Lehigh Valley

Planning commission wants changes in Palmer Township plan

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission's (LVPC) Comprehensive Planning Committee Tuesday reviewed and agreed to forward to a vote of the full commission a letter containing recommendations from one of the commission's community planners for improving Palmer Township's comprehensive plan.

According to LVPC principal community planner John von Kerczek, Palmer's plan entitled "Tomorrow's Palmer: Sustaining the Legacy," was generally consistent with the Northampton County comprehensive plan, but he offered the following recommendations related to the plan's consistency with the state's municipalities planning code (MPC).

Although a majority of the nine required MPC elements were addressed in Palmer's plan, the LVPC staff found the following elements lacking:

Palmer's description of its housing stock lacks detail and specificity. Similarly, the description of development capacity under current and future zoning scenarios is too general and lacks context such as projected household growth and anticipated housing needs for developing quantifiable housing goals.

The plan does not include an assessment or a plan for community facilities and utilities, particularly the availability of a reliable water supply as required by the MPC.

Additionally, Kerczek said the LVPC found the plan's organization to be confusing due to the inconsistent application of the policy framework, particularly insofar as goals, objectives, and recommendations, and the inconsistent categorization of policy goals. 

With regard to policy framework, although the "Vision" chapter establishes a policy framework of goals, objectives and recommendations, it is not carried through to rest of the document, Kerczek said. The "Actions" chapter does not note objectives and it transitions to recommendations that don't correspond to any previously established goals.

Concerning policy categorization, he said, the "Vision" chapter articulates multiple goals categorized according to "influences to date" detailed earlier in the chapter. Once again these categories are not carried through to the rest of the document. In the following "Actions" chapter, the categories of the proposed recommendations and actions depart from those used to organize the goals.

Kerczek remarked that this lack of continuity is compounded by inconsistent heading styles throughout the "Actions" chapter.

On Thursday, Dec. 21, the full planning commission will vote whether to forward a letter containing the LVPC staff comments on Palmer's plan to the township for its review and follow-up action.

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