The Poster Child for Bad Development – Part I

UNT Planning Commission – February 13, 2020

Present – Pam Berlew, Scott Sylvanius and Jay Benfield

Absent – Jim Campana

Jim Moser and other representatives from JVI presented, seeking approval for a 1 million square foot distribution center with or without conditions. Last year, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Advisory Board voted unanimously against this project, calling it “the poster child for bad development” but the ultimate decision will be made by UNT Supervisors.

Editor’s Note: As a member of the public, it was extremely difficult to follow the discussion. JVI and the Planning Commission had papers and maps to look at but didn’t bother to explain to residents what area they were talking about.

Courtesy of the Floor

A resident asked what in tonight’s plan was different from the previous plan.

  • JVI said it was the same with some technical differences. The differences include addressing storm water and preserving the wetland instead of moving it. They also said that the plans have been delivered to PennEast—the company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline through UNT—and that JVI has received one comment back about the location of the pump station.

A resident asked if the berm could be moved north out of the easement.

  • JVI said plantings are not allowed in the easement area.


Waiver requests included using 6 inch curbing instead of 7 inch, conserving a wetland as is by installing a retaining wall, and dropping safety features for pedestrians and bicycles for a road on the property, despite the fact that the road will pass close to a hiking and biking trail. Sean Dooley, township engineer, said that unsafe roads without sidewalks have been approved in the past and so, unsafe roads can be approved now.

eye roll

JVI said they have not illegally filled in any areas on the property. Sean Dooley claimed JVI is not in violation with the Army Corp of Engineers.

Two hours in, JVI still wasn’t done with their requests for waivers despite their representative reading through their letter so fast most of what she said was incomprehensible. I left at this point but someone who stayed told me the Commission didn’t take any action. JVI will resubmit and present at the March meeting.


Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have the right to know what their government is doing.

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