Ini­tial phase for Jaindl re­sort in Le­high Twp. OK’d

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kevin Duffy

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.

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