Lehigh Valley

Upper Saucon Supervisors hear development proposal on Route 378 'blind corner' parcel

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - If you ever travel Upper Saucon's portion of Route 378 you've driven past this corner countless times and it went unnoticed. It's the one-acre Center Valley parcel located on northwest corner of Route 378 and Preston Road directly across from the Copperhead Grill. 

And if a local entrepreneur gets his way, he'd like to develop the "blind corner" secluded with a wall of towering arborvitaes into a corner spot featuring a single building sandwich or ice cream shop and possible office space with student apartments above.

Eugene Jani, Jr. of Upper Saucon approached the township's board of supervisors Monday evening requesting the property he's in the process of buying from the current New Jersey-based owner be added to the current village commercial overlay zone applying to the Copperhead Grill allowing the restaurant to enlarge its often overflowing parking lot.

However, the supervisors referred the matter to the township's planning and zoning committees primarily because they'd like to hear feedback on the idea from neighbors Southern Lehigh School District who owns adjacent land behind the property and nearby neighbors.

Jani said his proposal promotes good community development because it would better serve two neighboring markets: Southern Lehigh High School and DeSales University students looking for convenience foods and a quick lunch. He noted the corner is a "blind spot" hazard for both traffic and pedestrians and the handful of neighboring homes along Preston Road have no objections to his proposal.

Alternatively, supervisor Pat Leonard remarked Jani's rezoning request is similar to the Copperhead's parking lot expansion, but added, "Where does this end, I'm not sure?"

Supervisor Steve Wagner said he didn't see any advantage to the township in extending the village overlay to Jani, however, Supervisor Brian Farrell felt area students need a place to eat after school and sports practices and because of its nonexistent lines of sight the corner is unsafe.

Jani said the house currently on the property hidden by trees would be demolished and his goal is "to bring this corner up to good and proper development".

In other matters, the supervisors refused any action on a proposed resolution to install no right turn pavement markings and signs at the northeast corner of Route 309 north and westbound Passer Road preventing traffic from making right hand turns from the Passer Road's shoulder onto Route 309.

The supervisors rejected the idea because township police have offered no verified accident reports detailing mishaps at the intersection despite one submitted by a local resident who also witnessed several other close calls at the site.

The board also expressed concern regarding traffic backup at the intersection should right turns be prohibited.

Both Route 309 and Passer Roads are maintained by PennDOT.

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