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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.

Freddy Valdivia January 19, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Township Planners should go and take a look the way Ocean Spray operates at their NJ plant,they have many,many,many truckers sitting all over the streets,outside of their Facilities waiting to get loaded,you'll see the mess around Rt 100 when they move here,there's no place for truckers to wait around that area. All this happen mostly during the end of year holidays (cranbury sauce season)
Ron Beitler January 19, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Jobs big picture - bordentown NJ loses an anchor of 250 jobs. Upper Macungie gains 160. Ok do the math the economy loses a net of 90 jobs. Ok but upper Mac is "getting" these jobs that's great! Wait a sec... Most of these 160 jobs will be filled with bordentown employees transferring. Oh wait but the "tax base"! Well let's examine that.. 800,000 in improvements needed, 150 tractor trailers a day and the ongoing costs associated, probably over 100 new families in the school district (new enrollment). And what about bottling plants strain on water supply? All wrapped up in the nice bow of creating a ghost factory in bordentown to build on farmland in UMT.
PJ January 19, 2012 at 04:10 PM
160 Jobs to PA... Hooray for PA.. 250 lost in NJ ...Sorry New Jersey... Did anyone care when Mack left for South Carolina or when Bethlehem Steel closed and shifted to Sparrows Point? I worry about my unemployed neighbors. If new neighbors do come from New Jersey they will buy homes here (new tax Base or replace those lost to forclosure) they will surely add money to local businesses if only lunches and possibly dinners since it is projected to be a 24/7 plant. Trucks Parked along the roadway: since the entrance is on Grim Road so what? I only use that road to dump my grass cuttings. Let's get real the Valley needs jobs to replace those lost at Agere, Bethlehem Steel and Mack trucks. The $800,000 projected in road improvements you name, these would have been required because of Niagara's expansion which has already happened. Anyone who thinks a new driveway is going to solve that issue has their head tucked in a very dark place. The Planning Commission and the Supervisors left the gate open and the cattle escaped on that issue long before Ocean Spray arrived in town! It seems to me that the Supervisor on the Planning Commission needs a lot more experience than he displays. It might be time to look at the Commission's expericence in these matters as a whole and make changes there for better planning in Upper Macungie's future!
Brunell January 20, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Ocean Spray is a private company not owned by the government. So, for now, they are allowed to move, down size and do anything they need to remain a healthy and profitable company. We welcome them with open arms. However, the traffic problem NEEDS to be addressed prior to complete approval. Ocean Spray did not "fill the traffic glass" for 100 and Schantz, however, this project provides a unique opportunity. Lets work together to leverage the Commonwealth to find all or some of the money required to fix the problem. The other neighboring companies, Niarga, Coke, may be willing to kick in the difference for any short comings not met by the state in order to fix this problem as it effects ALL of them. We as residents are already stuck in a sea of trucks when traveling thru this area. It was clear from last evenings meeting that this project has the attention of our State government. Lets utilize politics in our favor for a change and get them to commit the monies to UMT to correct this problem. We are stuck with the area. That train left the station long before most of us realized what was going on. Lets take this opportunity to leverage the participants to cover the cost and not the UMT taxpayer. I don't know about you, but most of us don't have additional disposable income around for higher taxes!
Parkland Parent January 20, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Sure, we all know that the businesses here in UMT assist with the tax base and that we all pay in my opinion low taxes for the services we receive, although I personally have seen a degradation in some of those services. At some point, all of these warehouses were approved by someone with a brain should start to realize the amount of trucks on Rt. 100 is out of control, anyone know the amount of shady individuals and crime that may have been brought to the township? from the transient truck drivers and the scary folks who work at some of these warehouses? What is the drain on our P/T police force? Soon to be F/T? Who pays for all the fire trips to Amazon? Want to see what lurks in our township around or kids? Go to Wawa on a Sunday night or anynight right before the night shifts start at these factories or even during the day with the truckers and undesirables, the cops could have a field day with background checks and pick up hundreds on outstanding warrants. These people travel through our neighborhoods. Then to approve more warehouses and this one so close to a school? For those that went to protest, god bless you. For those that supported this under some jobs pretense...PLEASE. Send a message to the Supervisor board that this garbage must stop. Move your homes next to Ocean Spray, UMT is slowly becoming an urban neighborhood. Anyone want to test the air within a few miles of Rt 100 and see what we are breathing? How about the kids at Fogelsville Elementary...
Ron Beitler January 20, 2012 at 01:42 PM
And remember, the trucks UMT is putting on rt. 100 will only double with the possible trucks LMT will add. The potential Jaindl LMT sub-development includes zoning that will allow for up to 4 MILLION sq ft in warehouses. 150 tractor trailers from ocean spray is nothing. This will be tractor trailer gridlock in Fogelsville. When that gridlock comes what will truckers do? Most truckers are smart (I know some) They get paid to find the fastest route from point A to point B. When rt. 100 is gridlock (and it will be) they will use local roads. This is guaranteed. UMT has to wake up and demand these developers and companies pay their fair share in terms of road improvements and ongoing maintenance. Trucks are incredibly destructive on local roads. A significant amount of the "tax base" will be wiped away with infrastructure and maintenance costs. www.facebook.com/friendslmt
I mconcerned January 21, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Mr. Valdivia and brunell are the voice of reason on this page.... We need to make sure that Ocean Spray will not allow trucks to park along the roadways in the area. I am sure thta the supervisors can get a commitment from Ocean Spray to have them monitor this situation. As far as the other comments about Ocean Spray... They are stated without documentation or merit.
Ron Beitler January 21, 2012 at 07:44 PM
What comments are you referring to? Just curious. The ones I made about employment numbers at old Jersey plant vs. new UMT plant are numbers from newspaper articles. The documentation is... use a google news search for "Bordentown Ocean Spray plant". Many articles. My main point in initial post was mainly about politicians on the national stage peacocking about job creation when it's really (in this case) net loss of jobs for the region. (bordentown is about 60 miles away) It's known Corbetts office was instrumental in this whole maneuver. Why? Now here is pure speculation. Political feather in cap for "job creation"? Political donations? Who knows. Bottom line, its not real job creation. I'm also never a fan of building new infrastructure where it did not exist before solely because of politics. Thats just the way I see it. As far as the benefits of the tax base being created for UMT. Well you can only speculate. I speculate the negatives will outweigh the benefits.
WeThepeople January 23, 2012 at 02:45 AM
While everybody has a different opinion regarding the Ocean Spray project, I find interesting the way our elected officials (zoning and planning boards) acted and continue to act. What happened to the due diligence process: the review of completed studies, the solid understanding of the entire project and the comprehensive assessment of impacts to the township (short and long term: roads, schools, traffic, financing, EMT, Police, taxes etc...) prior to a motion to approve or proceed further? Having more than 15 years experience in this type of environment, I am surprised by the lack of expertise, professionalism and common sense from both boards. I have the impression that the project is already approved in their mind and they are simply moving along with the approvals. Some questions jump to my mind: Lady and Gentlemen of the board, do you feel pressure from the state government officials and the chamber of commerce? Are you as independent and in control of your actions as you should be? Are you asking the right questions? Are you taking the time to view, review and understand the ramifications of your vote? Is your decision partial, honest, well thought out and for the good of the township?
WeThepeople January 23, 2012 at 02:47 AM
part 2 I do not have any answers to give you but from the other side of the room this is how it feels. In conclusion, I will advise both boards to take the time to think, not to rush into motions before obtaining complete answers, complete studies and complete understanding of the entire situation. Obviously you are elected, not appointed and should be responsible and accountable for the trust that was given to you…for a period of time. It is a viable project but it is up to you to make it happen the right way and with all parties in mind.
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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