Planners in Lehigh Township reconvened for the second time in 2018 on Feb. 12 and recommended approval for a lot line adjustment minor subdivision plan being sought by the Northampton Area School District.
The school district informed planners that they were purchasing land from Alton and Naomi Ziegenfuss along Blue Mountain Drive next to the current location of Lehigh Elementary School to provide a new construction zone for plans to build a new elementary school building.
Art Swallow, of Arthur A. Swallow Associates, said that him and other representatives of the district were seeking a subdivision to divide 4.8 acres of the Ziegenfuss property.
“We’re here tonight to divide the Ziegenfuss property,” Swallow said. “My company prepared a map with a 4.8-acre subdivision.”
Both planners and representatives of Northampton Area School District made it clear that their proposal before the planning commission was only for approval of the subdivision and not a plan for the proposed new elementary school.
“This plan is only a lot line adjustment plan,” Township Engineer Phil Malitsch said.
Township planners and members alike still had questions about aspects relating to a new school building that could end up being built in the coming years.
Planning Commission Vice Chairwoman Cindy Miller had questions about septic and water problems at the existing school, and asked how the school would take care of that.
“How does the school plan to take care of that in the future?” she asked.
Terry DeGroot, of Terraform Engineering, said the school would expand their current septic system.
“The septic for the school will be an expansion of the existing system, probably a third field for an extension, there’s two fields out there now,” DeGroot said. “We did reach out to the township water authority about the possibility of connecting to public water.”
Miller pressed district representatives on their apparent reluctance utilize public sewer, asking why they would propose accessing public water and not public sewer.
“I know that there’s been issues with on-lot septic,” Miller said.
Lehigh Township Municipal Authority Chairman Carl Sharpe said there’s a septic plant about two miles away from the school.
“The plant’s here and it has capacity, it’s just a matter of running a line,” Sharpe said.
Representatives in attendance on behalf of the school district said they hope to have a sketch plan detailing the new school building to the township in March.