Chalk one up for the little guy. By a 6-3 vote at their June 18 meeting, Northampton County Council tabled a $319,970 handout to wealth management specialist Michael Glovas in exchange for a "conservation easement" for the 72 acres surrounding his palatial estate at 590 Browns Drive in Williams Township. Previously, the Open Space Advisory Board voted had unanimously to support this handout, supposedly mostly because of its location in the Hexenkopf Slope and Rock area. Open Space Coordinator Bryan Cope told Council that it's about a half mile away, but a review of Google maps clearly places it more than a mile away. He wanted to preserve it because it is near other preserved land and the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has given it high ratings in its natural resources plan. Fortunately,Council was no rubber stamp and had lots of questions. Cope did say that Glovas would allow access to the site even hunting, so long as permission was first obtained.
|Ken Kraft saw through the giveaway.|
Vaughn asked Cope whether this land could be developed, and he replied that about 20-25 lots could be built there. Vaughn doubted whether this is really environmentally sensitive land.
Hayden Phillips, no fan of open space grants to begin with, complained that the public is spending $321,000 for an easement on property Glovas already has."I'll give somebody development rights to my front yard," echoed Mat Benol.
Phillips also noted that Williams Township has stopped collecting EIT for open space and now "Northampton County is running in." Though Williams Township is contributing nearly $48,000 to this deal, that's less than half of what is being sought from Northampton County. "It would be nice if Williams Township matched the grant," observed kraft, who also questioned how many lots could really be developed there.
"Find out how many lots are developable and we'll preserve those," suggested Kraft.
Lamont McClure then immediately moved to table the matter, and was supported by Kraft, Benol, Phillips, Vaughn and Glenn Geissinger.
I'm sure the Open Space Committee saw all kinds of pictures of rocks, bit I'll lay odds they never saw that mansion. This is a perversion of open space.