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Letter to the Editor: Eichenberg Deserves to be Replaced

Ron Beitler deserves to be appointed to the Lower Macungie Township Board of Parks & Recreation, she says.

To the Editor:
It’s a sad day when pettiness denies a committed citizen an appointment to a Lower Macungie Township volunteer service committee. Ron Beitler has excellent leadership skills and would be a fine addition to any township committee.

It seems the big egos of the majority of the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners are easily pricked. They exhibit disdain for anyone who disagrees with their actions. Actions that have been consistently questionable.

President Ron Eichenberg is suspect of the most self-serving actions of all.

As a realtor, Eichenberg has listed two township properties that are being sought by developers. These properties are the subject of discussion between the developers and the Board of Commissioners.

Costing the taxpayers $50,000, improvements have been approved by the Board of Commissioners to make one of them more marketable.

On another property, a developer is requesting special exceptions be made to allow high density apartments in a commercial zone. On both projects, Eichenberg is positioned to make a great deal of money on the sale of these properties for developments that don’t seem to be in the best interest of the township. The perception screams conflict of interest.

Ron Beitler deserved that appointment.

Ron Eichenberg deserves to be replaced.

Jane Aylor Fretz
Lower Macungie Township

Mark Spengler September 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Looks like now that we are getting closer to the April GOP primary in Lower Macungie Twsp the Board of Relators (I mean commissioners) is starting to talk about engaging in smart growth. http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-lower-macungie-smart-growth-20120930,0,2415679.story Mr. Eichenberg said the same thing backin in 2009 when he was running for BOC: Republican candidate Ron Eichenburg insists that as long as "smart growth" is employed and development "benefits" the current resident," then fast expansion may not be a bad thing. http://www.lmtcitizensforchange.org/newsroom_archive.cfm#86 Thanks Mr. President!
JT September 30, 2012 at 02:32 PM
So let me get this straight - Eichenberg does the right thing by being transparent and openly disclosing he has a conflict and steps aside during these votes, but is now being harrased by this cranky lady says it "screams of perception of conflict of interest." No lady, it is a conflict and he publicly disclosed it which is what you are SUPPOSED to do. I guess the real lesson this lady and her 'friends' are trying to preach is don't work in LMT or do any business there if you want to be a commissioner. And, don't be honest if you have a conflict - you're better off trying to hide it so you don't get harassed. Yeah, that makes sense.
MS September 30, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Complete conflict of interest, the interests of our fine community are being smeared by a bunch of ego driven BOC members who think they are god where the township is concerned. Looking forward to replacing these hypocrites at the next election, and the next one and the next one.
Ron Beitler September 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
He did the bare minimum "right" thing in this case... before recusing himself a week before he spoke on the dias stating how great extending this sewer line is for the public. Note: fellow commissioner Brown's concerns of "spending taxpayer money" to make a property more marketable, he was the lone dissenting voice. (A property Eichenberg happens to be the realtor on) As I've said, I do agree the right decision was made due to the fact that this is an opportunity to get 6 private dollars for every public dollar spent as Jim Lancsek pointed out. However that municipal complex has been on well water for 11 years. 11 years that it was under protected and the taxpayers were open to a disaster should the wells ever kick. My only question is why now? Why not any point over the last 11 years. Why less then a month after an Eichenberg realtor signs pops up on Dries property? Thats not fishy? Secondly, yes I personally do think a realtor who seems to specialize in greenfield projects has a fundamental conflict of interest in a township reeling from 40% growth over the last decade. The board is talking the talk on smart growth now but they can't run from a 3 year record of continuing sprawl policy. Just last week they approved a strip project on a critical block of the Hamilton Corridor where for months they were telling us how important it is to make it a walkable corridor. But when it comes time to take action they approve more "Macarther Rd." instead of "Main St."
Ron Beitler September 30, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The Dries property should develop. It's infill property and it's an opportunity to get some great value capture for our taxbase. But given this boards history over the last 3 years what we'll get is another low value, ugly, auto oriented strip center. Right smack next to East Macungie and our community center. It's clear this board can't be trusted. Just look at the Allen Organ property the other big parcel Eichenberg represents. The track we're on now is for the HIGHEST residential density the township has ever seen to be built here. Over 200 apartments absolutely crammed together on a tiny slice of land that's leftover after the supermarket and the flood plains are taken out of the equation. It's a total developer money grab.
Robert Sentner September 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM
LMT needs to start vetting who they want to represent them in the next election, start now. Ron I nominate you, that should overturn the apple cart. this isn't strictly a LMT problem it effects the whole community Emmaus, Upper Milford, Macungie UMT etc. the traffic implications are astounding. gridlock for sure.
jennifer October 01, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I second Ron's nomination by Rob!
JT October 02, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Ron Eichenberg followed the law, he had a conflict, didn't vote on it, and publicly disclosed it. Not only did he do the right thing, he did the legal thing (check out what is required under the PA ethics act, sect. 1103j). You may call it the "bare minimum" but most people call it following the law. I guess you'd prefer if he sung kumbaya first, then recused himself. I find it very interesting that you say you've lived here your whole life but your memory only stretched back as far as the "past 3 years". No, your comments are political at all. You couldn't possibly be getting ready for a campaign. Not you, the one and only Ron Beitler. Everything you say is so pure with no alterior motives. Your comments couldn't possibly be political.
Ron Beitler October 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Of course my comments are political, at this point they have to be. When the BOC refuses to change tact thats what happens. Time after time this board has let us down in terms of smart growth. Lets span the spectrum quick....Just 2 weeks ago they approved a strip center on a critical block of Old Hamilton blvd. completely counter to what they say in public about promoting a smart growth walkable Hamilton that is a vehicle for value capture and tax base. A few months ago they re-appointed a planning commissioner who was quoted in the morning call as saying "it's too late for smart growth in our township". Rewind to within just a few days of taking office when they crafted the MOU with Jaindl... An MOU that if a court overrules legal action (that I support) will allow for the plowing over of 700 acres of outer ring farmland in the most destructive fashion. (more warehouses) An MOU that grants waiver after waiver of accommodations to a developer. And currently of course we have the specter of over 200 high density apartments the highest density ever in the township coming through the pipeline. Do I trust the realtor board and the "it's too late for smart growth" crowd to property vet this project? Given past history.... unfortunately no.
Ron Beitler October 02, 2012 at 12:38 PM
What's sad is this tract is a fantastic location for a TND. It really is. Transect between the borough of Macungie, Mack trucks and all the residential behind it. It's screaming for smart growth (just as the Hamilton corridor is). Instead we're looking at a sprawl commercial corridor project rammed together with 200+ apartments. You have an area WITHOUT traffic issues now. Of all the areas of the township that have them, Rt. 100 flows pretty good now outside of rush hr. This would change if this project happens and dumps the traffic from 200 apt's and a big box onto that intersection. It's the worse scenario. I have no faith the planning commission or the BOC to vet this. None. My motives are obvious. 3 new commissioners in 2013. 3 TRUE smart growth candidates to present the community a cut and dry contrast between more of the same which is a little bit of lip service to growth issues here and there around election times to placate a community that sees it's quality of life deteriorating because of traffic, taxes and loss of open space. If these commissioners meaningfully supported smart growth I'd be their biggest cheerleader. The couple of times it looked like they really started to get it, I've praised them in public comments, letters and my blog. But it's clear now, live in this township for a few decades you can quickly call BS on lip service. You betcha my motives are political. Only difference between me and you is I sign my name to my posts.

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