Lower Macungie Commissioners Agenda Preview 3/6/14

Sorry this is late this week… I’ve been down with a cold!

FYI –  In these previews I may indicate thoughts on an issue, but it in no way means my mind is set. During a critical hearing for the Jaindl issue, a Commissioner spoke before public comment outlining he was voting to move forward the project regardless of what people said during public comment. That was wrong. Public debate was circumvented when the Commissioner indicated his mind was made up.

My hope is by blogging I open the door for conversations. One of my biggest issues with the Jaindl debacle was folks 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 on issues. This is one mechanism to do that. I hope people find it useful. Please contact me at ronbeitler@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns about any issues.

Township Board of Commissioners 3/6/14 – Agenda with detail here

Announcements & Presentations: Macungie Ambulance Annual Report

Hearings and Approvals – NONE

Public Comment on Non-Agenda items:
Scott Alderfer – Scott Alderfer from Little Lehigh Trout Unlimited writes to announce the chapter was awarded a 5,000 dollar grant to purchase and plant shade trees along the banks of the Little Lehigh.
Four locations in the township will receive trees: Graymoor Greenway, Kratzer Farm, Harris York open space and Camp Olympic. Thank you to Scott and Little Lehigh Trout Unlimited for efforts to maintain the creeks riparian buffer!

Letter from Tom Muller County Exec – Informing local municipalities about casino impact money. It’s my understanding this is geared towards communities directly impacted by the new casino in South Bethlehem. 

Scott Hower – Resident – Poppy Drive – Comment on rezoning. Mr. Hower writes with concerns about request to rezone 8 acres of farmland off of Quarry Rd and Rt. 100 to commercial properties. He notes granting this request would be in direct conflict to the regions comprehensive plans. Mr. Hower is 100% correct in this assertion and I agree. 

Parks and Recreation Board – Recommendation for Rain Garden proposal. The board states that if township park land must be used for a private developer then the developers should enhance the recreation of the township. They ask specifically if any compensation has been worked out between the developer and the township and did not offer further support or opposition to the plan. This was covered by the Morning Call yesterday here. I and others commented on this last BOC meeting when Commissioner Brown brought up the issue. Article covered it here

Pete Pavlovich – Resident – Truck Concern. Mr. Pavlovich talks about truck concerns in the township. Specifically, Rt. 100 and Schoeneck Rd. This issue has been longstanding. It’s my understanding this intersection will be “improved” this spring. I will be asking for an updated time table tonight. Mr. Pavlovich is 100% correct. This intersection is dangerous and although it’s posted no trucks coming out of the warehouses it is still frequently used. The truck restriction also leads to increased truck traffic in the Boroughs of Macungie and Alburtis which creates safety issues. I have frequently stated I believe one of the biggest issues we face as a community moving forward is truck traffic generated by distribution warehouses. 

Appointments to Boards
We have one outstanding vacancy on the public safety commission. I will be nominating with support the recommendation of the public safety commission, James Dontonville whose name has been forwarded to the board by commission chair Scott Forbes. 

Departmental Matters
Planning – Transportation funds for sidewalks. 
Recently LVPC has made availble funds for “Lehigh Valley projects that don’t fit into the traditional bridge and highway funding silos.” This money can be used to fund complete street enhancements, walkways and bike facilities.

Our planner along with Walkways committee volunteer Jim Palmquist has put together a proposal for an application to enhance walkways around Lower Macungie Middle School. Mr. Palmquist is the chair of a volunteer walkways group that has taken on a two year project to increase walkability in our townshipCheck out there website here.

Solicitor – Ordinance Prohibiting Truck Traffic beyond scenic view Rd. on Gehman, Orchard and Schoeneck and removing restriction on Quarry Rd. I want to see where the signs will be placed. I believe it’s important to avoid signage placed in a way that we encourage trucks to use Scenic View (through a residential neighborhood) as an “out” when they realize they cannot proceed further towards Mountain Rd.

Committee Reports –
Public Safety

Budget and Finance
Planning Commission recommendation for capital improvements plan  I  support this. A capital improvement plan is a tool used to assess the long term capital project requirements of a government entity. The purpose for LMT is to evaluate requests for capital items such as maintenance of parks, trails, sanitary sewer, storm water management, open space preservation, public works and fire equipment. The written plan would hopefully identify and describe capital projects requests,rank priority, forecast the years in which funding each project is to occur and methods of funding. I support this initiative. Without a long term capital projects roadmap smart growth planning is incomplete. At it’s core, smart growth is important because it lays out a sustainable financial roadmap for our township. Planning ahead for capital needs is critical.

Investigate Homestead Exclusion ActI support exploring this. More information here. 

Planning & Zoning –
Many beefy items will be discussed at next weeks Committee meeting (Lancsek/Beitler) The mtg is March 12th at 4:30

Public Works & Facilities

Work order process for engineering projects: This came out of a recommendation by the Audit Advisory Board to review internal policies for engineering projects. I support this based on recommendations by staff. 

If you have questions on any items I didn’t cover in detail here please contact me at ronbeitler@gmail.com