Northampton Press

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Townhouse complex proposed for Atlas Road in Allen Twp.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Planning commission has list of concerns, changes; engineer to discuss with developer

Hanover Group Builders sent their engineer, Derrick Herman, to the Allen Township Planning Commission meeting Sept. 16. The developer proposed a four-unit townhouse complex along Atlas Road near its intersection with Savage Road.

The vacant parcel is zoned for high-density residential applications but does present problems.

As township Manager Ilene Eckhart pointed out, there is a mass of uniquely divided parcels on the proposed site, some of which have no designated owners. An existing alleyway is one of the parcels without ownership credentials.

The initial design for the development was proposed in 2008 but was dropped when the real estate market crashed. The latest proposal has minor changes from the original.

Atlas Road, at its intersection with Savage Road, is one way. Planning commission members were adamant in their concern that residents would zip out against the one-way arrow to get on Savage Road rather than follow the one-way street to its end about a half-mile away.

Herman proposed making the road two way in front of the town houses. The idea was not well received.

Another issue is that the township does not have public sewer capacity to serve the households. It was noted there may be ways around the restrictions.

Herman proposed a rain garden for stormwater control based on his interpretation of MS4 requirements. Planning commission members have no intention of approving a rain garden, especially in that location. The township has been overwhelmed with complaints about existing rain gardens in the adjacent housing development. The suggestion is to use underground stormwater storage.

A lengthy discussion on access ultimately sent the project back for revisions. Planning commission members were concerned that townhouse units two and three would have restricted access.

“How are they going to get something as simple as a lawn mower from the front yard to the back?” Supervisor Gary Behler asked.

A proposed relief would be to make the townhouses a pair of twins. The center alley would resolve the access problems.

The impervious coverage approaches the 45-percent limit, but the planning commission felt there would be enough reserve to have a simple shed behind the townhouses.

Planning commission members gave a list of necessary changes to Herman, who will consult with his client.

In other business, the planning commission recommended approval for a lot line adjustment for resident Laurence Wesser’s property. The adjustment will create two lots, both with an acreage that exceeds the township minimum. The recommendation will be sent to the board of supervisors for approval.