Northampton Press

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Planners recommend Jaindl project approval

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Allen Township Planning Commission recommended approval Jan. 21 of the JW Partners warehouse project on Seemsville Road.

This first meeting of the new year took place without long-term former Chairman Eugene Clater. Gary Krill was appointed to the position. Paul Link will fill the vacant seat on the commission.

Gary Behler stopped the meeting to present Clater with a token of recognition for his 40 years of service to the township.

“We are in a much better position than we were because of Gene’s dedication and service to this community,” he said.

Clater said he would be available for information with particular emphasis on the JW Partners warehouse project on Seemsville Road. Clater has been actively involved in the project for two years.

David Jaindl brought his contingent of experts to the meeting with the intent to clean up details in the proposed plan. There are many revisions to the plan, and several open issues remain. Items outside the control of the planning commission are in the intermunicipal agreement between East Allen and Allen townships.

Seemsville Road is being relocated. Presently, the centerline of the road serves as the border between the two townships. With the relocation, Seemsville Road will be entirely in East Allen Township. The relocation primarily benefits Allen Township and the Northampton Area School District. East Allen wants Allen to take over all responsibilities for the road, any connecting roads, detention basins and the new traffic light at Route 329. The details of the agreement are under review.

The existing Kopper Penny intersection is enhanced to accommodate higher traffic volumes. Over the summer, the bridge on Route 329 was rebuilt and room for turning lanes were added.

According to the traffic study done by AnnMarie Vigilante, of Langan Engineering, and approved by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the existing configuration should be enough to handle traffic from the new development. Jaindl is willing to increase the number of dedicated turn lanes to further increase the level of service at the intersection.

One turning lane is a southbound lane from Howertown Road to Route 329 going west. The developer is unable to get land from the owner of the gas station on the corner. Jaindl asked that the lane requirement be deferred until land can be acquired. The township does not want to use eminent domain to confiscate the necessary land.

Jaindl confirmed it is willing to add the lane if the land can be acquired. Some traffic simulations show a backup at the Kopper Penny intersection extending to 50 cars during its busiest time. The planning commission agreed to defer the turning lane until actual traffic conditions can be analyzed.

The new configuration includes the original warehouses, adds an overnight parking facility with power so trucks do not need to run while waiting to unload, adds a 43-acre conservation easement and provides for stormwater retention.

Citizen objections include Sue Lindenmoyer, who wants to see more improvements to adjoining roads around the development. Jerry Neff lodged his concern that traffic on Route 329 will back up so severely at the Seemsville Road intersection that he will not be able to get out of his driveway.

The planning commission recommended approval for the project. The entire plan and its history will be presented to residents and the board of supervisors at a meeting Feb. 12. The meeting will be held at the township fire station, 3530 Howertown Road, to accommodate an expected crowd.