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N. Whitehall board has first in-person meeting since COVID-19 shutdown

North Whitehall supervisors had their first in-person meeting on July 6 since Gov. Tom Wolf’s initial stay-at-home order in March.

There was significantly reduced seating in the township municipal building to maintain social distance, temperature screenings were performed and a mandatory mask-wearing policy was in effect.

Township Secretary Brenda Norder reported the annual Summer Convention of the Lehigh County Association of Township Officials in August had been canceled.

Under new business, the board approved time extensions for the George Minor subdivision, the Ridings at Parkland Phase II plan, and the Kornfeind Apartments Development until Oct. 31, Sept. 30 and Oct. 18, respectively, to allow the township time to review the relevant plans.

The board also approved a request from Ridings at Parkland developer Mike Tuskes to withdraw the lot line adjustment plan and release the $1,044.25 in associated escrow money for Phase 1 of the development plan.

Additionally, regarding Phase 1 of the Ridings at Parkland, the board also heard a request to modify the road cross-sections in the development.

Township engineer Steve Gitch said the developer was requesting to push sidewalks along the development’s interior roads back toward the outside boundary of the township’s right of way to create a 1-foot wide planting area so mailboxes are not placed within the sidewalk.

Gitch said the changes would also help with the transitions for driveway aprons and would assist in meeting ADA requirements, and thus had no objections to the request.

Additionally, he noted for sidewalks along Schneck Road - a collector road with a larger right of way - the developer was requesting a 5-foot separation for sidewalks to increase distance from the right of way.

Gitch noted the developer had sufficient space to make the modifications.

The board voted to grant approval for the changes to the road cross-sections.

Supervisors also approved a request for payment from Semmel Excavating, which is conducting work on the Kolapechka Park Project, in the amount of $68,734.67.

Gitch said the company is actually farther along in their work then the payment indicated and the park’s fencing work could be completed within two weeks.

In other business, the board also heard and approved a request from the Anoopam Mission, along Clearview Road, to relocate a hydrant from the mission’s private property into the adjacent public right of way.

Norder noted the mission had submitted the required documentation and said the location change had been approved by the fire chiefs.

Jay Shah, representing Anoopam Mission, said the mission had agreed to cover the relocation costs for the hydrant, and Gitch noted the relocation would save the mission from paying higher fees for a private hydrant.

Instead the organization would reimburse the township for the substantially lower yearly costs for a public hydrant.

Furthermore, the board also heard a request for signage prohibiting the use of Jake brakes and changing the speed restrictions along Willow Street.

Norder noted that numerous complaints had been received from nearby residents about high-speed truck traffic heading to the New Enterprise Asphalt Stone and Line Co., as well as noise from the Jake brakes.

She said the township would need to contact PennDOT to look into the matter and is looking for permission to put up signage prohibiting the brakes and changing speed limits, and said if allowed the township would buy, erect and maintain the signs.

Supervisor Dennis Klusaritz inquired about contacting New Enterprise and bringing the matter to its attention.

The board approved a motion to contact the company about addressing the truck speed and Jake brake noise, as well as authorizing Norder to contact PennDOT if New Enterprise is unable to address the issue.

The next township board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3.