When the seven-member council put the sidewalk issue to a vote, only Brent Labenberg supported requiring sidewalks on just one side.

Koze said the state Department of Environmental Protection wants to reduce impervious coverage and prefers storm water run off the sides of road surfaces and be absorbed into yards, rather than channeled by curbing into streams.

“It wasn’t about cost; it’s about what’s good planning and aesthetics,” he maintained, adding: “There is less water going directly into streams.”

But Dinkelacker said Emmaus will require curbs for storm water management.

Koze also wanted the private roads to be only 24 feet wide. A motion by Michael Waddell to allow 24-foot-wide roads died for the lack of a second.

Borough engineer Chad Peters said a 26-foot-wide roadway allows parking on one side, with enough room for two passing cars to “squeak by” in the travel lane, because the average vehicle is about eight feet wide. He also said emergency vehicles need enough room to get through.

Council did not agree to the developer’s request to reduce or eliminate a recreation fee stipulated in the proposed ordinance. Council president Lee Ann Gilbert said that fee is $1,000 per dwelling unit, which goes to the borough.

Council showed more flexibility regarding the composition of a pedestrian pathway and nature trail through Fields at Indian Creek, voting that it will determine that composition -- although both the borough solicitor and borough engineer argued that pathway should be paved.

Peters said it must be a hard surface to meet federal ADA requirements, meaning wheelchairs can be used on it. He said stone, gravel or mulch does not meet ADA requirements.

Although Fields at Indian Creek will be private, Koze said it will include a portion of a trail system that will be open to the public to link Emmaus with Camp Olympic Park in Lower Macungie. The trail will be along Leibert Creek.

Koze said the state does not allow paved trails or sidewalks within 200 feet of a stream.

Developer’s response

Koze told council “I’ll do whatever you want” but warned: “I just don’t think some of these ideas are good planning for the future.”

He asked for more flexibility “to make it a project somebody wants to do. We’ll live with whatever you come up, but it may not make sense economically.”

Atty. John Hacker, Koze’s lawyer, told council: “The more bells and whistles we add to this thing, the more unaffordable this type of community becomes. It’s fine and dandy to put everything you want into these things, but someone has to pay for it. In the long haul, particularly with private streets, it’s going to be the residents of the community.”

“We’re trying to put a community together that looks nice,” said Koze. “We chose active adult because it generates less traffic, it’s a good tax generator and there’s no demand on the schools.”

He said the Upper Milford side of the property could be “loaded up” with 350 apartments “but I don’t think that makes sense."

While the proposed ordinance is being created for Fields at Indian Creek, council member Brian Holtzhafer told Koze: “I am acting on an ordinance that doesn’t relate to Indian Creek. I don’t know anything about your plan. The ordinance we’re acting on tonight has nothing to do with any specific plan.”

Holtzhafer also expressed concern about creating an overlay district based on input from just one developer. “I don’t think a developer should have this level of input.”

He said having the developer in his face saying “hey, guys, do this for me, do this for me” created an uncomfortable situation.

Said Holtzhafer: “The ordinance we’re acting on tonight has nothing to do with any specific plan. When a specific plan comes to us, they could ask for relief to not have to put sidewalk on both sides of the street and we as a council could grant it.”

But Dinkelacker said that relief would come not from council, but from the Emmaus zoning hearing board, if the developer would seek a variance. Koze told council he would not get a variance, because he would have to prove hardship.

Avoiding spot zoning challenge

Before the vote, Dinkelacker gave borough council a detailed overview of the proposed overlay district, assisted by Peters.

Dinkelacker said an age-qualified community overlay district permits higher density, meaning more homes. But he added it also requires recreational facilities and 50 percent open space.