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Lower Macungie grants written zoning approval for North Krocks Road development

Lower Macungie Township board
Jay Bradley
The Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners discusses a zoning ordinance modification introduced during the Feb. 16 meeting.

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP. — A written decision that approves zoning modification for the 54.4-acre mixed-use development on North Krocks Road in Lower Macungie Township was approved Thursday by the township board of commissioners.

The vote puts the project on a path to submitting land development plans.

  • Zoning approval was granted for the 54.4-acre mixed use development at 617 N. Krocks Road including apartments, a hotel and retail space.
  • The development will now have to address comments and submit land development plans to the township
  • This is one of two large mixed use developments in progress for the township

A public conditional use hearing was conducted for the development at commissioners' Feb. 16 meeting, during which conditions were discussed and the board indicated its intent to approve the application.
Thursday's vote was unanimous. It also approved conditions that must be met prior to submission of land development plans.

The 13-building development on 617 North Krocks Road, bordering Route 222, would include 318 apartments across 10 three-story buildings.

Also in the plans are a pool and clubhouse, a dog park, walking trails, a 160-room hotel and a 19,800-square-foot retail building.

The site also would include 740 parking spaces for the residential portion, 166 parking spaces for the hotel, 78 parking spaces for the commercial portion and five storm water detention basins for storm water management.

A different development

The project is separate from the other large mixed-use development proposed for the township titled the Lehigh Valley Town Center. That project proposes further housing, along with various entertainment anchors including a TopGolf.

"We're going to have a very transparent and frank discussion about all those [questions]. It's just not right now."
Lower Macungie Commissioners' President Brian Higgins

Various conditions were established for the project, including addressing access and egress concerns, reviewing architecture and landscaping plans with the township, providing an emergency access point at the rear of the site, making the site meet dark sky compliance regulations and incorporating bike racks and walking tails.

A traffic signal also would be installed at North Krocks and Cetronia roads in Upper Macungie Township, and the township requests a working fountain to be placed in the water basin abutting the commercial building south of the proposed hotel.

The project must address additional comments made previously by the township engineer, the township director of community development, and the township zoning officer to written satisfaction of each. It also will require written verification from utility services such as PPL that the space may be used for the services listed, such as roads and storm water management.

The project is proposed by New Jersey company French & Parrello Associates through Lower Macungie Township Mixed Use Development LLC.

'We're going to get to those questions'

The applicants said the property was primarily bought by the LLC from the Diocese of Allentown. Proposed hotel tenants include Hilton brands Home 2 and Tru Suites, which would divide the building.

The writing of the Lower Macungie Township board states that the mixed-use development will not have a negative impact on the street traffic and safety of the community and will not cause undue congestion and hazards on the surrounding roads based on their findings.

At the conditional use hearing, representatives from Country Meadows Retirement and TGG/TCH Hamilton Crossings Associates LP were present, each expressing concern about potential traffic increases.

"Many of the questions I have [are about] whether it's going to be about stormwater management, or it's going to be about traffic and traffic patterns...we're going to get to those questions," commissioners' President Brian Higgins said at the conditional use hearing.

"We're going to have a very transparent and frank discussion about all those. It's just not right now."

"It's going to take about three to four months to submit for land development," said Catherine E.N. Durso, an attorney for the project.