Jaindl Development: Lower Mac Residents File Supreme Court Appeal

The LMT residents who sued the township regarding the Jaindl development at taking their next appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

"The Appellants," -- as they have come to be known -- the Lower Macungie Township residents who will be directly affected by the original Spring Creek development plan, and whose names are on the lawsuit against the Lower Macungie Township Commissioners, have taken their legal action to the next level.

Donald Miles, the group's attorney, filed an appeal Monday with the state Supreme Court even after David Jaindl came up with a "Plan B" last week.

The appellants' move could take Jaindl's revised plan -- which would have assured less development -- off the table since a condition of the plan was that the appellants would not pursue legal action.

Some are not convinced Jaindl's revised plan is better, however.

"While Jaindl’s new proposal somewhat reduces his plans for commercial and residential development, it actually increases his plan for development of industrial warehouses," Miles said in a release.

"Residents opposing the rezoning believe the intense truck traffic on rural roads that would be generated by millions of square feet of industrial uses is the most-detrimental part of Jaindl’s plans," he said.

The appellants include Gerald and Karen Kronk, Peter H. Kells, Ronald and Constance Moyer and Joseph and Kimberly Castagna.

The citizens' group Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie Township, which have been supporters of the appellants, has put some distance between the two.

"Whatever financial support the appellants receive is their business which includes Friends," is the official comment on the Friends' financial suppport of the appellants, as indicated in an email from Friends' member Jane Fretz.

“The appellants have decided to move forward with the Supreme Court appeal independently of the ‘Friends for the Protection of LMT’ organization," it said.

"We [the Friends group] continue to support overturning the 2010 industrial, commercial and high density residential zoning and Memorandum of Understanding the township commissioners forged with developer David Jaindl, without sufficient public input, which are not in the best interest of Lower Macungie Township," it said.

The appellants as yet have not asked the Friends for financial support for the Supreme Court Appeal, Fretz said.

The state Supreme Court receives many requests for cases to be heard, Miles is confident this case will be heard.

"The Supreme Court agrees to hear only a fraction of the appeals they receive but they often agree to hear cases with issues "of first impression," that is, on which the Supreme Court has never ruled," he said in an email.

"The Supreme Court has never ruled on this issue, so we are confident they will hear the appeal. They generally take at least three months to decide whether to hear an appeal," Miles said.

Vic January 15, 2013 at 02:24 PM
I have to say its time to put a stop on taking away open land thats left in Pa..All that farmland is disappering at a face pace and what will be left to grow food for people and farm animals in that area or as I said in Pa..This area is not New York or Phila.or even otherbig cities that have no open land to enjoy.Jaindlwas left with alot of money by his family that built an empire in the turkey bussiness and so much he just wants to do whatever he wants to and gets away with it even knowing he creats people to dislike him in everyway.There are so many families struggling each and every day in that area so why not help those families and donate to help others besides building more warehouses and homes.theres times I drive through the industrial parks he already built and see quite a few empty warehouses that are for lease so why build anymore.The outskirts of the Macungie area already looks like New York so why not move their Jaindl and buy buildings that are unsafe and empty and do thiongs in that state that people won,t be against and save whats left in Pa. or help as I said people that really need financial help so they don,t lose what the work so hard for all their lives.Maybe even fight for the farms that are left in Pa.to get those farmers a lower tax break on the lands they own and farm so they don,t need to sell of yhe land they own and also handed down by their families.
Brian Higgins January 15, 2013 at 08:10 PM
A couple of observations: 1. I support the rights of the citizens to seek the outcome they desire through legal means, even if I do not believe it is the right course of action. 2. I commend the Friends for the Protection of LMT for supporting these citizens in their fight, but also realizing when it is time to reach a compromise in the best interest moving forward. 3. I commend David Jaindl for listening to the concerns about the development project and making every effort to reach a compromise that is in the best interest of all parties. I am hopeful that Mr. Jaindl will hold to his revised plan even after the filing of this appeal. 4. Finally, I remind everyone that there might have never been any lawsuit to appeal if the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners had done their job back in early 2010 and investigated all the options before hastily rezoning this property without thoroughly consulting with all those affected. In addition, the township would be more than $135,000 richer if those decisions were not compounded by further poor choices. May 21st we will all have the opportunity to make the changes necessary to insure that decisions like this one are not repeated in the future.
Ron Beitler January 15, 2013 at 08:20 PM
@Vic I agree with everything you just said. One of the lessons to takeaway from this debacle aside from carefully vetting candidates smart growth credentials in the future... is that zoning is an ineffective and I would argue fundamentally unfair mechanism for land preservation. Most everyone agrees this land should have remained preserved as it was for 24 years. What happened was the absolute worse case scenario. We had a block of commissioners who came into office who didn't value this land. With zoning, the protection is up to the whims of politicians. Yes, the commissioners faced some extenuating circumstances but there were always options to preserve this land had they valued it as worth fighting for. They didnt. So we now have the worse case scenario. I would argue fairer and more rock solid mechanism for preservation is for the community to purchase development rights outright or enact a program where developers can transfer development rights within a community. These programs fairly compensate landowners for their property. LMT officials a decade(s?) ago should have explored these options. Jaindl has stated he is open to TDR programs. It's mind blowing to me that the Commissioners didn't consider this when they "negotiated" the MOU alternative. They rolled over in every way.
Ron Beitler January 15, 2013 at 08:28 PM
When I served on the 'Friends' board Mr. Jaindl was always willing to meet with us and hear our concerns. If the LMT Commissioners were willing to do the same from the very beginning of this mess you are 100% correct... we would not be in this situation. The whole process of streamrolling the zoning amendment through is outlined in this memo http://www.ronbeitler.com/2013/01/02/jaindl-timeline-open-and-transparant-process-or-pre-determined-outcome/ Does that look like a process by which there was ever an option aside from the pre-determined outcome?
Scott Bieber January 15, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I agree with Beitler that zoning is not a permanent way to preserve open space or farmland. Because open space and farmland have very low market value compared to the land's value for development, the free marketplace will eventually develop the land. There are only two ways to prevent that. 1) The taxpayers have to be willing, through their local governments, to spend taxpayer money to buy up the development rights of the land, which permanently preserves the land, or 2) a system of transferable development rights has to be set up. Both methods compensate the landowner for giving up his development rights, but especially the first method is the best and is how Lehigh County has preserved over 20,000 acres of farmland. The other problem with agricultural zoning is that it places the burden of preserving land on the backs of the landowner by denying the landowner the ability to sell his land for the true market price. Buying or transferring development rights is the only fair way to preserve land. But the taxpayers have to be willing to enter the marketplace to preserve the land. If not, then all developable land will eventually be developed.
Janet Persing January 15, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Vic, stop rambling, start spelling and make your point. Do you actually live here, or drive here to sleep?
Jane Fretz January 15, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Mr. Jaindl said he will present Plan B to the BOC at Thursday night's meeting at the township building. He hopes some of the appellants will be there to see it and drop their appeal. He has threatened to go back to Plan A if they don't agree. I don't think the appellants will like being threatened. Plan B looks better but is it really? There seems to be more industrial allocation which is the problem with both plans. Warehouses next to their homes and big trucks rumbling down their roads. Too bad the BOC failed to get the plan in front of the public for discussion in the first place. A plan amenable to all could have been developed. Now the community is polarized thanks to the short-sightedness and inappropriate actions of the BOC.
Michele K January 19, 2013 at 12:33 AM
I think the writer of this piece needs to be more careful. The headline appears that Lower Macungie residents are ALL supporting this continued waste of funds - and we most certainly DO NOT. Identify just who is dragging this on and on, without implying it's somehow a voting majority.
Scott Bieber January 19, 2013 at 01:51 AM
Dear Michele, the names of the four appellants who are "dragging this on and on" are in the article. Are you implying that they should not have exercised their consitutional right to seek redress of their grievances against the township's decision to rezone this land without consulting the residents who would be most affected by the rezoning ?. You can blame the township for the "continued waste of funds" because had they consulted the residents before changing the zoning, there would have been no lawuit. And had the commissioners not included a provision in the memorandum of understanding obligated the township to "vigorously defend" against any zoning appeal, they could have instead let the zoning change die and gone back to the public for input on a new zoning change that all parties could live with. So blame the commissioners, not the residents, for the "continued waste of funds." And if you think so many twsp residents support the zoning change, go out and get a thousand petition signatures to prove it. Or lets just wait for the elections. Maybe you are right and a majority supports the zoning change.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »