BOC Agenda preview Oct. 20th 2016

All township BOC meetings are available on video online. (Budget workshops also)
You can also always watch all our board meetings live on Channel 66 RCN cable.

Here is your agenda preview for the Thursday Oct. 20th township meeting. The BOC meetings are the formal business meetings of the elected Board of Commissioners.

Announcements and Presentations:
Donation Presentation from Lutron to Emergency Services
– Presented by Andy Hines – THANK YOU! I wish more of our high impact commercial users would do the same.


Resolution 2016-23 – Land Development Approval for Signature Personal Care – The planning and zoning committee recommended approval at our last meeting. This is the old Lower Macungie Elementary School. It’s a proposal for a 1 story building that will house 80 memory care / personal care units. As a use it’s a good low intensity fit for the neighborhood. It’s also a decent design and the developer has worked with us on a number of design elements including addressing walkability issues offsite. A credit towards the recreation fee will be considered for off site walking improvements. This will result in a walking connection made from Spring Creek Rd. (existing trail adjacent to Rolling Meadows) to South Krocks Rd on both the North and South frontages of Lower Mac Rd. This is an important connection.

The only issue I have with this project was the lost opportunity. If this property must be developed this is a good fit. Problem is I don’t think it had to be. In fact I know it could have been prevented. Had the township known this property was for sale and available we would have strongly considered purchasing it. At least 4 Commissioners have expressed that point of view.

The price the district ended up selling the property for represents a deal in my opinion. We would have jumped all over it. This would have allowed the township to retain the playground as a public amenity and also to subdivide the school building and sell separately remaining intact. I think we could have gotten an addition public playground, preserved the school building and still found a low intensity user. There was zero communication from the district before state law required them to.

Unfortunately, because of this we never had the chance. While there were signs indicating (they are still there) that the millcreek district property was/is for sale there were none at any point in time on the elementary school. By the time the district was required to notify the township planning commission it’s intent to sell it was too late.
Too late for the township to have a conversation with the school board about purchase. In fact the planning commission came out with a letter opposing the sale in general. This is a summary. This is exceedingly unfortunate. 

Land Development and Lot Consolidation Approval for Spring Creek Properties Lot 9

This is one of the Jaindl settlement agreement warehouses. We are unfortunately bound by the agreements of the 2010 board here. The consolidated lot will be 75 acres. Proposed is a 875,000 SF facility with 170 dock doors.

The major concern I have with this project is preventing trucks from turning right off private Congdon Hill Rd. (the main entrance to multiple warehouses off Spring Creek Rd. into the Borough of Alburtis. I also have concerns with trucks using Mertztown road and Creamery Rd. west as shortcuts to avoid congestion on Rt. 222.

This is a spec building meaning we will know the user or truck routing until one is identified.

Related however, it was just announced recently that another warehouse off Congdon hill road will likely house Deka (East Penn properties) warehouse. See Morning Call article here. So the obvious concern is that trucks will use front street and state rd to get to the main topton manufacturing and related facilities. This being the last big superbox on the property, it’s our last crack at addressing global truck issues related. However, we are severely constrained by the 2010 settlement agreement. 

Lower Mac BOC Agenda Preview Aug 4th

All township BOC meetings are available on video online
You can also always watch all our board meetings live on Channel 66 RCN cable.

I apologize for missing the last few meetings. Life has been busy + busiest time of year for work and also a number of time consuming township issues of which I’ll do my best to keep folks updated. Here is your agenda preview for the Thursday Aug 4th township meeting.

Announcements & Presentations:

We will hear a presentation from Kirk Summa on the 2015 Audit. The Single Audit Act of 1984 established requirements for audits of States, local governments, and Indian tribal governments that administer Federal financial assistance programs. (While local gov’t reliance on federal assistance is not necessarily a good thing these audits are). The yearly audit consists of the following exercises:

1. An examination of the general-purpose financial statements and teh auditor opinion
2. A review of compliance based on an examination of the general-purpose financial statements in accordance with the standards issued by the United States General Accounting Office
3. A study and evaluation of internal controls (accounting and administrative)

Library board update. These are the library board members and description of duties. Thank you board members for your volunteerism!

Presentation on the future of the Lehigh County Regional Wastewater System. This is a very important presentation and update. In 2009, EPA issued an Administrative Order to all the municipalities served by the regional sewer systems (that includes us). The order requires all municipalities to make major improvements to sewer systems. Specifically, to eliminate overflows.

Here are some links to get you up to speed if you are not. 
My blog on Infiltration and Inflow 101 – overview of the overflow issue/problem.
Why is this important now? The federal mandate.
What the township has already had to spend in an effort to reach compliance. This is a massively expensive problem. And will continue to be for the foreseeable future. So far we have done this without significant rate increases. From 2009 to now the quarter rate has only increased about 10 dollars.  We struggle with the question on whether we will be able to continue with that. This will certainly be a topic of conversation Thursday.
2009: $650.000
2010: $1,000,000
2011: $300,000
2012:  $700,000
2013: $400,000
2014: $250,000
2015: $ 250,000
2016 projected $250,000

Hearings and approvals.
Conditional Use Hearing – Salvador Galindo Veterinary Hospital
This is a fairly minor land development on Hamilton Boulevard. It’s an existing building that will be converted into a veterinary hospital. A good reuse project. Example of what we need more of as opposed to strip and box retail. 

Lot Line Adjustments and Land Development Plan Approval for Trexler Business Center
We will be talking about this at committee today at 4:30. This meeting as always is open to the public. It is expected the applicant will be asking for a waiver of the traffic impact fee. I will post an update on this discussion on my FB page tonight. Aside from that outstanding (but major) issue, this is an ok project but with an outstanding anchor. That is in terms of fit and impact. Unfortunately, it is another project that by and large was grandfathered many years ago. For what it is I think the developer worked with us to improve it on many aspects. But it still is yet another large big box, strip and pad retail/commercial project.

Pre-Construction Agreement for Spring Creek Properties Lots 7 & 8 (Liberty at Spring Creek) This also will be talked about today at Committee. Public encouraged to attend. Will update on my facebook page tonight.

Chris Greb from the Macungie Ambulance corp is requesting the township consider a portion of the Kratzer farm for a new ambulance station. See letter below. I support exploring this as part of the Kratzer Farm master plan study. Where is the Kratzer Farm? The additional station was needed 6 years ago because of growth. The corp currently leases a small area at the Wescosville Fire Station. Problem is this arrangement was temporary with an understanding the LMFD would need this space at some point.

BOC Agenda Preview 4/7

FYI: All township BOC meetings are available on video online the next day at
You can also always watch them live on Channel 66 on RCN cable.

There will be an executive session prior to the mtg tonight to talk about litigation and real estate. I will provide an update on the real estate issue after tonight’s meeting. As much information as I can give I want to do so.

Announcements & Presentations:
The developers of Hamilton Crossings will be present tonight to provide an update on the major development project.

Last year I voted against the corporate welfare public funding of the project, but generally supported the land development. Although, I believe we could have required more stringent design guidelines. The TIF funding passed despite my objections 3-2. Even without the TIF developers rec’d 10 million dollars in state grants. Only $6.6 million of the total capital cost of $139 million is the subject of the TIF debate. About 5% of the total. This project would almost certainly still have proceeded without the township giveaway.

We will also get an update from the library board. This is regularly scheduled.

We have a letter from Upper Milford Twp. inviting us to a joint meeting of the UM supervisors and open space committee. Both as a Twp. Commissioner and a member of the Lehigh County Farmland Preservation board, I plan on attending this and thank UM for the invitation. The preservation of open space is a regional concern.

We have two letters from residents urging us to continue to preserve and protect open space. Although multiple elections have given us clear mandates and direction it’s nice to hear we are on the right track.

We have a letter from resident and chair of the walkways subcommittee to recall a number of walkway deferrals in multiple locations throughout the township. What this means is that either during a land development, or a subdivision a requirement to complete a sidewalk was deferred. This is not a waiver. A deferral means the twp. can call in the waiver at an appropriate time. It’s an obligation that could have been required immediately but was postponed by the township. Mr. Palmquist believes that time is now. I tend to agree. This will be an interesting conversation. Our policy is to no longer give deferrals in most cases.

We have a letter from a developer of a proposed shopping center on the Eastern Industries site. This would be the 3rd major shopping center of the past few years. The center can be built by right but has some serious access constraints. The developer is requesting the township endorse an application to study the problem with PennDot. At yesterdays Planning and Zoning Committee I expressed a number of concerns.

We have recommendations to appoint 3 residents to various boards and commissions. I want to thank these 3 volunteers. Interested in serving? Fill out the volunteer application form!

We are continuing to restrict dangerous truck turning movements on Schoeneck, Quarry and Creamery.
Unfortunately, the process takes a frustratingly long time because we have to work through PennDOT. Tonight we will advertise Rt. 100 and Schoeneck restrictions. I continue to be disappointed by how this is taking.

Rt. 100 corridor study. See my thoughts here. This is a warning not a roadmap.

Authorization to draft and advertise official map. This was a goal of mine. We are one step closer. More information here.

Award of proposal for Act. 209 study. This is the process to update the townships traffic impact fee plan. I’m going to try to write a post about this in the coming days.



Lower Mac – Agenda Preview 1/21/16

Link to agenda with detail.

Last meeting video –1/4/16 – reorganization. 

Announcements & Presentations:
Dr. Harry R. Carter – Lower Macungie Twp. fire study.
The study will be previewed tonight by the consultant.  Having had the chance to read through it once, I wanted to share one paragraph. While the study identifies a number of growth related concerns – specifically unplanned growth west of Rt. 100 – The opening paragraph is something all residents should be extremely proud of:

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 3.55.50 PMA power point summary of the study including an outline of concerns with growth is here on agenda detail link.

Hearings & Approvals: 
Mack Truck parking lot expansion – Specifically this plan is pretty basic. So I want to talk more in general.

The township is very proud to have the primary manufacturing facility for Mack Trucks. Although the news recently has been of layoffs, those who follow Mack closely (I have relatives who have worked for Mack over the years including my dad) know that the business has always been cyclical. The good news is this parking lot expansion signals continued investment in the Macungie Plant. And a renewed commitment to the Lehigh Valley.  The layoffs are disappointing for many in the short term but investments in the facility are a great long term indicator. Hope is when the rebound comes and history tells us it will – the employment numbers will reach new record highs at the Macungie plant.


Ordinance amendment for East Texas – I posted this on my FB page earlier this week: “The question I’ve gotten the most is about the smooth-on parking lot. First understand today the parking lot is zoned for development under the current ordinance. Smooth on however doesn’t want to development the max # of units they are allowed to today. (that is a good thing!).

There is a sketch plan the township has seen. The plan proposes under 20 units + a daycare. That is less than what they could develop today ‘by-right”. Their intention isn’t to shoe-horn as many units as they could. Smooth-on is very conscientious as to what made sense for the neighborhood.

The other big benefit right now is that today the parking lot is over 70% impermeable surface. The plan actually reduces impermeable surface to under 35%. The reason is that the units would mostly be clustered around and facing a very large central green area.

The other part folks should understand is why Smooth-on wants to do this. The parking lot (and tunnel under Lower Mac Rd.) was built for Daytimers when it had 1000 employees working 3 shifts. At the time they needed all the new parking. Smooth-on today only has about 200 employees. And they don’t plan to grow much larger.

So Smooth-on wants to build some units but only for their employees only. The idea is that folks have the option of living right across the street from where they work. This actually reduces daily car trips into East Texas if employees lived out of town. And it will always be far less than what daytimers was at peak. Or what if could have been again if another larger company bought the property.

In my opinion smooth on has a neat old company town mentality. If anyone has any questions or would like to see the sketch plan let me know.”

Aside from ensuring any parking lot development is township serving, this exercise is primarily about preserving the character of the Village.  We want to protect the villages unique sense of place. This is the oldest neighborhood in the township aside from maybe Wescosville.

Here is an article from the morning call 

Here is a portion of the letter we rec’d from the LVPC. We also got positive letters from all our municipal neighbors who responded.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 4.02.42 PM


Rt. 100 study- Another critical presentation tonight is under the Engineers report. A few months ago we authorized a study of the Rt. 100 corridor. This is so we can better prepare for – and deal with past deviations from the comprehensive plan that occurred by the prior board – and also plan for future build or no build scenarios on certain sites. This demonstrates in alot of ways the costs of certain types of sprawling development. It also reinforces the need to targeted preservation whenever possible.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 4.12.48 PM

Agenda Preview 12/17/15 – 2016 Budget

12/17 Board of Commissioners agenda with detail.

Last meeting video – 12/3/15

Announcements & Presentations:
At the last meeting of the year we take the time to thank volunteers whose terms are ending and opt not to re-apply. We have a few this year including the current chair of the Environmental Advisory Council –  Scott Alderfer. Scott served for I believe 7 years on the EAC. He’s a founding member. Huge thanks to Scott who has always been a hard working chair. Spearheaded a number of projects ranging from tree plantings to invasive plant removals. Scott is moving on from the EAC will continue to make LMT a better place by chairing the newly formed Arbor Day committee. Each year the Committee plants a tree and holds a ceremony in a township open space.

This will also be the last meeting of Commissioner Jim Lancsek who served for 4 years. Prior to that Jim was the zoning officer for 2 decades. I’m going to write a post about Jim tomorrow. He’s a good guy and I learned alot from him.

Hearings and Approvals: We have the Fields at Indian Creek Project up for final approval. This has not been a very inspiring project. It represents the kind of project we must get away from. Lower Mac is reviewing it but we only have a very small % in our township. The rest is a 50/50 split with Emmaus Borough & Upper Milford.

The project calls for 218 homes to be shoe horned on 72 acres of the former Indian Creek Golf Course.

200+ units shoehorned on the old Indian Creek Golf Course

200+ units shoehorned on the old Indian Creek Golf Course. Many units directly back onto the turnpike. A totally uninspiring project.

The concerns throughout the review were:

  • Emergency Access
  • Open Space (or lack thereof)
  • Ensuring walkability along Indian Creek Rd. and connectivity with Camp Olympic and Cedar Crest Rd. open space.
  • Ensuring a traffic signal is installed at Allen and Chestnut St.
  • Homes jammed up against the turnpike

Bottom line with this one is it’s a real shame this golf course was never preserved.
The development is a shoe horn project. Wholly uninspiring. It’s just not at all a good design. And no matter how we handle it access will always be a problem. The proximity to the turnpike also in my opinion is crazy. The noise will be constant. A large percentage of units will abut directly.

There could have been some neat opportunities to do an innovative cluster plan here. But they were never explored. End of the day the fault lies with ALL (LMT, UM AND EMMAUS) of our very poor and antiquated zoning codes which still  allow projects like this. Another reason Lower Mac needs a comprehensive re-write.


Most of the letters this week deal with volunteer board applications and appointments. thank you to all our applicants.
We have 4 penndot traffic signal permits on the agenda. All are related to “Grandview” crossings development. (The new weis & apartments). 3 are pretty straightforward. I still have issues with signal proposed at Willow Ln and Sauerkraut Rd. All together the township will takeover long term maintenance of by my latest count at least a DOZEN new traffic lights in the next few years. There are going to be costs…
The four signals are:
Willow Lane & Rt. 100
Alburtis Rd. & Rt. 100
Gehman & Rt. 100
Willow Ln. & Sauerkraut


A request to fund a land preservation acquisition fee was put on the agenda by me. An application costs 500.00. I believe we should be doing everything possible to help out landowners who wish to permanently preserve farmland.
This property in particular is a very important one. It’s on the already stressed Rt. 100 corridor and has some of the townships best soil quality.

I would ask for a blanket policy for any farmland preservation applicant to ensure everyone has the same opportunity and also that the cost is reimbursed at the end of the process that way if an applicant pulls for any reason the township isn’t stuck with the bill.


Approving the 2016 Township budget.

Here is an email I sent out with an overview.

It goes into detail my thoughts on some of the biggest picture items. Approving the budget is one of the biggest tasks of the year. It was a multi-month process with 3 public workshops and a month long public vetting period.

If you have any questions on anything not mentioned here please email me at

Lower Macungie Agenda Preview – 6/18

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations before issues are settled. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was “too late”. This is one mechanism to avoid that. I hope people find it useful. 

Trexler Business Center
The issue is we have a grandfathered application under an old shopping center ordinance. Since the original application the plan has changed but the applicants argue not enough to require a new submittal under the current shopping center ordinance. (which is much better)

The second iteration of the sketch is improved from a traffic standpoint, but I worry that we have less leverage to improve the internal design of the overall plan under the old inferior ordinance.

The goal is to have all new shopping centers in the township at the same level of quality or preferably even better than Hamilton Crossings. The problem here and what we have to consider tonight is whether or not we are legally obligated to consider the plan under the old ordinance. And also if Mr. Jaindl is willing to commit to working together to improve the current plan. It’s my opinion there is alot of room for improvement.

Here is the sketch:

The question is whether this plan is fundamentally different from the original submission.

The question is whether this plan is fundamentally different from the original submission.

Here is an abridged list of items I’d like to see addressed summed up in 4 categories:

  • Improved context sensitivity with Hamilton Blvd as outlined in the corridor vision study.
  • Much improved pedestrian Interconnectivity with the project. Walkability is more than just the physical sidewalks.
  • Amenities package on the same level as Hamilton Crossings
  • Assurances that the traffic improvements will remain as in the sketch


Jaindl & Liberty Building Permits.
This one is a complicated one to sum up. I will try to do so succinctly. Basically the issue is as a requirement of the Spring Creek Properties settlement agreement all traffic improvements on Spring Creek Rd. are to be in place BEFORE certain permits that trigger additional traffic are issued. Originally Mr. Jaindl requested flexibility on that issue. Over the last couple days there has been a flurry of updated memo’s. I would have been hard pressed to support the original memo since it represented a fundamental departure from the original settlement agreement designed to protect the community by ensuring the roadways can handle traffic BEFORE development takes place. Staff also expressed serious reservations. Making sure improvements are built before truck traffic comes from warehouses is a lesson we learned the hard way over the last few years at Schoeneck & Rt. 100.

This will be an interesting discussion tonight. It boils down to if our professional staff – legal, planning and engineer are comfortable with the latest iteration of the proposal. The fundamental question being – Does this protect the township from unfinished improvements? They were not comfortable with the original proposal. It remains to be seen if staff is with the latest proposal. This issue has been fluid all week. As commissioners however our duty is crystal clear. That is to make sure the intent of the settlement agreement remains intact and rock solid. I will rely heavily on our internal legal, planning and engineering experts to make that determination.

Plan approval for Liberty at Millcreek.
This is approval for two very large warehouses off Millcreek Rd. on what is now Air Products property just off the bypass. Most of this project is un Upper Macungie and unfortunately (inexplicably..) they have this area zoned for Industrial. I’d have no problems with Industrial the same scope as Air Products but this isn’t the best location for a warehouse since our area is over-saturated.

Unfortunately, since this is largely in Upper Macungie it is out of our control. I am very nervous about these two warehouses but we are left with very little leverage. Fortunately, I do place a good amount of faith in Liberty properties. Though I disagree with the land use in this location, I am happy it is Liberty developing the property. They have been great to work with. It’s important they get this right as it will be an industrial warehouse in the middle of our boulevard.

Schoeneck Rd. long term maintenance of stormwater controls.
To sum up we are being asked by a developer to take long term maintenance responsibility for stormwater controls. I have concerns with this as it represents a long term financial responsibility for taxpayers. This is a fundamental problem in the township. Over time we are accrusing more and more long term responsibilities to maintain systems that will increase in cost over time. We should be very careful taking on even more we don’t absolutely have to. 

Authorization to advertise 7871 Mtn Rd. in Agriculture security zone.
A step to preserving 50+ acres of farmland off mountain Rd! Purchase of these development rights will be done entirely with county money. Inclusion in the townships ASZ is a step in the process. This land will forever be permanently preserved. The first 50 acres of I hope a couple hundred over the next 10 years.

Brake retarder study on Rt. 100
This is a resident request that I support 100%. This is one of a number of items we have to get a handle on as truck traffic is going to essentially double in the township. The study will hopefully result in a prohibition of brake retarders on Rt. 100.

If your not familiar it is this sound: (:23 seconds) Jake brakes is using the engine to brake a truck. It’s a safety feature for stopping on long hills. It saves the mechanical brakes. Problem is sometimes truckers abuse them and utilize them on flat roads near residential communities.

Lower Macungie Township Agenda Preview 5/1 Hamilton Crossings Hearing

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks 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 on issues. This is one mechanism to do that. I hope people find it useful. Please contact me at if you have any questions or concerns about any issues.

3 hearings tonight. 2 Conditional use hearings and the big one. Hearing on Hamilton Crossings TIF district. NOTE: The TIF district hearing will begin no earlier then 8pm since we have two conditional use hearings before.

The two conditional use hearings are for:

1.) Billboard application for Schantz Rd: This billboard would be fronting the turnpike. While I do have concerns with billboards on Hamilton Boulevard, I see no issues with this. It is appropriate location for a billboard facing a highway. 

2.) Sahara Mediterranean Cuisine: The second application deals with a potential new restaurant to be opened at the shopping center at Krocks and Hamilton. This is the location formerly occupied by a tanning salon nearby the Enterprise rent-a-car. I see no potential issues with this application. Will be great see another independently owned restaurant option locally.

HAMILTON CROSSINGS HEARINGMore information on Hamilton Crossings issue here.

Here is a link to my thoughts on the TIF I wrote in an op-ed in the Morning Call

Public Comment:

In public comment there are 4 letters opposing the TIF and 1 supporting.

A resident writes in support of a Jake Brake Prohibition on Hamilton Boulevard. I support this Jake Brake Prohibition as long as the prohibition meets Penndot safety requirements. 

Communication from the library of new vacancies. Interested in serving the community? Do you support our community library? Submit an application on the township website. We thank the two members Mr. Bob Wendt and Mr. Bill Cho who are leaving the board for there service.

Review of minutes: I will ask for an amendment of one item. I need to review the meeting video. Item 3.2 it reviews the solicitors report on Hamilton Crossings traffic impact fee. I expressed disappointment that the traffic impact fee was not going to be assessed on Hamilton Crossings. The minutes read “there was disappointment that the impact fee could not be used to demonstrate to the county township skin in the game”. My disappointment is based on the fact the fee won’t be assessed. I never saw it as a “chip in the game”. That was a policy of the previous board. Because of this I will ask for clarification. This seems like a nit-picky thing and yes the minutes are just a very general overview. But end of the day we answer to voters. And the minutes are one record of our positions that the public can review to gauge the effectiveness of elected Commissioners. So I want to make sure the record is clear. I never thought of the traffic impact fee as a chip. It was always something very seriously in play. And my disappointment was in the fact that this opinion came so late in the game. 


Public Safety: We have correspondence from the public safety commission regarding their support of exploring brake retarder prohibitions on state roads. Specifically this is in request for consideration on Brookside Rd near residential developments. I support a brake retarder prohibition for Brookside Rd. pending an evaluation by Penndot on the feasibility based on defined safety criteria. 

Just how loud are jake brakes? The answer is very loud. – “Anecdotally, it sounds similar to a jackhammer, however the loudness is between 10 and 20 times the sound pressure level of a jackhammer (10 to 13 dB).”

Here is a sample of a local ordinance in West Allen Township:

A. Section 209-46.1, Engine Brake Retarder Prohibition, shall be added as follows:209-46.1 Engine Brake Retarder Prohibition. No gasoline-powered or diesel-powered motor vehicle shall be operated using, as part of theoperation, an engine brake retarder without exhaust mufflers or with defective or modified exhaust mufflers, upon any street or portion thereof where such operation is restricted or prohibited upon any street or portion thereof designated as such in Schedule XIX: Engine Brake Retarder Prohibition (Section 209-68).

 Planning and Zoning Committee

At the last meeting the committee approved the East Texas Zoning Task Force participants:
Jim Lancsek, Ron Beitler, Tom Beil (Planning Commission), Trey Bianco (owner Smooth on), Ray Leibensberger (property owner), Irini Kousalis (small business owner in East Texas), Holly Hinkle (resident), Percy Dougherty (County Commissioner and LVPC member) and Jim Palmquist (chair of East Texas walkways committee)


Agenda Preview 1/16

1/16 Agenda Detail

FYI –  In these previews  I may indicate a voting inclination, but it in no way means my mind is made up on an issue. 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 by doing this I open 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 then my thoughts on issues before they come to a vote  in front of the board. This is one mechanism to do that. I hope people find it useful. Please contact me at if you have any questions about any issues.

Announcements & Presentations 

LMFD Chief David Nosal will present 2013 fire statistics. This will likely be posted to the township website. If not I will ask that it is.

Hearings & Approvals

Public Comment on non-agenda items
-There are 2 letters praising the township for enforcing the snow ordinance regulations.

-Liza Gantert the interim Parks & Recreation president writes a letter thanking township staff for support of cyclocross event. I believe this is the 3rd year of cyclocross at Camp Olympic. Here are some photos *Correction this is the 4th year of this event at CO!

-Tax collector Pat Vassilaros submitted a letter naming Daniel Vassilaros as Deputy Tax collector

Appointments to Boards

The solicitor is reviewing 3 new ordinances. One amending the terms of the Parks and Recreation board. This is to have the terms expire on the last day of the year as opposed to in Oct. This brings the PR terms in line with all other appointments.

Second is a weight reduction for a bridge at Wild Cherry Lane to 21 tons. This is to bring the bridge in conformance with state regulations.

Last is a new 3 way stop at Riverbend and Orchid Place. (all new traffic control signage must be accompanied with an ordinance authorizing)


Light agenda here since the committees haven’t met in the new year yet. New committee assignments will be made this meeting. Our system in Lower Macungie places 2 Commissioners on each committee. Here is a link to a list of committees & corresponding responsibilities.

“The President shall appoint two Commissioners to each of the Committees of the Board. Such appointments shall be affirmed by a majority of the Board of Commissioners. Terms shall be for two years commencing with the second meeting in January of the year following a municipal election year, unless changed by the President with consent of a majority of the Board of Commissioners.”

President’s appointments will be as follows:
Planning and Zoning – Lancsek/Beitler
Budget Finance – Conrad/Lancsek
Public Safety – Beitler/Brown
Public Works – Brown/Higgins
General Administration – Higgins/Conrad

The Board must vote to affirm these nominations.

Planning & Zoning
The planning commission has nominated Barry Isett and Associates to conduct the East Texas comprehensive planning. We rec’d a 10,000 matching grant from the county to pay for this. The purpose of this study is to explore zoning and planning options for the East Texas area of the township.

We will explore adopting a new Village Zoning District for East Texas that allows a mix of lower-intensity commercial and residential uses. The idea is to use Traditional Neighborhood Development principles as part of infill construction or any redevelopment of parts of any portion of Day-Timers not utilized by a future tenant.  Zoning should help preserve and enhance the historic character and walkability of the village.

The BOC will likely send this recommendation to Committee for consideration. It’s my hope we can get this approved quickly so that East Texas visioning lines up with the potential new owner of the Day-timers property.

These concepts as they relate to LMT are also outlined in the townships draft smart growth plan.

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.