Lehigh Twp. resort will cause wastewater needs
Deal reached to help growth of treatment plant
The developer and township are working out how to expand the Lehigh Township Municipal Authority’s water treatment plant to accommodate the rebirth of the former Mary Immaculate Center as a resort.
During the township supervisors meeting Tuesday, both parties agreed to form a “working committee” comprised of representatives from the authority, the township’s recreation committee, and developer David Jaindl to arrive at consensus.
Located on Indian Trail Road in Pennsville, the plant will have to be expanded to handle wastewater from the future Lehigh Valley Resort & Spa at 300 Cherryville Road as well as to provide drinking water.
The plant needs a generator and booster pump station at the time of the first phase of development of the resort, which includes the repurposing of the seminary into an event center, restaurant, and 206room hotel, with the former convent converted into a spa.
That will require carving out 2 acres by a lot-line adjustment between the plant and adjacent Indian Trail Park to accommodate the needed infrastructure.
Pins will be laid out next week by the authority delineating where the lot-line adjustment will be, authority Chairman Carl Sharpe said.
Attorney Joseph Zator, representing Jaindl, asked supervisors to consider conveying the land to the authority, which would then lease it back to the township for a dollar so it could continue to be used for recreation until it is needed for the expansion.
“Whenever that time comes, the infrastructure project could move forward,” he said.
Chairman Darryl Snover said the plant expansion has taken on “a life of its own” as Jaindl’s resort project has advanced beyond the preliminary land development approval phase, which supervisors signed off on last month.
He said he was in favor of continuing using the park in the interim.
Supervisor Cindy Miller, however, said she is waiting for “a complete cost analysis” for the project, and questioned why they should agree to give land to the authority.
She also voiced concern over the possibility of the expanded plant failing, and the risk to the township should it do so.
Township Solicitor David Backenstoe cautioned that conveying the land would result in the township no longer having control over what type of system is put in.
The conveyance is necessary because the authority will have to demonstrate that it has a right to expand over the 2 acres when it submits its plan to the Department of Environmental Protection, said Edward Andres, the authority’s solicitor.
In response to Miller, he said “a cost benefit analysis will have to wait until we get the design approved.”
The plant is designed to handle up to 60,000 gallons of wastewater per day and will need to increase that to 260,000 gallons under Jaindl’s design, he said.
Jaindl has an agreement in place with Bethlehem to provide potable water.
Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.
Developer David Jaindl is planning to “repurpose” the vacant Mary Immaculate Center in Lehigh Township.