Northampton Press

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Supervisors OK Lehigh school plans

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by HANNA O’REILLY Special to The Press in Local News

Board discusses concerns of possible water issues

Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors granted conditional approval Jan. 9 for the new Lehigh Elementary School project.

Board member Keith Hantz raised the question about whether water from the building project will affect the land and homes in surrounding areas. Engineer Phil Malitsch reassured the board that basins will be put in place to rid the area of the maximum amount of water possible. Less impervious draining is being looked into as well.

“We’ve looked at it, and we’ve studied it,” Malitsch said.

“If there are issues with the water in the future, I don’t want people coming back to the township saying, ‘You approved this,’” Cynthia Miller, board vice chairman, said.

Daryl Snover, board chairman, said he does not feel the water issue would fall back onto the township.

“That will be on the school,” he said.

In other business, the developer of Grace Estates submitted a written request to the board with regard to a release for fencing being put around a basin on the property. The board granted the request for $10,992.80 from the escrow account held on the developer’s behalf.

The developer has a punch-list to complete for the project, which raised concerns for Miller.

“We are slowly releasing money and releasing money,” she said. “What if he gets to the end of the punch-list and walks away?”

“The law requires that these funds get released,” David Backenstoe, township solicitor, responded.

Lehigh Township resident Adam Reichert submitted a revised budget plan to the township that was to be discussed at the meeting. However, Snover requested the township building committee be present for the discussion. Miller requested a rescheduled date be chosen quickly, due to the limited time to submit budgeting plans. The township must have a budgeting plan created by mid-March. Council and Reichert agreed to schedule a meeting, which was to have occurred Jan. 15.

The representative for public works was not present; however, there was discussion on the lack of specificity in the public works reports being submitted. Items such as “patched potholes” and “cut trees” are too generic of descriptions, it was mentioned. Council member Alice Rehrig said that she will be talking to the public works personnel to change the way in which the work is recorded.

“Frank (Zamadics) should be doing the reports. You should not be doing it,” Miller said. “I want that on record.”

Police Chief Scott Fogel discussed the increase in traffic citations in Lehigh Township throughout the years. There were a reported 139 speeding citations over the past year and 179 motor vehicle accidents. An educational overview will be implemented for community members to hopefully increase awareness and promote safer driving.

Individuals asked Fogel what he feels the reasoning behind this increase is.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “I will tell you that it is not secluded to our municipality.”

Fogel said the police force has worked tirelessly to improve this situation.

“This is not from a lack of effort,” he added.

Council opened the floor to the public where concerns were raised about deer being left on the side of the road. Fogel explained that most of the roads where the deer are located are state roads, and therefore, it is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s responsibility to clear them. He mentioned that PennDOT has been contacted numerous times, but no progress has been made.