Lehigh University generic

A Lehigh University proposal for expanded facilities at its athletic campus will be reviewed by regional planners this week. 

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission will also take another look at River Pointe Logistics, the industrial development proposed for Upper Mount Bethel Township. 

The university's plan for its Goodman Campus in Bethlehem includes a 11,194-square-foot two-story addition to the Cundey Varsity House and the construction of another 96,712-square-foot single-story fieldhouse. The proposed size of the new field house would cover a little more than two football fields. 

Lehigh also plans a turf baseball outfield and a turf practice field, along with another grass practice field with lighting. 

The LVPC's draft review of the university's plan says trees should be maintained along Goodman Drive to shield neighbors from "the potential blight of light pollution from the proposed stadium/field lights." The new construction lies within the Saucon Creek watershed. 

The planning commission does not approve building projects. It reviews land uses "of regional significance" in Northampton and Lehigh counties and passes along recommendations. Land use is in most cases determined by municipalities based on their zoning ordinance, and in this case, the City of Bethlehem will make the final decision. 

The LVPC will also take another look at River Pointe Logistics Park (RPL), developer Lou Pektor's industrial project in Upper Mount Bethel Township. The commission will review a sketch plan of the massive project, off River Road near the Delaware River and Route 80. 

The commission's draft review indicates that 75% of the 804-acre development will be used for manufacturing, service businesses and warehousing, with the other 25% accommodating "high-cube fulfillment center warehousing." High-cube warehouses can exceed 100 feet in height. 

The LVPC review notes 12 industrial buildings planned for the site that will cover 5.87 million square feet.  

The RPL plan meets Upper Mount Bethel's zoning standards and is on land that qualifies for a tax break under Pennsylvania's Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, program. 

RPL "has the potential to provide numerous economic benefits to the township and Lehigh Valley, including jobs and tax revenues. However, the size and scale of the project significantly surpasses any existing development and infrastructure in the surrounding area," the LVPC's draft review says. 

Other notes in the review reflect upon how the project will affect scenery (the Delaware Water Gap and preserved areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are nearby), the environment and traffic. The commission asks Upper Mount Bethel to take a careful look each step of the way. 

"The township clearly desires this development, as indicated by municipal zoning of the property. However, a development of this scale and impact must be thoughtfully and deliberately planned," according to the LVPC draft review. 

"The responsibility of the Township transcends the municipal land development approvals process affecting two states, multiple counties, the entire Slate Belt, adjacent regions and the Lehigh Valley," it continued. 

The planning commission's Comprehensive Planning Committee will review the Lehigh proposal and RPL at a meeting at noon Tuesday. The full commission will review and vote on staff recommendations at a meeting Thursday. Both meetings will be streamed live online.

Scroll down for comments if available