LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. – Lower Saucon Township's two volunteer fire companies should unite, a council member said at Wednesday night’s township council meeting.
"I am very supportive of a merger" of Lower Saucon Fire Rescue and Steel City Volunteer Fire Company, council member Donna Louder said. "It will be the one thing that joins the entire township."
The township helps support both companies, but they are private organizations and run their own operations.
Louder said Steel City has sought the township’s help to buy a new truck, but she is concerned that the fire company may not be able to pay its share. She also said Steel City is having trouble recruiting members and may not be able to continue operating.
"I don't want them to fail," she said. "I want them to be rebuilt."
No Steel City representatives spoke at the meeting.
After the meeting, Chief Ty Johnson of Lower Saucon Fire Rescue said that in the event of a merger, all four fire stations will remain open.
"A merger would be up to the members," he added.
Deputy Chief Bryan Evans said earlier fire company mergers in the township have succeeded, and that the two companies cooperate well now.
"What is important is that we have a modern, professional volunteer fire company," Scott Krycia, president of Lower Saucon Fire Rescue, said.
In other business, the council reviewed two proposals that will go before Lower Saucon's Zoning Hearing Board on Monday.
Developer John Blair reviewed his plan to convert two lots between Old Philadelphia Pike and Route 378 into three. One lot will be for an existing home, and office buildings will be built on the other two. One of the existing lots is landlocked, and over the years junk has been dumped on it, he said.
"I'm here to solve a problem," Blair said.
He said his proposal will add to the township's tax base and bring business and people to Lower Saucon's village center.
Council member George Gress said the council will support the plan if potential stormwater problems are addressed.
The other proposal, for a variance at 1477 W. Raders Lane to store landscaping equipment, drew fire from neighbors.
Michael Eshleman said the pole building, put up in the residential area in 2015, is used to store landscaping equipment.
Suzette Califano, who lives next to the property, said the business should not be allowed to operate. She said her land has been damaged by water runoff, and that the business creates noise and traffic. The 3,200-square-foot building should never have been put up in a residential area, and it is being used for retail sales, she said.
"We want this to stop," Califano said.
Mary Grace Polak, another neighbor, said trucks going to the business block her street.
"Our lane cannot handle the big trucks coming through," she said.
The council said the zoning board should require Eshleman to provide a site plan.
Council President Priscilla deLeon advised Califano and Polak to attend the meeting Monday to raise their complaints.
The council approved a benefits plan for salaried employees by a 4-1 vote. Ryan Stauffer, Sandra Yerger, deLeon, and Gress voted in favor. Louder voted no, suggesting the days-off policy is too generous.
The vote to recognize Jessica O'Donnell of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce for her service to the community was unanimous. The resolution will be presented to O'Donnell at the Saucon Valley Community Center's 2019 fall dinner on Nov. 8.