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Lower Macungie planners back fuel trucks at planned Green Acres outdoor furnishing store near water supply

Lower Macungie Township’s Planning Commission granted approval Tuesday of a local business’s special exception request to house six fuel trucks on a site near a major water supply. Carl Swartzentruber of Elk Investments LLC won planners’ backing 6-0 for his plan to open a Green Acres outdoor furnishing store, at 219 Schantz Road, where he would also keep trucks from his Green Acres Fuel business.The board required Swartzentruber to ensure the trucks’ materials will not contaminate the Schantz Spring drinking water during the company’s initial review June 4.Assistant Planning Director Nathan D. Jones commended improvements in the plan, including using impervious materials in the display front and developing a system to process stormwater with an infiltration basin, which the board recommended be naturalized. According to Swartzentruber, drivers leave the trucks partially full or empty. “In 15 years, we never had a spill,” he said.While using the structure for more than one purpose goes against township zoning ordinances, allowing the trucks to park there is a way to avoid having to lay off Green Acres employees during the off-season, according to Swartzentruber.“It’s really impossible to separate the two,” he said. “We have two operations in one package.”Green Acres has outdoor furnishing stores in Lower Nazareth and Whitehall townships. Swartzentruber plans on moving all the fuel trucks from the Whitehall store and using the Lower Macungie location as the main fueling station for its heating services. The plan is scheduled to go before the Zoning Hearing Board on June 25. The board also recommended conditional approval of Depot Properties’ final land development plan for a truck staging and parking facility at the intersection of Alburtis and Orchard Road in a 6-0 vote.The company proposed to build a bridge over Swabia Creek into a 28,000-square-foot staging area that would hold 624 truck spaces, 31 couple parking spaces, and parking for more than 100 employees.Director of Planning and Community Development Sara Pandl applauded Depot Properties for its efforts during the planning process.“They really addressed our concerns,” she said.The plan calls for a 10-foot buffer to be built along the edge of neighboring properties, with trees screening the residential view of the property. The board recommended approval of the plan with the condition that Depot Properties get a waiver to reduce the future right of way on Orchard Road, which has an 80-foot right of way. Hannah McMullan is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.
Source: Morningcall

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