Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reverses Lehigh County decision regarding the validity of a township ordinance.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reverses Lehigh County decision.
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Friday reversed a decision Lehigh County Judge Michelle Varricchio made more than a year ago that invalidated the zoning ordinance that would allow David Jaindl to build a mix of warehouses, commercial buildings and hundreds of homes on 700 acres of prime Lower Macungie farmland. In other words, the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners appealed Varricchio's September 2011 decision and won, according to a story in The Morning Call. The zoning ordinance stands as written. Ron Eichenberg, president of the township commissioners, said the commissioners are pleased with the decision. "Lower Macungie Township is pleased that the Commonwealth Court recognized that we acted appropriately and in …
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Lehigh, Northampton counties are stepping up farm preservation and Lehigh County is growing new farmers.
One of the hardest things in government is getting people to buy into the idea that sometimes you have to spend tax money on something now to save more in the long run. Hence, it can be a tough sell to argue that by investing in early childhood education you’ll have fewer high-risk youths heading for much more expensive prisons later, as a law enforcement group argues here. Saving tax money over the long term is also a good reason to support preserving farmland. Before the housing slump, open space was disappearing from the Lehigh Valley at the rate of four square miles a year and will no doubt pick up again as the housing market returns. “If that 100 acres turns into a housing development, that 100 acres is going to cost the community …
Friday, September 21, 2012
A local business owner, the township native is active in environmental and community causes.
Ron Beitler, owner of Bar None Weddings & Entertainment in Macungie and a lifelong resident of Lower Macungie Township was rejected by the Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners as a volunteer member of the Parks & Recreation Board. Beitler, a lifelong township resident, applied for the position and was interviewed by some of the commissioners. His appointment to the board was a party of Thursday's agend at the BOC meeting. Commissioner James Lanscek made a motion to approve Beitler's appointment. But Commissioner President Ron Eichenberg had concerns. "[Beitler] is instrumental in an organization that brought suit against the Board of Commissioners, and he has a lot of negativity," Eichenberg said. Eichenberg went on to say that for those …
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Family farms in Pennsylvania are now exempt from the state’s “death tax,” or a tax on transfer of assets from a deceased owner to a child or relative
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — Jay Grove’s grandfather built Gro-Lan Farms in 1905, the Franklin County dairy farmer said proudly. More than a century later, Grove and his brother, Jeff, grow grain to feed their dairy cows on 425 acres and produce some 10,000 8-ounce glasses of milk a day. Not all family farms experience this success. Grove tells a story of a neighboring farmer who sold his 130 acres to a developer who built more than 130 houses there. “Family farms have struggled over the years just to stay alive,” he said. But Grove said Pennsylvania took a step in the right direction to help keep farms in the family. The state repealed the inheritance tax, or “death tax,” as it applies to family-owned farms, a passage …
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Company wants to construct two 1 million-square-foot warehouses at Mill Creek Road between Hamilton Boulevard and Route 222 Bypass.
A commercial real estate company is proposing to build two 1 million square-foot warehouses – each the size of the Nestle distribution center – to the east of Air Products and Chemicals between Hamilton Boulevard and the Route 222 Bypass. Though most of the construction is planned for Upper Macungie Township, some will be in Lower Macungie. Liberty Property Trust, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate companies with an office in Bethlehem, wants to combine eight tracts of land, including some owned by Air Products, into three separate lots totaling 436 acres. Liberty Properties will own 200 acres of that which it would develop for the two warehouses, according to Liberty. Air Products will keep 236 acres, which includes their …
Saturday, May 5, 2012
The Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County is asking the public to contact Gov. Tom Corbett and state lawmakers to keep funding for agricultural land preservation intact.
Editor's Note: The following release was submitted by the Lehigh County Farmland Preservation office. The Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County opposed Governor Corbett's budget proposal to eliminate the state cigarette tax as the primary source of dedicated funding for farmland preservation in Pennsylvania. The Board asks that local officials and the public contact the Governor's office and their state legislators to express opposition to the Governor's plan to cut this critical source of state funding for agricultural land preservation. What's your position? Tell us in the comments. Until this year, $20.5 million of state cigarette tax revenue was distributed annually to counties to help them buy …
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
An open letter from the Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie Township asking taxpayers to attend the May 3 BOC meeting and to voice their opinions. A costly issue that could sharply increase truck traffic may come up for a vote.
To the residents of Lower Macungie Township: The Spring Creek Properties (Jaindl) Subdivision will require Rt. 100 to be widened to five lanes, and the new Sauerkraut Lane extension to four lanes at its intersection with Rt. 100. The widening will require the township to take property from the houses along Route 100. Furthermore, more than 1,000 additional tractor trailers and car are predicted to be traveling on Route 100 during rush hour. Do you think this will lower property values along the Route 100 corridor? Our township engineer has warned that all four access roads into Ancient Oaks West, (Aster, Wisteria, Foxglove and Columbine), will have limited access or traffic lights when Rt. 100 is widened and the Sauerkraut extension is …
Friday, March 16, 2012
Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners will talk again about the plan to subdivide almost 600 acres of farmland at its April 5 meeting.
The Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners took no action toward approving the Spring Creek subdivision plan presented in its revised form at the March 15 meeting. Township officials presented the plan in its latest iteration to commissioners before turning over the plan for public comment, which included several tense moments. First to speak, Township Planner Sara Pandl described the breakdown of the 14 lots which totals just under 600 acres: Township Engineer William Erdman spoke mostly about the traffic studies to which the property has been and will be subject. During the public comment, Scott Bieber, an Upper Milford Township resident and member of the grassroots Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie Township, exceeded his 3-…
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Friends for the Protection of Lower Macungie Township presented more proof that farmland development is unpopular.
The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners accepted another collection of petitions at its Jan. 19 meeting. Resident Mark Spengler presented the the latest batch, explaining that among the petitions he was presenting was the 1,000th voice asking the commissioners to withdraw from a memorandum of understanding that changed zoning laws for a third of the township. The change to the zoning ordinance alllows development of hundreds of acres of farmland in the township's southwest corner by David Jaindl. Spengler gave three reasons for asking the commissioners to abandon the MOU and to pull back from developing the farmland: 1. Overcrowding in the East Penn School District "Willow Lane Elementary School, just down the street from this …