On Wednesday, April 25, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission held a joint workshop meeting to discuss several issues in the township, including the future Jaindl Northampton Business Center on Howertown Road and proposed amendments to the township’s zoning ordinance map.
The meeting’s first topic was whether Jaindl should install a waterline along Mud Lane in lieu of road improvements. The township and Jaindl will be talking to the City of Bethlehem to find out how many customers may benefit from a new waterline.
Supervisors and commissioners had mixed feelings. Supervisor Dale Hassler said improving the road would make it a “speedway.” Meanwhile, a new waterline would help the residents of the township.
However, Chairman of the Planning Commission Gene Clater said the waterline issue should be solved by the City of Bethlehem. Clater said Jaindl should make road improvements by installing proper shoulders and storm water improvements.
“We should not have to be trading to save the city some money,” he said.
David Jaindl, who was present during the meeting, said he is willing to work with the township no matter what they decide.
“Whatever we do will be to the benefit of the township. Guaranteed,” he said.
Supervisors and commissioners also discussed zoning ordinance map amendments. The planning commission has been having trouble getting agricultural and rural zones into one new zone labeled “rural conservation.”
The planning commission also struggled with cluster housing definitions and identifying buildable and non-buildable lands.
To solve the first issue, supervisors and commissioners motioned to maintain the two distinct zones of agricultural and rural, but encompass them under the umbrella of rural conservation to go along with its recently passed comprehensive plan.
Solving the second issue of clusters required much more discussion. Both groups agreed to eliminate cluster zoning. However, they struggled to come up with a way to identify buildable and non-buildable lands in order to define lot acreage.
Township solicitor B. Lincoln Treadwell said the township should define natural resources that it wants to protect, such as wetlands and woodlands. These protected areas would fall under “non-buildable lands.”
Chairman Larry Oberly said the township should use the help of the Natural Land Trust to identify these natural resources.
“If those findings become part of our zoning map, we will be better off,” he said.
These studies will also support the township’s wish to boost rural lot size minimums from one acre to two. Supervisor Dale Hassler said two acres or more are the only lot sizes that will keep the township’s rural zones truly rural. Such a change, he said, is what citizens expressed an interest for in a recent township survey.
“Let [us] do what people want for a change instead of what we want,” he said.
Based on their discussions, supervisors and commissioners approved the rural lot size increase, the cluster zone elimination, and the rural conservation umbrella for advertisement for ordinance come the supervisors’ May meeting.