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After 8 hearings, Lower Nazareth wraps up IDI testimony

By Tom Coombe, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 09 2014 09:02:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2014 04:45:45 AM CDT

IDI controversy continues

LOWER NAZARETH TWP., Pa. -

After eight hearings, dozens of witnesses and over 1,200 pages of testimony, Lower Nazareth Township supervisors are getting ready to decide the future of a proposed 822,000 square foot trucking terminal.

Supervisors on Monday heard the final witnesses in a months-long conditional use hearing over Industrial Development International's plans to build the depot between Hecktown and Newburg roads.

Now, they've given attorneys for the Georgia company and for neighbors opposing the project until August 1 to submit findings of fact to the board. Once that happens, the board will reconvene to hearing closing arguments.

The township must weigh the company's request against concerns from neighbors worried about things like lower property values, noise, traffic and pollution.

It was that last concern that took up much of Monday's nearly four-hour hearing, with air quality expert Gavin Biebuyck of Liberty Environmental in Reading testifying on behalf of IDI about emissions from the proposed facility.

He said the emissions levels coming from the depot would be less each year than what you'd find coming from Lehigh Valley institutions such as Lehigh University, Lafayette College or any of the local cement plants.

On cross-examination, attorney Nicholas Noel, representing one of the neighbors, asked Biebuyck why he hadn't based his conclusions on a facility similar to the one proposed, rather than using regional data.

"Don't you think a scientist would want to go out and test a comparable facility, so we can at least get some kind of picture?" Noel asked.

"We already had monitoring sites, and plenty of them," Biebuyck replied.

As the evening went on, township solicitor Gary Asteak had to remind questioners again and again not to cover the same ground, cautioning that there was only so much time on the clock, and "only so many ways to skin a cat."

Closing arguments are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11 at the township municipal offices.