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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

500,000 Sq Ft Distribution Center Planned on Brodhead Rd


Plan to develop the last remaining commercial site along Brodhead Road  were considered by the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission at their January 23 meeting. The land is owned by Brodhead Holdings,L.P., which wants to develop a 37-acre tract along the south side of Brodhead Road and north side of Route 22 into a 513,520 sq ft multi-tenant building. Prominent land use attorney Blake Marles presented the project, and Commissioners agreed to place it in administrative review. The goal is to have a plan ready for approval in March so that construction can begin in June.

 Brodhead Holdings also owns a  separate tract between the railroad and Route 191,but have no plans to develop that piece.

The chief concern is one of two access points into the development. One of them is located along a steep hill going along Brodhead Road, along the west side of the railroad tracks  Engineers pointed out that there is a clear sight triangle at both access points. In addition, Brodhead Holdings plans to build a left turn lane for tractor trailer traffic  But is that enough?

Dave Colver,who happens to chair the Palmer Tp Board of Supervisors and has dealt with numerous land use issues in his time. He owns the office building located right at the access point closest to Route 191, and that has him concerned. "Brodhead Road is a problem on a good day,"  he observed  He added that truck traffic already stacks at that location and is concerned that in the winter,  it will be a problem.

Resodent barry Roth noted that a truck in the left lane will be at a dead stop on a hill with an 8% grade, and will have difficulty tuning. He worries that traffic coming from the opposite direction will run into trucks as they turn.

Township engineer Anthony Tallarida agreed that "it's a very challenged road and that trucks need a lot of space to stop and start." Planners have suggested that one of the access points be relocated closer to Fritch Road.

Another concern was the railroad crossing on Brodhead Road, though both Marles and Solicitor Wendy Nicolosi said they were doubtful that Norfolk and Southern would do anything to improve safety.

Planning Director Nathan Jones had a suggestion that everyone seemed to like. He noted that Brodhead Road has the most transit riders of any location in Bethlehem Township. He suggested that part of the planning include a bus shelter to protect employees waiting for a bus in inclement weather.

One legal concern is whether the development must also comply with the requirements of an overlay zoning district at that site. Marles said No, and Nicolosi said Yes. Marles plans to research that matter to see if there is any case law on point.

One of the people with Brodhead Holdings is developer Lew Ronca. I walked over to say Hi and he told me he was busy texting Alicia Karner.

"Now I know where you want to put Martin Tower!" I told him.

Lew was accompanied by his son, who seemed to love it when I teased his Dad.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Walmart project from years ago now seems not that bad.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead Road at Nazareth Pike is a mess. It was not designed for the amount of heavy truck traffic that currently travels through there. Part of this development should require the realignment of Brodhead Road with the Rt. 22 interchange and improvements to the Rt. 22 interchange. Get rid of that unsightly old abandoned gas station and build a new bridge across the Monacacy Creek able to hold up to the truck traffic. Brodhead Holdings owns the gas station.

Anonymous said...

Well, looks like the Walmart Super Center and Ruby's Tuesday's that was proposed there a few years back is now dead, along with the 22 west bound ramp and new Brodhead Road relocation with the ramps. Shame it would have been better for the traffic in the area with the new roadway alignment. Then again, the politicians don't care about that. Its all about the $$$$ in their pockets.

Anonymous said...

Force the railroad company to improve safety issues, force ronca to do something about the gas station!

Bernie O'Hare said...

What would you havethe Tp do, kidnap them?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps sit down and communicate with them, discuss the bigger project and all its infrastructure? Do the right thing and everybody wins...

Anonymous said...

If Ronca does own that dilapidated gas station, now would be a good time to dig up the buried fuel tanks that will need to be removed at some point, why not now? Is that stretch of crumbled housing and long gone video store on 191 in a flood zone? Last I checked, PENNDOT nor LV Planning has any plans of addressing anything related to the 191 - Linden St interchange. Why not?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Tp has reached out to Norfolk Southern and has gotten nowhere. Blake Marles said last night that the Tp is nothing to this RR. A few years ago, a truck was cut in half by a train at that crossing. I think the RR is waiting for several people to die.

As for the gas station, if I owned the gas station and this tract, I'd wait to see what is happening to the larger tract before deciding what to do about the smaller piece. It's a closed gas station, and no one likes to see a closed business at an entrance into the Tp, but the property is maintained. There are no weeds or anything of that sort, and the Tp has no more right to compel Ronca to open a new gas station or remove tanks than it does to tell you. This is still America.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see the stretch of 191 from Brodhead to 22 improved in some fashion, especially if the development of the property will only increase truck traffic there. The turning lane from 191 onto 22 West is so uneven it nearly knocks the filling out of your teeth!

Anonymous said...

Where's Marcia Hahn? Lisa Boscola? Matt Cartwright? Anyone contact them?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, the Tp needs to take a much bigger view of this area than it currently does. It could do so as part of its comprehensive plan, but i don't have much faith in Commita. The truck traffic in that area isgoing to get worse,much worse, and officials need to plan how to handle the volume.

george schaller said...

Bernie,
Were is the milkman and is this a nue lappdogg proposing this venture? Than there is the all infamous question too, is this plan a reproduction of goggle maps with a arciteciual print rendering?
Thax for the developmentalZ advertiZmental storyline of the cesspool design!
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Anonymous said...

According to ncpub, the gas station is not owned by Ronca.

Anonymous said...

It's owned by a Ronca company/shell.

Anonymous said...

The ownership of that abandoned gas station is weird. It's still in the name of the "former" owner Arminder Singh in the tax records (rumor has it the guy skipped town after 9/11) but the tax bills are being sent to Ronca's office. Yet no transfer to Ronca or a Ronca-controlled entity appears in the tax records. Anything 179 Mikron Road or "Wind Drift Real Estate" = Ronca.

Anonymous said...

what no LLC flipp floppy to paint a taint what it ain't, the mechanical deterioration gender specifics? Just maybe the former entity is seeking a tax payers sex change! hahaha

Anonymous said...

They should contribute that section of land that runs along the Monocacy Creek to the County so it stays open for fishing and recreation. They have no use for it and they can get a Federal write off on their taxes. It would then make the Monocacy open for recreation from Broadhead Road all the way down to Township Line Road.

Anonymous said...

They should not allow any trucks to get off the Thruway #22 and go onto Broadhead Road. It is Cluster F**K. That small section of road from 22 to Broadhead is like a huge washboard. The truckers back up traffic coming off Broadhead to #22 and was not designed for that kind of traffic. They should take another look at this now and maybe something can be designed now to stop the further deterioration of this roadway.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ban truck traffic in an industrial park set up precisely for trucks? What might work is making part of the road one-way. But it might not.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they could come up with an "road impact fee" for any new building going up in that development that involves trucking that could be put in an account to be used for future maintenance of the road.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you from experience, railroads are the worst companies to deal with. Their attitude is basically "f*ck you, we're the railroad." Never seen anything else quite like it. The township will never get anything out of NS, but NS will gladly spruce up the crossing if the township pays the entire bill. My employer paid over $200k to have a similar dilapidated crossing on a private road fixed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I talked to a knowledgable person about this on Tuesday. Can't say who he is without his permission. He works with railroads all the time. He says they (Norfolk Southern) have a book and as long as you follow it, they are very cooperative. I am going to try to get this book or a link to it or BT. What you say is what I usually hear.

Anonymous said...

Probably the "Public Projects Manual" or something similarly named, I think I recall. Most likely on their website somewhere.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will find out. Maybe it won't help. Maybe it will.