Lehigh Valley

Latest Movie Tavern dispute focuses on trees

Developer, commissioner spar over removed trees

L. MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Drama doesn't just happen in the movies.

The Movie Tavern project has had plenty of it, and a new scene played out Thursday as township Commissioner Ronald W. Beitler and developer David Jaindl exchanged terse words about a forested buffer between the project and the neighboring community.

Ronald W. Beitler claimed the developer cut down existing trees in the buffer zone and that new trees have yet to be planted. This action leaves the developer in non-compliance with the terms of the agreement the two sides previously reached, he said.

Jaindl, by not planting the trees, was holding up the project, Ronald W. Beitler argued.

In response, Jaindl said he didn't appreciate the commissioner's portrayal of painting him in a "negative" light and told the board that Ronald W. Beitler was "wrong" in his assertions.

"We're not holding anything up," Jaindl said, noting that the rainy summer has not been conducive to planting.

Board President Douglas Brown asked Jaindl when the trees would be planted. The developer indicated the trees would be planted this fall, adding that additional and larger trees will be planted.

The exchange between Ronald W. Beitler and Jaindl became so intense that Brown slammed his gavel several times and said, "Enough."

But it wasn't enough. Commissioner Ronald R. Beitler later asked Jaindl if the existing trees had been cut down by mistake.

"They were not cut down by mistake," Jaindl said.

Brown said that he wanted to move on from the issue and that Jaindl had issued a plan to deal with the trees.

Jaindl Land Co.'s Trexler Business Center will feature the Lehigh Valley's first cinema-eatery. 

In other business, commissioners heard a presentation from Lois Arciszewski of Adams Outdoor Advertising. Arciszewski attempted to persuade commissioners to change their previous vote to terminate their lease with the company for a billboard at 5580 Hamilton Blvd.

Arciszewski said the billboard has been at the location since 1971 and has been owned by the township since 2011 in a commercially zoned district. Commissioners earlier this year rescinded the contract by a 4-0 vote effective at the end of the year.

She said the billboard had "no impact visually on a resident district" and asked if commissioners would change their minds and renew the deal with her company. But commissioners wouldn't change their minds, voting 3-2 to uphold the previous decision.

Ronald R. Beitler also made a motion to "retain the services" of an individual to address traffic issues.

"Something has to be done," he said of the increased traffic throughout the township. "It's getting worse. It's not getting better."

"We have to try something different," said Ronald W. Beitler in supporting the motion.

Commissioners approved the measure by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Brian Higgins voting against it.

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