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Neighbors issue worries over manufacturing site in Palmer Township

Palmer Township municipal building
Olivia Richardson
Palmer Township supervisors meet at the township municipal building off Newburg Road.

PALMER TWP., Pa. — Township supervisors rejected plans for a manufacturing facility to be built in the growing northern end of the township.

After a two-hour hearing Tuesday night, supervisors unanimously opposed a proposal by Greystone Capital Inc. for a 185,000-square-foot manufacturing center at the southeast corner of Van Buren and Newlins Mill roads.

  • Hearings for the proposed manufacturing and warehouse facility at 1493 Van Buren Road started last May
  • The proposed plant would be in a 185,000-square-foot building on a 15.43-acre lot
  • Residents of the Highlands at Glenmoor neighborhood worried about noise, storm runoff and air quality

Residents of the nearby Highlands at Glenmoor, a 55-and-older community, issued concerns about noise, air quality and stormwater runoff.

Developer Lou Pektor Jr. is president of Greystone Capital and has built several projects in Palmer and the Easton and Bethlehem areas. The Van Buren Road proposal didn't include details about what type of manufacturing would occur or if a specific manufacturer had sought use of the proposed plant.

Greystone was seeking conditional use approval for the 15.5-acre property because the area is not zoned for manufacturing. It sits in the planned office/industrial park zone.

Eight residents of the Highlands at Glenmoor, which is just south of the tract, testified against the proposed use.

David Monaghan said he has lived more than 15 years in the development of single-family homes. He said he had safety concerns with a manufacturing facility so close.

“Community character is not defined by boundary lines and zoning designations but the reputation of the area — reputation, quality and its residents,” Monaghan said. “In this instance we’re discussing two communities of senior citizens who’ve selected these communities on the basis of a peaceful and safe environment for their retirement years.”

Tuesday night’s hearing was a continuation of other conditional use hearings for the site held between May and September of last year.

Representatives for Greystone Capital presented an expert witness, Felicia Doggett of Metropolitan Acoustics. She said tests showed the noise level of a manufacturer would not exceed township noise ordinance limits.

But supervisors and residents said they were concerned about not knowing specifically what might be manufactured on-site.

“If you think you’re going to soundproof manufacturing, good luck.”
Ann Marie Panella, Palmer Township supervisor

Supervisor Ann Marie Panella said that could have an impact on neighbors.

“What the product is, helps determine the noise level,” Panella said. “If you think you’re going to soundproof manufacturing, good luck.”

The current zoning allows for medium-density residential development.

Greystone Capital has also considered building apartments on the site but has not submitted formal plans, according to township meeting minutes.