SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Developer David Jaindl is a man who understands it takes a neighborhood to raise a new housing project.
Two months ago he stood before the South Whitehall Township Planning Commission and presented his vision for a 90-unit residential housing development project on the former Rutz farm land between Hampton Road and Penn's Crossing.
Nearby residents that night were of course concerned about increased traffic on Walbert Avenue and a handful suggested an access road next to Shoemaker Dodge, across from Hampton Road, as part of a remedy.
At Wednesday night's Board of Commissioners meeting Jaindl did them one better.
He presented a sketch plan that would have him purchasing the used car facility lot to convert it to another development which would also contain a restaurant and provide parking, in addition to the access road, and in the estimation of some commissioners, improve the fabric of the neighborhood.
Jaindl noted that he had an "agreement in concept" with Shoemaker to purchase the property, although there were details to work out.
One of the first would be to receive the township's approval to rezone the site to Neighborhood Commercial, according to Jaindl.
When President Christina Morgan asked Jaindl if the plan and zoning would be consistent with the township's Comprehensive Plan, Jaindl responded that yes, he believed it would.
The commissioners took no action on the Shoemaker sketch plan Wednesday night, instead simply annointing their blessing for Jaindl to take his now modified plan back to the Planning Commission for review. If and when it receives an OK from that body, then it would return to commissioners for their vote.
"Go David go," Commissioner Dale Daubert uttered at one point.
"I can't imagine the neighbors wouldn't be happy with this," said Commissioner David Bond.
"A nice look for the neighborhood," assessed Commissioner Glenn Block.
"I'd like to see if the neighborhood would warm up to it," Jaindl said. That answer was not forthcoming Wednesday night, as none of them were actually in attendance.
In other business Wednesday night, commissioners approved a resolution for two new street lights in the Sieger Gardens Neighborhood. The first at Sieger Road at Thompson Street and the second at Gary Road at Klotz Street. The request came from every single resident in the neighborhood, for safety and security reasons.
They also approved the Stadium Drive Street lighting plan, which includes 18 lights.
Block adding that he would "love to see them up by football season."
Allentown, PA 18102