East Penn Press

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by SHARON SCHRANTZ Special to The Press in Local News

Land preservation finalized at Brookside Road and Sauerkraut Lane

The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners opened its Oct. 4 meeting with a statement about the finalization of the land preservation at Brookside Road and Sauerkraut Lane, a 190-acre acquisition.

According to Ronald W. Beitler, president of the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners, this is the largest preservation effort in township.

“Residents have told us time and time again that potential over-development is a major concern,” Beitler said. “This latest preservation victory is game changing. Our board is committed to balance.”

Currently, the township has begun the process of applying the property to the Lehigh County Farmland Preservation Program for permanent preservation. The acquisition

immediately removed the threat of development. Enrollment in the county farmland program will make that permanent.

Preservation was the result of over two years of negotiations with the family and their representatives including Realtor Steve Gould from Better Homes and Gardens.

“From the beginning, the Weiner family came to the table in an effort to ensure the property, which is their legacy, remains farmland forever. We cannot thank them enough. They could have made more money selling to a developer,” Beitler said. Others including the Wildlands Conservancy also played important roles in providing guidance to the township.

In terms of the importance of this effort, Beitler said, “No question this considerable win will drastically reduce future traffic burden, keep class sizes small in our schools and help with our ability to maintain a high level of municipal service.”

A discussion was held regarding future use for the property with no decision made. Ideas were to recover some of the purchase price through certain land usage methods, not including development.

Commissioner Brian Higgins suggested nothing should happen with this land except farming.

There was a conditional use hearing for the proposed White Orchids Restaurant at 5020 Hamilton Blvd. This facility will be converted from an office building and will feature Thai cuisine with indoor seating and some patio seating. There are 65 spaces planned; if additional parking is needed, vehicles will be shuttled back and forth to a neighboring parking lot.

The restaurant is utilizing an existing Wescosville building which is keeping with the idea to preserve land. A neighbor suggested the parking situation is of concern although she wished the restaurant well. Higgins also expressed his concern for the parking situation.

The project was approved. The restaurant is seeking to transfer a liquor license from Lee Gribbons Fine Gourmet from Emmaus.

A sewer planning module was approved for 6992 Sunflower Lane for refurbishing the sewer to keep contaminated water out of the water system.

A resident sent a request for speed humps on Church Lane. This is due to speeding and blind driveways. This will be further investigated.

Residents on Mill Creek Road continue to express their thanks for the improvement along their neighborhood road.

Concerns continue for trucks using prohibited roads. A resident suggested these local warehouses should strongly encourage truckers to use Route 100 instead of the country roads which will eliminate trucks getting stuck on some of these residential properties. This will be investigated.

There was an update on the library and community center expansion. The project is moving along in a timely fashion with some delays due to weather.

The multi-municipal salt bid was approved for another year. Purchasing salt together with other municipalities helps curtail costs. The bid was awarded to Eastern Salt Co. from Massachusetts for $71,500.

Certain intersections have upgrades in their traffic lights which have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The intersections include Hamilton Boulevard and Shepherd Lane, Hamilton Boulevard and Commercial Center Drive (Movie Tavern entrance), Hamilton Boulevard and Mill Creek Road and Brookside and Buckeye roads.

A Boy Scout who completed his Eagle Scout project by creating a memorial garden at the Lower Macungie Township Community Center requested to replace a tree that is not doing well. This request will allow for the replacement which is included in the budget.

Water concerns are again an issue in the Ancient Oak development. A resident from Woodbine Road near Catalpa Drive, said that water flows down to the dead end into a wooded area and then just sits. He is requesting some sort of drainage to eliminate the problem. It is unclear who owns this property so that will be determined.

The Sauerkraut Road extension was discussed. Progress is being made. Water concerns and Norfolk Southern are some of the issues that were being considered.