Northampton Press

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jaindl project pulled from Allen planners agenda

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Meeting attendees take floor to discuss development’s traffic impact

The Aug. 20 meeting of the Allen Township Planning Commission had a review of the Jaindl warehouse plan on the agenda, highlighted as the JW Development Partners revised submission to the Aug. 6 development plan. According to Chairman Eugene Clater, however, the applicant asked that the plan be pulled from the agenda.

“We received the notice on Friday, and we got it up on the website,” he said. “I know most of you came out here to discuss the plan, but we don’t have a firm date when they will submit. They may be on the agenda in September, but I expect for sure to have them here in October.”

The other item on the agenda was the Allen Township Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, dubbed Creating Connections.

The plan has been under development for a couple of years. It is scheduled to be presented and adopted at the Sept. 25 Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting. Township Manager Ilene Eckhart was instrumental in coordinating the plan. The concept was put together by resident volunteers, not solely by appointed or elected officials.

Once adopted, the open space plan will be incorporated into the township’s comprehensive plan.

The details are available on the website, allentownship.org. The plan charts future growth in open space. Clater pointed out the plan ties township frontage along the Lehigh River into the park system.

“This plan has so much opportunity for the township. It has been reviewed by the LVPC (Lehigh Valley Planning Commission) and the DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources),” he said.

There was no additional input from the audience.

At the end of the meeting, Clater called for a customary last round of comments. Cathy Youwakim waved an orange postcard she received, claiming Jaindl changed the rule for trucks and where they could travel. Clater explained that changes to truck traffic on state roads were made in Harrisburg.

“We were not in favor of the law. The commission that I was on went to Harrisburg to present our case. PSATS (Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors) worked their contacts. All these efforts were to no avail,” he said.

According to Clater, townships had no input to the bill. The House bill and the Senate bill passed with only one dissenting vote in the House.

Clater explained that townships have no idea how the bill will impact township roads. The oft-cited local impact example is a state road that ends at a township road or the township connector road between two state roads. The bill passed in June and will be implemented in December. Allen Township state roads include Old Carriage, Seemsville, Howertown, Cherryville, Indian Trail and Weaversville.

Sue Lindenmeyer led the next charge. She printed a flyer to stop the Jaindl project. She disputed the traffic study, contending trucks from the Jaindl and nearby Liberty warehouses will gridlock traffic.

She contends the upgrades on Route 329 are not the result of the Jaindl project but were needed years ago. Improvements are being paid for by the Rockefeller Group. Jaindl will add further improvements. The first improvement phase on Route 329 is scheduled to open Aug. 24, the projected completion date.

With the momentary increase in utilization, Lindenmeyer argued the increased truck traffic puts the Kopper Penny intersection back in gridlock once the warehouses open. Clater contended the traffic studies do not project gridlock.

Lindenmeyer claimed the Jaindl deal was not finalized.

“You need to speak to your school board members because they can stop this,” she said.

A representative of JW Development Partners explained after the planning meeting that the school board had signed off on the project and the state confirmed the project was a supported use of the school property. Only the new road is on school property.

Mud Lane residents voiced their concern over stormwater problems. Record rainfalls in the past weeks emphasized the problem. Clater confirmed the warehouse project reduces stormwater flow by 30 percent, which will reduce water accumulation problems on Mud Lane.