Mahoning Township supervisors granted four waivers for the Packerton Yards project at their last township meeting with 4-0 votes which included waiving the developer from being required to get permits for stormwater runoff for all the lots, allowing encroachment on the 100 year flood plain, allowing dead end streets and cul de sacs in the park and waiving the requirement for placing pins at the beginnings and ends of curves. Even so supervisors still had some criticism for the progress to date especially dealing with obtaining a highway occupancy permit.
"It was disappointing to learn (at a workshop) that the county was given some special treatment to pursue their highway occupancy permit in February after which nothing seems to be done since then which was disappointing," said Chairperson John Wieczorek.
Supervisors held a workshop to discuss explanations behind the waiver requests which the township planning commission had recommended after a few reviews. Initially not all the requests had been recommended by the planning body to the supervisors which was what prompted the workshop. At a meeting in July Carbon Engineering and a representative for the project appeared before supervisors to discuss the waivers but they were in essence summarily dismissed as supervisors tabled the requests until a separate workshop which was held a week later.
Wieczorek said one of the requests that was not on the agenda was rejected by planners which dealt with the center line radii which the present plans cannot meet as it crosses a property that is not currently owned by the property. Wieczorek claimed that the county made no overture to the owner who was not identified by supervisors of the property that lies within the scope of where the road to enter the park is planning to be placed.
"They need to show a serious attempt to acquire that property before we grant a waiver on it," said Wieczorek.
Wieczorek said the original plan was to have the park built out within five years but hinted that it could be upward to 15 years in his opinion before this could actually occur. "I guess it is anyone's guess on the interest level for this park. They hoped to begin construction in 2011."
He added that he didn't see how that could be possible now.
Supervisor Franklin Ruch pointed out that at least one of the two lots which happen to rest in Lehighton borough would have to be open space since it rests in the flood plain and he didn't think it could be developed.
In the end the supervisors granted the four waivers as mentioned above on 4-0 votes with Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt absent from the meeting.