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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, November 21, 2016

PPL Proposes Laydown Yard on Farmersville Road

PPL wants to convert existing farmland on Farmersville Road, located between Lehigh River and Freemansburg Avenue, into what is called a laydown yard. That's where the electric utility would store utility poles, transformers, wires and vehicles from which it could respond promptly when emergency repairs are needed as a result of an accident or major storm. There are no laydown yards in the Bethlehem Township area.

Because utilities are exempt from zoning laws, this matter will go through the Public Utility Commission. Otherwise, the Zoning Hearing Board would have to decide whether to grant a variance to allow a laydown yard use in an area zoned for agriculture.

In his report to Commissioners, Jones notes that this will enhance the reliability of electrical service in the area. But he adds that this comes at the cost of increased truck traffic, will increase the amount of impervious surface and will create an intense use right along the picturesque Lehigh River bike path. This is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the Lehigh Valley.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, that area is in a flood zone and the narrowest of roads for even 2 compact cars to drive on.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Twp.?
Sure, why not?
Perfect.

Anonymous said...

How soon until the noodnicks come out and preach, 'not in my backyard'!'

JoAnn Kennedy said...

Why I think staging, with equipment for a future event, is a wise idea. Instead of that Just in Time inventory system employed at present. Why is it they can not store at PP& L locations already established? I am sure that there are areas in the Lehigh Valley that PPL owns or could lease from Talon that would serve the same purpose. Maybe Riverstone Holdings has some spare space for storage too

Anonymous said...

9:17, more impervious surfaces near the river means more runoff into the river, which means more pollution downstream. You can keep dismissing any and all environmental concerns as NIMBYism, but in the long run, that only makes the Lehigh Valley a less attractive place to live.

Anonymous said...

@11:37
9:17 made his point and here you are. Surely you have more important things to worry about? The river and all the fishies and turtles will be just fine.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

PPL already has long owned the tract in question. It is also not in a flood zone. I believe your first commenter is thinking of Hope Road. Also this PPL tract is high up the banks, and is not really visible from the canal path.

I believe this is the tract that ten years ago (2006) Lou Pektor (Ashely Development) was proposing a 894 housing unit development on. A year later he had it down to 750. Take Pektor out of the equation, and the site still had enormous costs associated with off-site traffic improvements at Farmersville and Freemansburg Ave intersection. Also, if memory serves a lot of money would have to be paid to the COB toward sewage treatment plant expansion.

Keeping things in perspective, would you rather have 894 homes bringing nearly 1800 vehicles on local roadways, untold number of kids into the public school system, and increased sewage upgrade costs, or this laydown yard? If run-off is managed, it is off the beaten path, nor will it add to the demands of taxpayers. PPL has long owned the tract and as Bernie noted, they only need PUC approval, which they will no doubt get.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

"This is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the Lehigh Valley."

Agreed. It is very peaceful and semi-secluded. Which is why many probably cannot picture where the tract in question is.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Will this particular plot of land become like that sold to the citiZens of Allentown pa with the found excess monies from the water consessionair sale? I am putting to print about the parcel to the left of Martin luther king drive formally Larance street and before that Water street once a dead end now opening up to 24th street.
The both will and are become a toxic waste dump sites that at some point become drinking water one sooner than the other!






Anonymous said...

Isn't the township manager's spouse a lawyer at ppl?

Bernie O'Hare said...

he is an attorney, but I believe he works for a law firm, not PPL. I will check.

Anonymous said...

Outsiders doing what ever the hell they please, wherever they choose and especially with an easily swayed local government entity.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:51, You are correct. Shafer's husband is the real estate and permitting attorney at PPL. She and he have both recused themselves from this matter. Nate Jones and Doug Bruce are handling the administrative side of things, including updating the Board. I do not think a separate story is warranted bc they are doing what they are supposed to do.