Catasauqua Press

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hanover approves B. Braun expansion

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Project already had green light from LVPC, planners

B. Braun Medical Inc., the medical device maker, brought a full slate of executives to Hanover Township Council’s meeting Sept. 5.

B. Braun wants to expand its existing facility on Marcon Boulevard by 310,000 square feet. The company was represented by Attorney Timothy Charlesworth, who directed questions during the public hearing.

The company requested a variance on the township’s height restriction. Building height in the township is capped at 50 feet.

Michael Lennon, the project’s architect, explained that the manufacturing floor has mechanical overhead machines and assembly tables occupying the first 25 feet. Air handling and filters take an additional 25 feet. The company asked for a variance to install a 42-inch parapet wall to protect workers who need to access the roof. The plan adds fully accessible stairway access to the roof.

“We could use a hatch arrangement, but the stairway gives workers a safer access,” Lennon said.

No one on council objected to the variance request.

According to Rex Bolton, B. Braun’s site manager, the expansion is designed to increase medical device output. Existing product lines will be continued, and there are no plans to add any radically different products.

Charlesworth said the expansion will not release any harmful chemicals into the air.

Pennoni, an engineering consulting firm from Bethlehem, will supervise the construction process. Connie Walker, Pennoni’s representative, said 326 additional parking spaces are planned for employees, with special parking for trucks. The expansion is expected to add 386 vehicle trips per day along Marcon Boulevard.

According to Walker, anything less than 500 vehicle trips does not require a traffic study. Walker noted the building will have less impervious coverage than the existing building at 939 Marcon Blvd. Lower impervious coverage allows the ground to filter stormwater into the aquifer, reducing potential flooding in industrialized areas.

The project received approval from Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the township’s planning commission.

In other business, council members are still concerned about the surface finish on Troxell Road. Bethlehem Water Authority made repairs to its lines and repaired the trenches. Councilmen Curtis Wegfahrt and Robert Heimbecker repeated a request for more information on why the existing finish is considered acceptable.

“We need to see the agreement that Bethlehem has with the contractor that did the work. What we have on Troxell does not meet our repair standards,” Wegfahrt said.

Township Manager Christopher Garges said he will contact Bethlehem to gather information on how the roads are considered complete in their present condition.

In a related matter, council agreed to use advanced penetrating ground radar to search for sinkholes on Troxell Road. The search is limited to a small area prone to collapsing substrate. The cost is $28,000.

Council approved the expense, but Chairman Bruce Paulus objected.

He wants to see the funds used for street repairs, not the questionable technology. He voted to approve funds for ground surveillance when the township’s municipal building was planned. The ground received a clear go-ahead. Once digging began, however, sinkholes popped up.

Katrinka Casamassa, with Brosky Insurance, gave council a review of its liability insurance with suggestions on how to improve the value of coverage received. Council also agreed to change the insurance provided to employees from a universal life plan to a term life plan. The face value of the insurance increased from $25,000 to $35,000.

Provisions are made under the new plan for short-term and long-term disability.