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Franklin permits conditional approval to St. Luke’s for new hospital

Published January 16. 2019 11:56AM

A proposed hospital in Franklin Township

Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to grant conditional approval to St. Luke’s Hospital — Blue Mountain preliminary/final subdivision and land development plans.

However, several contingencies were attached to the board’s approval:

• Satisfying all comments from Carbon Engineering and the Carbon County Planning Commission.

• All outside agencies are deemed approval.

• State Department of Transportation Highway Occupancy Permit.

• Department of Environmental Protection.

• Sewer and water lines connections/permits issued.

• Land development maintenance agreement is approved/signed.

• All invoices are paid in full.

Last month, supervisors tabled granting conditional plan approval to St. Luke’s land development plan because they didn’t have enough time to review it.

The township’s planning commission previously recommended conditional plan approval to St. Luke’s land development plan.

Also last month, the Carbon County planning commission again reviewed plans. The commission reviewed the plans in August and made no recommendations due to the number of issues that needed to be addressed.

In October, Franklin supervisors accepted St. Luke’s land development plan’s offer to extend the township’s review time for an additional 90 days.

St. Luke’s University Health Network in the spring acquired more than 86 acres of land to build another hospital on Harrity Road.

The new hospital will be 50 feet tall and encompass 130,000 square feet on a more than 75-acre lot.

It will begin with 40 bedrooms and eventually have 80. St. Luke’s expects to employ 200 people at the new facility to start. The lot will have 535 parking spots.

It will also include an emergency room and helipad to airlift trauma patients when necessary to its main hospital in Bethlehem. The helicopter will be used only for dire situations, said Rocco Caracciolo, a division manager at the engineering firm Pennoni Associates in Bethlehem.

The plans include widening Harrity Road to include a left-hand turning lane, he said.

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