Tuesday, May 02, 2017
513,000 sq ft Warehouse Distribution Center Approved on Brodhead Rd
You can say what you want about developer Lew Ronca, and I often do. But his commitment to completely reconstruct about a third of Brodhead Road is going to save Bethlehem Township taxpayers $700,000. The Township will reconstruct the remaining two thirds of the 5,000' long road this Summer. Ronca, a businessman, made this commitment in connection with a 513,000 sq ft warehouse distribution center he plans to build along the south side of Brodhead Rd and north side of Route 22. It's a 37-acre tract that had been originally pitched as a Wal Mart Super Center. At their May 1 meeting, Commissioners unanimously approved a multi-tenant warehouse center after a presentation by prominent land use attorney Blake Marles.
This project includes 113 loading docks and parking for 222 cars and 141 trailers. It will be accessed exclusively by Brodhead Road. In its review, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission noted the proposal is in an area designated for urban development and is consistent with the county's comprehensive plan. It maintains a 150' buffer from Monocacy Creek, a high quality cold water trout stream that traverses the property. Because of its close proximity to Route 22, it is expected to have little negative impact on residential communities. But the truck traffic will access Route 22 at a high crash intersection.
Marles asked the township to waive a $135,000 recreation fee, but seemed top get nowhere on that one. He might persuade Commissioners to waive inspection fees for the road construction, since Ronca is doing work that the Township would otherwise be required to do.
Ronca upset a large number of Bethlehem residents when he stayed away from public meetings during the Martin Tower debate. But he was out in front of this project. Lew's son, a very pleasant young man, was with father last night and also when the plan was reviewed by the Planning Commission.
In other business, Commissioners unanimously authorized Manager Melissa Shafer to advertise for bid the stabilization and renovation project for the Archibald Johnston mansion. Estimates have placed the cost of that work at $700,000, but it would come from the Housenick Trust.