Lehigh Valley

Lower Macungie approves Movie Tavern project

Developer is eying a summer 2017 opening

Lower Macungie approves Movie Tavern project

L. MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Developer David Jaindl received the verdict Thursday night he had wanted for a long time.

The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners approved the Trexler Business Center - which includes the Movie Tavern project - by a vote of 3-2.

Commissioners Douglas Brown, Benjamin Galiardo and Brian Higgins cast "yes" votes. Dissenting were Ronald R. Beitler and Ronald W. Beitler.

Following the vote, Jaindl thanked commissioners who voted for approval and termed the dissenting votes as "not a correct" decisions. He added that the project was "the right decision" for the township.

"We compromised over and above," he said of his efforts to get the deal done..

Two additions to the resolution made earlier in the day on Thursday were the impetus behind Ronald R. Beitler's vote against it.

""This changed in the last 24 hours," said Ronald R. Beitler. "There is no way I can vote for this."

The commissioner went on to say that agreement that he had discussed with Jaindl on Wednesday night was not the agreement that was before him when he arrived at the municipal building on Thursday night.

Jaindl said Ronald R. Beitler's recollection of that conversation was not accurate and that the deal on paper was the deal they had discussed.

"It is what we discussed," Jaindl countered.

"No it is not," Ronald R. Beitler said.

Finally Brown broke up the verbal disagreement.

"All right, all right," Brown said sounding like a parent breaking up bickering brothers.

One of the two additions made Thursday required Jaindl to install a traffic signal on Hamilton Boulevard. The second focused on the controversial traffic impact fee.

The resolution adopted Thursday night noted "The township recognizes that the Transportation Impact Fee shall be offset in its entirety the applicant's construction of offsite improvements, cash contributions and dedication of right-of-way and roadway construction from the north driveway to the property line."

The traffic impact fee was noted as $736,766. The fee had been a major source of disagreement between the two sides. The township enacted the traffic impact fee in 2009. It is based on the amount of traffic a project is expected to generate during the worst point of daily traffic. Jaindl had contended that his plan predated the adoption or the ordinance, thus granting him immunity from paying it.

Ronald W. Beitler cited the money credited to the traffic impact fees as his reason for casting a "no" vote.

Movie Tavern officials had indicated at previous meetings that they had to have the theater open for the summer of 2017 season or their interest in the project would be substantially compromised. Given the long negotiations with the project, Jaindl had previously said his deal with Movie Tavern would be in jeopardy if a decision was not made Thursday night.

None of the commissioners who approved the resolution made public comments on their decisions.

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