Residents of Lehigh Township gathered at the township building to learn about the plan for a Walmart on 34 acres at Riverview (Route 145) and Birch Drive. Many of them came from the Hills of Greenock which is abutting the Walmart property.
Tina Makoulian, attorney, said the retail store is a permitted use in the commercially zoned area. There is no problem meeting the setbacks and parking area, which will accommodate 641 cars. In the center of the property is a small area of steep slopes. That will be leveled if it can get through zoning. If zoning approval is received, the next step will be a land development plan. She said that is when they will get into the details for site plan approval.
Engineer Adam Benosky said Bohler Engineering is responsible for the site plan. It has an office in Allentown as well as 14 others up and down the east coast. The property is cultivated except for a small grove of trees, which is where the slope is located.
Benosky said an essentially identical plan was engineered for the site six years ago. A traffic study for PennDOT was completed at that time, but the building has been changed and shifted 50 to 60 feet.. The township has a new slope ordinance.
The main access will be on Route 145 with a secondary road connecting with Birch Drive. Washington Street will be realigned to connect with the main exit from the property. There will be a traffic light and turning lanes which will be in the right of way. No property will have to be taken to permit them. The access on Birch was required by the township six years ago.
The property line is at the inner edge of a berm. There will be a six-foot sound-attenuating fence and evergreens. The building is 100 or more feet from the property line even though the setback requirement is only 30 feet.
A sound study was done by an acoustical engineer. The study is based on traffic and rooftop equipment.
Benosky was asked about the number of trucks. He said there are five dedicated Walmart trucks and five others per day.
There was a complaint that Pathmark, Kmart and Rite Aide will lose business and lay off employees. Walmart expects to hire 300 people.
Benosky said other businesses remain healthy after Walmart comes into an area.
This store would make three Walmarts in a 22-mile area. He was asked if that is common and said there are other places with that density.
There are two school bus stops in the area which were a concern.
Residents wanted to know if excavating will require blasting but that will not be known until a contractor is involved.
A Hills of Greenock resident is concerned about water pressure being lower. He said he and two others already have heavy-duty pumps in their basement. The developer was to put in a water tank but it did not happen.
Benosky said since Walmart will be lower it will not affect the water pressure.
The 129,000 square foot building will house a tire and lube area, garden center, general merchandise, a pharmacy and food.
Dirt from the back of the property will be moved to the front to level the ground.
A drainage permit will be required. A 30-inch pipe will take water off site to a basin. Half the parking area will have 48-inch perforated pipe underground which will hold a lot of water. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (drainage) will have to be approved by the township, county and state.
Makoulian said she could be contacted for information at firstname.lastname@example.org.