BOC Sept 5 – Agenda and thoughts

FYI – This is a practice I started 2 weeks ago and will continue as a member of the BOC. Please remember, in these previews while I may indicate my voting inclination, it in no way means my mind is made up on an issue. Back during a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a commissioner once spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong.

My hope is this opens the door for conversations before public meetings. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was people didn’t truly understand what was happening until it was too late. I plan on doing everything I can to make sure residents have background information and my thoughts on issues before they come to a vote  in front of the board. This is one mechanism to do that.

Lower Macungie Township – Board of Commissioners Sept. 5th 2013
Here is the agenda with supporting documents 

*There aren’t many voting items out of the ordinary this meeting. But there are a few more communication items I will comment on.

Hearings and Approvals – None

Jim Palmquist – Budget request
What: Jim Palmquist is the Chairperson of the LMT walkways subcommittee. This is a formalized subcommittee of public works. The walkways group are volunteers in LMT who organized in April. They initiated a 2 year project to increase walkability in our community. They make the case for walkways here.

I have been active within and supportive of the group since it’s inception. Jim and others have made presentations in front of the Parks board, public works committee and planning commission over the last couple months.

Many of the requests they are making in the upcoming budget process ensure we get a return on investment with amenities developers installed when subdivisions were built. This is great for the township, but what has happened over time is we’ve built alot “walkways to nowhere” in the township.

I am supportive of these budget requests and the township exploring “connecting the dots” to make sure we get maximum return on investment on our existing disconnected walkway infrastructure.

David Jaindl – Comment on proposed limit on plan application extensions
I disagree with Mr. Jaindl here and as of now I am in favor of the Planning Commission proposal to limit the amount of time a plan can sit dormant. I have been present for discussion at length about this topic at the planning commission level. At some point in the near future I will write more on this specific topic. My vote would be in favor of a 5 year limit on permit timelines.

John and Margaret Desanto – Comment on Hamilton Crossings Grant Application
I  agree with everything the Desanto’s say in their letter. But as I outlined in my last agenda preview I will not turn away money for the township with what I call an “activist” vote.

The Hamilton Crossings project is coming. I do not see it as the best fit for our community and I would have preferred a moratorium on all major development projects until completion of the smart growth planning exercise but unfortunately I would not have had the votes to stop it and certain approvals have already been granted. Therefore I am motivated to see it be the best project possible and this grant money will help. I do have major issues with state taxpayer money going to a suburban strip shopping center project but that is an issue that can fundamentally only be fixed in the state house.

Letter of thanks from Francee Fuller EPSD Board Member.
Director Fuller expresses gratitude to Lower Macungie for the team effort to get the WLES school corridor ready for the school year. I observed the first day drop off and echo that sentiment.

Appointments to Boards:

Public Safety Commission 1 vacancy
The PSC will recommend Liza Ackerman to the commission. My philosophy for appointments will be deferring to the commission recommendation. I will then take into account the recommendation of the umbrella Commissioner committee but I place more emphasis on the specific commissions recommendation moreso then the committee. Unfortunately I know from experience commissioners get political with appointments and I honestly feel as though the individual commission knows best who will be the best fit for their board.

I will support the PSC’s recommendation of Elizabeth Foley. On a sidenote I know Liza. A few months ago we attended tree tenders training together. She is energetic, cares about our community and is in this for all the right reasons. I’d love to see her on the EAC but I think Liza will do a fantastic job on the PSC. She will be the youngest and only woman on the PSC.

I do not think there will be any votes on any items in the committee reports as I believe it’s been awhile since any committee has met. I am however interested in hearing discussion on EAC request for tree-tender committee. This is something I am supportive of in lieu of a shade tree commission.