Lehigh Valley

Allen Twp. residents voice concerns about warehouses

Development would occupy almost 300 acres

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - At a three-hour-long Allen Township Supervisors meeting Tuesday, residents expressed concerns about a proposed warehouse development on Nor-Bath Boulevard.

The Jaindl-Watson Land Company wants to build six warehouses on Nor-Bath Boulevard, which would total 2.5 million square feet on nearly 300 acres.

The warehouses would be between Nor-Bath Boulevard, also known as Route 329, and Seemsville and Howertown Roads.

Allen Township supervisors moved the location of the meeting to the Allen Township fire company to accommodate an anticipated large crowd. More than 50 people attended the meeting.

The land’s current zoning does allow for warehouses to be built in the area.

Developer David Jaindl has proposed moving Seemsville Road 650 feet to the east across 92 acres of school district property so that he can create a new, signalized intersection at Nor-Bath Boulevard.

The road, the only entry and exit point for tractor-trailers to the proposed industrial park, would be moved to provide greater sight distance for motorists exiting onto Nor-Bath Boulevard and to lessen the impact on neighboring property owners. 

The developer proposed a 12-foot iron water pipe to be built under the street, 11 feet off the curb as part of the project.

The board voted 3-2 to allow the pipe to be built under the street, 11 feet off the curb, rather than under the shoulder, as the developer previously proposed. 

Plan B?

Resident Eric Miller asked Jaindl what would happen if East Allen Township does not approve the plans to realign Seemsville Road.

“Do you have a Plan B?” he asked. If the moving of the road is not approved, then “everyone’s time is wasted; money is wasted.”

If Seemsville Road is not moved, it might not be able to accommodate all the increased truck traffic the proposed warehouses would generate, Miller said.

Jaindl said that the plan as proposed assumes that the road will be able to be moved.

“When we meet that hurdle, we’ll address it,” Jaindl said, referring to the possibility of the plan not being approved by East Allen Township.

Quality of life

Marcy Vogel said that supervisors should ensure that the quality of life in the area is not impacted and that additional road congestion is prevented. 

Jaindl said that truck drivers associated with the development would not be allowed to turn left onto Seemsville Road. 

Cory Fenstermaker wished the township “good luck” in handling all the increased traffic.

Robert Hoskins expressed concerns about the environmental effects of the commercial development, including the degradation of water quality due to road salts and the destruction of farm soil.

Environmental effects caused by development “cannot be mitigated,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins questioned the need for more development, saying that the township has had “more than our fair share of warehouse development.”

The public expressed dissatisfaction with the board’s decision to cut off public comment during the agenda, when representatives from the developer were present. 

The board allowed the public to make more comments on the proposed warehouses toward the end of the meeting, although the developer was not present during these comments. 

Board Chairman Larry Oberly said that “we can’t always control the changes we get,” referring to increased development.

As long as the developer’s plans meet township ordinance requirements, the board must approve the developer’s plan, Oberly said. 

Pete James told the board to “think of the big picture” and consider the impact of development on schools, parks and township residents. A “wall of warehouses” would not be good for the township, James said.

Other business

The board said at the meeting that a stretch of Route 329 will be closed from May 28 to August 30 in order to widen the road and make grade changes in order to make the road smoother. Short Lane will be blocked off during the construction. 

Motorists will be detoured down Savage Road onto Atlas Road, up Weaversville Road and onto Route 329.

Letters will be sent to township residents regarding the construction.

An informational session will be held at an unspecified date to inform the public on details of the road closure. 

Several businesses along the north and south sides of Route 329 have agreed to donate their land to the township for purposes of the construction.

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