The Palmer Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a multi-part plan to build hundreds of new apartment units on Van Buren Road.
The new complex, which has been in the planning process for over two years, will be developed adjacent to the Wal-Mart and build a road connecting that shopping center to Van Buren Road.
Initially proposed in 2010, the new plans included changes that were “sensitive to the topography of the site and dealt with storm management,” according to the developer’s civil engineer, Bill Reardon of Bohler Engineering.
Tweaks consist of lowering the number of structures and increasing the number of stories and adjustments to the width of the road.
Madison at Palmerview Apartments will be divided into two sections: the western section that has 184 low rise apartments and the eastern section with 122 mid-rise apartments for a total of 306 apartments.
Connecting the two will be a bridge-type structure and township-owned road. On the western side, there will be a community amenities center featuring a gym and pool.
The board addressed the proposal in three portions: presentation of the final plan, conditional use requests and a final zoning ordinance amendment. During these periods, the public had the opportunity to comment on their opinions of the project.
The primary concern of nearby residents was the water management plan, as the tract of land is located on a flood plain. Owners with adjacent plots of land detailed recent incidents of flooding on their properties that were not shown on the flood map presented by Reardon.
The representative of Palmerview Acquisition, LP along with Reardon agreed to meet with those concerned residents after the meeting to review the flood plain map and allay their concerns about increased flooding on their property. In a study produced by Bohler Engineering, they were able to plan to keep the volume of water moving through the flood plain at a constant level, despite adding the 306 new apartment units.
With projects of this type, Palmer Township typically asks developers to contribute an infrastructural fee. “We usually seek traffic contribution for the maintenance, but my opinion is that significant work is being done on the roads here we would not be looking for that based on the costs and challenges of this site,” reported Chairman David Colver. The board agreed with him. The road linkage between the Wal-Mart shopping complex and Van Buren Road was not required in the development; however, the developer has accepted this project in conjunction with the building of the apartments.
The Palmer Township planning commission endorsed the plan magnanimously before it was presented at the meeting tonight and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission deferred any issues with the plan to the municipal authority. After continued public debate on the change in local traffic patterns and the effect on local schools, Supervisor Robert Smith summarized on behalf of the board that Palmerview had “done what they’ve needed to do.” The final plan, conditional use requests and change in zoning classification from PIC to HDR were all approved 5-0.
Palmerview Acquisition, LP is based in Philadelphia and owns 200,000 apartments across 16 states, 2,000 of which are located within a 100 mile radius of Palmer Township.