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Heritage Village Plans Still Stuck at Planning Commission Stage

Three waivers were sought for Moravian Hall Square's Heritage Village at Thursday night's Planning Commission meeting in Upper Nazareth Township, but only two were conditionally approved.

One waiver is keeping the conditional preliminary plan for 's , Heritage Village, from moving on to the Upper Nazareth Township Board of Supervisors for approval.

The 143-unit community for seniors would lie near the township's border with Nazareth Borough.

The sticking point at Thursday night's Planning Commission meeting was an ordinance that requires driveways to be 75 feet from street intersections.

"We did improve a lot of the locations by a considerable amount," said Phil Malitsch, an engineer with Hanover Engineering. "But we are not at 75 feet in every location by any means. The shortest distance that we have [from an intersection] is around 48 feet."

Malitsch added, "I think that what we did was in the spirit of what the Planning Commission was looking for -- that we must keep those driveways as far away from the intersections as we can."

Commission chairwoman Pam Berlew told Malitsch that she appreciated his efforts, but the latest plans with updated driveway distances were not submitted in a proper time frame.

According to uppernazarethtownship.org, submission of plans for the Planning Commission are due 21 days before a meeting.

"My feeling is that you submitted plans on Dec. 22, and that’s what we’ll review at this meeting," Berlew said. "We have a deadline for submission. Submitting something a week before is circumventing the deadline."

Before tabling the waiver until the Feb. 9 meeting, Albert Kortze, the township's engineer, provided the commission with his thoughts on the driveway distances.

"Based on the layout that they have, I think they’ve gone to some considerable lengths to get the driveways moved away from the intersections as best as possible," Kortze said, adding that since additional stop signs were included in the plan, these would allow motorists "more time to see if someone was coming out of a driveway."

However, you can never account for driver error, Kortze said. "There’s no way you can design around that. I think they have met the intent of the discussion. I feel comfortable that they addressed those concerns."

Meanwhile, the commission gave the final two waivers unanimous approval.

The first involved curb reveal, or how high the curbing will be. Curbing can improve drainage and prevent flooding.

"We're required to have a reveal of 7 inches, and we’re requesting a 6-inch curb reveal, which is an industry standard," Malitsch explained.

Kortze told the commission that from an accessibility standpoint, 6 inches is acceptable. "I don't have any problems with the waiver," he said.

However, if the road is resurfaced several times, the curb reveal could shorten to 3 or 4 inches, "or in Nazareth's case, a half-inch reveal," Kortze joked.

The waiver was approved under the condition that a 6-inch curb reveal is maintained at all times.

The final waiver involved the planting of trees within 10 feet of underground utility laterals.

Malitsch asked that the commission give approval under the condition the tree situation is discussed and handled with the Nazareth Municipal Sewer Authority and the Pennsylvania-American Water Co.

"We’re prepared to work with them to determine what is a reasonable separation from the utility laterals," Malitsch said. "It’s a third-party entity that owns and maintains the lines. We respectfully request a waiver to do whatever those parties say is a reasonable separation."

Kortze agreed.

"I feel that if the utility providers are fine with it, and it’s something the township wouldn’t have to deal with, I’m fine with it," he said.

Commissioner Stephen Polles was concerned about not talking to the companies first, so the waiver was approved under the condition that the trees are planted at a minimum of 10 feet from the utility laterals unless the water company and municipal authority grant less.

The next Planning Commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 in the .

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