7:30 PM
September 8, 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 (not present). Also present were Mr. Tettemer, representative of the Township Engineer; Attorney Ashley, Township Solicitor; Mr. Soriano, Township Manager and Ms. Sopka, Director of Planning & Zoning.

Mr. Beck called the meeting to order.

On motion of Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Licht, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve the June 9, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting Minutes as submitted. Mr. Snyder was not present for vote.

1600 Riverside Drive – Lehigh County Sketch Plan Review of Building Expansion of 20,000 Sq. Ft. to existing structure.

Present were Edward J. Andreas, Esquire, counsel; Rodney C. Sergent, P.L.S., of Base Engineering; Glenn D. Solt, Director of Lehigh County Capital Projects; and Edward Sweeney, Director of Lehigh County Corrections.

Mr. Tettemer highlighted the Township Engineer’s review letter dated September 2, 2009.

Mr. Beck questioned the removal of 14 trailers. Mr. Sergent explained that it is the intent of Lehigh County to remove the trailers that were installed as an interim resident dormitory setting for the prison in 1995. The sketch plan is proposing three building additions for a total of 20,000 sq. ft. The additions are intended to house residential, treatment and administrative facilities of the Treatment Center.

Mr. Beck inquired whether there would be a change in the type of residents to be housed at the treatment center. Mr. Sweeney answered no, noting that the persons that will reside there would still be work release residents for the Community Corrections Program. Mr. Sweeney did indicate that the facility will be co-ed; whereas it once was 100% male residents and the proposed use would include female residents at the facility.  The County is aware this varies from the Conditional Use as it was originally approved.  

Ms. Sopka provided to the Planning Commission the historical accounts of this project and concluded that there would be changes to the site plan, which was once heard by the Board of Commissioners.  Ms. Sopka indicated that the Zoning Ordinance Section 108.B is very specific and it is her determination that the proposed changes will require re-approval as a Conditional Use by the Board of Commissioners. Ms. Sopka addressed the Planning Commission on the facts of the proposed project that will require a Conditional Use Hearing.

Atty. Andreas agreed that they would have to go through the Conditional Use process, with the understanding that it has been a Treatment Center since 1995.

Mr. McKitish questioned what type of treatment physically occurs on site. Mr. Sweeney stated there is a D&A program (Drug and Alcohol) and Mental Health Program that takes place on site.

Mr. McKitish questioned who is treated. Mr. Sweeney responded there is an assessment done on each resident when they arrive. This determines what type of program is deemed necessary for the resident. They then are enrolled. Mr. McKitish questioned if all residents are treated. Mr. Sweeney did state that there are some individuals who go through the assessment and do not require any participation. Therefore, these residents will go on their work release program.

Mr. McKitish clarified that for some residents it is a treatment facility for others it is not.

Mr. Solt stated that the definition for treatment facility includes “a criminal rehabilitation facility such as a criminal half-way house”, which the ZHB determined for a resident strictly there for work release with no additional treatment. The facility serves as a halfway house. The treatment center includes the advised treatments, as well as, the work release component for their sentence and the county does not intend to change any use. Therefore the same inmates sentenced there will be the same with the exception of females and/or a greater number of residents. As far as the day-to-day activities and assessments conducted, there will be no changes.

Mr. Beck questioned how many job walk-offs do they have in a year. Mr. Sweeney advised that there are roughly 25-30 per year, but clarified that it is a job walk-off and   they do not leave the facilities.

Mr. Beck also inquired whether the sewage facilities would be capable of handling the proposed addition. Mr. Sergent explained that the City of Bethlehem would be the provider of both sanitary sewer and water and that there is no problem for both the proposed treatment capacity and quantity capacity for water. They are proposing roughly a 1/3 increase over the present capacity.

Mr. Sweeney advised that the main reason for the addition is for the women’s portion of the facility. They are building in the anticipation that there may be more growth.

Mr. Beck questioned if the storm water discharges into the Lehigh River. Mr. Sweeney stated that the site itself is within the floodplain of the Lehigh River and all the water that is in the basin does go into the Lehigh River. He indicated that there is a large pipe at the east end of the property that takes most of the water through there. Mr. Sweeney noted that Base Engineering did a floodplain study in July of 2008 and determined that the first floor of the building is about 1.7 feet above the flood elevation.

Mr. Tettemer asked if there are medical facilities existing or proposed for the site. Mr. Sweeney advised that a nurse is present at the site approximately 4-6 hours daily. The nurse is associated with the Department of Corrections Medical Service Contract.

Mr. Sweeney explained that an additional reason for the large expansion is that the residents are having a hard time securing jobs and, therefore, the County foresees the possibility of housing a higher population. The unemployment rate for the Treatment Center is up to 68 percent.

Mr. Beck asked about the number of police calls since 1995. Mr. Sweeney responded that there have been about five police calls since 1995, but more fire calls have occurred due to fire alarm problems which have since been corrected.

A discussion ensued among members of the Planning Commission to forward the Sketch Plan of the proposed correctional facility changes to the attention of Chief of Police for review and comment relative to the population expansion as well as the commingling of the residents.

1860 East Emmaus Avenue – Preliminary Plan of Land Development for the expansion of the Auditorium of the Crossroads Baptist Church.

Present were Pastor Gary Becker; Pastor Don Phillips; and Bob Hoppes, Engineer and Surveyor.

Mr. Tettemer highlighted the Township Engineer’s review letter dated September 2, 2009.

Ms. Sopka reviewed her memo to the Planning Commission dated September 4, 2009. Copies were provided to Pastor Becker and Mr. Hoppes.

Ms. Sopka commented that there are two separate parcels associated with this land development. Ms. Sopka stated that it is her recommendation, with the help of the Planning Commission, to consolidate these parcels into one. In addition, the requirement for this to have a separate plan review is associated with zoning requirements under subsection 117.1.A. Ms. Sopka stated that a recommendation was made to contact the Conservation District, because this is a requirement under SALDO.

Ms. Sopka addressed concerns she has regarding the square footage of the parking lot, along with the storm water runoff which could run toward private property.  Mr. Beck recalled that several years ago, the Township spent thousands of dollars for water control measures in the area due to residents getting a lot of water runoff. Mr. Beck commented that if the storm water is increased, then there will be an increased flooding problem.

Mr. Tettemer explained that the applicant is requesting a waiver in order to proceed as a preliminary/final plan, which the Planning Commission could either grant or make recommendations.

Mr. Tettemer referenced certain steps when undergoing a lot consolidation, including recording a new deed with the County Courthouse.  

Mr. Hoppes indicated that the expansion and existing parking lot equates to 19,000 sq. ft. for total parking. Mr. Hoppes stated that he came up with a number of trees that would be required under the ordinance which total seven to be planted.  The request for the waiver incorporates the fact that various trees presently exist.  The existing trees are18 inches or more in diameter and he anticipates their existence would satisfy the tree requirement.

Mr. McKitish questioned whether the driveway would remain in its present state. Mr. Hoppes stated the width will remain the same. Mr. Tettemer advised that the applicant has a low volume driveway permit which would still be valid for the amount of traffic being generated.

Mr. Hoppes had questions about the curb and sidewalk deferral, and how the process works. Mr. Beck advised him that the deferral must be in writing and submitted to the Commission and the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Tettemer stated the plan should be revised for the curb and sidewalk, as these are critical because it will change the storm water patterns, etc.

Mr. Hoppes indicated the intent is not to increase water with the development since they propose utilization of BMP’s such as a 6 inch vegetation berm filtration.  Mr. Hoppes stated they have a 3% in building coverage over the property and also have calculated a minimal increase impervious coverage of 3%.

Mr. Tettemer stated that the Commission did not necessarily have to vote, but asked if they could give direction as to whether they are leaning towards curb and sidewalks, therefore the developer can proceed with preparing plans appropriately. Mr. Tettemer stated that they did request a preliminary final waiver, which Mr. Tettemer will review with them.

Mr. McKitish with regard to the sidewalks, questioned the amount of foot traffic they have. Pastor Becker advised that there are about 100 people that attend on a Sunday, but there is minimal foot traffic.

Mr. Tettemer stated that if curbing will be required, they would have to start looking into storm sewer and contact Penn DOT for permits. Mr. Tettemer asked the Commission for guidance in their thoughts on curbing, therefore he will know what action needs to be taken.

Mr. Beck and the planning commission members did not believe that the curbing would be required for this project.

Mr. Licht asked Mr. Hoppes to give an explanation regarding the maximum slopes and excavation areas and how it will be handled. Mr. Hoppes stated they have a few suggestions of either raising the elevation of the floor or possibly putting in a retaining wall.

Mr. Tettemer stated that they have submitted plans as a preliminary final, but technically it is a preliminary plan. They have requested to upgrade the plan.

The Commission made the determination that when the waivers are referenced in one letter, the plan is upgraded and reviewed by the Township Engineer and the Zoning Officer then the Commission could take action on the requests.

Mr. Beck advised that the Commission has to vote on the lot consolidation. Mr. Tettemer stated that they have to put on the plan the existing property lines, the intent and make notation in the title block.

Mr. Vince Kibble of 821 Nantucket Circle indicated that his backyard is adjacent to the Church property.  Mr. Kibble welcomed the Church’s land development proposal and hopes it will correct the water problem behind his home, as the storm drain has been blocked for quite some time and the water is entering his property.

Motion was made to Table the Preliminary Land Development Plan for the expansion of the Auditorium of the Crossroads Baptist Church by Mr. McKitish.  Motion seconded by Mr. Schreiter. Motion passed by unanimous voice vote.


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

Meeting adjourned.