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New business raises questions

Published November 24. 2010 05:00PM

A new business scheduled to open today in Palmerton has come under scrutiny by neighbors concerned over access issues.

Residents Richard Kocher and Joseph Zmarzley approached borough council on Tuesday with concerns over the Family Dollar at 545 Delaware Avenue.

"There's a loading dock that the Family Dollar has, and I don't think they're within code," said Kocher, who resides at 542 Franklin Avenue. "My concern is the future traffic; the kids come flying out."

Kocher also expressed several concerns about his property.

"My concern is when it snows, where are you going to put it," he said. "How am I going to get into my garage."

However, borough manager Rodger Danielson said Joseph Bennett, the owner of the business, has met all the criteria.

"It is in compliance, within his property boundary and so on," Danielson said. "He has built within the guidelines that are allowable."

Zmarzley, of 546 Franklin Avenue, said he has already encountered problems with his vehicles because of the situation.

"If that curb wasn't there, it wouldn't be that bad," Zmarzley said. "The ambulance can't even get back there."

Danielson said he understood both men's concerns.

"It's different, not to your advantage," Danielson said. "It is allowable under the building codes."

Councilman Chris Olivia said the borough would have zoning officer Duane Dellecker check out the situation once more.

"We can have Mr. Dellecker make one more look over there," Olivia said. "If he's [Bennett] done everything the right way, then of course, we can't help you."

Also on Tuesday, Councilman Richard Nothstein said he took exception to the distribution of funds in relation to the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

"It irritates me to no end that the citizens of Palmerton don't get one blasted penny," Nothstein said. "If there's no damage or inconvenience to Palmerton, then why should [someone] have to pay the $10 million if there's no apparent harm to the community."

Last year, a $20 million settlement was reached between the Environmental Protection Agency and CBS Operations, Inc, in which over 95-percent of the natural resource damage assessment funds are expected to be expended on projects well outside the Palmerton area.

The settlement for natural resource damages was reached with the responsible parties on Oct. 27, 2009, by judicial consent decree, and includes the transfer of about 1,300 acres of the "King Manor" property to PGC; the discharge of the $300,000 mortgage on the Lehigh Gap Nature Center; a nonprofit conservation and environmental education organization located in the Lehigh Gap; a cash payment of $9.875 million, that, based on the cost of potential restoration projects, would compensate for remaining losses; as well as full reimbursement of the trustees' damage assessment costs.

The proposal calls for the funds to be used for habitat acquisition/easement protection of the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge; Lehigh River Headwaters and other areas on Kittatinny Ridge and the Lehigh River; a Lower Lehigh River Dam removal feasibility study; a Parryville access site for fishing on the Lehigh River; and restoration and enhancement of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

In other business, Nothstein suggested that council send a greeting to former borough Councilman Phillip Binder, who is currently stationed overseas in Afghanistan.

"I think we should send him and every active service person a greeting," Nothstein said. "We have some wonderful people making some great sacrifices."

Finally, Mayor Brad Doll announced that he has received notification from the Parkside Education Center principal that there are issues with children being dropped off by their parents at non-drop off zones on Third Street.

"Maybe we could have a no standing or stopping sign," Doll said. "The practice has to stop before somebody gets killed."

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