Allen Supervisors Discuss Route 329 Improvements And Future Of Sewer Service

At its meeting on Tuesday, June 27, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors was presented plans for infiltration and retention berms in Howertown Park.

The retention berms are a mandatory part of the upcoming Route 329 improvement project. These storm water controls must be done upfront, prior to construction, so that developers know where they can infiltrate. The process takes time to approve, but all other permits depend upon the placement of these berms. Without them, construction cannot start. The timing sequence of this improvement project will correlate with next summer, when school buses are no longer on the road.

According to the plans, several four-feet-deep retention berms will dot the park. However, a larger one at the park’s northern end concerned some members of the board.

Supervisor Gary Behler asked whether its size or location could be adjusted slightly to preserve green space.

“Anything we can do to minimize that and save our park space, we should do,” he said.

With several other supervisors in agreement, the board chose to table the plans until it can get more details from the developer.

However, the board understands that the upgrade to Route 329’s intersection cannot move forward without these berms. Delaying the process or attempting to move retention berms may cause issues for the township in the future.

“I think we have already tried to do that and were unsuccessful,” said Chairman Larry Oberly. “I just think we are stepping on our own foot…In the end, it is what you have got to do.”

The board also discussed the future of its sewer services. Its agreement with Northampton Borough has expired, but negotiations between the borough and the township seem unlikely.

A letter from the borough to the township said that a sewer service connection fee of $5,070 per property is the price that the borough expects the township to accept upfront.

Township Manager Ilene Eckhart said that the borough’s response was “basically the same answer [we have been getting] for two and a half years.”

“That is not negotiating,” said Oberly.

The current calculation is based on capacity and maintenance for the borough’s entire system, explained Oberly. However, he and other supervisors thought it unfair that the township be required to pay for the maintenance of the whole sewer system, when they only use part of it.

Oberly suggested that it may be time to look at other options for the future of the township’s sewer service, including connecting with another municipality’s system, or creating its own.

“Northampton is not a monopoly,” he said.

Finally, the board approved resolutions to submit applications for traffic signals at three intersections on Willowbrook Road near the future FedEx site. Traffic lights will be installed at the West Bullshead Road intersection, at the Radar Drive intersection, and at the future FedEx employee driveway. These lights will be the township’s responsibility, according to PennDOT.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on July 13 at 7 p.m.

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