Whitehall facing new round of federal stormwater rules

 

The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners rejected a conditional use request for a proposed special care, active adult community during Monday night's meeting. The vote was 5-0.

United Liberty LLC had proposed the plan. They planned to build a 32-unit development on 6.4 acres at 1995 Schadt Ave. The development would have featured a mixture of one- and two-bedroom condominium units, 26-by-60 feet, with a two-car garage. A total of 25% of the property would have been kept for open space, according to comments made by project engineer Harold "Bud" Newton of Newton Engineering Group.

The proposal received a tepid response after Newton's presentation. It started with Commissioner Thomas Slonaker's view the project did not have adequate parking. Specifically, Slonaker questioned why there were only 11 parking spots on the design around a proposed community center. To make matters less appealing for Slonaker, two of the 11 spots were for handicapped individuals.

"That doesn't work in my head," Slonaker said.

The commissioner wasn't done. He presented various scenarios indicating how inadequate the parking could be. For example, Slonaker noted how residents may have families, who themselves have families and would pay a visit to the proposed facility to celebrate the birthday of a family member.

"I realize that people don't have birthday parties every day, but it does happen," Slonaker said.

"We could look at adding additional spaces," Newton said.

Commissioners were only starting their critiques. Vice President Philip Ginder said plainly he was not a fan of homeowner associations.

"What if that HOA fails?" he asked Newton. "We know how these HOAs can fail."

He went on to add that if the HOA would fail, as they have in other instances in Whitehall Township, it would be the taxpayers left holding the proverbial bag.

"This is no different than gambling," Ginder told Newton.

Commissioners also lamented the plans' public access road, lack of sidewalks at the outside intersection and stormwater management.

Ginder also noted how United Liberty did not have a deal in place with the Whitehall Coplay Sewer Authority.

President Dennis Hower and Commissioner Joseph Marx were absent from Monday night's meeting.