During the February 13 Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting, representatives from the Zachary Bittner subdivision project asked for an extension on their plan approval. They explained that there are some remaining issues, including stormwater testing, which cannot be completed due to the current weather conditions, so the extension would give them enough time to perform testing in the spring and comply with all stipulations in the engineer’s letter. On the recommendation of Township Engineer Michael Muffley, the board agreed to grant the extension until August 31, however the representatives were urged to have their client attend future meetings of the planning commission.

Next the board heard an update from representatives of the Lehigh Valley Resort and Spa project, on the site of the former Mary Immaculate Center on Cherryville Road. Coordination with the utility providers is ongoing, while a parking deck has been added in an area where it does not detract from the view. The spa area is taking shape with both hot and cold water pools, saunas, treehouses and an amenity garden. The final location of an event barn will be the final piece of the puzzle. They informed the board that it will be at least a few months before they reach that stage. 

Muffley reported that he and Public Works Director Frank Zamadics paid a visit to a residence on South Cottonwood Road, whose owners appealed to the board in January for assistance with a flooding issue. The public works department can handle the matter in-house and the only cost to the township will be for materials. The board authorized the public works crew to take care of the matter in April, following the spring leaf season, at a cost of no more than $5,000. The project should take less than two days.

Sandra Hopkins stated that the recreation board has received requests for repairs to two of the township parks due to recent weather damage. The rec board is considering selling advertising space on the fence at Bryfogle Park to raise funds. Plans are moving forward with converting one of the tennis courts at Danielsville Park into a pickleball court.

Frank Zamadics, in his public works report, recommended locking down the dog park at Delps until April 26, so the crew can perform necessary maintenance and mowing. The roads in the township will need a lot of repair thanks to the winter weather, and he will provide more information at a future meeting about paving needs and projected costs. The board gave permission to move forward with the purchase of a 2004 Freightliner engine for one of the township vehicles.

Zoning Officer Elizabeth Amato stated the zoning board received 35 permit applications in January, 34 of which were issued. The board’s next meeting has been rescheduled from March 14 to March 21. 

Police Chief Scott Fogel reported that the township’s new police officers have completed their field training and are doing well. Their presence is reducing overtime significantly, and they did very well on calls related to the recent snowstorm. Fogel provided the supervisors with statistics about the department’s activity in 2023, and noted that the number of criminal arrests has dropped significantly since 2020. Their grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is up for renewal; this grant provides them with $50,000 every two years, and the board approved applying for it once again.

Fire Commissioner Richard Hildebrand went with some of his men to Long Island for a final inspection of a new truck. They will be traveling to Harleysville on February 26 to make payment and receive the vehicle. The department has received a $16,000 grant from the state to purchase new equipment. A member of the department provided the board with a list of their planned activities, but will be asked to resubmit it with more specific details for insurance purposes.

The 2024 budget, which has been amended to include elected auditor fees, was approved. The board then held a discussion about the farm field at Delps Park. The current farmer has already invested in supplies for this year’s farming, so Township Solicitor David Backenstoe recommended leasing the farm to him for 2024 and then offering the lease out for bids next year. Meanwhile, Muffley will determine the exact acreage of the property, as it is currently unclear; Township Manager Alice Rehrig will contact three different appraisers for quotes, one of which will be hired to determine the value of the property.

The board voted to award a contract to Hannabery HVAC for the heating and air conditioning of the meeting room and the rear portion of the municipal building, not to exceed $21,000.

Backenstoe brought an issue to the board on behalf of the owner of Vineyard Estates. He explained that the owner has deeds of dedication for Persimmon Road, Long Lane and Willow Road. These deeds have been signed and notarized and are ready to be recorded, but require the board’s approval, which they agreed to grant.

On a final note, during public comment, Katherine Mack complimented the board members on the new signs at the parks, noting they are nice and well made.

The next Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, located at 1069 Municipal Rd., Walnutport.


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