On Tuesday, April 12, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an inter-municipal sewer service agreement with Northampton Borough. This agreement comes after a previous one expired in 2016, resulting in years of litigation between the two municipalities.
“This is potentially the end of a long road,” said township solicitor Lincoln Treadwell.
The agreement amends the previous 2012 agreement between the two municipalities and resolves six-plus years of outstanding litigation.
Under the new 10-year agreement, Allen Township will acquire at least 323 extra EDUs for development in the township. One point of contention in the previously proposed agreement, which Allen Township rejected, was Northampton changing the sewer fee from $3.81 for 1,000 gallons to 95% of the water bill. This new agreement adjusts that percentage to 85%. Allen Township must also submit all back payments.
“I still disagree with the time limit,” said Supervisor Gary Behler. “But the benefits of this far outweigh the risks, at this point.”
The approval of this agreement puts the two municipalities on track to complete their Act 537 Plan. The inter-municipal plan is now with the planning commissions of Allen Township, Northampton Borough, and Catasauqua Borough for review.
In other news, the Bath Allen Youth Club’s baseball team submitted several requests to supervisors. The club, which utilizes Howertown Park as its home field, is seeking several park improvements, including metal batting cages, a possible outfield wall, and sponsorship signs.
The park’s existing batting nets are “fairly old,” according to township manager Ilene Eckhart. A metal cage is estimated to cost $7,000 to $10,000.
Behler reminded supervisors that the cages, should they be installed, need to remain open to all community members.
“This is a community park,” he told the board. “It is not a sports complex. If we put cages down there, they can never be locked…they are open to everybody.”
While not opposed to batting cages, Behler said he does oppose signage that advertises private entities on public property.
“[I am] personally not a fan of billboards….on public property,” he said. “It is the greatest conflict of interest.”
The youth club also requested an outfield fence following the injury of one of their players. A stormwater swale beyond the outfield poses potential safety risks, according to the club. The swale is mandatory for stormwater reasons, but the board suggested looking at maintenance to potentially even out the ground. Most members of the board were against an outfield fence.
“It [would be] right in the middle of our biggest open space,” said Behler. “[And] we are adding additional hassle to our crew for mowing.”
The township plans to continue discussions with the club.
Also discussed during the meeting were upcoming improvements to area bridges. Three Allen Township bridges are slated for closure in the upcoming months, two on Indian Trail Road and one on Willowbrook Road.
Two bridges on Indian Trail Road, one over the Hokendauqua Creek and another over Indian Trail Creek, will be closed this July for replacement.
Meanwhile, Northampton County Bridge #124 on Willowbrook Road will also be closed within the upcoming year. Despite requests from the township to widen the bridge to three lanes, the county has already completed designs for a new two-lane bridge. To reconstruct the bridge, a major Bethlehem water main must be relocated. As a result, Willowbrook Road will be closed at West Bullshead Road. However, the intersection will remain open for left-hand turns onto Willowbrook and right-hand turns onto West Bullshead.
Finally, yard waste season has begun. Eckhart announced that FRCA will be open every other Saturday. This year, residents will be charged $1 per 33-gallon container of grass. Yard waste will also be collected at the township building every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. No grass will be collected at this site.
The next Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, April 26 at 7 p.m.