May 9, 2019 – Upper Nazareth Planning Commission
Forensic Center Proposal
Civil Engineer Tammy Rae Barr from Liberty Engineering and Glenn Lichtenwaller, an Architect from W2A Design, presented plans for a County Forensic Center near the 911 Center on the Gracedale Campus. The proposal is for a one story building with mechanical attic space. It would be built in a grassy area near where the helicopter pad was located; the corn fields would be minimally impacted with an expanded storm basin.
There will be no new entrances or exits, the facility would use the driveways already in place. The engineer received approval for a waiver of a traffic impact study after Scott Sylvanius asked repeated questions about how many employees would work at the building and how traffic would increase.
The Commission granted conditional approval of the preliminary plan proposed. Barr said she just had to consult with the Conservation District about the storm water drainage into the 2 basins.
Tadmoor Project on Gun Club Road
The developers from JVI provided an update on the project, talking about reconstruction of Gun Club Road to 24 – 26 feet in width. Their plan is to put in a road with no curbs, but with shoulders. Sean Dooley, the township engineer said if no curbs are installed, there will have to be another means of discouraging trucks from parking on the road.
Developers said they would put the drainage on the west side. Nicole from Major Engineering reported they’d done a balloon test. LVPC wouldn’t meet with the engineers on the storm water but is talking to the developers via email.
In 2016, someone on the road paved an adjacent property, causing a ‘wet spot’ on the land to be developed. The Army Corp of Engineers says the areas are wet but are not considered wetlands. The current owners of the property with the paving did not install it, but have to fix it.
JVI has gotten comments from the Nazareth Borough Municipal Authority (sewer) and is waiting to hear back from Eastern Suburban Water Authority.
A balloon test was done recently at a height of 53’. (42’ high building and a grade change of 10’)
Questions from Attendees
One resident asked if they were going to save the trees along the road.
- The township says that is their preference but may not be able preserve them.
A resident recounted the story about the recent LVPC meeting where the Tadmoor project was labeled the “Poster Child for Bad Development”.
- Gary Asteak admitted that LVPC voted unanimously against the project but that didn’t impact the role of the township in making the decision. He told the people attending to write letters and ask the LVPC to send a letter supporting the denial of this project.
- Gary also said that Commission members have to vote solely on the basis of the law, not on their feelings about the project.
- A resident pointed out that if the Supervisors approve the project their reputations ‘will be mud’ but if they turn it down, the township will get sued.
A resident complained that he had sent several emails and letters to the township which have mostly gone unanswered.
- Jay Benfield said that the township had no responsibility to respond to letters from residents and that people could come to meetings if they wanted answers to their questions. (No, seriously. That’s what he said. Out loud.)
A resident brought up the prospect of the nightmare of traffic this would bring to the area and that 2 bridges on Newburg Road can’t handle trucks.
Another attendee pointed out that Allen township is dealing with a similar project with 53 truck bays. The Tadmoor project will have over 200. This will likely lead to 3,000 truck trips a day, not the estimated 125. He questioned JVI about the honesty of their proposal.
Pam Berlew told the engineer, Nicole, that she was very upset that they had assured her that they would include their backflow preventers in the plan presented to LVPC and that they had not done so.
- Nicole said it was the township’s responsibility to review the storm water pipes, not the LVPC.
I asked Gary Asteak about the votes. If the Planning Commission had to base their votes on the legality of the design would the Supervisors be under the same restrictions or would they be able to consider the overall impact of this project?
- Gary said, if Supervisors turn down this project, they will have to site specific ordinances to justify their denial.
JVI will likely present again at the Planning Commission meeting in July with the Supervisors considering the project at their September 12th meeting.
Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have a right to know what their government is doing.