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Saturday, May 25, 2019


Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Schoeneck Road development returns

The April 10 meeting of the Lower Macungie Planning Commission centered on the Schoeneck Road warehouse development. The project had last appeared before the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission April 11, 2017.

Ben Serrecchia, of Vertek and engineer Mark Buchvalt, of T and M presented the project to the planning commission. The warehouse plan was adjusted from the original 200,000 square feet to 180,000 square feet. There was a discussion about separate parking for employees. The plan also removed two dock doors, increasing the grass area.

The planning commissioners discussed a new lighting plan for the property. There was also a discussion about adding frontage improvements and dealing with stormwater. The planning commission believe the revised plan is significantly better than the plan presented at previous meetings.

The current plan does not have utilities marked on it. Serrecchia and Buchvalt have asked for a conditional use approval, to know their use will be allowed on the property.

Resident Samina Anthony had concerns trucks would enter the residential districts. She was also concerned about the nearby residential areas flooding.

Serrecchia and Buchvalt explained signs will be posted along the driveway and it will be difficult for truck drivers to turn right when leaving the facility. Serrecchia and Buchvalt also said the property will have two detention basins for stormwater. One of the basins will be under the parking lot.

Alburtis Mayor Kathleen Palmer also had some concerns about the development. She felt signs had not stopped the truck traffic in her borough and Schoeneck Road is not a place for significant truck traffic.

“There should not be another warehouse built until the infrastructure is fixed,” Palmer said.

Alburtis resident James Clark explained he is concerned there is not enough space on the property and trucks coming in might miss the entrance and end up in residential areas.

Resident Steve Hensley said the warehouse development is not in the best interest of the public.

“You did not consult neighbors or other interested partners before making your investment,” Hensley said.

The planning commissioners decided to table the discussion of the Schoeneck Road warehouse development until the next meeting.

There was also a discussion about a proposed industrial center at the corner of Orchard and Alburtis roads. The project is being developed by Michael Jeitner from Bohler Engineering. The industrial center would support Mack Trucks as a staging area before the trucks are sent to their final destination.

A possible issue is a substantial portion of the project is in both the 100 and 500 year flood plain, which a township ordinance does not allow.

“Our goal is to protect the 100 and 500 year flood plain and protect our residents downstream,” planning commission Chair Maury Robert said.

The planning commission wanted to make sure the riparian buffers are protected. They felt the applicant should solve the problem downstream before they start moving earth on their property.

There was also a discussion about the amount of diesel fuel above ground on the property. The property would have about 20,000 gallons of fuel. Planning commissioners wanted to know what provisions would be made to prevent a spill. The applicant explained there is an electric monitoring system at the property. There were questions about what would be monitored on the tank and how leaks would be prevented.

The property would hold about 80 to 110 trucks a day and the trucks might have to stay there for a few days. Some trucks need to stay for several days until enough trucks are going to the same area. There was a discussion about minimizing the number of trucks backing up, particularly between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

In other meeting business, planning commission members revisited the Body Elite property on Hamilton Boulevard. Project Engineer Bud Newton, of Newton Engineering, attended the meeting along with the property owner.

Newton asked for a waiver on the south side of the property bordering the Shepard Hills residential development. The applicant would have to pay a traffic fee of $1,894. There was a proposal made to add a stormwater pipe under the driveway.

It was revealed during the meeting that the Lehigh County Authority does not want to serve the property at this time. The planning commission agreed it seemed appropriate for the property to use well water.

Lower Macungie Township Commissioner Douglas H. Brown wanted to discuss the Body Elite parking lot. He asked that a turnaround be added to the parking lot and explained he was unhappy with the traffic pattern in the lot. The planning commission agreed to approve the lot line adjustment plan and the land development plan for the project.

Typically the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission meets the second Tuesday of the month. Meetings are held 7 p.m. and are in the Lower Macungie Township building, 3400 Brookside Road.