Whitehall-Coplay Press

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Borough denies recreational fee change

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Paul Cmil Special to The Press in Local News

Council wants payment upfront; funds could help with Saylor Park plans

At Coplay Borough Council’s regular meeting July 9, council members denied a request by David Scheuermann, of DVS Enterprises, for relief on recreational fee payments for his proposed apartment complex on Second Street.

DVS Enterprises Inc. has a plan to develop 48 residential apartments in six buildings at 250 N. Second St. in Coplay. A portion of the property, less than 10 percent of the total, is in Whitehall.

The new apartment complex will mimic the existing property on Coplay Road, north of the Ironton Rail Trail and Saylor Park. Coplay Borough Council gave tentative approval of the plan in June 2018.

At the workshop meeting July 2, the developer asked if he could pay his recreational fees as he brought a building on line, as opposed to paying all fees upfront. Councilman Charles Sodl talked at length about the recreation fees. His main point was the difficulty of getting programs started when the fees are split up into smaller increments.

Coplay has plans for an improved Saylor Park with $250,000 in grants. The cost estimate, even with the grants and local assistance, fell short of what was needed.

“We need the funds upfront for the project so we can have a recreational facility available when these apartments get leased,” Sodl said.

The original application did include a condition that the recreation fees be paid at the start of the project. Sodl had a concern that the project was for sale and a new owner might build the project at a slower rate, which would slow the funds needed for recreation priorities.

Scheuermann indicated at the workshop meeting that fronting the recreational fees at the start of the project would delay the project.

In other business, Bob Elbich, a candidate for Lehigh County commissioner, presented his qualifications to council. He also urged a better turnout for local elections.

“Most of what happens is local. The people you need to handle problems are local politicians,” he said.

In his statistics, Elbich showed that local elections typically have half the turnout of federal elections.

Council deferred action on a Meals on Wheels donation. Coplay has never made a boroughwide donation before and wanted to be sure that the funds would be used for Coplay residents.

Council also took time to review the cell tower lease, which is up for renewal. The lease is a decadeslong commitment. The matter was reviewed in executive session.

The latest event in the borough, Fun on the Field, is scheduled for noon-4 p.m. July 21. The event is sponsored by Coplay Sports and Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. Council was looking for insurance and liquor sales approvals before the event.

Council appointed Mike Dreisbach to the borough planning commission.