7:30 PM
November 12, 2008

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, Hebelka, McKitish, Hassick, and Schreiter. Also present were Mr. Tettemer, representative of the Township Engineer; Attorney Ashley, Township Solicitor; and Mr. Soriano, Township Manager.

Mr. Beck called the meeting to order.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – October 14, 2008
On Motion by Mr. Schreiter, seconded by Mr. McKitish, the Planning Commission voted 5-0 to approve the October 14, 2008 Planning Commission Minutes as submitted.

Consideration of the Samuel M. Gentile Minor Subdivision Plan. Property located at 757 Weil Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015 in an R-4, Medium Density Residential Zoning District. Four (4) sheets – last revised October 17, 2008.

Mr. Beck announced that the item has been TABLED and the Developer is awaiting a reply from Bethlehem regarding the water service.

Mr. Hebelka noted that the developer submitted a letter on November 12, 2008 granting an extension until December 31, 2008.

On motion by Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Hassick, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to accept the extension of review period for the Samuel M. Gentile Minor Subdivision Plan until December 31, 2008.

Consideration of the Glenda Pini Minor Subdivision Plan. Property located at 1630 East Emmaus Avenue in an R-3, Medium Low Density Residential District. Two sheets – plan dated September 14, 2007.

Mr. Beck announced that a letter was received from Ms. Pini that she is withdrawing the plan.

Consideration of the Salisbury Township School District Land Development Plan. Property located at 400 East Montgomery Street, (High School Campus) in an R-4, Medium Density Residential Zoning District.

Twelve (12) sheets – last revised October 23, 2008.

Present were Arif Fazil of D’Huy Engineering; Terry DeGroot of Terraform Engineering; and James Milot of Hanover Engineering.

Mr. Tettemer highlighted the Township Engineer review letter dated November 6, 2008.

Mr. DeGroot acknowledged receipt of the review letter and indicated that they will comply with the Township Engineer review comments.

Mr. Fazil provided the members with a handout. He explained that the timeline and cost are main priorities of the project. He acknowledged that he sent a letter to Mr. Tettemer in response to his review of the traffic study that was performed. He outlined some of the critical items. He noted that the School District would like that the traffic signal matter be addressed independently from this plan and include input from the Board of Commissioners. He stated that the traffic study results indicate that a traffic signal is not warranted. He commented that that they were surprised to be informed only just recently that a traffic study had previously been performed at the Dauphin Street and Emmaus Avenue intersection in 2004.

Mr. Milot spoke at length providing comparable statistics between the new traffic study and the 2004 study. He noted that the signalization criteria for warranting a signal is based upon either rural or urban characters. He explained that rural is based upon a 30% reduction in the traffic necessary to warrant the signal. He explained that their traffic study indicated that the urban criteria for warranting a traffic signal is not met.

Mr. Tettemer commented that he requested that they perform one more traffic count. He explained that he cannot determine whether or not either the new study or the 2004 study is correct.

Mr. DeGroot explained that the issue goes beyond the High School project and request that the issue be discussed separately and the School District can discuss with the Township about how they could contribute, if necessary.

Mr. McKitish commented that as a Planning Commission member, they are charged with the safety and welfare of the residents, including the students.

He noted the High School does have an impact on the intersection.

Mr. Hebelka inquired about the average vehicle trips per day.

Mr. Milot explained that they used the trip generation based on the square footage as a conservative number as opposed to the number of students. He explained that this provides a higher number.

Mr. Schreiter noted that Emmaus Avenue is a major thoroughfare between Allentown and Bethlehem and inquired if a common sense approach is being considered as opposed to just purely statistics. He commented that the engineers have not given any opinions and have only given data about this particular intersection.

Mr. Milot noted that there are other factors that are considered and not just sheer volume to determine a need for a traffic signal.

Mr. McKitish noted that he has observed various traffic patterns after school activities and sports that take place and inquired if those volumes had been accounted for in the study.

Mr. Tettemer noted that the Yeker Farm development for which the 2004 study was prepared was very small. He noted that after the 2004 study, PennDOT had concurred that a traffic signal is warranted at the intersection. The High School’s impact is much more significant.

A discussion ensued regarding separating the traffic signal matter. The School District’s engineers agreed to provide additional traffic impact study data.

Mr. Tettemer noted that in order to separate the issue from the plan approval, a waiver would be required.

Mrs. Norma Cusick of 535 East Emmaus Avenue inquired about pedestrian foot traffic being considered. She noted safety concerns for students crossing the intersection of East Emmaus Avenue and Dauphin Streets. She noted that there is no cross walk.

Mr. Fazil noted that they have a count of the current students that walk which is 85, but they do not have a count for the ninth graders.

Mary Anne Wright explained that when there are hazardous routes, the children are bused. She stated that she could obtain additional information on the number of students that live on the other side of Emmaus Avenue.

Mrs. Cusick commented that the safety of the students has to be of the utmost priority.

Russ Giordano of 2037 Wells Court, School Board President, commented that he objects to having the Plan being held up in order to resolve an issue that should have been addressed years ago. He expressed the School District’s willingness and commitment to try to address the traffic signal issue.

There was a discussion on whether to defer the traffic issue.

Motioned by Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Hebelka, the Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend granting a waiver to SALDO Section 3.2.A.3 (allow plan to proceed as a preliminary/final). Mr. Beck voted no.

Motioned by Mr. McKitish, seconded by Mr. Schreiter, the Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend conditional approval of the Preliminary/Final Salisbury Township School District Land Development Plan, conditioned upon the developer addressing the Township Engineer’s review letter, with specific emphasis on obtaining a resolution to the traffic study issues to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer and a resolution of the data between the 2004 traffic study and the recent traffic study; and any Federal, State, and/or local requirements applicable to the site, and any conditions and/or requirements of the Township Solicitor.

On motion by Mr. Hassick, seconded by Mr. Shreiter, the Planning Commission meeting was adjourned.