Day care plan causes confusion for Lower Macungie Township Commissioners
It’s a good thing the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners don’t have a curfew.
Thursday night’s meeting featured equal parts consternation and confusion that began innocently enough with a public hearing on whether to grant Via of the Lehigh Valley a Conditional Use Permit to operate a day care center at 5910 Hamilton Blvd.
The hearing’s taut and focused commencement quickly became a laborious question and answer session due to an architectural plan that left the commissioners scratching their heads.
“The reality is the plan doesn’t accurately represent the area,” said Commissioner Douglas Brown.
“The plan submitted is not accurate,” added Township Solicitor Richard Somach.
After much debate the commissioners voted 5-0 to grant the use as requested, attaching no less than nine conditions and stipulations as part of the deal, including a new submission of architectural drawings, increased parking lot lighting, reconfigured parking and traffic flow, installation of video surveillance cameras and additional satisfactory review by Director of Planning Sara Pandl and Township Engineer William Erdman.
“I’m not sure what happened here,” noted a mentally fatigued Commissioner Ryan Conrad after the proceedings concluded. “But something went wrong.”
The hearing proved to be an appetizer to another challenging request, this one to appeal a Zoning Hearing Board decision involving the Faith Evangelical Free Church, made by no one less that the township’s own Planning Commission.
In a May 23rd letter Planning Chairman Irvin Keister asked commissioners to appeal the Zoner’s approval to two phases of construction – one being the construction of a children’s and education wing on the church’s campus and the second being a master plan for an enlarged sanctuary and auxiliary offices.
“…the direction and future needs are unclear,” Keister wrote in his official correspondence, citing lack of parking space as a concern. He added that the sides continued to work toward an amicable conclusion.
After much debate, the motion failed when no commissioner agreed to sponsor it.
Last, the commissioners heard from two residents from Mill Creek Road who petitioned them to lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph in certain areas, citing safety issues when crossing the street to retrieve their mail.
Commissioners were sympathetic, and agreed to have a study done to determine the merits of the request and will review the finding when completed.
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