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Jaindl Defends Dealings With Lower Macungie Commissioners

After residents voice fears about increased traffic and flooding from proposed development, Jaindl defends Lower Macungie commissioners and himself in impromptu speech.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to provide additional information. 

At a lively meeting Thursday night, developer David Jaindl defended his dealings with Lower Macungie Township commissioners and called residents' criticisms "unfair." 

Jaindl, whose proposed development of more than 600 acres in Lower Macungie has sparked an expensive legal fight, listened to residents complain to commissioners about their fears that the construction will lead to overcrowded roads and flooding, among other problems. 

One township resident suggested three of the commissioners, Roger Reis, Ryan Conrad and Ron Eichenberg, should abstain from voting on matters involving Jaindl's plans because they work in real estate, which could be a conflict of interest. 

Then for the first time since the township’s Zoning Hearing Board case on Nov. 29 which moved him a step closer to building nearly 700 homes, a shopping center and warehouses on farmland in Lower Macungie, Jaindl commented publicly about it.

 This turkey farmer turned developer ruffled more than a few feathers when he took control of the podium and apologized to board president Roger Reis that he didn’t have a prepared speech. Here are excepts of what he said: 

“I think [Zoning Hearing Board Chairman] Bill Royer said it very well when it came to the 2009 vote," Jaindl said."It wasn’t this board which made a decision. At the recommendation of a former solicitor some changes were made to down-zone and devalue much of the property that we’re talking about. That’s a fact.

“What isn’t probably well-known is that there were public hearings, and I don’t remember seeing anybody in this room -- or any of the objectors -- coming to the meetings throughout the summer of 2009 when this was up for debate between the planning commission and those commissioners. The planning commission, by in large, was against what was being proposed. Some of the staff was not even asked what their opinions were.

“But the board, through the recommendation of the former solicitor, proceeded. I came to every single one of those meetings. It was myself and my attorney. No one else showed up. The planning commission members and the commissioners will say I lobbied against what they were proposing to do.

“If that would have been listened to and our words heard, we wouldn’t be here tonight. You folks came in 2010 and were responsible for cleaning up those concerns.”

Jaindl said the protesters were unfair in their characterization of the commissioners as having secret agenda with his company.

“I have never done business with any of the five individuals (the current commissioners) up there,” Jaindl said. “I didn’t know them until 2010, but I respect what they did.  I think it's extremely unfair of the characterization that was made tonight.’’

After winning the zoning hearing board decision, Jaindl still faces a fight.  Lehigh County Judge Michele A. Varricchio ruled in court that residents weren't given adequate notice about zoning changes that would allow Jaindl to build nearly 700 homes, a shopping center and warehouses. residential and commercial development.  Jaindl and the township are appealing.

optimist December 02, 2011 at 08:15 PM
“What isn’t probably well-known is that there were public hearings, and I don’t remember seeing anybody in this room -- or any of the objectors -- coming to the meetings throughout the summer of 2009 when this was up for debate between the planning commission and those commissioners - That's because nobody had a clue they were taking place. Advertising in 1 local newspaper, sending out a limited number of letters in a very limited area, and putting up a few scattered signs is not proper notice. Michele A. Varricchio has said as much in her ruling. Sorry Mr. Jaindl but this statement is false. Please go ahead and try to build your quarry.
Scott Bieber December 03, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Mr. Jaindl is correct that no one showed interest in the 2009 rezoning. That's because the main goal was simply allowing a few more houses than the original very strict agricultural zoning. The 2009 rezoning actully increased the value of Mr. Jaindl's land for housing. But the 2009 rezoning hurt him greatly by taking away the only leverage he always had -- the right to open a quarry. Faced with losing that leverage, the 2009 rezoning simply forced Mr. Jaindl to use his quarry leverage earlier than he thought he would have to.
Howard R.Bachman,Jr. December 03, 2011 at 04:05 PM
The Jaindl's have to stand back and see what they are doing to all of the farm land-soon there will be no country roads and parks for people to go to because of traffic and no place for rain water to go --it's too much-all in the name of money- how much do the Jaindls want--they sure don't care about the future !!
Dave Greff December 03, 2011 at 08:14 PM
The Jaindl's got everything they wanted, why shouldn't he speak well of the commissioners. This deal stinks to high, YOU KNOW WHAT. All the commissioners should be voted out of office, regardless of their party. Everyone should commit to not patronize anything that Jaindl constructs, and picket everyone not to purchase any of the homes. If Jaindl had respect for our community he would announce that he will "NOT" go ahead with the development, but don't hold your breath.
Robert Csandl December 04, 2011 at 09:53 PM
I think we should join the plot to macadam every inch of Lower Macungie Township. Who wants to see trees, rivers and birds. We need more cement and macadam! It's called development and jobs. Once macadam'd we can ride the flood water runoff, create mold removal jobs, and replace these forests and farmland with bill boards so we can reminisce of our past. It is the macadam plan, skip regional planning. It's not required. Nothing should obstruct the Real Estate Industry as stated at the last LMT meeting. The small matter of ethics, influence, dual interests, conflicts of interest, and court rulings about the perception of conflicts of interest.... well none of that matters here in macadam land. Commissioners please do not recuse yourself until ALL the land is macadamed. I suspect the big pocket developer with the land destruction company needs the aid of our tax dollars to fight our own citizens since groups like this dare to ask questions and get in the way. I can't wait for the big 18 wheelers servicing NYC to come to our township. The fresh air needs an infusion of aromatic diesel exhaust. It's so good for us small people to have such visionary leadership modeling communication and transparency. The sad part is Mr Jaindl lives so far away and will not get to breathe the diesel fumes too. Too bad he will only have another million in profit for legal fees to macadam the next community, he's such an asset to farmers and the countryside. God Bless America

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