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Lower Mac Reorganizes, Appoints ZHB Rep

To the surprise of some, former zoning hearing board member Robert Rust was not re-appointed.

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.

optimist January 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Bob Rust is a true asset to this community. I'm sorry the BOC decided to have him removed based on his legal representation of the appellates in the Jaindl rezoning debacle.
Friends for Protection LMT January 05, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Correction, Joseph Ludrow was placed on the vacancy board not planning commission. Also note, the ONLY incumbent not appointed was Rust. Fmr Commissioner Pugliese who chose not to run for another term spoke near the end of the meeting... "This isn't right".... Indeed it was not. Sad, really. Punishing a good man....
Bill Thomas January 05, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Why not also mention that Commissioner Ron Eichenberg was elected President while Commissioner Ryan Conrad kept his seat as Vice President. I wish them well.
david wieder January 06, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Correction: David Wieder was appointed building code board of appeals.
Rob Hamill January 06, 2012 at 04:22 AM
In LMT, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Percy Dougherty was kicked off the environmental advisory board during the time of the "let's see how many new subdivisions we can cram into our farm fields" era. The commissioners didn't want to hear about logic or good planning then either.
MS January 06, 2012 at 05:56 PM
The commissioners have one agenda, their own, the citizens of the township are just in their way....2013 is coming....
Scott Alderfer January 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I agree with you Missy. It seems that however poorly we feel that LMT residents are represented by the Commissioners, no one has a chance at replacing them unless they are registered as a Republican. In this most recent election, incumbent Republican Doug Brown was re-elected over capable Democratic challenger Robert Sharpe. And in 2010, Democrat Deana Zosky, who was appointed to the newly formed Board of Commissioners in 2008 by a county judge and did much to reorganize the township's finances, failed in her re-election bid. That was the same election in which Commissioners Eichenberg, Conrad, and Reis (all Republicans) took over the BOC. Partisan politics should really have no bearing on the scale of a township. Why then does it seem that Democrats cannot get elected to the BOC in LMT? The Republicans who are getting elected seem to be looking out for themselves and David Jaindl more so than the average LMT residents.
MS January 06, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Well, I for one am a republican that does NOT vote by party lines, I think before I vote , just wish more people would do the same. Next time I won't be voting for the sweet talking younger gentleman who promised he cares about lower macungie, it's very obvious Ryan Conrad does not!

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