Township split on decision that could triple height of warehouse
Upper Macungie Township’s Board of Supervisors will appeal last month’s decision by the zoning board to allow warehouse to expand to more than twice as high as what’s allowed.
Supervisors voted 3-0 Thursday to appeal zoners’ Sept. 11 decision to grant AmeriCold a variance allowing its existing warehouse at 7150 Ambassador Drive to go from 45 feet to 135 feet.
AmeriCold, which specializes in storing and moving temperature-controlled goods, did not demonstrate hardship in the event the variance was not granted, township solicitor Andrew Schantz said, leaving the door open for appeal.
“They didn’t prove the requisites that would be required,” he said.
He said the township has standing as an interested party in the zoning board’s decision and can take its appeal to Lehigh County Court.
Chairman James Brunell said appealing the decision is warranted.
“I’m not sure this precedent is one we’d like to set,” he said. “A hardship was not proven or shown.”
Supervisor Sean Gill said increasing the warehouse’s height that much could have a negative impact on Hilltop Estates, a community of singlefamily homes nearby.
The township could allow an applicant to exceed the normal 50-foot limit under special circumstances in order to reach as high as 75 feet, but that would require that the building be set back farther from the road, Schantz said.
Tim Siegfried, an attorney representing AmeriCold, said it is seeking to expand its warehouse by 225,000 square feet from its present 210,000 square feet, but that not all of the added space would result in exceeding the 50-foot cap.
Americold, which has its headquarters in Atlanta, has been in the township since 1977.
Kevin Duffy is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.