Initial phase for Jaindl resort in Lehigh Twp. OK’d
David Jaindl has received approval from Lehigh Township for the first phase of development of Lehigh Valley Resort and Spa on the site of the former Mary Immaculate Center.
Township supervisors based their approval Tuesday on compliance with a host of conditions for the repurposing of the site at 300 Cherryville Road, including compliance with township engineering reviews, adherence to timelines for conducting traffic impact studies and the posting of security, and the payment of recreation fees in lieu of land donation.
Jaindl said the initial phase, including a 206-room hotel, restaurants, spa and wellness center, should be complete by late 2022.
Development of the 600acre site, he added, could take 20 years to reach full buildout.
Jaindl is heralding the project as a hallmark of farming and agriculture that will include a stand-alone barn with a working greenhouse and event space that will provide for “farm-totable” dining.
Before that can be achieved, however, water must first be provided to the site, and how that will be done through the city of Bethlehem was discussed Tuesday.
Expansion of the existing water treatment facility on Indian Trail Road is proposed, but board members expressed concern over sacrificing land at Indian Trail Park.
A booster pump station and generator will be required to move water up the mountain to service the resort in the first phase, said Scott McMackin, vice president of Cowan Associates.
That would require taking property from the adjacent park, and supervisors said they have been hearing from residents who are not thrilled by the prospect.
“We’ve all been getting emails,” Supervisor Cindy Miller said.
Miller asked why the needed facilities couldn’t be installed across the street from the park through a negotiation with the landowner to keep from losing land.
Blake Romanowski, project manager with Ebert Engineering, said the presence of homes nearby would not allow for it as the infrastructure cannot be within 250 feet of a dwelling.
He said they were essentially locked in to expanding the existing facility for the necessary hardware but might have some options that would require taking less land.
Jaindl and the township reached a compromise on when all conditions must be met.
Joseph Zator, Jaindl’s legal counsel, said the township’s requirement of satisfying all conditions and recording the plan within 12 months of final approval before occupancy would be permitted wasn’t appealing because Jaindl intends to serve as owner/operator.
He said allowing for a presecurity improvements agreement “allows the project to move forward without the plan being recorded, allowing for greater flexibility.”
Township solicitor David Backenstoe, however, advised the board against the idea because that would result in the agreement remaining open “in perpetuity.”
Both sides settled on 48 months for a deadline for Jaindl to record the plan.
Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.