During their meeting on October 28, East Allen Township Supervisors closed the Rock LV Curative Amendment Hearing. After over a year of testimony, on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, supervisors rejected all four allegations made by the developer.
The hearing began in January 2020 after Rock LV alleged that the township’s zoning ordinance did not provide zoning for a modern logistics center. Supervisors listened to testimony from experts on both sides of the argument to determine whether this allegation was true. In the end, using the evidence provided, supervisors determined that a logistics center and a warehouse are one and the same. This decision served as the basis for rejecting the four allegations.
The first allegation made by Rock LV was that the township’s zoning ordinance allows for a complete and total ban on logistics centers. All supervisors except Don Heiney rejected this claim. Heiney argued that logistics centers and warehouses are slightly different because a logistics center is where orders are fulfilled and is more akin to a retailer. However, Supervisor Mark Schwartz cited testimony given by experts that stated a logistics center is a warehouse.
The second allegation made by the developer was that the township does not provide enough land to meet the demand of a logistics center. Again, all supervisors except Heiney rejected this claim. Supervisor Roger Unangst said Rock LV only looked at open land and not developed land.
“Warehousing is there…and it is going in now,” he said.
The third allegation was that the agricultural zoning of land in the township prevents the feasible use of the land. Supervisors unanimously disagreed.
“Agricultural land is not unused ground,” said Unangst. “It is being used as intended.”
The final allegation was that the township acted in bad faith. All supervisors again denied this claim, with solicitor Joseph Piperator adding that Rock LV’s attorneys failed to even address this allegation in their testimony.
In other news, supervisors also presented their draft conditions for the proposed Northampton Area School District elementary school on Route 329. Twenty-five conditions were imposed on developers.
Piperato reminded supervisors that, in order to reject this conditional use, supervisors would have to provide proof that this project would have an “adverse impact different than is generally caused by a school.”
Objectors to the project cite student safety, difficult site entrances/exits, drainage, and proximity to a historical site.
Supervisors concentrated primarily on drainage concerns. There will be eight acres of impervious coverage on the property, which could impact stormwater runoff. Because the construction of the site is through a multi-party agreement with NASD and Jaindl, should drainage fail and nearby properties flood, private residents would have to file a complaint with Jaindl and not the township.
Supervisors also voiced concern over the safety of the infiltration basins. They worried that students would venture into the water and imposed a condition that infiltration basins be fenced.
Other conditions included adding public sewer access to the property.
With those conditions imposed, supervisors granted approval of the development.
Finally, township manager Brent Green gave a preview of the 2022 budget. He said that the township is projecting a surplus and that a tax increase looks unlikely.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be on November 10 at 7 p.m.