Friends for Protection of Lower Macungie Township, a community organization focused on smart growth policies in Lower Macungie, has endorsed Jim Lanscek (R) and Robert Sharpe (D) in the township commissioner race vs. incumbent Doug Brown.
Robert Sharpe, according to Citizens for Change website, a Democrat, has a 17-year career devoted to protecting the public's right-to-know. His public service, journalism experience and legal background make him well-qualified. During 10 years as a reporter, and managing editor, Bob gained practical knowledge on the workings of local government and awareness of what is important to residents, especially with regard to transparency.
Furthermore Sharpe's opposition to the Jaindl Development and the manner in which the plan was approved allowing a developer to co-opt the township is in lock-step with our primary focus of overturning this awful rezoning. The plan which was codemned by professional planners will damage the quality of life in the township in terms of traffic, rising cost of infrastructure, environmental and exasperating our already critical flooding issues.
Mr. Lanscek, a Republican, has 35 years of local government experience as the zoning officer for Lower Macungie Township. This forms the backbone of his campaign. It's this experience that is needed on a board that bungled the 2009 traffic impact fee debacle so badly. (see below) Mr. Lanscek also supports smart growth policies and the preservation of open space.
It is essential to elect this bi-partisan ticket to ensure that Brown is shown the door. The value of open space and land preservation crosses party lines.
Recently, Commissioner Brown has voted along with all seated commissioners, Eichenburg, Reis, Pugliese and Conrad (whose terms come up in 2013) unanimously to appeal a decision by Judge Varricchio in favor of township residents who appealed zoning changes that favored a local developer in what we believe was textbook illegal spot zoning. Varricchio ruled that improper notification was given to residents regarding the re-zoning of 700 acres of land to high density residential, commercial and warehouses. To date the township has spent nearly 100,000 dollars in defense of it's actions which run contrary to public sentiment regarding open space and farmland preservation.
Additionally, Brown was instrumental in the 2009 fumbling of the townships traffic impact fee. While this was Brown's initiative it was largely the appointed committee who did the grunt work. The impact fee would have been a fantastic deterrent to slow out-of-control growth, and it's unfortunate that it's invalidation resulted in more harm than good in the short term.
Mr. Brown must bear responsibility for this as the committees liason to the Board of Commissioners. The result of improper launching of this fee resulted in the voiding of over $1.2M in lost impact fees plus an additional $34K in consultant costs. This also resulted in a harmful window where developers presented dozens of plans without the deterrant of the impact fee. It's also important to note that many waivers and special favors have been given to Mr. Jaindl in terms of the MOU that laid the groundwork for the 700 acre monstrosity potential "warehouseville".
Both candidates have been endorsed by LMT Citizens for Change a very influential community group that was instrumental in moving the township to first class and also Citizens for Strong Communities in addition to "Friends."