Catasauqua Press

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hanover hears request for indoor sky diving facility

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

A developer approached Hanover council with a unique proposition at council’s meeting June 6.

Next to the Knight’s Inn, close to Airport Center Mall, sits a vacant piece of property. The developer wants to put in an indoor sky diving facility.

Essentially, indoor sky diving is a way to experience some thrills of sky diving with limited risk. A wind tunnel is used to simulate sky diving.

The system is installed in six locations primarily on the East Coast, with the closest one in Philadelphia at King of Prussia Mall.

The proposed building would be 65 feet tall. Building height is limited to 50 feet, but there is a provision to go to 65 feet with council approval.

The project needs to go before the zoning hearing board for review. Council indicated it would not oppose a height variance but indicated the airport would have the final say.

Solicitor Jackson Eaton cautioned council members they should make no commitments or opinions until a formal proposal is brought before the zoning hearing board. The developer acknowledged the request and promised a full proposal and land development plan.

The township is in discussions with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on widening Route 22 as part of the FedEx Ground warehouse proposal. The increased width on Airport Road affects the intersection with Postal Road. PennDOT presented an agreement to the township calling out specific maintenance routines.

Eaton suggested a response that the township was aware of the need for maintenance and has an effective, ongoing program. PennDOT is asking for easements on the property to allow Postal Road to be widened and improved.

The request did allow an opening for the township to discuss a potential problem. Early in the planning process, the township expressed its concern with traffic at Postal Road. Traffic westbound on Route 22 exits northbound on Airport Road. The concern is that traffic has a limited distance to move from the far-right lane to the far-left lane to get onto Postal Road.

The traffic maneuver is considered risky, and that risk increases with traffic. Council is looking for a resolution from PennDOT that would include a turnabout lane.

The initial traffic assessment conducted by Pidcock Company for the Rockefeller Group did not consider this traffic lane change to be a problem. According to township Manager Christopher Garges, PennDOT representatives are willing to look at the problem.

The regularly scheduled meeting on the first Wednesday of the month is canceled for July. Before the July 18 meeting, council will review the township’s capital program.

Eaton agreed to modify the existing fireworks ordinance. The new ordinance will be revised to conform to new rules handed down by the state. The state restriction of no fireworks displays within 150 feet of a building and a local restriction of fireworks in township parks reduce the ability to lawfully launch fireworks in the township.