention pond. Access to the development would be from Sauerkraut Lane.

There was a discussion about putting in frontage improvements along both of the roads the development boarders. The developer said the interior roads in the development will be built to township standards. The planning commission talked about a recreation requirement for the property, which would be about 3.5 acres for the 45 dwellings.

There was a conversation about getting sewer service to the properties. The planning commission talked about the detention pond, saying it should return to a normal level within 24 hours.

The planning commission did not get a letter yet from Lehigh County Authority. There were questions about whether the slope of the property can be more shallow.

Planning commissioners questioned whether there would be enough money to maintain the roads and detention pond in the development. The developer explained there would be a fee with home purchase to pay a company in charge of maintenance.

There was a discussion of using a few lots to build a recreation area maintained by the homeowners association. The topic of stormwater management was brought up and the addition of rain gardens in order to reduce runoff was suggested. The developer said almost all of the runoff flows into the detention pond. There was a unanimous decision to table the discussion.

Another project discussed during the meeting was a proposed industrial center at Orchard Road and Alburtis Road. The property is developed by Dept Properties LLC and Boher is the engineering firm. The location of the driveway was looked into and it was questioned if Orchard Road was suitable for truck traffic.

The property would be used by a trucking facility which supports Mack Trucks. They help ship out trucks once they are assembled. There was a discussion about flood plains and the Swabia Creek. The building would be 30,000 square feet.

The property will have over 500 truck parking spaces and 96 employee parking spaces. The developer said the property will be a traffic benefit. The property was described as an area for truck parking and storage.

There was some concern from the planning commissioners because a little less than 100 of the parking spots were in a flood plain. The developer talked about possibly having the flood plain lines adjusted. The planning commissioners explained no parking or retention ponds are allowed within a 100-year flood plain. The parking may be reconfirmed so it is no longer in the flood plain. There was a discussion about moving the driveway further away from residential homes.

There was a discussion about frontage improvements and what is desired on each of the two streets. It would be useful to have a walking path on Alburtis Road to connect with others that have already been built. On Orchard Road, street trees might be the desirable option.

The developer said there would be about 80 trucks going in and out of the property every day and the planning commissioners questioned whether it should be called a truck terminal. They did not want to create a precedent for truck terminals that would attract more trucks to the area.

Township resident Wendy Wietzel talked about her historic property on the edge of the proposed industrial center. Wietzel said she feels a lot of responsibility to protect the property’s history. She discussed the issue of light and noise pollution.

Wietzel explained there already is an issue with flooding in the area and further development would make things worse. Her husband, Tim Pickle showed images of the property in question flooded after a 1 and 1/2-inch rain.

Pickle talked about his concern with the possible fuel depot. His property uses well water and he is concerned about the possibility of contamination.

Resident Mary Hensley had questions about the amount of noise that might be created and the possibility of future expansion.

The Kratzer Farm Plan was also discussed during the meeting. There was discussion about changing the concrete curb to stone and questions if the curb was even necessary. Part of the property is in a flood plain, but there are no plans to build structures in the flood plain. There is a plan to put trails in the flood plain. The planning commissioners agreed unanimously to send a letter to the Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners approving the plan.

The next Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission will be Jan. 9, 2018. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month and occasionally there is a workshop meeting on the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings take place 7 p.m. in the Lower Macungie Township Building.