October 11, 2018 – Upper Nazareth Zoning Board
Note: Anyone can file a Right to Know request to get a copy of the Engineer’s Review Letter. Cost is 25 cents a page.
It was standing room only tonight at the township offices.
JVI LLC, the developer that wants to put in two warehouses with 1,100,000 ft3 off of Gun Club Road DID NOT show up as scheduled. The Zoning Board took general questions but wouldn’t respond to any specific questions about the warehouse project because the developer wasn’t there. JVI LLC may present at the November or December meeting.
Resident from Blossom Hill Road: Can a project move forward without the developer appearing at the meeting?
- Answer: No
Does the developer have to comply with all township ordinances or can s/he apply for a waiver for certain requirements?
- Yes, developer has to comply. Waivers can be issued.
- The Solicitor pointed out that plans have been submitted, but not much is known about them
Who will address environmental concerns about sewage requirements, the railroad track grade, wetlands, air quality, and hazardous materials being released from disturbed soil?
- State DEP
Farmview Estate Resident: Can a for-profit business be denied a permit to build in an area which lacks the infrastructure to support the transportation required by the business? If the answer is no, who will pay for the necessary road improvements, the for-profit business or the township taxpayers?
- The developer is supposed to pay for improvements but… since the land is zoned light industrial, it could be up to the taxpayers to pick up the cost.
Shoeneck Ave Resident: Have any of the Zoning Board members had a private meeting with the developer?
- Sketch plans have been presented at open meetings
- Residents pointed out that the developer hasn’t met with any of them.
Gun Club Road Resident: Asked specific questions about township ordinances, implying that 102.C made it a violation to put a general industrial area into a residential area.
- The land in question is zoned light industrial
The township’s ordinances say that Upper Nazareth is supposed to promote the rural nature of the township. He pointed out that the Supervisors are probably in violation of this.
Nazareth Borough Resident: Encouraged the Zoning Board to wait on approving this project until the Council of Government (COG) has finished its comprehensive plan – about 18 months.
In response to a question about changing the zoning ordinances, it was pointed out that the ordinances depend on WHEN the developer submits. It’s not possible to change the rules to prevent the project.
Gun Club Road Resident: Newburg Road is posted as not allowing trucks. He wants Upper Nazareth to coordinate with Lower Nazareth on signage.
Lower Nazareth Resident: Living on Hollo road, he’s seen an increase in truck traffic with many of them cutting across people’s lawns because they can’t make the turns. Also pointed out that many of the warehouses on Van Buren and Tatamy Road are empty. Asked the Zoning Board how they could increase capacity to handle traffic when the warehouses fill up.
- PennDOT is responsible for issues of traffic
- In regards to the Gun Club Road project, PennDOT has ONLY studied the intersection of Gun Club Road and Route 248.
- The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) is studying the issue, but UNT isn’t privy to their data
Resident: A parent of a Nazareth Intermediate School student pointed out that, with the truck traffic, she risks her life every day trying to turn left onto Walnut Street.
Daniels Road Resident: Angry that the developer didn’t show up after he was scheduled to appear and a lot of people paid money for an ad, urging residents to attend. He wanted to know if the developer should have a deadline, requiring him to show up.
- Such a rule is not covered by current ordinances.
- The developer will have to present at the Zoning Board twice and at the Supervisor’s meeting twice
Resident of Lower Nazareth, Georgetown Road: Pointed out that trucks are not supposed to use this road, but they do. That Route 100 went from 2 lanes to 6 and the traffic is still a mess and that PennDOT waits too long to put in roads to support development.
Kate Roberts – School Board member and Nathaniel Drive resident: She said the School District stands to benefit from a project like this with more tax dollars, but no additional students. Even so, she opposes this project because it would change the character of the area. She said that elected officials have an obligation to listen to their constituents. She also disagreed with the Solicitor’s statement about having to approve the project if it complied with all ordinances. She encouraged using legal inertia to stop it.
- The Solicitor disagreed, saying the County Court of Common Pleas would overrule such an action
Georgetown Road Resident: Said he moved out of Lower Nazareth and into Upper Nazareth to escape all the development and now it’s coming here. The warehouse project would have no benefits to the residents and urged the Zoning Board to listen to their constituents.
In regards to the petition, Scott Sylvanius pointed out that signatures don’t change ordinances.
The Zoning Ordinances were last updated in 2007.
No one knows who actually owns the land in question.
A representative from Joe Emrick’s office showed up, claiming the office was available to help. He was immediately called out by one of the organizers who said she’d spoken to Joe, an Upper Nazareth resident early on, and he turned her away telling her to seek help from her local officials. She expressed anger at Joe’s lip service, claiming he stands with the community when his actions clearly show otherwise. Caught off guard, the rep blustered, but didn’t have any real response.
Farmview Resident: Bushkill township got an Outstanding Community Award recently for preserving the rural aspect of their township. They did it with a tax levied on residents.
- Scott Sylvanius said this issue had been put on the ballot previously but had been defeated.
- Applause from the crowd in response to a suggestion that the issue be put back on the ballot.
Former Warehouse Employee: She worked at a trucking facility with 200 bays, running 24/7. She wanted to know if the area was prepared for the traffic and if the noise ordinances would address any of it. Also, trucks cause numerous accidents.
Editor’s Note: I left at the 90 minute mark. The meeting continued on after that.
Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because residents have a right to know what their government is doing.