Agreement reached on Lehigh impact fee
A new traffic service area has been created to cover the impact fees for the Mary Immaculate land.
Before the issue of a planned resort/residential community zoning district was considered, Lehigh Township supervisors discussed the impact fee agreement at the March 8 meeting.
Previously only things within a development could be required of a developer, but now large developers can be assessed according to trips, either through an assessment or by having the developer do roadwork. The road impact committee was reconvened to include the development as well as any other additional needed work.
Supervisor Darryl Snover said David Jaindl, who wants to buy the property, has agreed to whatever decision is reached by the committee.
Solicitor David Backenstoe said the impact fee would also apply to a nonprofit.
The chief issue with the amendments that will create the PRRC zone is with required sewers. Residents objected to the fact that no environmental expert had given an opinion.
The sewage line would go to the Pennsville treatment plant, which may be insufficient. Moving it downstream would be into wetlands. People wanted to know if Jaindl would have to pay for any extensions. People living within 150 feet of the new line would be required to hook up.
Engineer Phil Malitsch said the developer of a PRRC zone must provide public sewer and water with capacity needs approved by the Department of Environment Protection.
Backenstoe said the DEP would not authorize it until a satisfactory plan was received. He said the land is unique and people don’t want the seminary destroyed, so the township found merit in considering the zoning change.
The zoning amendment, subdivision and land development amendment, which will include design changes and stormwater amendments, were all approved. Changes will be made to the zoning map to designate the new zone.
Jaindl thanked everyone for their comments and asked them to have faith that it will be a nice project.
In other business, the Elsie Miller minor subdivision, 3542 Cedar Drive, is creating an additional lot. The plan received conditional approval dependent on meeting the engineer’s letter and paying the impact fee. A request was made to defer the impact fee until other homes are built. The deferral was granted. Approval was tabled until the next meeting with a representative required to be present.
Malitsch said the township portion of improving the Cherryville intersection has been surveyed. Contracts are signed for the additional land needed for all four legs of the intersection.
A fourth price, $1.8 million, was received for the maintenance building. All prices received thus far are between the $1.4 and $2.2 million. By the end of April, it is expected the plan package will go to the DEP, and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit should be received by the end of July.
Supervisor Keith Hantz asked that hiring a new police officer be kept on the agenda. It is not in the 2016 budget, but a grant may be available for the first three years.
Supervisor Cindy Miller said the board should consider the large amount of overtime, which would be less with a larger force.
Hantz made a motion to authorize Chief Scott Fogel to create a list of possible candidates, with the person chosen to begin in October. Even without the grants, the final quarter of the year could be affordable. An officer with wages and benefits costs $70,000 a year.
Fogel said there were more than 10,000 calls in 2015, an increase in crashes for the last three years and a truck traffic increase of 30 percent. If Blue Mountain Resort’s projects unfold, there will be traffic increases from there as well.
His preference is for full-time officers because some part-time officers work in two municipalities and work rules may be different. Some officers are working as many as 16-hour shifts.
Township manager Alice Rehrig said leaf collections will begin April 14.