A planned 56-home development along Route 191 in Lower Nazareth Township has nearby residents concerned over increased congestion on already heavily traveled roads.
The Lower Nazareth Planning Commission and a standing-room-only crowd intently listened Monday night while preliminary plans for Saratoga Farms were presented.
The property in question, known as the Frey Tract subdivision, is next to the Lower Nazareth Township Municipal Building. If approved, the 56 single-family homes will be built on one-acre lots.
Zachariah Cobrinik, vice chairman of the Planning Commission at the time, praised much of the development's design in May 2011, particularly where the plan shows traffic exiting and entering via neighborhood roads that do not intersect Route 191.
“It’s all about reducing the amount of traffic on 191,” said Cobrinik, who has since joined the Zoning Hearing Board.
Residents don't agree.
At issue for residents is where the development's main entrance should be located and whether to extend Hartman Road -- a dead-end that intersects Newburg Road -- into the development. Discussion at the 2011 meeting leaned toward not extending the road.
“I’m wondering if the board realizes the amount of traffic on Newburg Road," Delores Hartman said. "We have a difficult time now and I’m concerned about accidents. It’s congested now. Who will be responsible for all this [additional] congestion?"
Earl Snyder, who has lived on Hartman Road for 31 years, said he fears for neighbors who reverse out of their driveways.
"I don't think [extending Hartman] is safe," Snyder added.
Residents who live along Winding Way, which intersects Truman Lane, also expressed concern.
“I’m concerned about all the traffic on roads not built for [that level of traffic],” said Larry Boorujian. “Why can’t there be an entrance from 191? Put it on 191 where it ought to be. You can put the other [entrances] in too, but put one on 191.”
Al Kortze, the township's engineer, said "a lot of factors" determine the placement of the development's entrances. As for putting an entrance on Route 191, Kortze added, "I can’t say if PennDOT will even consider it.”
When asked if a main entrance on Route 191 is possible, representatives -- Joe Piperato, the attorney and a principal for Frey Tract, and Darrin Heckman from Lehigh Engineering Associates Inc. -- briefly paused before replying with a "no."
Piperato's reasoning was that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would likely turn down the proposal, so it was not worth the effort or cost to try.
Piperato did tell the residents, however, that the develolpers would be open to not extending Hartman Road if that’s what the township decides is best.
The plan was tabled pending resolution of the Hartman Road extension and entrance issue. At the earliest, a revised plan will be presented to the Planning Commission at its Dec. 17 meeting.