“They’ve told us they expect most of the traffic will go out and down Allen,” said Pandl.
Municipal officials realize Fields at Indian Creek residents who want to drive north or east probably won’t go west and south to the Allen and Chestnut intersection.
Pandl said people living in the new development may go north on other Lower Macungie roads, putting more traffic onto Mill Race Road, which goes north from Indian Creek Road to Lower Macungie Road
Emmaus needs zoning change
Since April 2012, Kay Builders has an agreement of sale to buy the golf course land from Barbara and David Bollinger. “I close when I get my approvals,” said Koze.
“I’ve looked at this project off and on for five or six years,” he said. “We’re at the critical point where things move quickly from here.”
Koze said a preliminary plan was filed with all three municipalities about two months ago. He withdrew the plan in Emmaus to see what happens with the proposed zoning change in the borough. “That’s the critical aspect,” said Koze. “If the zoning works, we’ll move forward. If it’s not workable, we probably won’t move forward.”
Kay Builders is asking Emmaus officials to amend the borough’s zoning ordinance by approving “an age-qualified community overlay district” so the Emmaus portion of Fields at Indian Creek can be built.
At 7 p.m. Monday, Emmaus borough council is expected to begin reviewing that proposed overlay district ordinance.
Borough zoning officer James Farnsworth said that corner of Emmaus is now zoned conservation-residential, the most restrictive zoning. It allows only low density development in areas that are very environmentally sensitive or have inadequate road access. Lot sizes must be nearly a half acre.
Unless council approves the proposed overlay district, the borough’s planning commission will recommend denying the Emmaus portion of the development because it does not meet existing zoning, explained Farnsworth.
Last Wednesday morning, borough council’s three-member general administration committee recommended the proposed overlay district be considered by the full council.
Borough manager Shane Pepe said approving the overlay district will take a couple of months. He said if council advances the proposal after its first reading Monday, the Emmaus planning commission, the developer and other parties will have 45 days to review it, then it will go back to council for final adoption. Unless major changes are required, Pepe predicted that vote for adoption will happen in mid-July.
If the overlay district is approved, Kay Builders will have to go through the land development review and approval process in all three municipalities. “They’re not planning to put a shovel in the ground until the end of next year,” said Pepe.
Sidewalks to nowhere?
By a 2-1 vote Wednesday, council’s general administration committee recommended that council require sidewalks on both sides of private roads in Fields at Indian Creek.
The developer initially did not intend to put any sidewalks on those roads – only painted walkway lanes on the edges -- but the proposed Emmaus zoning ordinance requires sidewalks on one side of the street.
Council member Wesley Barrett said Emmaus requires everyone in the borough to have sidewalks so everyone should be treated equally. But Brent Labenberg, who cast the no vote, said the development will be a private community. “I don’t think we should be restrictive like that.”
Countered Michael Waddell: “But what if it becomes ours someday? Who knows about 50 years from now? We have to think that far ahead.”
If Emmaus requires sidewalks and Upper Milford does not, sidewalks could end at the borough line in the development.
But Farnsworth told the council committee that Upper Milford also wants sidewalks.
Miller said Upper Milford typically gives waivers to the requirement for curb and sidewalk, but added its ordinance states: “Sidewalks built to township specifications shall be required where the average residential density exceeds three dwelling units per acre or where the Board of Supervisors determines they are necessary for safe pedestrian movement, such as near a school.”
In Upper Milford, rather than sidewalk or curb, Koze proposes the development’s main roadway be wide enough to stripe off a four or five-foot-wide walking lane. He’s comfortable with just one-third of his development having sidewalks and curbs “if that’s the way it has to be.” But he added: “It doesn’t really make sense.”
Koze is concerned that being required to have sidewalks on both sides of roads in the Emmaus portion of his development could leave him without enough area to build homes.
Borough council members expressed reservations about narrow roads proposed in the development, but Pepe said they are two feet wider in the proposed ordinance than Kay Builders originally proposed. He said if roads must be 33 feet wide rather than 26 feet, the developer will be forced to eliminate houses.