Commissioner Race – Glaring Policy Contrasts

Below are 5 of the most glaring contrasts between the incumbents and myself. There are many more. These are just the most obvious. This election is a clear choice. By attempting to pull the focus off these issues, the incumbents are playing little political games. These are the issues that matter to residents.

Land development/Growth issues

1. Jaindl – The grandaddy of terrible decision making. Dissected at length over the last 2 years and deservedly so. No need to re-hash here. For those who want to read in depth my thoughts visit here. One decision that will change the tone of the township forever. Residents never had a voice in quarry vs. over 1 square mile of warehousing once the awful MOU was negotiated. The incumbents chose the urban industrial path vs. the rural quarry path. (Quarry = 1/10th of the truck traffic)

Transperancy LMT style

2. Allen Organ upzoning/conflict of interest – Here is the elevator sypnosis: Weis wants to move across the street to new store with gas-pumps. Weis thinks they can then compete with the Wegmans and Giants of the world. Ok that is fine. No problem with a private business doing what they think they need to do to improve business. They have every right to do this since previously the parcel across the street was zoned commercial. Supermarkets are allowed in C-Commercial.

Now….Fast forward a little bit. A developer wants to facilitate project. The developer can’t make money off of just building a supermarket on this parcel with it’s many constraints that make it tough to develop. (railroad, floodplain, limited frontage) So developer asks board of commissioners to change the rules so they can also build up to 250 apartments. This way the developer can make money. So board unanimously rubber stamps a bran new zoning ordinance that will allow developer to shoehorn a supermarket and apartments on a small parcel. A parcel with one major entrance/exit that will create traffic nightmares on Rt. 100. The realtor on the property? Happens to be our very own president of the board of commissioners who will cash a hefty commission check off the deal.

Supermarket and up to 250 apartments proposed with new zoning ordinance.
LVPC comments on Allen Organ Plan 

Solutions: How do we do better?
Cost benefit analysis of re-zoning
Transferable Development Programs.

Refusal to deal with traffic concerns

3. A Police Department to solve traffic concerns (which would equal a massive tax increase that I do not want) is NOT the answer. The answer is traffic calming measures. Such as the ones outlined here and here. The board has consistently refused to even explore these options. Now that we’ve set ourselves down a certain path thanks to decisions by the current board we need to consider these measures to control traffic and speeding issues. Traffic calming and walkability go hand in hand

Pennsylvania’s traffic calming handbook

Next, truck traffic. Decisions were made to go all in on warehousing. So now what? Now we need bandaids. Instead of beefing up signage and implementing no truck zones to funnel traffic to safe routes getting them to the highways safely and quickly the board does nothing. “We don’t want to stop commerce” – Roger Reis. I do not get this statement, no one wants to stop commerce. We want to stop trucks from using local shortcuts through residential areas. These trucks are not going from warehouses delivering to our local community. What they are doing is cutting through to get to the highways. We’ve gone all in on warehouses and not we have to deal with consequences and stop burying our heads in the sand. We also must prepare for the next “bypass of the bypass” project and others like it that will cost the taxpayers dearly for terrible decisions over the past 3 years.

Over-regulating homeowners and small business

4. Three examples of new regulations the current board has indicated will pass or already passed.

A. As part of the new Act 537 sewage plan, mandatory inspections of on site sewer systems will be required every 2 years. This is regulating household maintanence. Classic regulatory overkill.

B. New mandatory inspections of all of Lower Macungie’s business owners next year may have to pay for an annual fire safety inspection of their buildings. As a small business owner, I do not believe in imposing additional costs on small businesses.

C. New Tree harvesting regulations limit the amount of trees a private resident can cut down on their property. Two parts to this, first the commercial aspect of this ordinance is great. However, I think the residential limit of certain number of trees in one year was too intrusive.

Preservation of our character.

5. There is no more bigger issue moving forward then managing growth. The biggest recent example was a missed golden opportunity to explore taking land preservation out of the hands of politicians and putting it into permanent preservation mechanisms. The Kratzer farm is the prime example. 88 acres of farmland and open space in a central location providing a positive benefit to 1000s of adjacent homes. For the some reason the board refuses to apply it to the county easement program. (A program voted on and passed by county voters 2-1)