David Jaindl wants Lower Macungie Township to know he's listening. And that he's been listening to township residents for the past three years.
At Thursday's meeting of the township Board of Commissioners, Jaindl presented an alternative plan to the original one that would have developed 700 acres of farmland in the southwest corner of Lower Mac with a strip mall, warehouses and up to 900 homes.
Highlights of "Plan B" include:
- Reduction of commercial development to 71,000 square feet, down from 443,000 square feet.
- Reduction of the number of homes to be built. In the original plan, up to 900 homes are permitted. In the new plan up to 200 single-family dwellings are planned and up to 200 homes that would comprise a 55-and-over development. The latter would place no burden on the East Penn School District.
- Reduction of traffic, specifically truck traffic.
- Dedication of a 2-acre site for a fire station.
- A slight increase in the number of acres dedicated to Park Lands and Preserved Lands.
Another way Jaindl said he is trying to reduce truck traffic is by offering incentives to companies who would use the Conrail service there instead of trucks.
Commissioner Ryan Conrad reacted to the plan first.
"These plans have polarized this community. Nobody is happy. I'm sorry we were not able to convince you to do this in 2010," Conrad said.
Jaindl originally presented the plan last week -- days before a group of township residents filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court -- in the hopes of steering them away from filing.
Conrad was concerned at the Thursday meeting that Jaindl would withdraw Plan B because the appellants went ahead with the filing.
"Regardless [of the Supreme Court filing] this is a better plan," Conrad said, "We'd like you to continue to pursue this plan. We strongly urge you to follow through with Plan B regardless," he said.
Jaindl said he can proceed with both plans for a time, since the plans share some road modifications that will occur in either case.
But at the point when all the common work is done, Jaindl said, he's going to have to make a choice because only one plan can be recorded with the township.
Some zoning needs to be changed for Plan B, and if the appellants are still litigating, Jaindl said he will not propose the rezoning that needs to occur for Plan B.
Conrad said while he respects the appellants decision and ability to appeal, "I was hoping they wouldn't do that."
"I hope we can bring the community together. There's still ample time, and clearly the public input has had an impact.
"I wish the appellants would consider withdrawing the appeal," Conrad said.