The Commonwealth Court could rule on the Jaindl zoning soon. Or it could be another month. There is no way to tell.
The court will either uphold Judge Varrichio's decision that invalidated the re-zoning or it will overturn the decision. Varrichio's ruling concluded the advertisement of the zoning by the township was "misleading" because, among other things, the location of the lands being re-zoned was omitted.
Before adopting this ordinance in 2010, our newly elected officials Ryan Conrad, Ron Eichenberg, Roger Reis and Doug Brown entered into a confidential written agreement with Jaindl, agreeing to change our zoning and abandon an agricultural protection ordinance that had been in place for 23 years. The appellants also argued this represented contract zoning, but the Judge only ruled on the technical aspect last summer. Depending on the outcome contract zoning could come back into play.
This new zoning will allow Jaindl to develop potentially hundreds of new homes, 4 million square foot of massive warehouses and typical strip/big box commercial. All on land that for 2 decades was preserved through zoning as agricultural and according to the Lehigh Valley comprehensive plan was to remain designated as such. The tract is located in the extreme western portion of the township.
Appellants and community win: Jaindl and the township would have to persuade the Pa. Supreme Court to hear an appeal.
Appellants and community lose: The court will remand the case back to Judge Varricchio to deal with contract zoning.