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Concerned about traffic and flooding, Lower Macungie opposes plan for 180 apartments

DONNA FISHER / THE MORNING CALL
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Lower Macungie Township commissioners voted to hire an attorney to oppose a conditional use application for 180 apartments during a hearing next month, amid concerns over increased traffic and flooding.

, Mill Creek Pointe Apartments, would house the units across 30 structures at 6300 Lower Macungie Road, according to township documents, and includes a clubhouse, pool and over 550 parking spaces.

Lower Macungie’s planning commission unanimously recommended the apartments in November with conditions such as making sure the complex is dark-sky compliant and that it doesn’t interfere with school buses and families traveling through the East Penn School District.

Other community members didn’t feel as positive.

In a letter to the Lehigh County Conservation District dated March 11, resident Peter Hance said the apartment proposal would increase traffic and “disturb the tranquility of this area and affect the health and well-being of the residents.”

Noting that the current cornfield at the site’s address helps prevent flooding, he also expressed concern for the thousands of gallons of stormwater the development would add to the nearby Spring Creek during rainfall.

Resident Lisa Fedullo also expressed concerns for traffic in a letter to the township.

“First and foremost, our roads cannot handle the [ever-increasing] volume of cars on Hamilton Street or Lower Macungie Road,” she wrote. “The number of accidents on our roads near my development of Shepherd Hills has dramatically increased with the ever-increasing commercial development, as has our time sitting in traffic increased.”

Fedullo added that the local schools couldn’t take on additional students moving to the area because of the development, and that she feared the project could further pollute local waterways.

“When I moved to Shepherd Hills from Philadelphia in 1987, our area was surrounded by farmland. Now, very little farmland is remaining in LMT where I live,” she wrote. “It would be so lovely to be able to maintain one area where we would still be able to watch the sun rise and set over beautiful land rather than diving below concrete and metal.”

The Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners, which unanimously decided to hire the firm Rudolph Clarke as special counsel on Thursday to help oppose the project, expressed similar concerns regarding the traffic and flooding risks, according to solicitor David Brooman.

A hearing on the application was scheduled for Thursday but was continued to April 4. This happened because Kevin Fogerty, the applicant’s attorney, called out a conflict of interest with the township’s initial choice for special counsel, the firm Eastburn and Gray; that firm previously represented the applicant, Jason Danweber, for the same property, Fogerty said.

In other news, Township Manager Bruce Beitel reminded that residents could see a “fairly significant” increase in garbage service rates when Lower Macungie’s contract with Waste Management Inc. expires in August, with staff working to have a new contract in place before then.

In , Ron Carlson, a representative for Waste Management, said the company decided not to renew the contract due to “adverse economic decisions” that impacted its staffing and supply chain.

The company has served the township since 2019, according to the .

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