Wednesday, May 12, 2021

South Whitehall: When is a Development Waiver Appropriate?

Blogger's Note: Brad Osborne asks South Whitehall Township candidates today about waivers typically sought by developers. A waiver or deferral (technically called a modification) can be granted "if the literal enforcement [of the SALDO] will exact undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question, provided that such modification will not be contrary to the public interest and that the purpose and intent of the SALDO is observed.

A township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) protects against poor or undesired planning by assuring the placement of public improvements. These include roads, sidewalks, utilities, storm water controls and accessibility for fire and police services in the best interest of the community.

Two recent projects, Ridge Farms and KRE Springview have come under citizen attack because of safety concerns. Both requested a waiver from the modest 800-ft driveway-to-intersection requirement, and both were approved by a 3-2 vote of the Board of Commissioners. Commissioners Morgan, Setton and Mobilio accommodated the developers. In the case of Ridge Farms, these commissioners rejected the unanimous recommendation of their own Public Safety Commission to deny the request.

Today’s Candidate Question: What criteria would you use in approving or denying a developer request for a waiver from the township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) requirements?

Christina “Tori” Morgan (R): No response.

Joe Setton (D): No response.

David Kennedy (R): Safety first is most important, then reasonable input from the zoning, planning, public safety, parks and recs commissions. The individuals who make up these commissions, in many cases, have more knowledge about the issues than the BOC. We need to utilize the expertise and training of the commission members on matters that affect subdivision and land development in SWT. (SALDO requirements)

Monica Hodges (R): Waivers should be granted only if they do not jeopardize public safety, and if they benefit the township and its citizens. It would be the developer’s responsibility to demonstrate how a waiver would be beneficial. I believe that we can have positive, mutually respectable relationships with developers without granting every single waiver that is requested.

Thomas J. Johns (D): Any request for a waiver from the township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance requirements must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The request must be made following resort by the developer to Lehigh County Planning Board, South Whitehall Planning and Zoning Boards, and Township Engineers.


Anonymous said...

stay away from the democrats --look what they did already to the country--also they tax like all hell look at the schools in the valley

Anonymous said...

All this boils down to a waiver will be granted if you pay me, my family , or a friend enough money that it will get funneled back to my bank account. Or if you contribute enough to my political campaign so that I can skim money out of it for my future gain in vacations, houses, property or something else.

When it comes down to these waivers the company and individuals requesting them should have to prove they in no way bribed or influenced anyone in the waiver reviewers circles prior to or will for another 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Another day of Queen Morgan and her foot soldier Joe Setton not answering questions.

It's pretty obvious they don't care about residents' safety, as they both grant waivers to massive developers without asking any critical questions.

Just look at Ridge Farms. All those waivers supported by Morgan and Setton will impact anyone who drives on Cedar Crest or Walbert - including thousands of high school students every morning. Morgan and Setton are putting your children's safety at risk! Vote them out!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the three candidates who actually responded to the questions have better heads on their shoulders than the incumbents who were afraid to answer some simple questions.

Thank you David, Monica, and Tom for answering these questions. You're putting yourselves out there and being transparent. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sadly Morgan as an incumbent will win a spot on primary day.

Anonymous said...

Setton is a real estate guy developer. Who is surprised he gave all those deals and waivers to ridge farms? He and Morgan always vote yes on all new development. Morgan wants south whitehall to become a city. After ridge farm is built it’s sure going to look like a city at Walbert Avenue. She needs the tax money for it so of course she voted yes. Setton and Morgan vote the same constantly. Isn’t that why they have signs together everywhere?

Anonymous said...

I think more than anything, people want and respect candidates who are willing to open up to the public. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, please vote for the down-to-earth candidates who answered these questions. They all deserve our vote. Monica Hodges, David Kennedy & Tom Johns.

Larry said...

Lol, it is weird her campaigning so hard for a democrat with no opposition in a primary.... 2 dems 2 spots to be won....

Larry said...

Under Morgan taxes have gone up 74 percent in South Whitehall, second highest township tax burden in the county