A large gathering of residents were present at the June 28 Moore Township Planning Commission meeting to express their feelings about a newly proposed warehouse sketch plan.
Township solicitor David Backenstoe informed the planning commission and residents in attendance that because this is only a sketch plan, it is an informal plan and no ruling would be made at the meeting.
The proposed warehouses would be located near the intersection of Route 512 and Jones Road, where the Southmoore Golf Course currently sits. One warehouse would be 350,000 square feet and the other would be 630,000 square feet. At this point, there is no proposed tenant for the warehouses, which would be required by ordinance to submit a formal plan with the township. Developer Jack Muschlitz and Steve Walsh from Dynamic Engineering were at the meeting to present their plans, answer any questions from the planning commission and residents, as well as request an escrow account be set up.
Many residents objected to the proposed warehouses for a variety of reasons.
One of the most brought-up concerns was traffic. Residents feel that Moore Township and the surrounding Bath area have traffic problems as is, and that the addition of two warehouses with truck and employee traffic would only worsen the problem. This also brought up concerns about safety and potential accidents.
The applicant explained that Route 512 is a PennDOT road, and therefore they will be complying with their standards and plan to realign the road. Further, there will be off-street parking for overnight trucks to eliminate road congestion, as well as 500 employee parking spots.
Another issue presented was the rural community, open space, and natural environment Moore Township provides. Residents fear that construction of warehouses and the two warehouses themselves would increase noise and lighting in the township. Residents in close proximity also wanted to know how they would be affected by the construction, and if the warehouses would decrease their property value. Finally, potential environmental issues such as smog and wildlife were also raised.
Residents questioned if the warehouse would wind up abandoned, like many others in the county since there is currently no proposed tenant, and why the applicant doesn’t use a warehouse that is already built.
Further, part of the proposed plan goes into neighboring Chapman Borough. Chapman Borough has not seen or heard about this plan yet. The zoning designation in the area the applicant has proposed to use is not known. Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) takes care of zoning for Chapman because the borough is too small to have its own zoning ordinances.
In other business, two plans from Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. were approved. The plans propose to install a green sand filter system with a backwash recycle for Evanwood Acres and Christian Springs Estates. The 1,600 gallon-backwash recycle would be hauled away once or twice a year, and is required to comply with the EPA’s regulations on manganese concentrations. The plan for Evanwood Acres shows that an extension would be built on a current building to allow for the extra equipment. An entirely new building would have to be constructed at Christian Springs; the existing one would be demolished once the new one is up and running.
Approval for minor subdivision plans on Fox Road was tabled until the next planning commission meeting since representatives were unable to attend the meeting.
The next Moore Township Planning Commission meeting will be held on Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m.