Northampton Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Planners OK revised Jaindl plan

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

New proposal will now go before Allen Twp. supervisors for approval

David Jaindl and his staff came to the Allen Township Planning Commission meeting June 18 with plan revisions for the Seemsville Road warehouse project and walked out with an endorsement from the panel. The number of changes made were significant and instrumental in gaining acceptance.

In his opening remarks, Jaindl made a point to explain that changes to the plan were a result of input received from surrounding property owners and the community at large.

The site layout was shifted to keep properties functional while providing more open space. The new site plan increases open space from the original 5 acres to 30 acres. The additional open space is permanently classified as open space and turned over to the township.

Bruce Anderson, project engineer, emphasized a 78-slot overflow parking area on the site that could be used by any of the tenants. To minimize noise and light pollution, there is a decorative retaining wall. The overflow area is in the middle of the site to keep parked trailers out of sight.

Anne Marie Vigilante, traffic engineer, discussed improvements to the intersection of Howertown Road and Route 329. The revised plan adds dedicated northbound and southbound turning lanes, in addition to the improvements already underway. According to Vigilante and verified by planning commission Chair Eugene Clater, service at the upgraded intersection improves dramatically.

“Even with all the trucks we are projecting from this development and from the Liberty warehouses, we will still have a better traffic score than we do now,” Clater said.

Vigilante submitted all her data and information to PennDOT, which has accepted the data.

Vigilante promised local changes. Mud Lane would be reworked and truck traffic diverted away from the residential area. An 8-inch water main would be installed for the residential customers in the area. Stormwater, with the increased reserves for open space, can now be directed to the dedicated open space wetlands area.

A goal is to coordinate traffic lights from Franks Corner, Routes 329 and 987, to Howertown Road. Traffic lights will be connected via fiber cable and coordinated to achieve best traffic flow. This is the first application of the new technology in the area.

Regarding the revised plan, Clater said, “I did not see anything catastrophic that could cause a problem.”

The planners did raise a concern about sidewalks, which they said were not well defined in the plan. In addition, the developer is asking for a deferment on some portions of the plan. The sidewalks are also on top of the sewer main in certain locations.

The developer explained that each of the buildings could house two tenants. The sidewalk configuration would be different depending on who leased the space and how it was configured.

Although there was discussion on sewer line routing, ultimately, the lines were left as planned. Sewer line mains are constructed of much stronger materials, which reduces required maintenance. Township Engineer Robert Cox noted sewer lines are usually relined rather than dug up and replaced.

One other issue of concern was the longevity of the partnership. The development has different parcels that could be sold off to individual owners. Jaindl indicated the plan was to keep the partnership intact.

“If someone asked us to purchase the building, we would not lease to them,” he said. “That is not our plan.”

Homeowners along Mud Lane still had concerns over noise and light pollution. The new plan flipped parking on the warehouse closest to Mud Lane so the building could act as a shield to contain noise. Jaindl personally took a look at the proposed berms. The plan as it exists is adequate and will provide more intense growth as the landscaping matures. However, Jaindl did ask his landscape architect to increase short-term plantings.

The revised plan will next be presented to the Allen Township Board of Supervisors.