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Lower Mac ZHB Hears Impassioned Residents

About 40 people attended the session and about half of them spoke out against the zoning amendment.

The Oct. 12 session of the Lower Mac Zoning Hearing Board was a classic case of "ask and you shall receive."

At the last meeting, the board comprising Chairman William Royer and Brian Higgins was at a dead end to comment or give an opinion on the issue at hand: the zoning amendment enacted in July 2010 that would allow development of hundreds of acres of township farmland.

At the end of the meeting, Royer made a plea for citizens to show up and comment.

So they did. About 40 people filled the township building's meeting room and about half of them stepped up to the podium, were sworn in and spoke. One delivered her cautionary tale by invoking the voice of Dr. Suess. 

Royer laid some ground rules at the beginning, asking speakers to remain civil and to be sensitive to the limited hearing time by giving up their spots if their viewpoint had been expressed by a previous speaker.

Royer then turned the floor over to the citizens.

Helen Hewell and Art Imdorf of the Millbrook Farms Homeowners Association showed photos of Millrace Road, which has been under 4 to 5 feet of Little Lehigh Creek water on five separate occasions in the past two months. Their concern was that more development would cause further water runoff problems.

Scott Bieber presented a time line of the development of the zoning amendment and was quizzed at times by Jaindl's attorney, Joseph Zator.

Mark Spengler tried to present the board with a petition containing almost 500 signatures from township residents who oppose the zoning amendment and the proposed development.

Zator objected to the presentation saying the signatures were "hearsay." Spengler was allowed to give only his own opinion.

The recurring theme throughout the voices was the Board of Commissioners lack of notice to the residents and the potential damage to the environment.

Former Township Commissioner Deana Zosky read excerpts from Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax" to make her point.

"Dr. Seuss wrote it to us," she said, "As parents, leaders and decision makers. We don't always make decisions with the long term in mind."

Royer and Higgins who explained that their decision would be based on law, not on their own personal feelings or opinions. 

But Connie Moyer, whose property adjoins the proposed development site, took issue with the statement.

"What was the point of having everybody speak if you're making your decisions based solely on what the Board of Commmissioners did," asked Connie Moyer who lives at the edge of the Jaindl property in question.

"It may make a difference," Higgins explained, "We need to know how this impacts you and what is the downside of living in this township."

The board reconvenes to make its decision at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1.

Friends for Protection LMT October 13, 2011 at 04:24 PM
We are extremely sad that through legal wrangling the opinions of nearly 500 are not on the record. The board asked for input and we provided it. It's ever increasingly hard for citizens to attend public meetings. We took the initiative and took the issue to door steps. (something the BOC should have done in 2010) Overwhelmingly neighbors signed the petition. (which is ongoing and will also be presented to the BOC) For more information on our efforts, please visit www.facebook.com/friendslmt
optimist October 13, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Interested in joining this fight? Sign the online petition. Remember to place your address in the comments section http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/friendslmt/ Also, consider attending the next Board of Commissioners meeting. Let the BOC know how you feel about irresposible and unsustainable development in Lower Macungie Twsp. That meeting will be on the 20th at 7:00.

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