Lower Mac Planners Hear Proposal for Allen Organ Property
Construction could include an apartment complex, stores and a restaurant.
Remington Property Corporation of Ambler, Montgomery County, recently presented a proposal to the Lower Macungie Planning Commission involving development of the Allen Organ property that runs along Route 100.
Remington President Jay Beste plans to put a major grocery store, restaurant, bank and a 3- and 4-story apartment complex on 36 acres of property next to and behind Allen Organ between Route 100 and Gehman Road.
An additional nine acres of land on the property is unbuildable, but will be incorporated into recreational use.
The apartment complex, which will be built about 35 feet from Route 100, includes 180 one- and two-bedroom units, a clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool, and an esplanade down the middle. Current plans also include 507 parking spaces in the complex.
According to Beste, rental rates for the upscale apartments will be up to $1,200 per month.
“It’s going to be a lovely community,” said Beste.
Planner Maury Robert suggested bike paths be added to the plan, possibly in the recreational area.
Tom Beil, planning commissioner, was not in favor of the project.
“I think your plans lack imagination,” he said, “I’d rather see more single homes and twins. I think the density is pretty intense.”
Commissioner, Kevin Drake, agreed with Beil and was also concerned that the fitness center and pool may be too small for the population of the apartment complex.
“Often times facilities are too small — it has to be able to handle enough people. Four treadmills and a couple of weight machines just won’t do. I have seen this many times — people waiting to use equipment,” he said.
Planner Neill Dekker was concerned about the complex’s proximity to the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks.
“Those units are basically next to the tracks. I live about a half mile from the tracks and it gets pretty noisy and loud, especially at 2 a.m.,” he said. “About 20 trains go through there every day. People living in those apartments aren’t going to like that.”
Robert's problem with the plan was parking.
“I want to see three parking spaces per unit, not 2.7 spaces per unit. I do not want to see any variances for parking,” he stated.
Beste said there would be no problem.
“Not everyone needs three spaces,” Beste said, “People in a one-bedroom need less than those in a two-bedroom.”
Several planning commissioners said the number of bedrooms doesn’t matter. Two people, each with a car, could be in a one-bedroom unit. Each unit needs a visitor space, which is why the ordinance requires three spaces, they said.
Jim Lancsek, Lower Macungie Township zoning officer, told Beste he must also show on his plan that there is enough parking available for each use, including the grocery store and restaurant.
Beste agreed to address the issues and present a revised plan.