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Ocean Spray To Build $110 Million Bottling Plant

The plan for a 44-acre, 315,000 square foot facility in Upper Macungie now moves to township supervisors.

Ocean Spray's plan for a 315,000 square-foot bottling facility on 44 acres of land near Route 100 and Schantz Road are one step closer to reality after Wednesday night's conditional recommendation by the

, following contentious debate last month, passed a zoning resolution that allows Ocean Spray to build a new bottling facility at the southwest corner of Schantz and 100.

Wednesday night's Planning Commission decision now gives supervisors the final stamp of approval, which could come as early as next month. The land pegged for development currently belongs to Jaindl Land Co.

A standing-room only crowd of mainly supportive residents packed the municipal meeting room for the Planning Commission session.

"It's been clear over the last 25 years that companies are migrating to Pennsylvania for a very effective climate. It's three things: reputation, infrastructure and facilities," said Erich Fritz, Director of Manufacturing Operations for Ocean Spray following the meeting. The company is moving operations from its current Bordentown, N.J. location.

Fritz addessed the gathering saying in part that the company wanted to be good citizens.

The $110 million project, which has the backing of Gov. Tom Corbett's office, is expected to bring 165 jobs into the Lehigh Valley.

Janet Smith of the Governor's Action Team, told the Planning Commission in a prepared statement that an Ocean Spray plant in Upper Macungie would be a long-term benefit and that the the governor's committee would continue to be supportive.

Public support was high as well. "In these economic times, I don't see how we can object to bringing these kind of jobs and this kind of tax base into Upper Macungie," said resident Robert Bauer.

Traffic, road cost and safety concerns are still the major concerns on the path to construction of the facility. Route 100 and Boulder Drive, Route 100 and Schantz Road and Route 100 and Industrial Boulevard are all concerns for some board members and township residents.

Resident Bob Fahy noted that one of the access roads comes within a few hundred yards of .

However, Parkland Superintendent of Schools said he was apprised of the building plans and had no safety concerns. "This will be a huge benefit to the Parkland School District," he said.

Yet, some safety concerns lingered among board members.

"My concern is safety and I'm hoping your board is seriously considering dedicating some of the road and at the end of the day that Upper Macungie Township isn't left footing the bill," said commissioner Sam Ashmar, who also serves as a township supervisor. Ashmar noted some 52 accidents at the four intersections that would cross the Ocean Spray plant.

Planning Board chair David Etowski lamented how rushed the entire process was. "There's been a tremendous rush on this and when things get rushed, there are problems."

The recommendation for conditional recommendation to supervisors partially hinges on a traffic study that the township received this week and concerns that Fire Commissioner Grant Grim would like addressed.

Those conditions will be addressed before supervisors can give their final approval.

Parkland Parent February 03, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Anyone want to guess how much Mr. Jaindl gave to the Gov's campaign? Or that he served on his transition committee? $$$$$$$$$$$$.....all about that folks. END OF STORY. UMT THE URBAN TOWN!
ThatPerson January 31, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Lets face it Fogelsville is the new warehouse community why? Because it has a ton of land. And being an employee of one of those warehouses yes i have to pay two taxs i lose like $2 a check, so when you take all of that money from everyone of those warehouse workers paychecks in that area, guess what you have your township money and a lot of it, so its very benefical to the township bet it keeps your taxes lower then others
Parkland Parent February 03, 2013 at 09:22 PM
ThatPerson - Interesting comments you make. As an employee of the warehouse district in Fogelsville you have to pay $2.00 a check? Is that an issue? Sure, UMT and the taxes for the residents are that much lower due to the warehouse population, but I can almost guarantee that even with the diverse economic statistics in UMT, many residents would be willing to pay a bit more to stop the out of control growth and traffic, specifically in that area. The taxes for UMT are low. I am one who would be for it, you want to bill me another $500.00 a year to keep the trucks and the associated interesting individuals roaming our roads out of the area, I am in. I guarantee you, some of the crime is associated to that. I know the accidents and fumes are. There needs to be a limit, I think we are at it.
Ann February 03, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Our taxes in UMT are not low! Everything is relative I guess!
Parkland Parent February 04, 2013 at 04:47 AM
You think the taxes for UMT are high? I am not talking about taxes in general (school, county). If you think they are high for the services we get, you need to really think.

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