Lower Macungie Must Produce Farmland Ordinance Documents

But zoners' chairman rules subpoenas will not be issued -- at least for now -- in the matter that affects Jaindl's 700-acre plan.

A decision Sunday will require the Lower Macungie Township commissioners to provide all documents relevant to the creation of an ordinance that rezoned more than 700 acres of township farmland. 

However, Zoning Hearing Board Chairman William Royer did not issue subpoenas requested for individuals to give testimony at this time, though the legal team trying to appeal the ordinance may be given that opportunity at a later date. 

Donald Miles, the lawyer who represents objectors to developing the farmland, wanted Royer to issue the subpoenas to several people including David Jaindl, the developer, and several other people who either work with Jaindl or for the township.

At the April 13 zoning meeting, Royer promised to deliver his decision on the subpoenas on or before April 18.

On Sunday, Royer decided the subpoenas are not necessary at this time, but that Miles could renew the request if it is established that subpoenas would be relevant to the case. Miles is trying to establish that an ordinance that was passed early in 2010 to rezone the farmland to accommodate warehouses and commercial and residential development was improperly legislated.

Royer and Brian Higgins comprise the zoning board. The board's counsel is Mark Malkames. Royer alone, however, is charged with issuing subpoenas.

"Regarding the subpoena document request directed to the Intervenor [Jaindl], until there is record evidence established regarding the relationship of the Intervenor to the Zoning amendments, if any, the Chair will not issue that records subpoena," Royer said in a letter.

But even though the subpoenas for the list of people Miles wants to question will not be issued now, Royer understands that Miles needs information on which to build his case. Royer did issue a subpoena that asks lawyers for both sides  -- attorney Joseph Zator who represents Jaindl  and attorney Peter Lehr who represents the township commissioners -- to produce relevant township documents for Miles by the time the Zoning Hearing Board reconvenes at 6:30 p.m. April 27.

The subpoena asks the township to bring records and documents including:

"All documents and other records kept by Lower Macungie Township in the ordinary course of business concerning events occurring during, or dated or created, that concern or memorialize any meetings, conference, discussion, negotiation, agreement, report or contact associated with the Ordinance Amendments as referenced in Paragraph 18 of the Appellants' Substantive Validity Appeal whereby four (4) new zoning districts which were created by Lower Macungie Township, excluding confidential deliberations of law or policymaking reflecting opinions, recommendations or advice made before the deliberative process was completed, but not including any purely factual information or documentation used or created by Lower Macungie Township Commissioners or its agents associated with that process."

Royer said Sunday that collecting all the documents may be a lengthy process for the township and that he would consider extending the time needed to gather them if necessary.

Ron Beitler April 18, 2011 at 01:29 PM
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