East Penn Press

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Thursday, February 22, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Funeral home and crematorium discussed

The Feb. 13 meeting of the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission began with some reorganization.

Commissioner Thomas F. Beil was appointed vice chairman.

The first project discussed was the Arby’s property, 5329, 5347 and 5357 Hamilton Blvd.

Project engineer Bud Newton questioned if there needed to be a hedge line along the front of the building. Director of Planning and Community Development Sara Pandl said the hedge line is not needed if there is no parking in front of the store. The proposal was approved unanimously.

Another project discussed is at 5374 and 5392 Hamilton Blvd. Newton is also the engineer on the project. There was discussion about adding fill along the frontage of the property and putting in a sidewalk. Newton felt separating the property from Hamilton Boulevard would increase safety.

Talk then turned to Timmer Trail which goes from Hamilton Boulevard to Morningstar Lane and passes by the property. Public Works talked previously about adding lighting along the trail to increase nighttime activity. Residents in the area are asking for lights so they can walk the trail in the evenings.

Newton talked about the irrigation strategy. He explained there would be a retention basin used for irrigation and a detention basin. The water flow would mimic the way the water naturally runs across the property.

There was a discussion about changing the driveway to exit only and preventing garbage from blowing out on to surrounding properties.

Newton explained the stormwater would be moved underground across Hamilton Boulevard past the township detention pond and eventually connect with the Hamilton Crossings stormwater and eventually into a large basin off of Krocks Road. The discussion was tabled.

John R. Kulik attended the meeting, on behalf of Ricky Kulik Real Estate LLC, along with his architect from Keystone Funeral Home Design Build to discuss his plan to develop a funeral home at the northwest corner of Lower Macungie and Mill Creek roads.

The plan for a funeral home in an urban zone is not an approved use. One aspect of the project is a possible crematorium. There were concerns because it is near residential neighborhoods, schools and daycares. A discussion occurred about moving the funeral home closer to the road as it could be quite an attractive building.

Kulik said the crematorium would be computerized and very clean burning, emitting hot gas, but never white or black smoke. “There is more soot out of a fireplace in a home than a crematory,” Kulik said.

Kulik said the Department of Environmental Protectection regulates crematoriums with strict rules. He also said the funeral home would perform about 200 cremations a year.

Kulik explained he would not be performing cremations for other funeral homes, but solely for his facility. He said other crematoriums in nearby areas have not had any concerns from neighbors.

There was some discussion about parking. Kulik said he bought six acres instead of three acres to provide plenty of parking so no one would have to park in the street. He also said plenty of trees are planned. Kulik said more and more funeral homes have their own crematorium.

Chairman Maury Robert said a funeral home is a good use of the land, but he was still unsure about the crematorium. He asked for a special exception to allow a funeral home on the property. Robert also said a crematorium needs more investigation.

During the meeting, there was a conversation about Kratzer Farms becoming an agricultural security area. The designation would signal the possibility of preservation in the future. This was approved unanimously.

The Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission will hold workshop meetings March 6 and 20 where the zoning ordinances will be discussed in addition to the regular March 13 meeting. Meetings are held 7 p.m. and in the Lower Macungie Township building, 3400 Brookside Road.