Sunday, March 30, 2008

Comprehensive Plan - No Slam Dunk for PC!

Forks Planning Commissioners' public hearing on the new Comprehensive Plan was just that, a public hearing.  Residents who were curious, who were concerned about changes to their neighborhoods, and/or who want the plan to express a real vision for Forks' future came - and spoke.  There was no press presence.  It was just us folks from Forks.

A resident contingent from the tucked away Blossom Hill/Ramblewood/Clarendon neighborhood expressed concern about the planned extension of Ramblewood through their quiet neighborhood - to Sullivan Trail.  They spoke of how nice it is there now and how it won't be when thru-traffic is allowed.  They were told that the extension of Ramblewood has been in the Township Comprehensive Plan since at least 1996.  It will only be done if and when a developer acquires the Jackson Farm and brings a land development plan to the Township.  At that point, the developer will be encouraged to comply with the Comprehensive Plan and put in the road.  The Township will not build the road extension, a future developer will. 

Another resident asked if the new Comp Plan was different than the last one which, she recalled, was simply "borrowed" from a Bucks County community and was not really Forks' own plan.  She was concerned that the new plan may not be defensible.  She was reassured that for one, the Comprehensive Plan can never be cited as reason for a zoning challenge.  The Comprehensive Plan is a guide and not a law.  Also, she was told that the new Comprehensive Plan is basically an update of the old one and is intended to be more in agreement with the new SALDO (Subdivision and Land Ordinance) and the new Zoning Ordinance.

And, another resident expressed concern that there was no real unifying vision between the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance and the SALDO.  Still another was concerned that the recreation trails were not detailed completely enough particularly in the Riverview area.

The Planning Commission members will discuss these concerns and ideas at their next workshop on April 22nd at 7:00 PM.  They will also review any other outstanding Comprehensive Plan issues.  They may/can vote on the plan at that workshop. 

Charlie Schmehl (of URDC - the Township's consultant for the latest plan and ordinances) will make recommended corrections and changes to the Comprehensive Plan before it is sent to the LVPC (Lehigh Valley Planning Commission) and to the EASD (Easton Area School District) for review. 

After that (possibly in May), the Board of Supervisors will hold its public hearing on the new Forks Township Comprehensive Plan - the guide to Forks' next ten years.

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