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Judge Rules Lower Macungie Zoning Ordinance Change is Invalid

Lehigh County Judge Michele Varricchio says the township did not properly notify the public of the changes before commissioners voted on it.

Lehigh County Judge Michele Varricchio ruled Wednesday that the zoning ordinance that would allow David Jaindl to build a mix of warehouses, commercial buildings and hundreds of homes on 600 acres of prime Lower Macungie farmland is invalid.

She said though the township made a "good faith effort" to comply with the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code, notices of the meeting were misleading because they did not identify which ordinance was to be voted on, and they did not say how the ordinance was to be changed, according to this Morning Call report.

Varricchio had several procedural issues to decide on regarding the zoning challenge. The notification issue is only one of them. 

Currently the township's zoning hearing board is considering testimony in an effort to rule on four substantive issues regarding the zoning challenge. Its next meeting will be at 6:30 on Sept. 21.

The 600-acre parcel of land bounded Smith Lane and Mertztown, Spring Creek and Ruth roads in the southwest corner of the township is, some say, some of the best farmland not only in the state, but in the country.

Jaindl Land Co.'s plans to develop it with more than 700 units of high-density housing, warehouses and commercial establishments has been a hotly debated issue in the township since the change to the zoning ordinance was signed in July 2010.

optimist September 02, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Good news!
Dave Greff September 02, 2011 at 02:50 PM
This is "great" news, I also recommend that we should all remember what the LMT commissioners tried to do, when we go to the polls.
Friends for Protection LMT September 02, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Absolutely Dave! This is an important victory in a marathon, but more work lies ahead. The community will decide the tone of this township, not a single wealthy landowner and his expensive team of lawyers! www.facebook.com/friendslmt. Please join our group for the latest on our efforts. "Like" the facebook page to show your support. Or email cfrankenberg@cleanwater.org to join our mailing list.

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