Lehigh Valley

30 West subdivision OKd in South Whitehall Twp.

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - It may have only been four lots, but it caused lots of discussion during Wednesday night's South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners' meeting.

And after all that discussion, the five-member legislative body voted 5-0 to OK a resolution granting preliminary and final approval to a major subdivision entitled 30 West.

The four lot subdivision resulted in the subdivision of five properties located in the vicinity of unopened North 31st and North Marshall Street between Washington and Hamilton streets in the township.

A commonly understood landmark for the area would be directly east or behind the McDonald's Restaurant on Cedar Crest Boulevard.
The three houses approved in the plan were not so much the point of contention with nearby homeowners who were in attendance Wednesday night, so much as the potential thru-traffic that could result because of the lots.

In addition, one township family - Stephen and Elena Greene - asked commissioners for a 22-foot connection between their property and where the end of the curb cul-de-sac would be constructed.

The request, made by the Greenes' attorney, Donald Miles, came after negotiations with the developer Jeff Strauss of Elysium Acquisitions LLC, proved unsuccessful.

Keith Zehner, the township's zoning officer, told commissioners that he "had reviewed the subdivision plans" and found them "compliant" to the township's zoning regulations.

Gerald Harbison, the township's assistant director of community development, noted that to his understanding the plan "integrated" itself into the township and therefore, did not violate zoning.

After that commissioners voted to approve the subdivision.

In other business Wednesday night, the latest chapter in the efforts to save Wehr's Dam was written.

William Wehr, a proponent for saving the dam and relative to the dam's namesake, questioned commissioners and administrators about a handful of issues, including the status of the township's study about the feasibility and cost of saving the dam.

Howard Kutzler, the township's director of administration, responded there is a meeting scheduled later this week to develop that review and added that he could not give a timeline for that to be completed.

The possibility the dam could be discarded first came to light when commissioners heard from a representative of Wildlands Conservancy who offered to obtain funding to tear down the dam during a June 4th meeting.

It was at that time commissioners approved a study into how that removal would be accomplished by Wildlands Conservancy.

On Wednesday night, Wehr said he and others dedicated to preserving the dam had obtained many signatures from individuals who enjoy the dam's place in enhancing the beauty of the park.

"Many of those signatures came from people who are in the park," Wehr noted, as a contrast to those who have presented plans to tear down the structure, in his estimation.

In another matter Wednesday night, commissioners instructed Kutzler to speak with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials regarding options to potentially install stop signs in an area of the township where Mauch Chunk and Orefield roads connect at a "Y", after a resident of Mauch Chunk Road - Behard Cami- told how her five-year-old dog was struck by motorists and later died as a result of injuries sustained by the vehicle's impact.

Both roads are under the purview of PennDOT, and are currently regulated at a 35 mph speed limit, the lowest allowed.

"That area is a time bomb," said Commissioner David Bond of the need to address the issue. "I hope we can fix that. It's not going to get better."

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