The Voice of Jordan, a North Whitehall-based citizens action group that opposes a proposed sewage treatment plant off Jordan Road near KidsPeace, made good on its promise to appeal the township's conditional-use waiver and filed an appeal in Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 26.
After months of public testimony against Lehigh County Authority's application for a waiver, Township Supervisors voted unanimously to approve it - saying later they risked a lawsuit from LCA if they voted against it because it met legal zoning rules.
The waiver allows LCA to build a sewage treatment plant, capable of handling up to 200,000 gallons day, on a five-acre tract of land owned by Jaindl Properties. There were, however, nine conditions added by supervisors.
LCA proposed the plan under the assumption it would eventually serve KidsPeace, the yet-to-be-built Walmart, Lehigh County Community College and the Schnecksville Fire Company. Nearby residents would have an option to connect but would not be forced to do so.
Members of the Voice of Jordan, their attorney John Roberts and other residents lower property values and cause traffic hassles as large trucks use rural roads. They repeatedly pointed out that alternate sites were available.
A couple weeks later, Township Supervisor Steve Pany unveiled an alternate location, on the east side of Rte. 309 between Levans and Shankweiler roads along the PA Turnpike. LCA said during the meeting they would consider building a plant there instead.
Most of the planning commission meeting earlier this week was spent discussing the alternate Levans Road, according to Jeanene Bauer, a resident and member of the Voice of Jordan.
In a recent email, Bauer wrote: "North Whitehall Township Supervisor Steve Pany and Engineer Steve Gitch are making progress with planning the conveyance lines and securing user commitments. That would leave the LCA with one customer for the proposed Jordan Road plant, Kidspeace. It's not financially viable, yet we cannot leave the LCA withconditional approval."
Bauer also wrote that The Voice of Jordan did not believe the nine conditions supervisors added to the waiver would dissuade the LCA from going ahead with a Jordan Road plant.
After the Jordan Road area conditional-use waiver was granted and before the appeal was filed, Attorney Roberts told Patch that LCA would risk losing money spent on a land development plan for the Jordan Road plant if the court reversed the decision.
The Nov. 26 appeal questions the township's conflict of interest with the yet-to-be-built Walmart (North Whitehall stands to get $1.5 million when Walmart files for a certificate of occupancy), odor and another conflict of interest that stems from LCA's use of the township's engineering firm.