Harrison said when PennDOT designed that section of Route 222, it anticipated 37,900 vehicles a day would be using it by the year 2020. He said it already is used by 38,268 a day. “That’s eight years early. Whether we develop or not, you’re already above the 2020 estimate.”

LVPC states PennDOT compensated property owners along Route 222 for giving up future direct access to the highway -- including $1.5 million paid to the Allentown Catholic Diocese, current owner of the vacant land where the shopping center is proposed.

Harrison unsuccessfully asked LVPC to consider a compromise, by not voting against his plan in exchange for “a seat at the table” at all future meetings regarding his project’s impact on Route 222.

 

Economic issues

 

In his summary of LVPC’s position, Berryman said 10 other municipalities in Lehigh County would be better choices to use a TIF than Lower Macungie, which has little   poverty and one of the highest median incomes.

But Harrison said the Hamilton Crossing’s retailers want to be in Lower Macungie specifically because it is affluent and its residents are extremely well-educated

Berryman said retail jobs generated by Hamilton Crossings would not generate “a substantial living wage.”

But Harrison said Hamilton Crossings will create 923 fulltime jobs that pay more than the median income in Lehigh County and solve five percent of the Lehigh Valley’s unemployment problem. “Yes, they are retail jobs. But this is not Walmart, it’s not McDonalds.” He said a starting salary for a cashier at Costco is $17 an hour.

Harrison had hoped construction of Hamilton Crossings could begin by September and be completed by the fall of 2014.