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Forks Supervisors give initial OK for major Sullivan Trail retail development

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 16 2014 09:07:25 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 17 2014 06:58:43 AM CST
Forks Twp. supervisors' meeting
FORKS TWP., Pa. -

One of the busiest intersections in Forks Township is slated for a major future retail development following the initial blessing of township supervisors Thursday night.

B Land Development, owned by Dennis Benner, received preliminary approval to build a two-story, 20,000 square foot medical office building, a 3,900 square foot fast food restaurant with a drive-through and a 2,900 square foot bank building with a drive through, at the intersection of Sullivan Trail and Rensselaer Ave.

Currently, a nursery and a pizza store sit on the property. Both businesses will be removed when construction begins.

Benner said construction is pegged to start in the second quarter of this year with completion seen in mid-2015, pending all approvals.

Michael Jeitner, a principal at Bohler Engineering of Center Valley, told supervisors that widening of Sullivan Trail and some widening of its shoulder will take place as part of the project.

Supervisors told Jeitner they would like to see additional sidewalks added to the plan in addition to another access point to the retail businesses from Rensselaer Ave.

Jeitner said a traffic study of the area has been performed by PennDOT and reviewed by the township engineer. A final PennDOT traffic study is pending.

However, Benner said many permits and zoning amendments still must be granted before construction work can start in earnest.

Benner, who declined to comment on the project's cost, said no tenants have been lined up at this time.

"We have no leases at this time. It's a little premature," Benner said.

"It's a general footprint size," Jeitner said of the project. "It's appropriate for a range of (retail) uses."

The planned retail development must be presented again to the township's planning board before going back to the supervisors later this year.

In other business, supervisors granted preliminary/final approval for a plan presented by the Easton Northampton County United Soccer Club to build three soccer fields, 77 parking spaces, a storage shed and a future pavilion at the intersection of Winchester Drive and Danser Hill Road.

Developer Gary Strausser leased the land to the soccer club for $1 per year for an undetermined period of time, according to engineer David Lear of Lehigh Engineering of Walnutport.

Members of the soccer club said it will take three-to-four weeks to sod the fields. The fields are anticipated to be ready for play by the end of fall.

However, Danser Hill Road resident Ellie Reismeier told supervisors the soccer fields will draw curious children from the soccer fields to the nearby cliffs overlooking the Delaware River.

Reismeier said she is also unhappy with the anticipated storm water runoff from the fields onto Danser Hill Road that she stated "will defy nature."