Lehigh Valley

Clover Drive residents speak against proposed rezoning in Upper Saucon

UPPER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - About a dozen families from Upper Saucon Township's Clover Drive neighborhood attended Monday night's supervisors' meeting to voice their concerns about a proposal to rezone a 24.8 acre property.

The neighborhood is located off of East Valley Road and Route 309.

The rezoning request is part of a plan to build more than 80 dwellings near the former Denny's and Saucon Creek Inn restaurants' former locations. Neighborhood residents clapped loudly in support of a handful of speakers who voiced their concerns to the supervisors about a rezoning request from Landis Mill Holdings, represented by Donny Petridas. The proposal includes the construction of dozens of townhouses, twins, and single homes on the near 25-acre parcel with an official address of 5167 East Valley Road.

Supervisors Kim Stehlik, Philip Spaeth and Steve Wagner expressed their lack of support for rezoning the property from medium to high-density residential, although it already is zoned for commercial use. 

Township solicitor Jeff Dimmich said several times during the meeting its purpose was to entertain and discuss a rezoning request, not to dissect an introductory sketch plan.

The sketch plan showed 52 townhouses, 26 twin homes, eight single-family homes, and an open space parcel equal in size to the lot the single residences would occupy.

Residents talked about potential problems arising from more high-density residential development in Upper Saucon, including increased traffic and speeding, the impact on the local school district and wildlife, and lowered quality of life due to overdevelopment and overpopulation.

Representing Landis Mill Holdings, engineer Mark Bonnick of Van Cleef Engineering said one of the main obstacles facing the former Saucon Creek Inn was traffic's inability to make left-hand turns while either entering or exiting from Route 309. Therefore, residential development was included in the sketch plan as opposed to another highway commercial project.

Following the supervisors remarks, Petridas said he and his partners would reconfigure Monday's sketch plan to feature a possible combination of commercial and medium density residential development.

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