A dozen Palmer Township residents hope the power of persuasion is alive and well in the written word.
That's because they successfully petitioned the board of supervisors during its Tuesday night meeting to have township solicitor Charles Bruno draft a letter to Industrial Development International officials to express their concern about a potential 822,000-square-foot warehouse in neighboring Lower Nazareth Township.
"That's fair," said Ann-Marie Panella, township supervisor.
It wasn't fair, at least not at first, as residents began petitioning supervisors during a public comment segment to get involved in stopping the project, now resting in limbo as IDI officials ascertain the project's merits, slated between Hecktown and Newton roads.
The request by residents began at the previous board of supervisors' meeting, to no avail.
On Tuesday night, Chairman David Colver, speaking for the board, initially squelched residents' hopes that Palmer Township officials would become involved in their neighbor's business when he said that although the township had spoken out against a proposal to construct a similar project six years ago, residents shouldn't expect an encore performance.
"The new building is in a different field with no access whatsoever onto Newburg Road, it's pretty far away from the Palmer Township line," Colver said directly to residents. "...There was very much a concern two or three weeks ago to be trekking hundreds of yards into another municipality and try to tell them what they should be doing and how they should be zoning."
Colver then snuffed out their hopes.
"Bottom line is for us to send a solicitor and engineers into another municipality just doesn't make sense," Colver said. "We're not buying it this time."
Township resident Ginger Buchser, who resides on Newburg Road, clarified residents' demands, and said they did not include having supervisors or township resources doing the dirty work for them.
"We're not asking you to do our job," Buchser said. "We are going to have to go to Lower Nazareth. We're not asking you to put yourself out. That's totally understandable."
What they were asking, she clarified, was to have Bruno send IDI an official letter from the township "expressing their concerns" about the impact the project could have on the township's roads, air pollution and quality of life.
Besides, Buchser said, you're supposed to stand up for us, we're township residents.
"This happening within 500 feet of us will impact us, our health, our safety, our welfare," she noted. "The traffic will not just go in one direction. You know that. You know that."
After much other wrangling a deal was struck: The township will send a letter to IDI officials, copying Lower Nazareth Township, that would "express their concerns" while otherwise staying out of Lower Nazareth Township's business.