Lehighton Borough Council this week delayed granting waivers or giving conditional approval to the Packerton Yards industrial development project, despite a recommendation to do so by the borough's Planning Commission.
On a 6-1 vote, the council said it won't grant any waivers or approval unless they are first granted by the Mahoning Township Board of Supervisors, PennDOT, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection, and any other agency involved with the project.
"There's a lot of money going into this project with no guaranteed tenants," said councilman Scott Rehrig.
The motion to postpone granting waivers was 6-1, with only council Dale Traupman voting in favor.
The multi-million dollar industrial development project on the site of the former Packerton Yards of the Lehigh Valley Railroad has received substantial state funding. Carbon County is providing the balance of the funding, with the commissioners indicating they hope it is an investment to attract new jobs.
The project consists of 71.544 acres to be developed into eight lots of varying size.
Only a small portion of the project is within the boundaries of Lehighton Borough, but waivers are needed for work to proceed on that area.
Alton Steigerwalt, secretary of the commission, wrote in a letter to the council, "Please be advised the Planning Commission is recommending council approval of the waivers requested the Packerton Yards Business Park except the eliminating of the street lighting on borough property. The commission opinion is that the light is needed for safety reasons."
It was noted that waivers were sought from borough regulations on curbs and sidewalks, shade trees, and monuments and markers at all lot corners.
Both Traupman, who attended the Planning Commission meeting, and Bruce Steigerwalt, a borough engineer, said although the letter only mentioned street lighting, the commission had taken action, suggesting that the waivers sought be granted.
Attending the meeting on behalf of the county was Greg Clauser of Carbon Engineering, Summit Hill, the engineering firm representing Carbon County on the Packerton Yards project.
Clauser said he had been under the impression that conditional approval was going to be given on the project.
Rehrig made a motion that because the largest portion of the project lies in Mahoning Township, any conditional approval first be granted by Mahoning, as well as all the other involved agencies.