Lower Macungie Meeting Agenda 10/17

FYI – This is a practice I started and will continue as a member of the BOC. With these previews while I may indicate a voting inclination, it in no way means my mind is made up on any issue. Back during a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner once spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong.

My hope is this opens the door for conversations before public meetings. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was people didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background information and my thoughts on issues before they come to a vote  in front of the board. This is one mechanism to do that.

Plan approval for Spring Creek Properties Settlement Subdivision
It’s well documented I have opposed the Jaindl rezoning through the whole process starting in 2010. This deals with approving the settlement otherwise known as Plan ‘B’. Plan B which I supported as an alternative to not being able to stop and reverse the shameful rezoning of 700 acres of farmland to commercial, industrial and residential. I supported plan B since it represents a reduction of intensity of the project. The agenda detail for this item is massive. The resolution itself being 15 pages.


I would grudgingly vote yes for this item despite the plans not getting approval from the planning commission at this point. Why? Because the negotiations for plan B were in good faith.  Also the planning commission in their letter indicated they were only hesitant to approve because there were still issues to hammer out. They correctly stated they felt they couldn’t forward a plan to the Board of Commissioners they felt had some question marks. I believe on Thursday staff will announce an opinion that the issues have been resolved. If that’s the case my vote would be yes. Planning Commission concern dealt primarily with Jaindl guarantees to build his part of the Sauerkraut extension.

Please note, I am not in favor of the extension nor have I ever been throughout this whole process going back to 2 years ago. As a potential Commissioner I would be
 inheriting this terrible plan. I never felt it was appropriate to create a new costly arterial connecting what will be a warehouse district to our main residential areas. I remain fearful of the truck traffic further “bleeding” into our residential heart. Additionally the punch through will cost Lower Macungie and school district dollars. Specifically for Lower Mac, we must pay for a new “T” intersection near Quarry Rd. Additionally, perpetual maintenance of new signals and the roadway itself will be shouldered by the township. I am generally opposed to construction of new roads (taking on new liabilities) until cost and benefit analysis has been conducted and presented to the public. This is one reason I considered plan B somewhat a success because of a concession by Jaindl to keep the furthest westward expansion of Sauerkraut as a private road. This means the township will not be responsible for perpetual maintenance of a new road created almost solely to serve Jaindl’s development.


Here are the following questions I would ask during the hearing:


1. What are the total township liabilities being assumed in dollars immediately and over the course of multiple lifecycles. This includes new T intersection, down the road improvements and perpetual maintenance of new roads and signals.


2. What are the financial obligations of the school district? What does this mean in terms of the school budget? Note the district is responsible for a large section of “new Sauerkraut”.

3. What is:
a. Planning justification if any for the new road.
b. Engineering justification of the new road.


4. How exactly is it forecasted tractor trailers will get into and out of the new warehouse development.


Resolution 2013-27 – Estates at Millrace.
Another inherited project. I would support the recommendation of the planning commission and planning and zoning committee.
Other items of note:
ARLE Grant Work – This is a grant we rec’d from the Automated Red Light Enforcement program in Philadelphia. (there may be other cities as well)
Money made from fines is distributed in the form of grants. I support utilizing this money to further enhance Willow Lane walkability. Specifically the placement of a permanent “stalker board” and textured crosswalk at mid-block location at wheatland drive. I do not know if these are being considered but this would be my input.
There is a recommendation for Ms. Pandl (our planning director) to attend the next zoning hearing board meeting. I support this. I support almost all of the recent variance requests for Allen Organ and Hamilton Crossings. There are some sign variance requests I have issues with for Hamilton Crossings and I will attend the ZHB meeting to voice them.
Request for clarification of tree tenders recommendation for the EAC. 
I read that the next General Administration committee meeting is canceled. This is an issue because the EAC has been looking for direction on this issue since July now. It is now being put off again til late November. I have a problem with this. It’s time to address this issue.