Lehigh Valley

Developer's attorney walks out on Upper Milford meeting

He accused township supervisor of holding a grudge

U. MILFORD TWP., Pa. - A well-known Lehigh Valley land development attorney walked out of a township supervisors meeting Thursday, accusing one supervisor of harboring a personal grudge against him and the developer he's representing.

Neighbors have ardently opposed for years Kay Builders' attempts to build the 123-home Fields at Jasper Ridge. Bethlehem attorney Jim Preston represents the developer.

The mix of single and double homes is planned for the former Kohler family land tract located up the hill behind Big Woody's Sports Bar and Restaurant off Chestnut Street just south of Emmaus. 

Township supervisors were scheduled Thursday to discuss a letter from the township's planning director about subdivsion plans for the Kohler tract. Preston shut down the discussion and accused Township Supervisor Rob Sentner of attempting to bypass his client's preliminary land approval and "mimic the final plan approval." 

After the meeting, Preston said Sentner "has made this personal."

He also accused the board of attempting to rewrite the state's municipal code by not allowing the project to begin construction prior to all plan details and requirements being fulfilled even those mandated by state agencies.

"It's not personal, it's about planning," Sentner said.

He said he was not going to afford Kay Builders another opportunity to begin a project and not follow a previously agreed to plan. Sentner referred several times to Kay's project, The Fields at Indian Creek, which has been a source of controversy in recent days.

The Fields at Indian Creek sits on the corners of Emmaus and Upper Milford and Lower Macungie townships, and Upper Milford officials only recently resumed issuing permits because of missed deadlines from the developer.

Sentner said Preston also refused to accept a stipulation whereby no groundbreaking is to occur until all outside state and local agency approvals are not only secured but executed and that the developer fulfills all stormwater runoff specifications.

The agreement is not state law and shouldn't be treated as such, Sentner said. He also recalled the recent cease and desist order the township issued for the developer's Fields at Indian Creek project for plan deviations and noncompliance issues.

Supervisors agreed to table Kay's plan to a special meeting on Sept. 28 where project discussions will continue.

In other business, supervisors approved a land development plan for a third full-service location for New Tripoli Bank.

The new 15,000 square-foot two-story building is planned for 4897 Buckeye Road and will be a full-service branch offering lending and wealth management services. New Tripoli opened its second location in 1999.

Slated for a property across from Blackmans Cycle Center, construction is set to begin in November with a grand opening slated for late spring 2018.

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