Higher Mount Bethel Supervisor Ed Nelson joins LVPC, will deal with `actuality' about growth, farming

Higher Mount Bethel Township Supervisor Ed Nelson stated he plans to lie low for a bit now that he has been appointed to the Lehigh Valley Planning Fee.

“I am the brand new child on the block,” Nelson stated Tuesday about his function on the LVPC. Nonetheless, he has a lot of expertise in authorities, and with one of many largest tasks in Lehigh Valley historical past — River Pointe Logistics Park in Higher Mount Bethel — on the agenda for the indefinite future, it could be exhausting to maintain a low profile for lengthy. River Pointe, often known as RPL, is an industrial plan on greater than 700 acres led by Bethlehem-based developer Lou Pektor.

The Lehigh Valley Planning Fee critiques main developments in Lehigh and Northampton counties. It’s primarily an advisory physique, passing on suggestions to municipalities, which make the ultimate selections on land use primarily based on their zoning ordinances.

 

The LVPC has knowledgeable employees and 37 appointed commissioners. Nelson was appointed final week by Northampton County Govt Lamont McClure with the approval of County Council.

Nelson is in favor of River Pointe as a result of the land is zoned for trade and since a lot of UMBT’s 44 sq. miles pays lowered tax or no tax. Preserved farmland and open area owned by the county and federal authorities leaves the next burden on about 6,500 residents. The township accounts for greater than 10% of Northampton County’s 377 sq. miles, however solely about 2% of the inhabitants.

There’s a hardcore of opposition to RPL that cites site visitors, the surroundings and the event’s proximity to the Delaware Water Hole, however Nelson factors to actuality: “That was all the time industrial property. This isn’t an uncommon factor.”

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The township ordinance is evident: The RPL land is zoned for trade, and industrial makes use of exist already within the zone.

“There’s not likely that a lot to debate,” Nelson stated. “There is not any higher place for industrial property (within the township) to be than the place it’s.”

 

He stated disagreements about use ought to be mentioned by all events, and that has occurred within the township.

“The developer desires to make cash, and the township desires to protect some form of affordable way of life,” Nelson stated. “See how one can make it work collectively. That is what authorities is for.”

Objecting to a property proprietor’s proposed use for land that’s allowed underneath the zoning ordinance is a waste of time, Nelson contends.

Nelson additionally stated he want to inject some actuality into the regional dialogue of farmland preservation. Nearly all politicians and residents communicate extremely of saving farmland, however Nelson stated the difficulty just isn’t that easy.

Folks prefer to see farms and generally even reside close to them (besides when manure is unfold) however the issue is, not too many individuals wish to work on them. Then when farmland is up for growth, because the Miller Farm in Bethlehem Township is, individuals who reside close by object, despite the fact that their houses, too, are on what was as soon as, in truth, farmland.

Preserving farms that individuals don’t wish to work on just isn’t a successful proposal, he stated. Even in rural northern Northampton County, farming just isn’t prospering.

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“If we had lively affluent working farms in Higher Mount Bethel Township, I’d have a very completely different perspective, however we do not,” Nelson stated. “The farm trade is just about at its lowest level ever. We do not have that many farmers, perhaps six working farmers in Higher Mount Bethel. They’ll become older, they are not going to wish to farm.

“Are you preserving farmland, or the farmer?” he requested.

The farmland preservation motion has helped just a few individuals, nevertheless it leaves behind land with restricted future makes use of, Nelson stated. Saving farms however not having new farmers to take them over creates an imbalance.

Nelson will get an opportunity to assist information regional planning beginning Thursday, when he’ll be capable to attend his first full Lehigh Valley Planning Fee assembly. That assembly will likely be digital. Particulars of the agenda and methods to attend are posted on the LVPC’s web site.