7:30 PM
May 12, 2009

A Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Salisbury was held on the above date at the Township Municipal Building located at 2900 South Pike Avenue, Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Present were Commissioners Beck, McKitish, Hebelka, Schreiter, Hassick, Licht and Snyder (arrived late). Also present were Mr. Tettemer, representative of the Township Engineer; Attorney Ashley, Township Solicitor; and Ms. Sopka, Director of Planning & Zoning.

Mr. Beck called the meeting to order.

On motion of Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Schreiter, the Planning Commission voted 5-0-1 to approve the April 14, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as submitted. Mr. Licht abstained. Mr. Snyder was not present for vote.

Continuation of Conditional Use Application of 3350 Devonshire Road, Allentown, PA 18103 for seasonal Halloween attractions.

Present were Steve Goudsouzian, Esquire, counsel; and Dominic Giles, owner.

Mr. Tettemer highlighted the Township Engineer’s review letter dated April 8, 2009.

It was noted that the Church provided a letter indicating that they did not have any objections to the proposed Haunted House.

Attorney Goudsouzian indicated they spoke with the Church and they did not have any opposition. Attorney Goudsouzian stated that they spoke with the Fire Chief and also sought independent review by Code Master Attorney Goudsouzian commented that they could have a fire watchperson on site as well.

Ms. Sopka recommended that the applicant seek third-party agency review and inspect the site for health and safety concerns since the Township did not have staff to do so. She noted that she had observed bars on the first floor windows.

Mr. Snyder had an objection to the hours of operation, particularly the lateness, and suggested that the attraction end at 10:00 p.m. He commented that he believes the applicant is under-prepared with the amount of supervision necessary for such a venue and noted that there is also a nearby apartment complex that may not like the noise at such a late hour.

Attorney Ashley noted that the Planning Commission could recommend certain conditions to impose. He suggested that similar to the Flower Tent, the Planning Commission could recommend approval for year 2009 in order to see how the use will work out.

Ms. Jane Demalfy of 3305 The Strand inquired about what would be taking place at the barn. Mr. Giles explained that there would be a haunted house exhibition during the weekends prior and during Halloween.

Mr. McKitish suggested amending the motion to limit the hours of operation to no later than 11:00 p.m. He inquired about the time frame that the applicant is requesting.

Attorney Goudsouzian commented that they are requesting from September 15, 2009 to November 2, 2009.

On motion of Mr. Hebelka, seconded by Mr. Schreiter, the Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval of the Conditional Use proposal with the following conditions:

1. The conditional use will be effective for a term of one year (1 year);

2. The conditional use is contingent upon verification from a third (3rd) party fire code review indicating that all required ire codes are met:

3. The conditional use will be effective providing that adequate parking will be available;

4. The conditions place a time limitation of the operation with the exhibition to close by 11:00 PM;

5. The conditions allow for the exhibition to occur during all weekends (determine to start Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in October with the anticipated starting date around September 15, 2009 and ending around November 2, 2009;

6. The conditional use must adhere to other Township ordinances, State and Federal laws or regulations known to the Township.

(Mr. Snyder voted no.)

1601 SW 33rd Street – Devonshire Park Apartments – Request subdivision and Land Development Ordinance Waiver to §10.10.B.2(g)(i) – as it pertains to stormwater drainage.

Mr. Beck announced that the item was postponed.

1040 Flexer Avenue – St. Thomas More Church & School Sketch Plan. Review of Addition and Alterations.

Present were Lee Shankweiler, of Architecture First, and Terry DeGroot, project engineer.

Mr. Tettemer highlighted the Township Engineer review letter dated May 6, 2009.

Ms. Sopka explained that she had written a memo in response to Mr. Tettemer’s letter. She agreed with the requirement for a Zoning Variance for the 50’ wide building setback line. She noted that the developer is moving forward to the Zoning Hearing Board for the setback requirement and clarification on the reference to berming.

Mr. Shankweiler gave an overview of the past additions that were made to the Church and School. Mr. Shankweiler noted that their plan for the future is that the roof structure is being prepared for a second floor level for a two-story addition. He noted a recent increase in enrollment. Mr. Shankweiler noted that the property straddles South Whitehall Township and Salisbury Township and inquired about submitting the sketch plan to South Whitehall.

Mr. DeGroot indicated they propose putting in a 20’ x 20’ turnaround to be presented to the Planning Commission. He clarified water and sewer capacity regarding school population which ranges from 605 to 645. The School submits a letter to the Township Sewer Authority indicating how many students, teachers, and staff use the building each year. The number of PDU’s required for building is assessed based on that use. A suggestion was made to continue this process and submit the yearly letter. No anticipation is made for more staff/teachers. The process is to try and reduce class size and try to make more space for special education classes. The existing detention basin will be modified to provide more capacity to deal with the addition of a curbing surface.

Mr. DeGroot indicated the proposed playground has been moved out of the 50 feet buffer area. In addition landscaping will be provided on the hill to provide a buffer for the playground. He further explained that the storm sewer lines were installed between 1997 and 2001, when construction was being done. There had been a large underground seepage tank system that the buildings went to that was demolished. South Whitehall has letters since the 2001 improvements agreement stating that this is acceptable to their Township. This was an issue at that time because the runoff was going towards South Whitehall. The preliminary plan will be submitted to South Whitehall for their review and comment.

Mr. Schankweiler explained that the existing vestibule on the Church will be removed and a slightly larger vestibule will be constructed to 223 sq. ft. In regards to parking, there is plenty as most parking takes place on Sunday’s during Service, and on school days it is less than half.

Questions arose regarding the possibility of putting a second floor addition on the School and having to return to the Planning Commission. They are trying to reduce classroom sizes and would like to go from 25 to 15 students. The second floor would be expanded for the Science program and Science and Math labs for 7th and 8th graders.

Mr. Tettemer commented that since there is no proposal for an increase in students, maybe two or three additional staff members, once approval is granted of the building’s footprints and all stormwater and site development requirements are approved, he sees no reason why the second floor would bring them back to the Planning Commission unless an overhang would be put on the second floor of the building.

Mr. Robert Ford of 3104 Club Drive advised he is a resident behind the gymnasium. He noted a concern that the water drainage coming off the gymnasium parking lot travels into his back yard and his neighbor’s. He questioned whether there will be more stormwater runoff with the new addition. Mr. DeGroot advised that there would be no additional runoff onto his property, as any additional runoff would be distributed into a swale.

In regards to the Samuel Gentile Subdivision, a letter was received from Lehigh County Engineering Associates requesting an extension for Weil Street subdivision. Letters were received in March and May for an extension request. Mr. Tettemer advised to go with the March letter, as that is a formal request for the extension until June 30, 2009.

Ms. Sopka advised on the issues with sewer and water service in the area of the subdivision. She noted that Fire Department has indicated previous responses to fires in the area resulted with lack of water pressure. The neighborhood has submitted letters reqarding this issue. The second issue is a letter received from Bethlehem Sewer Authority indicating that a section of the sewer line does not meet the required capacity and they cannot allow the subdivision to connect.

Ms. Sopka and Mr. Tettemer outlined that the plan was for a single family dwelling subdivided into three parcels from one large parcel. The minimum lot requirement is 6000 sq. ft. Since there are potential problems with the water, they cannot facilitate the sewer, and there are areas of steep slopes. Ms. Sopka indicated agreement with the extension of June 30, 2009.

Mr. Tettemer advised that at the time when the subdivision plan was brought before the Planning Commission, there were no restrictions on that area of the Township. DEP has recently reviewed some of the City of Bethlehem’s and City of Allentown’s treatment plants and their transmission lines, and they have determined that this area is a problem. The City of Bethlehem has to submit to DEP a corrective action plan. In the meantime, developers cannot fund the money to correct the situation, and the Township cannot grant approval of this subdivision until the Developer is granted the sewer capacity from the City of Bethlehem. Mr. Tettemer also stated that the Developer has conditional approval, and he has an improvements agreement that he must commit to and finalize in order to continue the development. He does not want to submit the escrow fees and the improvement cost until it is finalized. The Ordinance requires that he has 90 days to do this or request an extension.

Attorney Ashley advised the Planning Commission to indicate, in writing, that they are giving the Developer a 30-day extension until June 30, 2009. Their purpose is to attend the June meeting to specify what the problems are, what they have done, and how the issues are being addressed to make at that point an intelligent decision whether it is viable or not. Approval to grant the extension to June 30, 2009 as requested from the Lehigh Engineering Associates letter dated March 18, 2009 was granted with the added condition they need to come before the Planning Commission at the next schedule meeting to address this issue.

Motion by Mr. McKitish to grant an extension to June 30, 2009 of the Samuel Gentile Subdivision Maintenance and Improvements agreement with the condition that the Developer meets before the Planning Commission in June 2009. Motion seconded by Mr. Hassick. Motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Sopka indicated her participation with a training event at the Lehigh County Planning Commission regarding model regulations. The consensus of the Planning Commission is to move forward with revisions to the SALDO with respect to the riparian buffers, steep slopes and other model regulations recently addressed.

On motion of Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Hassick, the Planning Commission voted to adjourn the meeting.

Meeting adjourned.