Bethlehem Twp. Planning Fee hears complaints about Kay Builders' Farmersville plan

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. – Kay Builders’ proposed housing growth on Farmersville Highway elicited complaints Monday evening from Bethlehem Township residents — the identical residents whose houses now cowl what additionally was open house, one planning commissioner reminded them. 

Opponents stated it’s time for the township to take a stand towards extra growth as a result of site visitors is congested, flooding is frequent and open house is disappearing.

The township planning fee made no determination at its assembly, and any suggestion to the board of commissioners could also be months away. The planners make suggestions, and the board makes remaining selections on land use. 

Kay Builders plans to place a mixture of 166 single-family houses, townhouses and flats on the Miller Farm at 3107 Farmersville Highway, a 52-acre tract of open house. The land is privately owned and in a zone that enables residential growth. The planning fee reviewed a preliminary sketch plan. 

Fee Chairman Les Walker stated the Miller household has no person to take over the farm, and so they have the suitable to promote it. He additionally famous that each one Bethlehem Township houses had been as soon as open house. 

“All of the developments had been farmland,” he identified. “Now we stay in developments that was farms.” 

The view of a farm is scenic and nostalgic, however “If you purchased the house, you did not purchase the view,” Walker stated. 

Kay has an choice to purchase the land, in line with the fee, and residents who object to growth ought to go to the commissioners’ conferences, and ask Northampton County and the State of Pennsylvania to attempt to protect the land.  

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A number of points, such because the burden on faculties, wildlife migration and the impact on {the electrical} grid transcend the fee’s authority. The planners contemplate the township’s land-use guidelines and make suggestions based mostly on whether or not plans conform, fee lawyer Brian Panella stated. 

Richard Roseberry, engineer for the venture, stated there might be many months earlier than all research of the tract are performed. The assembly Monday was to offer info and for Kay Builders to get suggestions. The suggestions consisted largely of individuals saying, don’t do that. 

Kay Builders may put 265 items on the land based mostly on township zoning guidelines, Roseberry stated, and “pack it with townhouses,” however restricted it to 166, together with rental flats. He added that the developer plans to satisfy ordinances. 

“It is definitely the intent of us once we transfer ahead with this venture that now we have a totally compliant plan,” he stated.

The stone farmhouse might be saved as a group heart for the owners affiliation (HOA) that Kay Builders will arrange. 

Richard Brooks, additionally representing Kay Builders, stated he might be obtainable to speak because the plan progresses. 

“Name Kay to get into contact with me,” he stated. “I will be glad to elucidate all the things I can.” 

Visitors alongside Farmersville Highway is an issue, a number of residents stated, with busy intersections on the intersection with Easton Avenue to the north, and Freemansburg Avenue to the south.

Township Engineer Anthony Tallarida stated there’s a design in place to transform the 2 Farmersville/Freemansburg T-junctions into a standard four-way intersection and development would possibly start in a yr or two. 

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“The township retains pushing aside site visitors points,” stated Allen Billiard III, a Farmersville Highway resident. Bethlehem Township has succumbed to “growth mania,” he added. “There is no such thing as a sense of group as this group continues to be bulldozed for growth.” 

“Our neighborhood will get flooded out as it’s,” stated David Wong. He complained of a altering character to the township. 

“We do not wish to stay in New Jersey or Maryland,” he stated.  

“That is unhealthy, simply throughout,” stated Thomas Keefer.  

Some residents had been advised that their feedback weren’t pertinent to the dialogue of land use because the assembly went on for greater than two hours. A number of occasions, residents had been suggested to take their inquiries to the commissioners. Amongst these talking Monday was Dale Sourbeck, who’s a commissioner. 

In the end, the township can’t cease a landowner if the proposed use meets land-use guidelines, lawyer Panella defined. Land homeowners can promote their property and builders can construct on it. Not liking a plan will not be sufficient to suggest towards it. 

That didn’t mollify residents. 

“We are the ones who stay right here,” stated Renee Stone. “We are the ones who need to exit onto Farmersville Highway.” 

Wildlife, cows and goose droppings had been additionally mentioned. Some audio system stated they may attend the commissioners’ conferences to object. 

The following commissioners’ assembly might be Monday, April 4, in particular person and broadcast through Zoom at 7 p.m. on the Bethlehem Township municipal constructing. See the township web site for the agenda. The Kay plan was recognized because the “Miller Parcel” on Monday’s agenda.  

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Due to the anticipated quantity of debate concerning the Farmersville Highway proposal, different gadgets had been dropped from Monday’s planning agenda.