I know and like David Jaindl. I like turkey. I even like his Northampton County developments. But no developer should be on a regional planning board.
I first raised this issue concerning the late Glenn Taggart and Andy Twiggar in Tigger, Twiggar and Taggart Bounce Thru Conflicts of Interest at LVPC. At that time, Ron Angle was the sole NorCo Council member to oppose Taggart's (Donna's late husband) re-appointment to the LVPC. Executive John Stoffa had assured Council that Taggart had "nothing going on," but was misled. Taggart actually had to abstain from four matters in which he had a personal interest.
In Bethlehem, Andy Twiggar was until recently a member of their Planning Commission. He is also a NIZ developer of the waterfront project in Allentown, and had every reason to find fault with every project proposed. Fortunately, this walking conflict of interest was replaced.
Here's what I wrote about Twiggar in 2007, who was pitching a project to the LVPC despite being a member, long before the Allentown NIZ was reality:
Guess what? Twiggar is a principal with Dunn Twiggar Company, LLC, an outfit pimping a new development along Allentown's Lehigh River called "The Waterfront." No longshoremen or ex-prize fighters here. Not in this Allentown Shangri-La. The plan is to replace 150 manufacturing jobs at the Lehigh Structural Steel property with 560 condos lying smack dab in the middle of the flood plain.Twiggar is no longer on the LVPC, but is now developing that flood plain with public dollars, thanks to his inside connections. It' part of Allentown's NIZ.
Jam 'em in there, bippy! Jersey commuters, come on down!
An island for whitey in an Allentown sea of black and brown. De facto segregation. Brilliant! And those manufacturing jobs? Poof! They'll be replaced with jobs for cocktail waitresses, chambermaids and busboys who can't cut it at Bethlehem's casino. They'll be servants as the rest of us whip around in our fancy Rollerblades and cool shades.
Now don't get me wrong. There are many positive positive aspects to this proposed redevelopment, and Our West End Neighborhood features some lovely pictures. But we'll never know whether the LVPC judged this project on its merits or because it was presented and promoted by one of its own - an insider.
Last night, Twiggar, with his Northampton County name tag boldly emblazoned on his jacket, wowed LVPC members as he bounced through a 45 minute slide show.
I doubt he showed any flood pics. According to Angle, no developer gets that royal treatment. And surprise, surprise! The LVPC just loves the idea. Concerns about jamming all those condos in a floodplain were summarily dismissed. "This is Allentown." I understand LVPC Boss Mike Kaiser rushed from the meeting to buy a little captain's hat for the proposed marina.
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Tiggers, Twiggars and Taggarts have a good thing going. They'll grab a property lying in a floodplain, draw up a fancy plan with hockey rinks, theatres and other baloney, and jam every square inch with condos. Then they'll look for a developer with deep pockets and, of course, some public bucks. And they'll use their inside connections on this and that commission to ease those pesky zoning and planning requirements. They use exotic terms like "project manager," but they're just front men who bounce really well from public to private sectors.
Ain't democracy grand?
Whether Lehigh County Commissioners actually vote Jaindl down remains to be seen. I tend to doubt it.