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Development Plans for Land Near Allen Organ Could Create Highest Density in Twp.

It's back. Except it's no longer being characterized as a smart growth mixed use project as it once was. (But never really was...) Now it's being billed as exactly what it really is.

It's back. Except it's no longer being characterized as a smart growth mixed use project as it once was. (But never really was...) Now it's being billed as exactly what it really is. A supermarket and a gas station paired with 200 apartments on 30 some acres. The project would be the highest density in the township. 

This property is located in the cornfield between Mack Trucks and Borough of Macungie aside of and behind the Allen Organ offices. Township Commissioner Ron Eichenberg happens to be the realtor on the project. 

What this is, is a high density residential project next to a high density commercial parcel. In fact one of the Planning Commissioners mentioned what I mentioned a couple months ago. What this is, is the Trexlertown Mall. Note those apartments have currently devolved into HUD housing. 

Though the project has stayed essentially the same the developer is no longer seeking the new mixed use ordinance it once was. Special accomodations would have to be made since there is currently no zoning that allows this kind of development. Basically the township needs to go out of it's way to allow this.

Many members of the planning commission were absent, so no official action was taken. Will keep an eye on this one.

Notes:

The developer mentioned improvements to intersection will alleviate traffic issues - My question: Currently, there are no traffic issues. Traffic flows great at the intersection of Willow Lane and Rt. 100. Traffic issues might be created by this project, but currently there are none. This project would have one entrance in and out dumping 100 percent of the traffic onto Rt. 100.

"Just because you buy the junkiest land in the township doesnt mean you should get special exceptions" - PCom member Maury Robert

"Little uncomfortable with the highest density in the township, should we really have developments exceeding 8 units per acre?" - Pcom member Tom Beil

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LoMac Res September 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Ron - Thanks for your insightful coverage. Wouldn't have known any of these important details otherwise. Our elected officials have to start paying more attention to quality of life in LoMac. I can't believe how many warehouse projects seem to magically start popping up with little evident public discussion and input. You are exactly right: Who will step in to stop the movement toward devolving high-density housing, and the making of LoMac into the "warehouse district" of the Valley?
LMTnative September 28, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The highest and best use of the land would be for the township to purchase the property and realign Gehman Road to meet up with Rt 100 at Willow Lane. That way these busy roads could meet up at a single signalized intersection. Gehman Road and Rt 100 is a mess most times of the day with traffic from the Hill at Lock Ridge, Mack Trucks employees, and Mack Trucks deliveries. For years the township has been talking about adding a light to Gehman & Rt. 100. The realignment would be a much better plan with better traffic flow.
Ron Beitler September 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
@Native thats a fantastic idea. The kind of thinking we need. This is why I support reinstating a farmland and open space preservation board. A board that once existed that this current BOC allowed to fade away. Recently you may have read the availability of hundreds of thousands of dollars for open space preservation completely caught the township flat-footed. (eventhough this money was voted on county wide nearly a decade ago) I think a good proposal on how to use the money was made but it's shocking there was no opportunity for the public to weigh in since there is clearly no focus on land preservation through easement purchase by this board and no plan in place that identifies farmland priorities. Sure we have the Greenway plan which is wonderful. But it mostly focuses on acquiring floodplain. A very worthy project, but not farmland preservation.
Walter Greenwood June 25, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Is this the same field that used to be planted in sunflowers back in the 80's? If this project happens, remind me not to come back for a visit. That would be too depressing.

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