Robert N. Rust III took a fall on Jan. 3.
The Allentown attorney, who is co counsel of a legal team who represents three couples and one individual who would be affected by the Jaindl Land Co.'s development of more than 600 acres of farmland and is backed by the Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie Township, was stopped in a bid to gain re-election to the township’s zoning hearing board.
Instead, newcomer Brian Higgins, previously an alternate on the township’s zoning hearing board, gained election by a 4-1 vote from the township’s Board of Commissioners. The appointment runs until Dec. 31, 2014.
Rust, who was sitting in the front row of the , exited quietly after the vote, saying little.
Others, however, did have something to say about Rust, who served as one of the leaders of the battle in the township to stop development of 600 acres of land owned by Jaindl Land Co.
Scott Bieber, who helped start the Friends group, took the podium and spoke in Rust’s favor moments before the meeting dismissed. But it was too late.
Other support for Rust came too early.
“In November and December, a group of us wrote letters to the commissioners,” said William Royer, a Macungie businessman who headed the special township zoning hearing board over the past year.
“Zoning officer Larry Snyder, Attorney Mark Malkames, Commissioner James Lancsek, Higgins and myself. We all said we wanted Bob to use his experience and judgment on the zoning board,“ Royer said.
Asked if he though Rust’s defeat was pay-back for his actions with the Friends’ group, Royer deferred comment while saing he respects Higgins, too.
“Higgins is an outstanding individual,’’ Royer said. “He will be a positive addition.“
Higgins, who joined Royer as a second zoning officer a year ago, is a pharmaceutical representative from Hudson County, N.J. He has relatives in Emmaus and fell in love with the Lower Macungie area a decade ago before moving in seven years ago.
Higgins did not attend the commissioner’s meeting.
Also part of the annual reorganization meeting was the swearing in of commissioners Douglas H. Brown and Lancsek.
Appointments included Richard B. Somach as township solicitor, William Erdman as township engineer, David Weiner on the building code board of appeals, and John Fisher, John LeVan and Nicole Ferino on the environmental advisory council.
Neil Decker, Tom Beil were placed on the planning commission, Joseph Ludrow joined the vacancy board. David Wieder was appointed to the building code board of appeals.