Lehigh Valley

Lower Nazareth prepares for new regional police agreement

Bath leaving regional coverage

LOWER NAZARETH TWP., Pa. - Lower Nazareth Township supervisors Wednesday night agreed to draft and advertise legal documents to continue membership in the Colonial Regional Police Department with neighboring Hanover Township, Northampton County.

Similar to action taken Tuesday night by Hanover Township supervisors, the measures will set the stage for establishing the police department between the two townships without Bath, which decided to withdraw from the department last year because it could not afford to pay for the service.

Board Chairman James Pennington said the negotiations are “very close” to completion and the legal framework would expedite the new agreement with Hanover once intergovernmental details are completed for the regional police department.

Lower Nazareth officials have been meeting regularly with those of Hanover and Bath to complete the departure of the borough from the police department. Bath is slated to pull out of the department on Jan. 1, 2019, and receive coverage from state police.

Other business

The board voted unanimously to pass a resolution opposing Pennsylvania House Bill 1620, known as the Wireless Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Collocation Act. The bill, if enacted into law, would limit municipal governments from applying restrictions on wireless infrastructure such as cell towers.

“We need to be in the loop on this,” Pennington said. “We don’t want Harrisburg telling us where to place cell towers.”

Lower Nazareth’s resolution mirrors action taken by municipalities locally and across the state in opposition to the bill. 

The board authorized the purchase of road, vehicle and recycling equipment

  • $11,300 for a piece of equipment to screen top soil and recycle anti-skid material that is spread on roads in winter weather. Regulations require municipalities to remove the anti-skid material and dispose of it to prevent its escape into waterways.  The screener equipment would allow the township to save money by recycling and reusing the material.
  • $4,500 for diagnostic equipment for the township’s fleet of vehicles. Pennington noted that the township pays hundreds of dollars to tow its vehicles into shops to diagnosis mechanical problems and said the equipment would likely pay for itself within a year.
  • Up to $18,000 for the purchase of 1,500, 20-gallon recycling containers to replenish the township’s dwindling inventory. The money would come from a pending $170,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant.

During his report, solicitor Gary Asteak said the township received a letter from an attorney representing Liberty Properties that asked to defer and delay any action on the company’s proposed warehouses between Routes 191 and Daniels Road until an agreement with the township is reached.

The township in 2015 denied conditional use for Liberty’s plan because the size of the facilities and projected traffic impact did not meet township zoning regulations.

The township’s decision was appealed by the developer and ultimately upheld by a state appellate judge, Asteak said, adding that Lower Nazareth’s goal is to reduce “as substantially as we can” the size of the warehouses. He said the township can’t prohibit warehouses at Liberty’s proposed light industrial location, but it can attempt to control their size.

“So far we’re OK and back where we want to be,” he said, noting that the negotiations are now “in the auspices of the court.”

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