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LANTA wants bus shelter at proposed FedEx hub in Allen Twp.

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 07:16:07 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 01:34:54 PM CST
Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

Tom DeMartini/69 News

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) is eager to talk with FedEx and developers about transporting workers to its proposed 1.2 million square foot distribution and packaging hub in Allen Twp., Northampton Co.

The company's request was adopted as part of a review letter on the project that was passed by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission's Comprehensive Planning Committee Thursday night.

Becky Bradley, the LVPC's Executive Director, said that LANTA management would like to meet with FedEx and the developers of the proposed 1.2 million square foot packaging and distribution hub concerning the construction of a bus stop with a shelter on the property and sidewalks that connect into the building.

Bradley told commissioners that LANTA wants to speak with developers and FedEx concerning cost sharing arrangements for such a plan.

Offering mass transportation to the site would help keep traffic down along the busy Route 22/Airport Road corridor. The project is expected to create more than 800 new jobs.

LANTA's comments were included in a review letter from the LVPC that states the current FedEx plan is consistent with the Commission's Comprehensive Plan. The letter also said that since a number of diesel-fueled vehicles will be traveled Allen Township roads, those vehicles should be equipped with diesel particulate filters and engine idle limiters.

FedEx is currently in talks with Allen Township and Northampton County officials to potentially build a $1.2 million packaging and distribution center of warehouse space on 253 acres of land currently owned by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.

Residents have flocked to Allen Township Planning Commission and Allen Township Supervisor meetings to voice their opposition. Only two opponents to the measure spoke to the planning commission Thursday night.

However, W. Eugene Clater, a member of the Allen Township Planning Commission, spoke to the board concerning potential traffic problems he sees after examining the traffic plan submitted by New York-based developer The Rockefeller Group.

"The issue goes far deeper than FedEx or the Rockefeller Group," Clater said. "It's important to understand the magnitude and the layout."

The land in question is in the vicinity of Wayne Grube Park, Catasauqua High School, the Lehigh Valley Airport's control tower and a retirement community on W. Bullshead Road.

Clater said the 750-page traffic study have underestimated traffic flows through Allen Township and surrounding municipalities.

"Willowbrook Road is just shy of 10,000 car trips per day. This study would be adding 14,000 more trips, more than double. And that's with a 1 million square foot facility. Now, it's 1.2 million square feet," Clater said.

"I'm not for it or against it right now," Clater said of the plan. "We're many months away from a solution. My suggestion is that if (the developers) ask for an extension that we deny it. By staying in our township with this, they are trying to isolate us from a planning standpoint."

Clater also called for surrounding municipalities to eet with Allen Township concerning ways to combat the anticipated traffic problems.

Clater also said The Rockefeller Group is marketing two additional 1 million square foot warehouses on parcel subdivisions in Allen Township.

The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, owners of Lehigh Valley International Airport, hope to sell the Allen Township land to developers for $9.6 million to help pay down at $26 million court judgment.

Airport officials have already announced their intention to sell off more than 200 additional acres of land it owns in Hanover Township for development by the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park.