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Lower Mac BOC Approves Jaindl Subdivision

The unanimous decision to divide the property is only the beginning of the development process.

In a move they called "cleaning up another board's mess," the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the Spring Creek Properties Subdivision, more often called the Jaindl Subdivision.

More than 100 people packed the meeting room of the Lower Macungie Township Building -- most to say they did not want the BOC to approve the plan.

Though several taxpayers asked the commissioners to reconsider because of repercussions that several taxpayers said would put a undue burden on the East Penn School District, the May 3 voted pertained only to the division of the commercial, industrial and greenspace parcels.

The vote had no bearing any part of the residential plans for the property.

It created light industrial and commercial lots that will be sold to third parties to develop. It also set up the part of the plot that will remain greenspace. When land development plans are discussed -- most likely years from now -- that will be the time the kinds of buildings will be discussed and decided. 

decisions on what kinds of buildings will go

Taxpayers also voiced complaints about the certain increase in traffic along Route 100 and the widening of the road, the possible addition of traffic lights that may be necessary to allow residents of Ancient Oaks and Ancient Oaks West to access Route 100 and possible encroachment of property that may be needed to widen the road.

Engineer Scott Pidcock responded by explaining that if, for example, 25 feet was needed to widen Route 100, it would not mean taking equal amounts of land from either side of the road, which would mean taking parts of some residents' front yards. 

Rather, Pidcock said, the land would be taken from the side of the road on which there are no homes.

When the property is developed, there will certainly be more traffic. But that day is far in the future -- possibly 10 years -- said Township Engineer William Erdman.

"We're trying to provide for conditions that will be needed 10 years down the road," he said.

One of the most misunderstood parts of the plan, he added, is that the waiver of traffic impact fees does not mean that taxpayers will end up footing the bill for the road reconfigurations repeated referred to as "improvements."

That Jaindl does not have to pay the fees usually charged to developers only means that Jaindl will be paying for the entire cost of the work.

"The township pays nothing," Erdman said.

Still, residents tried to convince the commissioners to vote down the subdivision plans.

"We feel like we've been dumped on," said Mike Siegel, an Ancient Oaks resident.

The Friends of Lower Macungie Township, a grassroots group that has challenged the Jaindl development at every turn was not happy with the vote.

"We are very disappointed in our elected officials tonight," said Ron Beitler, a Friends organizer.

"It was very clear that this board had already made it's mind up prior to the meeting. It's our opinion the board was going to approve the subdivision plans no matter what tonight.

"It's important to note however, even though we are disappointed in the decision made by the BOC it was fantastic to see the community show up in numbers to speak out against this game-changing subdivision plan," Beitler said.

Mark Spengler May 04, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Cleaning up the mess from the previous board would consists of a 1 page note: Dear Mr. Jaindl go ahead and try your quarry. You will never be able to accomplish a quarry of the proposed size and we will fight every step of the way. No instead the present board went with secret meetings to allow Jaindl's team to write a plan to do whatever he wants. The winners: Jaindl and Realators. The losers: The taxpayers and citizens of Lower Mac.
Scott Alderfer May 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM
The quarry proposal was a bluff. There is no way that PADEP would have granted a permit for a quarry 100 feet from a stream designated as a High Quality Cold Water Fishery when typical dewatering of that quarry would certainly have dewatered the stream. Also, Buckeye has a pipeline that runs right through where they proposed one of the quarries. They would have needed hundreds of feet of setback from the pipeline for blasting at the quarry. If built, the quarry could only have been about half of the size originally proposed, and we would still have preserved agricultural space in western Lower Macungie.
Robert Sentner May 04, 2012 at 12:46 PM
just remember the vote, come election time. real easy........ disgusted with the whole process !!!
MS May 04, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I will remember the vote, I will remember every name of every disgusting commissioner who voted for this and I will not stop my support of the group that has worked tirelessly to support the community and alert the township residents of the harm this development will do. These commissioners should be ashamed to show their faces in our community for the horror they are bringing on our township.
Robert Sharpe May 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Commissioner Ron Eichenberg's Facebook profile when he ran for office in 2009 (in its entirety): "Ensuring quality of life through transparency in government." He voted to approve Jandl's plan with no public hearing. Commissioner Doug Brown told the Morning Call when he ran for election last fall: "We are probably one of the most transparent boards in" Lehigh County. He voted to approve Jandl's plan with no public hearing. Commissioner Ryan Conrad echoed Brown's words when Conrad last summer pushed through the township's "Campaign Finance Transparency Policy." He voted to approve Jandl's plan with no public hearing. Commissioner Jim Lancsek, running for election last fall, sought and received endorsements from two citizens' groups that demanded promises of greater transparency from candidates. He voted to approve Jandl's plan with no public hearing. The Mission Statement of the LMT Board of Commissioners, in relevant part (from the township website): "to embrace a respectful, transparent, participatory government process." The Board voted unanimously to approve Jandl's plan with no public hearing. Township Manager Bruce Fosselman on the LMT website promises citizens "full governmental transparency." Mr. Fosselman scheduled last night's meeting in a room too small to accommodate the expected audience and allowed citizens to stand outside in the hallway. Mr. Eichenberg notion of transparency: He told citizens to seek answers from Jaindl's "esteemed attorney," not the BOC.
Ron Beitler May 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
There are two takeaways from last night. 1. The importance of the court case. This is clearly our only recourse. Will you contribute 25.00 today? Our goal is to raise 1000 dollars TODAY. We've already raised nearly 500 today. Every dollar counts. The paypal link to donate is pinned on the top of our Facebook account: www.facebook.com/friendslmt - you can access it even if you are not a member of FB Should we win, last night doesn't matter. At least in terms of the subdivision. In terms of the way the public was treated by our elected officials it will always matter. Over 100 people saw it in the flesh last night. Arrogance, condescending, deference to developers. Which brings me to point 2 Remember last night.... 2013 can't come soon enough. Sign the petition. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rememberthis/
Scott Bieber May 04, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The only critical aspect of the subdivison approval is the roadway improvements plan that comes with it. Contrary to what engineer Bill Erdman told the people, this plan requires Jaindl and future developers to pay for many of the road improvements BUT NOT ALL OF THEM. Read the traffic note on page A12 of the plan which is on the twsp web site and decide for yourself what it means. The construction of the Sauerkraut Lane Extension and its intersection with Route 100 is specifically to be done "by others" Others is never defined, but the written notes refer to others as the school district, the ABM corp and the township. Also, the back of the approval resolution includes a special section entitled "Items to Be Addressed" and consists of many traffiic concerns resulting from the project that may need to be resolved in the future but are not addressed by the subdivision plan. All of these items may require some township tax money to upgrade them. One of them includes traffic backing up over the RR tracks at Alburtis. However, the people had no chance at last night's meeting to get answers to these important questions about how these "items" are to be addressed and who is going to pay for them, including the multi-laned Sauerkraut Lane Extension and Intersection.
Scott Bieber May 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I hope the residents at last night's meeting finally got a good taste of the arrogant, demeaning, disrespecful and irresponsible behavior of the commissioners who serve them. And they have the nerve to describe themselves as transparent and/or democratic.
Rob Hamill May 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM
If the planned 1000 residences go in at the two rezoned areas, we will probably be needing a new high school(as we are now near capacity). The costs for this new school will be $120 million plus; we have debt of $150 million now with a mandatory debt upper level of $219 million. This means that if the school is somehow built, taxes will go up 10% just on this(The pension bomb is also hitting now too). If the school can't be built, overcrowding galore at the high school. Do the LMT commissioners care? Hell no, they have an agenda, and an army of bureaucratic zombies mindlessly pushing this through, because with all government bureaucracies, the mission is to expand the bureaucracy no matter what damage is done to anyone else. Thanks guys for nothing. The beleagered Little Lehigh Creek is not even considered here, these commissioners are not even pressing Lehigh County Authority for the well studies after the humoungus 4 million/gals/day wells were put in. They don't care enough to put LCA's feet to the fire to prtotect our groundwater and Little Lehigh Creek critical summer low water levels. uggghhh Who knows what damage will be done to the creek from the many acres of asphalt instead of previously protected beautiful farmland. Thanks Friends of LMT, and anyone that can, needs to financially support them.
Douglas Scheirer May 05, 2012 at 04:58 AM
I don't live in LMT anymore, but it remains an important part of my life. Can I sign your petition anyway?
Mark Spengler May 05, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Please do Doug. This is more than just a Lower Mac. issue. It is a regional issue. Some folks who come to meetings from outside the Twsp. to voice conerns get crtiticism but that is mostly nonsense.
Howard R.Bachman,Jr. May 05, 2012 at 02:09 PM
WELL--IT'S LIKE THEY SAY---MONEY TALKS AND BULL DOO DOO WALKS- HE WHO WAS THE MOST MONEY GETS WHAT HE WANTS NO MATTER WHAT !!!
Jeff Lotte May 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I also firmly believe that all this concrete and blacktop beginning to cover every square foot of our lands is what is impacting nature much more than cow farts and automobiles. Mother nature cannot digest and recycle our pollutants, natural and man made through blacktop and concrete. Our soil and plantlife is the heart of this planet and heart disease is setting in faster and faster. That being said, these developers get away without even scratching the surface of their McMansion communities impact on the townships resources which are spent over the "useful life" of the buildings they construct.. When you have hundreds of cars traveling roads that were not designed for heavy traffic, the maintenance for these roads is no longer sustainable, these roads need to be replaced with roads that were designed for heavy traffic, no just adding lanes and lights. For every home that has more than one bedroom there is a great impact on our school districts, the tax revenue brought by the new home owners will NEVER catch up to the impact the developer created. The "fees" charged to these developers is a joke when you look at the whole picture.
Carl W May 06, 2012 at 02:22 AM
God forbid, we plant SEEDS, rather then more buildings, & traffic congestion!?!
Carl W May 06, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Allentonian - sad to see 50 years of trashing our once-beautiful rolling fields of corn & countryside. Can I sign, too?
Linda Leayman May 06, 2012 at 11:05 AM
I have been following this since the beginning, and I am extremely dissapointed that we have commissioners that only care about money and more money. No one on the board has any consideration of the townships needs for the quality of life that its residents have. Its also extremely curious as to how the land has been subdivided, why such irregular shapes, and we are told that there are no plans for these plots of land, really??????, I also have noticed how the words have been changed as to what is planned, first a strip mall now a shopping center,and there have been many changes like this that are not publicized. There was suppose to be only so many truck trips for the construction, I believe 4000, for everything, and this count was to be passed on to whom ever built up the land, is this now changed too. To have all the money in the world and do no good with it is such a shame. All I pray is that the Lord will have mercy on him, when his judgement day comes. To have all that family has and to not to do good with it, to only distroy what we have.

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