Beitler added: "I know I'm just one of five, but my mind is not made up on this issue.

"The developer and those in favor of this are going to have to make the case why the township should forfeit 50 percent of incremental increases in taxes over the next 20 years, when this project is going to be costing us in terms of downstream impact.

"This is a discussion I look forward to having. I hope to hear from lots of people on this, both pro and against, before final decisions are made.

"I think it's pretty safe to say that no one's minds on this board should be made up at this point."

None of Beitler's four colleagues said a word in response to that last comment.

Three township commissioners -- Douglas Brown, Ryan Conrad, and James Lancsek -- already are on the record in support of the Hamilton Crossings TIF.

The other commissioner, Brian Higgins, joined the board with Beitler in January.

TIF district

Somach said after the May 1 public hearing, the commissioners "may elect to authorize advertisement of the two proposed ordinances to opt into the TIF and officially creating a TIF district."

Those proposed ordinances would have to be advertised before May 29 so they could be voted on at the commissioners June 5 meeting.

The state's law requires that a TIF plan must precisely define properties to be included in a TIF district. Lower Macungie is responsible for creating that TIF district and the public hearing is a mandatory part of that process.

Hamilton Crossings will be built on 63 undeveloped acres between Route
222 and Hamilton Boulevard in the township. Krocks Road will run through the center of the shopping center. The property currently is owned by the Allentown Catholic Diocese.

Wescosville Park

On another action relating to the shopping center project, commissioners unanimously agreed to accept a $29,236 contribution from the developers so they can install a "rain garden" detention basin in the northwest corner of the township's Wescosville Park.

The money will go into the township's park and recreation fund, said Sara Pandl, the township's planning and economic development director.

Pandl explained that, in addition to the cash, the developers plan to create a naturalized basin with vegetation, an observation area, educational signs, and paths through the park as well as across a driveway into the shopping center.

She said all those improvements are being proposed by the developers to mitigate the impact of the pond on the township's park.

"The improvements they are installing to mitigate this impact are more than what the recreation contribution will be, but they are willing to do both," Pandl.

She said creating the .3-acre "rain garden" stormwater basin will not interfere with softball fields in the 6.7-acre park.

Pandl said the entire rain garden project will cost over $250,000.

The developer apparently could not put the stormwater basin on the Hamilton Crossings property because of mine wash deposits in the ground.

Proposed changes for Route 222

Commissioners also unanimously approved sending a letter to the state Department of Transportation requesting the first steps be taken to allow right-of-way modifications along Route 222 on the north side of Hamilton Crossings

Those modifications involve adding lanes to widen eastbound Route 222 at the Krocks Road intersection. That would be done so eastbound traffic can turn off Route 222 at Krocks Road to get to the shopping center, and so traffic leaving Hamilton Crossings can get onto eastbound Route 222 from Krocks Road.

Township engineer William Erdman said those access lanes, which he called a collector/distributor roadway, would become township right-of-way rather than PennDOT right-of-way.