Raising Cane's, apartments approved by Lower Macungie Township
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Raising Cane's, apartments approved by Lower Macungie Township

Feb 25, 2024

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. — An anticipated fried chicken restaurant and a development that will bring seven apartments and two commercial office spaces to Lower Macungie Township were approved by the township Board of Commissioners on Thursday.

The first Raising Cane's restaurant location in the Lehigh Valley and the new mixed-use housing and office complex got approval in the same meeting that gave approval of the nearly 60-acre Lehigh Valley Town Center project.

The proposal for a double drive-thru Raising Cane's was granted a land development approval at Unit 6 of the Trexler Business Center development.It will be on a lot previously granted conditional use; the current proposal modifies a previously approved plan.

The chain, which was founded in Louisiana in 1996 and has grown significantly in recent years, will be at 6240 Hamilton Blvd., next to Movie Tavern in the Trexler Business Center.

The restaurant focuses almost entirely on its chicken fingers and sides of coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries, Texas Toast and signature "Cane's Sauce."

Also approved at the site is a drive-thru Wawa and the First Commonwealth Credit Union headquarters.

The fast-food restaurant will feature a double drive-through.

While working with the township, Raising Cane's agreed on a front façade to appear as if the storefront faced Hamilton Boulevard, while access to Texas Roadhouse restaurant parking lot was eliminated to reduce traffic concerns.

Garbage regulations also were set, and walking access from Hamilton Boulevard added.

Previously, a zoning variance related to lighting occurred to allow the greater amount of lighting requested by the applicant.

Township Planning and Community Development Director Nathan Jones said the township is excited to get the project.

Representatives from Raising Cane's say that if all goes well, they expect to start construction by the end of the year, with a projected opening of mid-late summer 2024.

"I'm excited that retailers like Topgolf and Raising Cane's are choosing Lower Macungie as their first ventures in the Lehigh Valley," commissioners President Brian Higgins said.

"We want to be a destination for people, we want to give our people who live here everything that they could possibly get without having to travel far.

"I think it's an exciting time."

A two-story "mixed-Use" building consisting of seven apartment units and two commercial office spaces was given conditional use approval following a hearing for a 1.1-acre lot on 801 Broad St.

The property will be serviced by public sewer and water, with each dwelling unit having a minimum floor area of 600 square feet. The two office suites will consist of 1,825 square feet and the property also will include a small dog park and playground area.

The township specified that walking access should be made "as safe as legally possible" at the site, given there's no current pedestrian connectivity between the complex and the adjacent Hamilton Crossing commercial complex.

Township Planning and Community Development Director Nathan Jones said that upon further review, because of technical and legal matters related to Hamilton Crossing, official access would be limited through the North Broad Street Corridor.

The township Zoning Hearing Board in December granted a variance to eliminate a 50-foot front yard buffer requirement for the structure.

The property currently contains a single-family home, which will be removed.

Some nearby residents spoke at the meeting, noting the proximity of the location to an adjacent mobile home park and the potential for increased traffic in the nearby road corridor and concerns related to the development, which will be further discussed during the land development process.

A subdivision proposal for 2072 Elbow Lane by applicant Paul Stepniak was granted approval to separate the single-family home lot into three, creating two new building lots with frontage on Gregory Drive in the under-construction Mountain View Estates subdivision.

The two new building lots will be served by on-lot stormwater management facilities, and public water and sewer. The houses will be legally separate from Mountainview Estate and not subject to homeowners' association standards, but rest within the area governed by the organization.

Both sides of Camp Olympic Park are now accessible from each other — legally.

A long-term agreement with the state Turnpike Commission was approved for a limited access right of way for the Turnpike Northeast Extension, which bisects part of the park.

The agreement re-establishes the township's right to cross over the Turnpike Commission-owned property underneath the bridge that stretches through park land.

Board President Higgins said he didn't anticipate any changes for residents using the park, and it simply legally formalizes the access that has been available for people accessing both sides of the park.

"It's one of those didn't know we needed it until we realized we needed it," Higgins said.

Five residents made a request for additional streetlights on Lincoln Drive in the Hills at Lock Ridge on an existing streetlight, saying it was too dark at night and children sometimes play in the street at dark hours.

Commissioners approved putting two streetlights on the street between the addresses of 566 and 567 and 574 and 575.

The township said PPL reviewed the situation and found it could install one or two additional lights on the street at no cost to the township, with an additional expense to PPL from the township of $21 per light per month.