Township solicitor Richard Somach told zoners the requested sign variances were acceptable to both the planning commission and township commissioners.
But Somach said many other issues involving Hamilton Crossings will be dealt with at both the conditional use hearing and land development stages before the township commissioners.
Hamilton Crossings already got most of the variances it needed from the township zoning board on Nov. 27, 2012 --- at the end of a hearing that lasted nearly four hours.
On Tuesday night, the project was back before the zoning board for more than an hour, although no one from the public objected to any of the sign variances or the sound barrier variance.
Among variances approved by zoners is one that will allow the developers to install three gateway signs, which will identify the shopping center as “Hamilton Crossings at Lower Macungie Township.”
Two of those wall identification signs will be at Krocks Road and Route 222 and the third will be at Krocks and Hamilton Boulevard.
Harrison explained the words “Lower Macungie Township” will be much larger than words “Hamilton Crossings.”
Sara Pandl, Lower Macungie’s planning and economic development director, told zoners the township asked to be identified on those wall signs. “That will be a major entrance into our community.”
The shopping center has long been promoted as a gateway to Lower Macungie Township.
Sign variances were needed for many reasons, including that the township only allows signs along one road and the developers want them facing Hamilton Boulevard, Krocks Road and Route 222.
“We are completely aligned with the interests of our tenants in wanting those tenants to have sufficient visibility from the surrounding road network, so their customers can find them and they’ll be successful,” explained Harrison.
He also wanted the signs large enough so drivers coming to Hamilton Crossings won’t make last second decisions to turn into the shopping center, which could be dangerous.
Harrison said only the backs of the Target and Costco buildings will face Route 222, but those stores want signs on their rear walls. He explained the township only allows signs on one wall of a building, which is why that variance was being sought.
Harrison told zoners the size of signs had been reduced as much as Hamilton Crossings’ tenants will allow. He maintained the signs are smaller than what his tenants typically would accept. He also said smaller tenants need signs the most, because they have small frontages
-- “they are the ones that tend to get lost.”
He said many building signs at other shopping centers in the township are larger than those being proposed in Hamilton Crossings.
Harrison testified he has developed numerous shopping center projects in Maryland and Pennsylvania, including Broadcasting Square in Berks County, Colonnade shopping center in State College and Silver Springs Square in Mechanicsburg. “I’ve probably developed between 400 and 500 retail stores.”