Bethlehem Press

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bethlehem Township: Is development for the birds?

Thursday, April 4, 2013 by BERNIE O'HARE Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

A proposed 314-home residential development to be located at Green Pond Country Club was greeted with concerns about stormwater management, road widths and the environment by both residents and Bethlehem Township Commissioners at their March 18 meeting. Developer J.G. Petrucci is nevertheless hopeful that the project will be built next year.

Petrucci Principal Greg Rogerson, along with Pennoni Engineering's Rocco Caracciolo, presented a plan that requires no zoning changes.

"It's a by-right plan," noted Rogerson. But he cautioned commissioners that they are unable to "solve the Church Road intersection," which currently empties out onto Easton Avenue at a sahrp angle.

Carraccioli did state that the development will reduce, though not eliminate, stormwater discharges from flood-prone Green Pond.

"This is a challenged area for flooding," he stated. Petrucci has spent "hundreds of thousands" of dollars for a plan that will divert most stormwater onto the golf course. The impact of a two-year storm would be reduced by 30 percent, and a 100-year storm by 10 percent, said the engineer.

Farmersville Road resident Jack Glagola insisted the impervious surfaces from new development would just exacerbate the current flooding.

"In no way is there any support for this development in its current configuration," he said, adding that he had spoken to neighbors.

On behalf of both the Audubon and Sierra clubs, Bethlehem resident Vicky Bastidas warned commissioners and Caracciolo that Green Pond is a migratory stopping ground for 161 bird species.

"These are not ducks. These are marsh birds," Bastidas said. According to Bastidas, those birds can handle only two to three inches of water, as opposed to the deep basin proposed in the sketch plan.

Commissioners were asked to table the proposal, but Tom Nolan told residents that no action is required for a sketch plan.

"It's just an overview so we have an idea," he said.

Commissioner Marty Zawarski was hung up on road widths; instead of the 32-foot wide roads proposed, he'd like them to be 36-feet for more on-street parking. Caracciolo said that could be done, but will increase the impervious coverage.