But she asked what LVPC staff members will be attending the June 12 commissioners meeting, as commissioners requested. Berryman will be going and Joseph Gurinko, LVPC’s chief transportation planner, also may attend.

 

Lower Macungie’s position

 

Lower Macungie’s five commissioners will vote on the Hamilton Crossings TIF only if the county commissioners first approve it June 12.

Sara Pandl, Lower Macungie’s planning and community development director, said LVPC should be raising concerns or making suggestions in its recommendation, but not denying the project.

“I object to that, that’s not constructive,” Pandl told the LVPC board.

Pandl serves on that board, but also abstained from voting on Hamilton Crossings.

She said Lower Macungie has been working with Harrison on the project for two-and-a-half years, to ensure it will be an asset to the community. She said the shopping center – which will have a Costco, a Target and an unnamed organic grocery store as its anchors -- will be a welcome addition to residents of the entire Lehigh Valley.

Both Pandl and Harrison offered point-by-point responses to LVPC’s position. Both argued the project is consistent with the Lehigh Valley’s comprehensive plan.

 But LVPC staffers Berryman and Gurinko indicated they heard nothing to change their recommendation to the board.

“This is just more of the same,” said Berryman, explaining every time LVPC’s staff has taken a position on Hamilton Crossings, new information is submitted by the township and the developer to counter it.  Berryman noted LVPC already delayed action on its recommendation for a month, to have meetings with the developers, the township and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

 

Size of Hamilton Crossings

 

“We’re really proud of this project,” Harrison told LVPC. “It will be the best project I’ve ever done in my career.”

LVPC states Hamilton Crossings would be the fourth largest shopping center in the Lehigh Valley -- larger than the Promenade, the upscale center Harrison intends to emulate.

Berryman said the area’s largest shopping centers – Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall Mall, Airport Center and Northampton Crossings -- are all on highway interchanges, which can handle the amount of traffic they generate. “They’re not just dropped on any road.”

 He said intersections, such as Krocks Road and Route 222 where Hamilton Crossings is proposed, cannot handle such traffic.

“The road isn’t the problem here,” said Berryman. “It’s the size of the project that’s the issue.”

 

Route 222

 

LVPC’s position is the section of Route 222 along the north side of the proposed shopping center was designed as a controlled access highway to mitigate traffic congestion on Hamilton Boulevard, which runs along the south side of the 63-acre property.

That $140-million bypass around Trexlertown and Wescosville opened in 2007 to keep traffic moving between western Lehigh County and west Allentown, according to LVPC.