During their meeting on Wednesday, June 16, the Upper Nazareth Township Board of Supervisors granted final conditional approval to JVI, LLC for the development of a warehouse property on Gun Club Road. Known as Project Tadmor, this development has been a focal point for both supervisors and residents since it was announced in 2018.
The warehouse development consists of two warehouses, one 870,000-square-feet and the other 208,000-square-feet. Located in the general industrial zoning district, the property is currently zoned for warehouses, a fact that township solicitor Gary Asteak stressed to those in attendance.
A warehouse, he said, is a permitted use. The board cannot reject these plans without reasoning that is supported by zoning ordinance. Under SALDO, they are required to vote on this issue.
The project had been recommended for approval by the township’s planning commission. Plans were also approved by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and a highway occupancy permit has already been submitted to PennDOT.
Members of the Upper Nazareth Township Citizens Group submitted a letter to the board outlining their concerns and voicing their questions, which Asteak addressed during the meeting.
The group asked how supervisors were allowed to vote on the plans while litigation, brought forth by the Citizens Group, is still being fought. Without a stay, said Asteak, there is no legal impediment to voting.
The group also questioned the transparency of the township meetings. Asteak countered by saying that all board of supervisors and planning commission meetings have been open to the public and streamed online during the pandemic.
“There has been full disclosure,” he added.
“This is a bad place for a warehouse,” said Supervisor Scott Sylvainus. “[But] the property is zoned for that use. “For the neighbors who are affected by it, is it unfortunate, but we all suffer [from] zoning designations that we live in.”
Only supervisor Kristin Mullen voted against approval.
In other news, township manager Lisa Klem said there are still two openings on the new Environmental Advisory Council. The council needs at least seven participants. Members will serve three-year terms and will monitor the Open Space program, making recommendations to the board as needed.
Finally, Supervisor Donna Hirst addressed serious sinkhole issues affecting residents across Northampton County. She said the county is currently conducting studies and urged residents to invest in sinkhole insurance. It will help cover the costs of buildings affected by sinkholes.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held in person and online on July 7 at 7 p.m.