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Lehigh Township wants more details on Mary Immaculate Center: ‘It’s not a clean plan even for preliminary purposes’

Loose ends must be tied down in order for the initial phase of the repurposing of the former Mary Immaculate Center in Cherryville to move forward.The Lehigh Township Planning Commission on Monday balked at developer David Jaindl’s request for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for conditional plan approval of the initial leg of the Lehigh Valley Resort and Spa, citing comments in an engineering review letter from the township.“It’s not a clean plan even for preliminary purposes,” Chairman David Shulman told him.Jaindl’s team hoped for a recommendation of a waiver from submitting the land development plan as preliminary final along with a recommendation for conditional approval, but the board backed Shulman in not granting it.“We have a difference of opinion,” Jaindl said afterward.Jaindl and his representatives will go before the supervisors June 25 seeking conditional approvals for the planned event barn and pad to be allowed as uses, said Joseph Zator, Jaindl’s legal counsel.They hope to have outstanding plan details worked out in time for their next meeting before the planners July 8.Bruce Anderson, Jaindl’s engineering consultant, displayed plans depicting fire lanes and hydrant locations, along with an outline of 667 parking spaces, including 206 for the hotel — one per rental unit — along with 250 for the restaurant/wedding venue and 155 for employees.Shulman said he wanted to see calculations on traffic impact and recreation fees that the project would generate.He also wanted some assurance that a planned swale to be installed 10 feet beyond the shoulder of Cherryville Road — to be widened from two to three lanes — would be sufficient to keep water off the road, particularly in wintertime when it could freeze.“The roadside improvements greatly exceed what’s there now,” township engineer Phil Malitsch said.The board also wanted to know how details related to water and sewer service for the planned hotel, spa, restaurant and event amenities that make up the first development phase would be worked out.Cindy Miller, who is also a township supervisor, said it was too early to recommend conditional plan approval.“How can we do that if we don’t know about water and sewer yet?” she asked.Chip Hazard, a board member of the township’s Municipal Authority, said they haven’t yet had the opportunity to conduct a thorough review of the resort’s impact, and how maintenance and inspections along the extended line will be done.Possibly combining Jaindl’s pumping station with the one the authority operates in Pennsville is another detail to be discussed, he said, along with the amount of water they would have to buy from Bethlehem.“What we see is a growing maintenance issue for us,” he said. “There are a lot of things we need to look through carefully.”Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.
Source: Morningcall

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