Vertek Construction Management is moving forward in the planning process for its proposed 450,000-square-foot warehouse in East Allen Township, despite the unknown fate of a zoning variance that is currently being appealed in Northampton County Court.
At the Oct. 26 East Allen Board of Supervisors meeting, Township Engineer Jim Milot announced that Vertek will appear before the township’s planning commission in November after submitting a final plan to the township.
Supervisor Robert Mills questioned how the board of supervisors’ appeal affected Vertek’s ability to move forward, since the township appealed the warehouse’s height variance that was granted by the township’s zoning hearing board in August.
“They’re proceeding at their own risk,” Milot said.
Township Solicitor Joseph Piperato III elaborated on the situation, noting that Vertek is allowed to continue moving forward with their plans, but that they must abide by whatever the county court’s final decision is.
“They can proceed at their own risk. They have received approval by the zoning hearing board which means that that is the status of the matter until we are successful on appeal,” Piperato said. “So until then, they can move the process forward, move the plan forward. If for some reason the court were to overturn it—the zoning hearing board’s decision—then they would have to live with that.”
East Allen Township’s ordinance allows a maximum building height of 35 feet for warehouses, but Vertek was granted a variance to allow a building height of 46 feet in August.
Larry Chapman, who testified on behalf of Vertek and CRG Real Estate Solutions in August’s zoning hearing board meeting, said that a 46-foot building height was necessary for obtaining a 36-foot clear height inside the building itself. Chapman said 36 feet of clear height, or the height from the floor to the underside of rafters and beams, is essential in today’s market for distribution centers.
The next East Allen Board of Supervisors meeting is on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.