Lehigh Valley

Northampton council tables decision on Willow Brook development

Hold up is the cost of a potential traffic light

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - Northampton Borough Council on Thursday voted 7-0 to table a decision on whether to approve the Willow Brook Farm Trust Development’s preliminary plan to build 11 single homes off Howertown Road.

The sticking point was the $250,000 to $280,000 cost of a potential traffic light at the intersection of Fourth Street and Howertown Road. The borough planning commission had asked Willow Brook Farm Trust to put up the money as one of the conditions of its approval of the plan.

The planning commission at its Oct. 11 meeting laid out several conditions associated with its recommendation for approval, including that the Trust set aside money for a possible traffic light as, well as meeting any other agency approvals.

Robert Dwyer, a consultant to Willow Brook Farm Trust, said Thursday that he would withdraw the plan, if the Trust had to set aside the money for the traffic light. He said it would be “impossible” to go forward with the project, if the Trust was requireed to set aside that amount of money.

If he stopped the plan to build the 11 homes in the borough, Dwyer said he could still proceed with the parts of the development that will be built in other municipalities, but that he'd prefer to complete all parts of the project. A majority of the development would be in North Catasauqua, with some of it in Allen Township.

A recent traffic study at the intersection had suggested that there could be increased traffic. The present number of vehicles on that intersection in the morning is more than 900 vehicles, which could increase to 1,040 vehicles. Traffic during evening hours could increase from the current 1,098 vehicles to 1,268 vehicles.

Dwyer said that if the plan ultimately gets approved he will need to obtain a permit from the state, a process which would take several months. He said he anticipated an early spring groundbreaking.

Council will discuss other options for funding the potential traffic light before its next meeting. Councilman Robert McHale was absent from Thursday’s meeting.


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