Careful and thoughtful planning is vital when township and borough officials look to grow their region. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is working with six Lehigh County municipalities to ensure they help each other plan for a better future in their communities.
The Northern Lehigh Multi-Municipal Comprehensive Plan kicked off its newest update today.
The last plan was finished in 2004, but a lot of the communities needs changed in the last 15 years. The townships of Heidelberg, Lynn, Weisenberg, Lowhill, and Washington as well as Slatington Borough are coming together once again to create jobs and services as efficiently as possible.
"So they want to look at what the next steps for their future can be. So they're working with the LVPC as a consultant to help craft that new vision and outcomes." said Becky Bradley of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
She said these plans work, and another one is on the way. The industrial parks near route 309 and interstate 78 in Fogelsville were part of the 2004 plan to bring jobs to the area.
Braldye said, "There's a lot of industrial down there because it has great access to the interstate highway but maybe in some of the more rural areas it doesn't have as much access so it wouldn't make sense for those facilities there."
Slatington Borough councilman Jason Ruff is part of the steering committee for the Northern Lehigh Plan. He says says acting as one authority brings more options to the table allowing for efficiency which can ultimately save lots of tax dollars for all parties involved
"Lynn and Weisenberg can offer space for warehouses where Slatington doesn't have to." Ruff said, "So there is a huge benefit to working together as a multi municipal team." This proposed plan is receiving a $40,000 grant through the PA Municipal Assistance Program. State representative Gary Day says coming together is important for being awarded those grants because all types of land zoning must be offered.
"By joining together, you can have what is required in Heidelburg township be satisfied by what's in Slatington borough" Day said.
Putting together an updated plan will involve a detailed analysis of housing, demographics, and land use as well as a community survey. They're aiming to complete the plan by fall of 2020.