After re-submitting a plan to build six warehouses in Allen Township, developer David Jaindl came back before the Allen Township Planning Commission on Dec. 18 as the commission reviewed the plan for the Northampton Business Center, a multi-warehouse complex that would be located between Howertown and Seemsville roads in Allen Township.
The project’s projected increase in township traffic loomed large over the public meeting, as both planners and residents alike used the meeting as an opportunity to voice suggestions and concerns to representatives of the joint venture between the Jaindl Land Company and Watson Land Company.
Planning Commission Chairman Eugene Clater said traffic is the primary concern of the entire plan from his perspective, believing that nearby roads will not be suited for the amount of tractor trailer traffic that the plan will usher in, even after the off-site road improvements on the current plan are made.
“What bothers me is the amount of traffic that this development will generate,” Clater said.
Clater said that the developers need to do more to address the potential truck traffic that could result from the project, or find another use for the property that will reduce the amount of tractor trailers traveling in and out of the township.
“Somehow we have to look at this thing and come up with something creative or find another use for that property that generates less potential traffic,” he said.
AnnMarie Vigilante, the traffic engineer representing the Jaindl-Watson Land Company, said all parties—the township, developers, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation— will have work together to find a solution that works best for the development.
“The idea is… to have a conversation with you, as well as PennDot, to find the right way to make this work,” Vigilante said. “I don’t want you to think that we gave you this saying this is our be-all end-all. We’re here to discuss those things and there’s going to be multiple discussions between, not just with you guys, but as well as PennDot.”
Clater remained adamant that the plans he had received so far did not contain enough information pertaining to off-site improvements.
“I’m still a little bit disappointed about the almost total lack of off-site improvements beyond what you just need minimally to get to the point where you’ve got wider shoulders and some other things that are being done,” he said. “I don’t see where you’re doing anything other than what you have to do for the Howertown Road entrance and what will ultimately be decided for the Seemsville Road piece. There’s just nothing else on the table, and I see other developers putting in millions to try to help us with the general infrastructure and I just don’t see a comparable contribution.”
Clater wasn’t the only person with a skeptical view of the traffic projected to come along with the development. Allen Township resident Joe Mangan said that distribution as the sole function of all six buildings would create a “traffic nightmare” as it would be too much to bear for both township residents and infrastructure.
Resident Bob Bysher agreed, believing that an alternate use other than warehouses would be more suitable for the land.
“There’s enough brain power here that you guys could think of something else to do with that land other than warehouses,” he said. “So just give that some thought.”
Eric Miller, an East Allen Township resident, said that the development would have an effect on both Allen Township and neighboring municipalities, negatively impacting the quality of life for those who live in the surrounding townships.
“Everyone’s quality of life is just being affected… This has a massive impact on everybody,” Miller said. “A lot of us were born and raised here, just keep that in mind.”