Large apartment complex zoning amendment approved amid heavy scrutiny
Updated On: Dec 12 2013 05:22:18 AM CST
The Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors voted to approve an amendment to a controversial Stone Post Meadows zoning ordinance in spite of strong opposition expressed by numerous community members, business owners and attorneys in attendance at a contentious Wednesday meeting.
With the proposed amendment, the two lots will span a total of 52 acres and create a 498 unit apartment complex, as well as an additional “high-end” office located off of Hecktown and Country Club Road.
Prior to the amendment, zoning had only called for the office park to be built.
“We are just asking that we move to a hearing,” said Jim Preston, representing the Stone Post Meadows estate.
Residents and board members alike, however, professed strong concerns over the development’s potential impact on nearby traffic, public school capacities and sewage and water treatment.
“I am concerned about the traffic this is going to cause on our roads,” said Supervisor Gerald Green. “That’s one concern that’s holding me back.”
Supervisor, Martin Boucher, meanwhile remarked that the public schools in the district are already at maximum capacity as is, and an additional complex of this magnitude could potentially strain their ability to supply an education and ultimately end up burdening tax payers.
The motion passed on a 3-2 vote, with Supervisors Green and Boucher casting the two dissenting votes.
Others in attendance questioned the identity of the ownership of K&S, one of the primary proprietaries behind the Stone Post Meadows project.
“I sure would like to know who KNS is” prompted attorney Donald Miles, representing Country Club Road residents Robert and Beverly Hoyer. “There is no K&S Development Corporation in Pennsylvania. There’s nine of them operating in nine different states though.”
K&S Representative Jim Preston maintained, however, that the organization has only ever built in the Lehigh Valley. “No one here is trying to conceal anything,” he said.
Miles went on to challenge K&S’s claims that a majority of the tenants would be retirees due to an expected $1,400 monthly rate on apartments. According to him, this would greatly increase the development’s impact on traffic and schools.
“Suppose half of the [estimated] 260 retirees aren’t… One out of three of those will have a child, he said.”
Miles went on to argue that 80% of the traffic stemming from the Stone Meadows would lead directly onto Route-33.
Tom Stitt, the chairman of the Northampton County American Automobile Association (AAA), echoed these grievances and asserted that this would negatively impact surrounding businesses.
“Country Club Road backs up enough as it is,” he said. “Our concern is that our folks aren’t going to be able to get out.”
Attorney Donald Miles, a former Lehigh Valley Township solicitor himself, claimed that K&S’s request for additional sewers to be built over a mile away from the property was flawed.
“We never considered sewer that was more than a mile away. . . because sewer is not readily available,” he said.
“There’s assumptions in this that before you consider rezoning you should address,” said Miles.
The board, however, disagreed.
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