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Planners review Jaindl project

Lehigh Township Planning Commission held a special meeting June 25, the first in several months due to COVID-19, to discuss details of the second phase of developer David Jaindl’s Lehigh Valley Spa and Resort project, planned on the 600-acre former Mary Immaculate Seminary land, off Cherryville Road.

For an arduous five hours, members of the commission discussed proposed changes to the Planned Residential Resort Community sections of the zoning and the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance as they pertain to the project.

According to Cynthia Miller, Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors chair, the commission has been looking at revisions for about six months, adding it has been difficult to go through the plan without face-to-face meetings.

“Zoning changes need to be seriously considered,” Miller said. “If you do it for one (developer), you must do it for another.”

Phase two of the massive project focuses on the addition of 475 dwelling units, including single-family homes and apartments. Topics discussed at the meeting encompassed the widening of Cherryville Road, where driveways should be placed so as to not impede through-traffic, landscaping and architecture details and how much space to leave between buildings, just to name just a few.

According to Miller, some of the most important and perhaps contentious subjects discussed were whether the connector road between Cherryville and Indian Trail roads should be open to the public at all times, the width of streets and alleys in the development and the amount and type of housing, with the number of apartments being the sticking point.

In addition, the issue of age restriction came up. The township prefers the age restriction because less children in the development means less strain on the school district. Jaindl would rather not have a restriction.

All of the points discussed will be reviewed and voted on by the board of supervisors at its next meeting July 28.

Groundbreaking for the first phase of the project, which will convert the existing seminary building into a 206-room hotel with restaurants, spa, wellness center and more, is slated to begin as early as this fall.