Lehigh Valley

Potential 55-plus community discussed in Salisbury Township

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. - The Salisbury Township Municipal Building was packed Tuesday night.

"There's a lot of energy in this room," said Vice Chairman Stephen McKitish.

For those in attendance, a sketch plan of a 55-plus community slated for 400 E. Mountain Road was what flipped the switch. The potential development would see six, four-story buildings that would house 144 units on a relatively small portion of 18.2 acres of total property. The property rests in the township's Conservation-Residential zoning district. 

Thomas J. Schlegel, an attorney who represented the developer, said the project would include a clubhouse and outdoor recreation area. The community was something he said was "necessary" for the township. He added that the apartment's proposed footprint would "essentially replace the impervious cover" that already exists on the property. 

However the project is far from a reality. Township officials said it would require six separate variances. The township's code does not permit apartment units above three floors without an exception due to a demonstrated and unavoidable hardship.

"There are issues," said McKitish."It has a long way to go."

Township Engineer David Tettemer said Tuesday night he had written a letter that noted the major concerns about the potential project. In addition, McKitish added the development would also require traffic study and environmental review.

The property has been vacant for about seven years and once served as an outdoor recreational facility that included a clubhouse pavilion and an indoor facility that hosted events, according to planning commission documents. 

Tuesday night's meeting was simply informational and did not produce a vote. The developer will now decide to move the project forward by filing an appeal for the variances or could alter the plan so it would not require any relief.

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