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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

48-Unit Apartment Complex Clears Final Hurdle in Bethlehem Tp

Att'y Jim Holzinger makes case for 48-unit apartment complex
At their April 15 meeting, Bethlehem Township Commissioners unanimously gave a "conditional use approval" to a 48-unit apartment complex proposed by developer Robert Cahill on 2.68 acres located at at the southwest corner of Falmer Drive and Meyer Lane. This was Cahill's final hurdle before he could start construction. His plan was previously approved by both Commissioners and the Planning Commission.

Cahill had originally proposed and received approvals for office condominiums at the site, but changing market conditions forced him to revise his plans. The complex will consist of 48 1-BR and 2-BR apartments located in two three story buildings. Cahill, represented by Attorney Jim Holzinger, predicted that residential apartments "will work very well." He noted that the proposed complex abuts both a Township park as well as Farmersville Elementary School. The average size of each apartment will be 1,000 sq ft. Cahill indicated there would be less traffic from residential apartments than office condominiums.

Commissioners, especially Phil Barnard, questioned Cahill about the complex' proximity to a Penske Truck Rental facility and its noise, but the developer responded that most of their operations are done by 5 PM.

Resident Barry Roth objected to a conditional use, predicting congestion and tenants who would be angered by the noise from the truck rental facility. "Thus just doesn't make sense," he said.

But according to Solicitor Jim Broughal, it does. He advised Commissioners hat this is a conditional use and muust be approved unless there is some evidence that this apartment complex would be "out of the ordinary."

Commissioners also unanimously granted another conditional use approval for a People First Federal Credit Union on the south side of Easton Avenue, between Washington Street and Reeve Drive West.

Borton-Lawson engineer Michael Wilk told Commissioners that People First would be rebuilding a bank branch at the site, which once housed a Bank of America branch. The new building, consisting of 4,500 sq ft, will follow the footprint of the current structure.

After granting those conditional use approvals, Commissioners heard a presentation from independent auditor Todd J. Bushta, CPA, who just completed his review of the Township's 2012 finances. Giving the Township a clean bill of health, he complimented the "sound financial stewardship by the Township."

"Good job, Andy!" President Paul Weiss said to the Township's Financial Director, Andrew Freda.

After getting the blessing of their independent auditor, Commissioners spent some money on Housenick Park. They authorized up to $23,800 for engineering studies, which consists of a survey as well as a detailed topographical map.

Commissioner Tom Nolan suggested that it might be wise to run this by Housenick trustees first, since they reimburse the township for out-of-pocket expenses. But President Paul Weiss said the work needs to be done now. "Even if they decide not to fund this, this is something we need to do," he said. Engineer Brian Dillman agreed with Weiss. "We're pressed by the season," he warned Commissioners. "We need to get it done before the trees leaf out."

As a final item of business, Commissioner Marty Zawarski drew attention to the monthly public works report, which refers to trash strewn along Christian Spring, Township Line and Country Club Roads. "This is something that is ongoing an it could be alleviated if we had single hauler trash," he said.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't 48 units seem a little much for 2.68 acres of land, especially if there is going to be some units with 1 bedrooms? Where will all of those cars park?

Anonymous said...

Marty thinks that a single trash hauler will eliminate litter?

Please explain how a single trash hauler will stop people from littering? Goof Ball!

Anonymous said...

I don't care what the developer thinks he's going to do with those apartments but the people with choices (and money) won't be living near a trucking facility in an industrial park.

That's low income apartments in five years after it's built.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Doesn't 48 units seem a little much for 2.68 acres of land, especially if there is going to be some units with 1 bedrooms? Where will all of those cars park?"

I agree. But it is a permitted use, so that question is more or less irrelevant. There are 2.55 parking spots per unit, which is higher than required and above the industry norm.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"That's low income apartments in five years after it's built."

That's when I'll move in.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:58, Some people have no garbage service and they illegally dump. With a single trash hauler, that won't happen.

Lighthouse said...

Yes, being next to a park is nice, but it is also in a small General Industrial district, isn't it? Self-storage units and trucking as neighbors. I see 8:48's point that this will likely (and quickly) become a low budget apt complex. Add to that, isn't Cahill the one who built the Value Place hotel (practically a low-budget boarding house) in the industrial park off of Brodhead Road? ... again, I think 8:48's prediction will come true. Additionally, low budget typically attracts a transient population. Transient populations generally become problematic. If I had young children I might be a little concerned with it being next to Farmersville Elem and youth programs using the Township athletic fields.

Long story short, it may be a conditional use, and thus the property owner has the right to build it, and future tenants have the right to live in an industrial park. But I predict law enforcement issues for the Twp down the road similar to Value Place and the old Santee Manor Apts.

Anonymous said...

The apartment project is closer to the park and the elementary school than the Penske rental facility. There is a daycare right down the road. Get over it people. This project will provide wanted, affordable housing that is close to schools, parks, and transportation. Kudos to the developer for actually providing something that will benefit others.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lighthouse, I believe there is a residential overlay of some kind.

Anonymous said...

This is a bad idea. Just like milk on a hot summer day.

The catch is that once the apartments are built they will be calling the Township to complain about the noise and view from the businesses that have been there for a long time and located there because-it's zoned for industrial uses.

Say if Penske ever wants to expand, guess who's coming out to oppose that expansion?

That's why "overlay" or not you don't put homes in industrial parks with all sorts of industrial uses. They don't mix and never have. The quality of life is awful for residents and industry now has to consider residents they shouldn't have to.

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Peter J.Cochran said...

If the market is NOT restricted 55 yrs or older you guy's are in for it!That means kids, cars, school district impact, security issues out of state people issues and traffic, traffic lights.Don't let the developers have another Pembroke Village after they cash out.Section 8 can't wait for this to get going otherwise

Peter J.Cochran said...

Also I DISAGREE with 12;36 Most developers don't do anything "to benefit others" AND I'm from the government , I'm here to help you!No ownership means junk in the yards, trash and leaky cars and car parts on the front porch.Social problems are created as result.Get Grandma to rent and all the relatives from Newark move in too. What are they going to do about it FIRST? Look at the HISTORY of your market place first,establish rules like no deep fryers,sheds junk cars,whatever.