Residents in East Allen Township have grown increasingly vocal in recent months, particularly following large public meetings in 2017 that sought to rezone agricultural land for industrial use. At the township’s board of supervisors meeting on Feb. 22, township residents urged their elected representatives to consider regional comprehensive planning as a solution to potentially keep warehouses and other types of industrial development at a minimum in the township.
During the public comment section of the agenda at the meeting’s end, multiple community members used the platform to advocate for collaborative efforts between local municipalities to keep out unwanted projects.
Resident Eric Miller first brought up the idea of multimunicipal planning to the board, asking if the board had any recent discussions on the topic.
Supervisors Chairman Roger Unangst suggested that the township look into regional zoning interest among other Northampton Area School District municipalities.
Mark Schwartz, a fellow supervisor on the board, said that he would be willing to direct the township manager to inquire about potential interest in other municipalities in the district. Unangst agreed.
“If there is such an organization that exists already we could look into what they’re doing,” Schwartz said.
“Send the feelers out; see what we come back with,” Unangst said.
Bob Bysher, a resident of Allen Township, was present at the East Allen supervisors meeting and urged greater cooperation between municipalities to keep unwanted types of development out of the community. He pointed to efforts by The Rockefeller Group and Jaindl Land Company as damaging projects for the local community.
“My recommendations to the board are to look into multimunicipal planning, because this might actually give you guys a little more power to stop some of the tragedy that’s been going on in all of these communities,” Bysher said.
Bysher stressed that projects in neighboring municipalities often affect residents outside of a particular township’s jurisdiction, increasing the need for greater cooperation between local officials.
“Warehouses are no good. The truck traffic is no good. It affects all of us,” Bysher said. “This should not be about East Allen and Allen and Hanover; No. Everyone needs to come together because it’s a community thing, it’s not about townships.
Unangst stressed that when the time comes for projects that could drastically affect the township and its residents, the board of supervisors will make the best decision for the township.
“I think everyone here understands we are in this together,” Unangst said. “We are in this with you.”