Town­ship split on de­ci­sion that could triple height of ware­house

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kevin Duffy

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.

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