The rubble of the former Perkins Restaurant on MacArthur road could be removed over the next few weeks in order for a new land development plan, approved by the Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners, to proceed.
The commissioners acted on a recommendation by the township planning commission that approval for the project be allowed, noting several conditions must be met.
Overlooking the Lehigh Valley Thruway/Route 22, the new use of the property will not include construction of a restaurant, but be a retail business.
Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr.'s address.
Whitehall Township Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. recently delivered the seventh annual "State of Whitehall Township" report. In the report Hozza looked back at the accomplishments of 2014 and outlined a vision for the future in 2015. He also brought up a milestone in the township's history, the 50th anniversary celebration of the township's municipal building
"For 50 years this building has stood to remind us that together we are one Whitehall Township," Hozza stated.
The Whitehall Township Zoning Hearing Board of Adjustment has granted a variance and special exception to DriveLine, LLC, 1000 MacArthur Road, Allentown, for a proposed vehicle repair shop on MacArthur Road.
Gary Hess and Craig Peoples offered testimony at a recent hearing. Hess and Peoples noted the premises covers 5,800 square feet, including two bays and lifts, and will will employ two full-time mechanics.
The zoning board was informed vehicle body work will not be performed on site, nor will there be any vehicle sales.
Whitehall Township will have its fourth woman to be a member of the township police force once she completes her training at the Allentown Police Academy.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. informed the township board of commissioners of the new hire at its Jan. 12 meeting.
"The Civil Service Commission met to certify three names for the hiring of a new police officer, as provided for in the budget," he said. "Lindsey Whipple was the successful hire."
Whipple will be enrolled at the police academy this month.
Winter may have spared Whitehall Township from having its public works personnel plow snow from the miles of streets in the township, but it has not spared its wrath on the continuing number of potholes which pop up on streets.
In December, John Rackus, director of public works, informed the township board of commissioners and the administration that one-third of the month, 10 days, had personnel patching potholes, and there is no let-up in January.
The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners has set a $330 fee for refuse collection in 2015 for residential owner-occupied dwellings. The fee for landlord-owned households is $370.
The fee scale was approved by commissioners at their Jan. 12 meeting. These fees reflect no change from the 2014 fee rate structure.
Under terms of the legislation, residents will receive once per week collection of garbage and recyclable materials.
There is permitted, in addition, a once-per-month collection of Freon appliances, at a cost of $25 cost per item.
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners on Monday were set to vote on the installation of LED lights sought by St. John's United Church of Christ on Grape Street, but held off so PennDOT can weigh in on the matter.
Township Engineer Frank Clark said he presented PennDOT with the township's request, which is now under review by the PennDOT district office in Allentown.
The commissioners expect no opposition from PennDOT. It is likely the board will vote on the issue at the February meeting.
Whitehall Township is concerned with a recent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspection that concluded Coplay Aggregates violated its state issued permit.
The inspection revealed that crushed glass at the quarry site off West Coplay Road included syringes, feminine hygiene products, vials and other items.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. said the township is awaiting word of the fine the DEP will impose on Coplay Aggregates and whether it will grant the company's request "for the next level of regulated fill" to be permitted at the quarry.
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners are poised to raise the mayor's salary beginning in 2016 by 2.5 percent annually.
The raise is a bit more from the 1-percent pay hike the mayor's post received for the current term.
Commissioners President Linda Snyder said at Monday's workshop meeting the board may vote on the mayor's salary next Monday, pending legal clarification. The vote is for the office, not the person, and would be paid to whomever serves as mayor from 2016 through 2019.
Whitehall Township residents are now seeing a change in their refuse collector.
The green logo Waste Management trucks have begun picking up residential refuse from neighborhoods across the township. The township's previous hauler, J.P. Mascaro, had served as collector for five years.
Waste Management, which was awarded a five-year contract last month, began picking up garbage last Friday.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. said initial reports indicate the changeover was smooth and the transition, for the most part, went off without a hitch.