Lower Macungie grants conditional use to apartment complex, day care, self-storage | Lehigh Valley Regional News

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. – The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners approved adjudication directives involving two conditional use hearing cases Thursday night.

One involves a conditional use plan for an apartment complex submitted by Grist Mill Development Company. Brookside Meadows Apartments would be located at 3500 Brookside Road, next to the former Dries hardware store, now called Wehrung’s.

A Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County decision granted project approval, pending the applicant comply with various conditions. On Thursday night, commissioners agreed, also granting their approval.

The case stems back to two board meetings — held Feb. 17 and March 3 of this year — during which the applicant requested conditional use approval for the proposal.

The plan features 44 units located over two apartment structures, a common amenity area, a gazebo overlooking a stormwater basin and trails over roughly 7.7 acres. It also features 110 total parking spaces.

Site access to the property would be through a private drive at the intersection of Brookside and Indian Creek roads. The private drive has been a sticking point during various planning commission hearings held last year because the road is owned by Tyler Pipe, not the property owner.

Comments made last year by indicated that while the property owner is permitted to access the private road, the agreement does not allow for them to make improvements to the private drive.

Attorney Kate Durso, representing the developer, noted during those reviews that Grist does have a recorded easement to use the private drive and is able to make repairs to make the road passable. However, it does not have the right to widen the road without Tyler Pipe’s approval.

Previously the township indicated concerns. First, the area is notorious for flooding. In response, the applicant proposed a pipe system to collect stormwater runoff to convey to nearby Swabia Creek.

Second, traffic safety at the intersection of Brookside Road and the private drive remains a concern due to the speed on Brookside and a subsequent traffic increase.

Further, the site historically has been utilized for active agriculture.

Previously, Grist Mill Development said it would elevate the building and parking construction several feet above both the 100- and 500-year flood zones. In addition, there are proposed changes afoot to Federal Emergency Management Agency maps, although the developer said he was going beyond what was required and was in compliance with the township’s ordinance.

Hamilton Boulevard project

The second case involved a submitted plan by Posh Properties to redevelop several lots into a site at the end of Shuler Street with frontage located on 4316, 4320, 4330 and 4344 Hamilton Boulevard.

The developer is proposing a coordinated commercial development that includes a day care and preschool, and a 900-unit self-storage facility. The site has been vacant for years and previously held a local iron works site. The properties are located in the township’s highway commercial district.

Like the previous Grist Mill case, a Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County decision granted project approval, pending the applicant comply with various conditions and commissioners concurred with the court’s decision.

Moments later, the commissioners also granted the project’s preliminary/final plan approval.

The conditional use and land development plans submitted to the township last year showed the two structures sharing the same parking areas and access off Shuler Street.

The one-story, 9,100-square-foot day care building includes an outdoor play area and will have school bus pickup and drop-off for students.

The 112,000-square-foot self-storage building would be three stories.

Of note, the maximum building height in the highway commercial district is 50 feet. The plan calls for consolidating four lots over 3.16 acres of land for the project.