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.