Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Developer continues sidewalks dispute

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by CASSANDRA DAYOUB Special to The Press in Local News

Whitehall board maintains stance on importance of pedestrian safety

Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners reviewed eight ordinances, many dealing with road construction and pedestrian safety, at its workshop meeting Feb. 3.

Bohler Engineering officials, representing developer MRP Industrial, requested several deferrals, all centralizing around the required installation of curbs and sidewalks along 3585 S. Church St. This location, once a Bon-Ton distribution center, is now under reconstruction by MRP Industrial, which would prefer the area not draw pedestrian activity.

However, while the developers made attempts to dispute the requirements, the board had the concerns of the community in mind.

“What constitutes safety? Is it only one person getting injured, or several?” Secretary Thomas Slonaker asked. “I just want people to get from point A to point B safely.”

Commissioners discussed the pros and cons of adding curbing and sidewalks along various sections of South Church Street, a road reportedly notorious for flooding and pedestrian activity, despite the lack of designated walking zones.

Bohler officials, armed with maps and prepared talking points, emphasized their issues are not with the addition of the sidewalks but rather the curbs themselves. They said they may come before the board again with a different method of hazardous weather control, such as underground piping, to replace the curbing.

In other business, a second hearing was held to request the acquisition by deed of 2,381 square feet of property of William Dinbokowitz and others at 3630 Mechanicsville Road.

The acquisition would be in lieu of condemnation of the property, allowing for the widening of Mechanicsville Road. This has been a 15-year-long project, and the board appeared pleased to finally see progress being made on the road’s expansion.

The board discussed factors that must be considered before work begins, such as leaving all mailboxes along the road untouched as well as regulating the turn options out of the McDonald’s parking lot, 2998 MacArthur Road.

In addition, the board discussed an amendment to the nonuniform pension plan administered by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement Law. This adjustment coincides with revisions made by the Internal Revenue Service, allowing employees to add more to their pension if they choose to, as well as changing the fixed percentage that is matched by the government.

The board of commissioners next meets 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the municipal building, 3219 MacArthur Road.