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Minu Desai fights for zoning approval to build motel in Upper Macungie

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Oct 04 2012 10:22:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 05 2012 07:14:56 AM CDT
UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

The Upper Macungie Township Board of Supervisors may be interested in seeing the Iron Run Motel retired to permanent memory, however they won’t endorse the current owner’s request for zoning relief to accomplish it and the ultimate decision could very well be decided by Lehigh County Court.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the three-member body declined to provide motel owner’s Minu Kumar Desai’s plea for that relief needed to construct a 50-bedroom Best Western hotel on land that is zoned resident and neighborhood at a cost of about $3 million.

“I think maybe the court should decide,” said Chairman Edward Earley after listening to a presentation by Desai and his attorney Lawrence Fox.

On Thursday night Fox interviewed Jack Barry before supervisors, a regional development director with the Best Western Hotel chain, who expressed his company’s desire to see the hotel built after the current Iron Run Motel is leveled.

He added that the company had approved Desai’s request to build the property by rewarding him with a franchise agreement because, in part, of his stewardship of a four-story Best Western Motel, also in Upper Macungie Township.

However those plans did not impress Supervisor Sam Ashmar, who has gone on record saying he is not inclined to change the township’s zoning law at the September 6th meeting and who said Thursday night that Desai should consider building something else on the site or selling it.

Supervisors grew irritated during Fox’s at times theatric presentation, although the attorney stated on more than one occasion that he was “as serious as a heart attack” about the proposal and seeking zoning relief for his client.

There was no indication Thursday night when a court decision on the matter could be handed down.