Lower Macungie Township generic sign

L. MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. – The Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission tabled a preliminary/final land development plan featuring coordinated commercial development on one of the township's major roadways Tuesday night.

The project, submitted by Posh Properties, proposes to redevelop several lots into a site at the end of Shuler Street with frontage located on 4316, 4320, 4330 and 4344 Hamilton Blvd.

The developer is proposing a coordinated commercial development which includes a daycare and preschool, as well as a self-storage facility. The properties, located in the township's Highway Commercial District, have been vacant for years and previously held a local iron works site. 

The conditional use and land development plans submitted to the township show the two structures sharing the same parking areas and access off Shuler Street. The one-story, 9,100-square-foot daycare building includes an outdoor play area and will have school bus pick-up and drop-off for students.

The 112,000-square-foot self-storage building would be three stories. Of note, the maximum building height in the HC district is 50 feet. The plan calls for consolidating four lots over 3.16 acres of land for the project.

Previously, the township granted the developer a variance regarding the required loading area. However, township Engineer Bryan McAdam noted "significant concerns" regarding overall site circulation and efficiency of traffic flow.

Further, McAdam noted in written correspondence that the applicant did not submit a traffic impact study, proposed hours of operation, number of employees or estimated customer traffic.

The site plans also showed one access point. McAdam said site traffic circulation overall is "awkward, at best."

"The parking is very, very tight," said Director of Planning Nathan Jones on Tuesday night.

The applicant said Tuesday night those were "things we can take a look at." This includes addressing traffic circulation and putting in traffic-calming devices. Officials said they could not consider a separate entrance for the storage facility.

Chairman Tom Beil recommended the applicant consider a drop-off or pick-up area for the daycare.

The plan also did not indicate signage for the daycare or self-storage business. McAdam sought the location of the signs and their sizes and lighting.

Finally, care for more than six children requires at least one acre of land. McAdam noted the plan should be revised to confirm this requirement will be met.

Car wash plan

In other news, the planning commission recommended the modification of an approved plan for a scaled-down addition and lane reconfiguration to a car wash located at 6235 Hamilton Blvd.

The revised plan, submitted by Suburban Self Serve Carwash, involves retrofitting the existing building which contains three self-serve car wash stations, two automated car wash bays and three freestanding vacuum stations.

In addition, the plans calls for a new vehicular circulation, a pump and equipment house, the addition of five vacuum stations, and a one-way exit onto a private road, south of the property. A driveway that serves Faith Evangelical Church serves as the southern boundary.

The plan was tabled last month due to the planning commission's concern about car wash water discharge entering the township's storm sewer system without being appropriately filtered and processed. The applicant will be required to install a sewage flow meter and will purchase five "Equivalent Dwelling Units" and shall place in escrow another 17 EDUs. A connection to public water is recommended but not required.

Buckeye solar fields

In other business, planners recommended a preliminary/final land development plan allowing for the development of new solar arrays on roughly 51 acres of land owned by Buckeye Pipelines.

The plan, submitted by Buckeye Macungie Solar LLC, consists of several solar panel array fields consisting of more than 2,900 solar panels on existing Buckeye pipeline lands.

The 51 acres are located on multiple properties owned by the company. The largest of these are scheduled along Brookside Road, across from properties owned by East Penn School District. The locations include 5274 Indian Creek Road, 3760 Tank Farm Road, and 5336-5455 Buckeye Road.

Buckeye has a green initiative to review all its assets to reduce the company's carbon footprint, according to testimony Thursday night.

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