Parkland Press

Monday, June 17, 2019

Farmland preservation discussion at meeting

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by KENNETH BLEILER Special to The Press in Local News

During the May 6 North Whitehall supervisors meeting, Township Manager Jeff Bartlett mentioned the upcoming May 21 ballot question concerning a proposed tax to be used toward farmland and open space preservation.

Unofficial results from Lehigh County Voter Registration Office show 1,183 of North Whitehall voters, 64.79 favored paying a 1/10th of one mill tax to be used exclusively for the preservation of farmland and open space.

An unofficial 643 voters, 35.21 percent of the total said no to the tax.

During the meeting, Bartlett noted there are only three farms in North Whitehall that have been preserved by the county.

These three farms total 384 acres. The tax would produce approximately $140,000 per year which would be allotted by supervisors.

Currently, there are two farms on the county’s list in North Whitehall that would be eligible for farmland preservation.

On an average assessment of $250.000, the tax would be another $25.

In other matters, Supervisor Mark Hills wants a “dead end” sign placed at River Drive.

It seems traffic enters this short cul-de-sac only to find out it doesn’t go anywhere.

Vehicles must turn round then and are using private driveways to do this.

Bartlett will look into the issue.

In other matters, the recreation board identified recipients for the annual donations. North Parkland Athletic Association received $3,000; Ormrod Playground Association was given $5,000 and $5,000 was donated to Laurys Athletic Association.

Township fire police were given authorization to attend Macungie’s Wheels of Time, the Schnecksville Fair, Macungie Antique Truck Show, IRT 5K walk/run and the Das Awkscht Fescht.

The ordinance, giving a tax break to volunteer firefighters, EMS personnel and others involved in emergency service to the community, was approved.

Bartlett noted the Ironton Rail Trail building will be ready by opening day.

They were working on the electric lines and would be pouring concrete shortly.

Solicitor Lisa Young is working on the property maintenance code and expects to have the draft for the next meeting.

The ordinance would cover interior as well as exterior maintenance.

Dan Grim, Richard Townsend, Frank Sorg and Brian Hardner complained about property on Kirk Street.

They claim that their property value has deteriorated because of this.

Young stated that the property is the subject of pending litigation.

Jim Morris reported on his stream naming project.

He would like the township to pass a resolution in support of his undertaking.

Solicitor Young said she will work with him on this subject.