Lehigh Valley

New Taco Bell could make run for the border in Lower Macungie

LOWER MACUNGIE, Pa. - The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners offered their support to an application for the construction of a fast food establishment during Thursday night's meeting. The vote was 3-1 with President Douglas Brown dissenting.

The legislative body supported plans for a Taco Bell, to be located at 5374 Hamilton Boulevard, that had come before the township's planning commission on April 18 from developer Macungie Investors. That version contained a request for 13 variances and did not garner the support of the planning commission. However, Thursday night's version before commissioners had seen the variance request cut by over half, down to six. That proved satisfactory to the majority of the board who agreed to support it to go before the township's zoning hearing board, provided the developer agree to additional construction conditions, which they did on Thursday night.

The plan is complicated due in part to split zoning on the site and that two parcels of land are being combined into one parcel. The front portion of the site is zoned commercial and the back portion of the site is zoned residential. In addition to the Taco Bell, the site would also feature a two-story commercial building.

In voicing his support, Commissioner Ronald W. Beitler that although he could "take or leave" a fast food drive thru restaurant in that corridor of the township, he did support the project overall after the revisions made since the April 18 meeting.

Brown, in voicing his opposition, said he didn't "think it's appropriate" for what he called  "a million dollar site."  He added he would not be in favor of providing the variance relief requested.

Commissioner Brian Higgins supported Ronald W. Beitler's viewpoint, saying he was "much more pleased" with the revised plans and that it currently "meets with the spirit of the zoning."

The project still has many legislative hurdles to clear before achieving final commissioner approval.

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