The Allen Township Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, April 26.
First on the agenda was a follow up from the presentation by Bath Allen Youth Club on club updates and Howertown Park requests, which was presented by Bath Allen Youth Club board members Nicole Dotta and Michael Henahan.
Dotta began by thanking the supervisors for approving Howertown field upgrades recently and wanted to address questions from the board on batting cages and signage at the park.
Vice Chairman Gary Behler voiced concerns about the batting cages, such as how the current batting cages are more of a netting, which looks like it needs to be maintained and hung correctly so there are no safety issues. Behler expressed that he believes properly built batting cages would be a positive improvement to the park and also suggested moving the current position of the batting cage area to a different area of the park because it currently is in a very wet area.
Behler stated that although he was against fencing at the last meeting, after exploration of the park he is open to amending his stance on approval for the fencing. However, he stated he is still adamantly against advertising at the park because he feels advertising on public land is unethical.
Dotta agreed, stating they can look for other ways to acknowledge partners that have donated.
“We have big dreams for the club. Our goal is to create scholarship funds and create opportunities for kids that want to play baseball,” said Dotta.
Dotta added that it would be nice to be able to put signage up for the Bath Allen Youth Club kids to feel like they have a home. Since Howertown Park is a public park, this would also help their club grow.
Vice Chairman Behler made a motion to try to get bids for both single and double batting cages and bids to put fencing around the main field with different manufactures and definitive dimensions and distance measurements. The motion was approved unanimously, and Henahan informed the board he will send them the pricing information and research he has already done.
Behler then made another motion to appoint an ad hoc committee solely for the purpose of Howertown Park, which would consist of two supervisors, two or three members of the Bath Allen Youth Club, two or three members of Tri-Boro, and two or three members from the community. Behler suggested posting this on the website and having the first meeting by the end of May or beginning of June to come up with a plan to present to the supervisors that would maximize benefits and updates for the park. The formation of an ad hoc committee was approved by the board unanimously.
Behler also recommended the proposal for a permanent parks and recreation committee on a future agenda now that the township has more residents and interest from the community.
Next on the agenda, attorney Joe Fitzpatrick, representing the Rockefeller Group Development, presented the request for Radar Drive to be granted private driveway status and release of security, which is currently owned by Lehigh Valley International Airport and primarily used by FedEx. Fitzpatrick offered a 2.5-page agreement to privatize the road, where the township would no longer have any responsibility for the road or its upkeep.
Chairman Dale Hassler raised concerns, stating if the property on the other side were to be developed, then that could pose problems in traffic dumping onto Willowbrook Road. Hassler stated if the road becomes private, then the township would not have any say in it.
Township Solicitor B. Lincoln Treadwell, Jr. explained the township would have an input in extending the road if it ever needed to become a public road again, whereas the Rockefeller Group would need to show traffic patterns and an explanation of what is being built there before a road could be built or extended. Treadwell added that there is a condition in multiple approvals for the Rockefeller and FedEx projects, which stipulates that the road cannot be extended into East Allen without the companies getting approval from the townships.
A motion to make Radar Road private was made by Vice Chairman Behler and seconded by board member Link. The motion carried four to one, with Chairman Hassler in opposition.
In other business, Township Manager Ilene Eckhart discussed the draft request for proposals to do a facilities study. A motion for approval of the draft request facility study proposal was approved unanimously.
Under new business, Manager Eckhart presented a proposal to purchase four additional sewer flow ultrasonic level sensors to monitor flow conditions in various low-flow areas of the township for a quote of $5,500. The sensors were approved unanimously.
The board then opened the floor to public comments, where several township residents voiced their concerns regarding the Northampton Generating Co. trucks hauling waste coal and fly ash on Seemsville Road.
Residents are concerned the trucks are not airtight or sealed properly, causing toxic contents to spread through the air, creating build-up on their property.
Northampton Generating Co. Fuels Manager Henry J. Zielinski assured residents the company runs tests regularly to look for toxic trace elements and the trucks are required to be covered by tarps to prevent debris from being emitted. Zielinski clarified the contents are mostly silicon dioxide, which makes up 90% of the material. However, residents retorted the tarps are frayed, and the ash is spewing all over, which they believe is violating the Clean Air Act of 1970.
Additionally, residents expressed outrage over the amount of dump trucks from Northampton Generating Co. that travel Seemsville Road daily. Residents complained that the road is not wide enough, the drivers exceed speed limits, and the Jake brakes are so loud they wake residents up every morning and make it impossible for them to sleep.
After determining Northampton Generating Co. trucks drive through Seemsville Road approximately 160 times per day, residents questioned whether the routes can be divided up, breaking up some of the traffic.
In response, Zielinski stated Northampton Generating Co. has policies in place for drivers that use Jake brakes in prohibited areas and include repercussions in the form of time off but admitted this is hard to enforce because it requires proof of noncompliance.
Zielinski also explained they’re looking into other routes, but they currently use Seemsville Road because it is the most efficient and timely route. Zielinski stated the logistics of the routes is a complex issue and would be a lot simpler if the Cementon Bridge replacement was completed, which has been closed since 2018 and still has no start date.
Zielinski assured residents Northampton Generating Co. will be working diligently to address residents’ complaints, but residents appeared to remain skeptical.
The next Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at Allen Township Fire Company, located at 3530 Howertown Rd., Northampton.