During the February 8 East Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting, representatives from Traditions of America presented revised plans for a 55-plus active adult community along Locust Road and Bath Pike. The revised plans called for 350 active adult homes at the southern end of the property and 250 single-family homes to the north.

During the meeting, Timothy McCarthy of Traditions of America said this new plan would create diversity in housing and demographics. While current zoning would allow for as many as 1,016 active adult homes on the 250-acre property by right, McCarthy requested the township approve a zoning amendment allowing for more single-family homes, decreasing the density.

McCarthy told the board that “[1,016 homes] is a lot” for one demographic in one location.

Original plans presented before the board in December 2023 requested a mixed-used allowance for townhomes and apartments, but developers realized these properties would not benefit the township or Traditions of America. 

“I don’t think our multi-family proposal was well thought out,” said McCarthy.

While supervisors agreed that an active adult community would benefit the township, they worried that more single-family homes would hurt infrastructure.

“[Age-restricted housing] is a better fit for our community,” said Supervisor Christopher Cruz. 

Supervisor Roger Unangst agreed, saying age-restricted communities would be easier on the local school district and cause less wear and tear on roads. 

The Traditions of America development team agreed to revise their plans further. 

In other news, the township made several large vehicle purchases to help enhance public works and emergency services. A 2023 Chevy chassis and dump truck was purchased for $141,740. Meanwhile, a 2024 GMC pickup truck was purchased for $59,190, with an add-on Enforcer foam fire suppression system for $17,300. This fire suppression system will help first responders tackle vehicle or small dwelling fires. Funding for part of this purchase is from the township’s recent rapid response grant. 

Supervisors also discussed ways they could recruit and retain first responders, firefighters specifically. Like several other townships, East Allen is exploring programs that incentivize volunteers with monetary benefits.

The township has budgeted $75,000 for recruitment and retention in 2024. As of the February 8 meeting, $58,500 has been allocated: $25,000 for per-call payments, $10,000 for a points-based rewards system, $6,000 for higher education reimbursement, $15,000 for advertising and recruitment and $2,500 for a new website.

An oversight committee will monitor funding. This committee of residents, firefighters and Supervisor Unangst will meet quarterly or as needed to review programs, authorize payments and adapt programs to ensure funding is used effectively. 

Township Manager Brent Green hopes this program will serve as a model for other Lehigh Valley communities facing a similar shortage of first responders. The severity of this shortage is something Green calls “dire” and “critical” for the township. 

Finally, supervisors authorized the township to bid for materials needed to replace the Bicentennial Park East Pavilion. The township estimates materials will cost roughly $80,000. However, a larger, more modern pavilion will accommodate larger rentals and the township’s growing sports programs.

Once materials are acquired, the township will use a combination of community volunteers and township staff to help construct the pavilion.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be a workshop meeting on February 22 at 7 p.m. 


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