East Penn Press

Monday, November 19, 2018

Lower MACUNGIE twp. PLANNING COMMISSION

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Schoeneck Road conditional use plan denied

The May 8 meeting of the Lower Macungie Planning Commission focused on the Schoeneck Road development.

The warehouse on the property was scaled down from 30 dock doors to 24 and from 200,000 square feet to 180,000 square feet. There were concerns about the short driveway on the property and the possibility of trucks getting backed up onto Schoeneck Road. It was questioned whether a warehouse is suitable for this property.

Planning commissioners wanted to make sure the warehouse property did not have a gate or guard shed to ensure the flow of traffic is not affected. There were concerns about the mixing of truck and residential traffic. Commissioners stressed it was very important to not have trucks backed up.

There was discussion about how additional signs were added to the property and the adjustment to the right hand turn lane to prevent trucks from going off route.

Attorney Mark Cappuccio talked about the traffic analysis and land use code. Cappuccio explained Land Use Code 150 for general warehouses was used for the property. Since the warehouse would be built on speculation, the use is not yet known. This land use code shows the lowest possible traffic count.

Cappuccio also discussed how the property has poor circulation. He explained it is ideal to have a 360 degree turning radius. The issue was the drive aisle on the property was too narrow. When trucks pull into the amenity parking there is not a lot of space, so they are liable to hit either trucks unloading or other trucks parked in amenity parking.

Cappuccio argued the parking spaces shown on the plan would not work. He said trucks would not be able to pull into spaces safely and the property has a lot less parking than claimed.

By the current plan, the warehouse is against the back of the property. Cappuccio suggested the warehouse could be moved forward on the property to allow for parking in the rear. In this configuration, the parking would be protected on the other side by a retaining wall.

It was also suggested a berm be put in across the street. Cappuccio felt these changes would be better for the neighboring community. He explained the berm would be particularly important as the hours of operation of the warehouse are not yet known. Cappuccio summarized the building should be scaled down and moved forward on the property.

Resident Jim Clark discussed the local community park. He found it interesting they wanted to make sure the deciduous trees are resistant to diesel fumes. Clark pointed out children using the nearby park would not be resistant to diesel fumes and should be protected just as much.

Planning commissioners argued the applicant failed to demonstrate compliance with the general criteria of providing sufficient parking and circulation. Commissioners were concerned about the uncertainty of the amount of truck traffic, feeling the range of 300 to 1,500 trips a day too large.

Resident Steve Hensley talked about the lack of sight visibility near the curve on Schoeneck Road. He argued having the warehouse’s driveway at that point on Schoeneck Road could cause some issues.

The planning commission unanimously decided to deny the conditional use plan because the developer has failed to show the property is in the best interest of the community due to traffic and circulation issues.

The Lower Macungie Planning Commission will next meet May 15.

The planning commission will hold workshop meetings June 5 and 19 in addition to the regular meeting scheduled June 12. Meetings take place 7 p.m. in the Lower Macungie Township building, 3400 Brookside Road.