Atty. Blake Marles, a township resident who is working with the Hamilton Crossings developers, agreed Krocks Road will have more traffic, because it is a collector road.
“One of the things that one deals with when one buys a house on a collector road is there is more traffic,” said Marles, who is a former township solicitor. “If one wants less traffic, one doesn’t buy on a collector road. Krocks has been a collector road for at least 30 years.”
Marles also maintained residents who live closest to the planned shopping center have not been the objectors. “The objectors have generally been from elsewhere.”
Marles maintained 50,000 people living in that part of Lehigh County but don’t have enough nearby commercial activity, including “the kinds of commercial activity that many of the people in Lower Macungie Township use on a regular basis.”
As for the TIF, Marles said: “The only taxes implicated in the project are the taxes being created by this developer and the people this developer brings to the township. None of the taxes of any of the rest of us are being used. What’s wrong with government saying ‘if you’re bringing new tax dollars into the community, you can use those tax dollars where we can see them, in our community – not somewhere else’?”
If the TIF plan is approved, 50 percent of increased real estate taxes from Hamilton Crossings will be used to help pay debt on public infrastructure improvements for up to 20 years, rather than 100 percent of that money immediately going to the school district and county. (Lower Macungie currently does not collect any real estate tax.)
The motion recommended by Eichenberg and passed by township commissioners maintains the land development plans submitted to Lower Macungie by Hamilton Crossings’ developers “show significant and substantial roadway and traffic improvements, including the addition of a collector/distributor road, turning lanes and signalization, all of which the applicant will assume responsibility for constructing.”
It also notes that Lower Macungie has allocated $250,000 of township funds in its 2013 capital budget to help make road improvements for Hamilton Crossings.
In addition to road improvements, the TIF money will be used to remediate flooding and upgrade existing utility services, as Eichenberg noted in his motion.
Township commissioners intended to approve the TIF plan and hold a public hearing to create a Hamilton Crossings TIF district at Thursday night’s meeting.
But, because of the county commissioners’ delays, they won’t get to vote to approve the TIF until their next meeting at 7 p.m. July 18 – if county commissioners approve it first.
Eichenberg said the state’s law stipulates that TIF district hearing cannot be held until after the county, school district and township agree to participate in the TIF.
That law requires the township to hold such a hearing to delineate boundaries of the Hamilton Crossings TIF district.
At least three weeks after that hearing, the township must adopt a resolution or ordinance creating the district.
The proposed district consists of more than 63 acres between Hamilton Boulevard and Route 222, with Krocks Road running through the center of the district.
Also during the township meeting:
• Fosselman announced that by mid-July, Service Electric TV will begin televising township meetings. The meetings won’t be televised live. Fosselman said they can be viewed at 10 a.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month and at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, on Service Electric’s channel 50. The township manager told commissioners Service Electric cannot broadcast more than 2.5 hours of each meeting. He said the township also will continue putting webcasts of its meetings on Lower Macungie’s website.
• The commissioners issued a proclamation honoring township resident David Terfinko, who is retiring from the Lower Macungie public works department “after 30 years of committed service.” The audience gave Terfinko a standing ovation. Many other public works staffers attended the meeting
• With no comments from the commissioners or the public, the board unanimously approved a new ordinance aimed at reducing false fire alarms in the township.
It will allow only one penalty-free false alarm every six months.
After that, the fine will be $150 per incident for residential structures and $300 for commercial structures.
In previous meetings, commissioner Roger C. Reis reported that 30 to 40 percent of the calls responded to by the fire department are false alarms.