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Lansford planners recommend Comprehensive Plan be rejected

  • CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Lansford Planning Commission reorganized last evening. Members are, from left, Michael Kafkalas Jr., vice-Chairman; John Oransky and secretary Martin Ditsky.
    CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Lansford Planning Commission reorganized last evening. Members are, from left, Michael Kafkalas Jr., vice-Chairman; John Oransky and secretary Martin Ditsky.
Published August 08. 2013 05:05PM

Lansford's planning commission on Wednesday agreed to recommend that council reject the Middle Carbon Comprehensive Plan, saying the development guide would do little to help the borough, which has little room to expand.

Commission Chairman Michael Kafkalas Jr., Vice Chairman John Oransky and secretary Martin Ditsky also said they were concerned that the borough would have to continue to pay for the plan, and that money could be better used elsewhere to improve Lansford.

All three said the Comprehensive Plan was well-researched and well done, but has little to offer Lansford.

The borough is "landlocked," Ditsky said, being bound by coal lands.

Further, Lansford already has its own comprehensive plan, which is in effect until 2014.

Exactly how much the plan is costing Lansford was not clear Wednesday. Council President Rosemary Cannon, who attended the meeting, said she would find out the figures.

The commission also agreed to recommend council adopt a fee schedule and application fee for any development projects that would come about, perhaps if deteriorated buildings were razed.

The application fees would cover the borough's administration costs; a separate escrow account would be set up for developers that would pay for engineers to review their plans. No plans would be approved until all the fees were paid.

Council may consider the recommendations when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14.

The Middle Carbon Comprehensive Plan is among three developed by Sarcinello Planning & GIS Services, West Chester, Chester County. The plans link contiguous communities for land development purposes.

Other plans address East Penn Township, Franklin Township, Mahoning Township and Lehighton; and Palmerton, Towamensing, Lower Towamensing and Bowmanstown. The comprehensive plans involve mapping out future residential, business and industrial growth and patterns, traffic, infrastructure, waterways and open space and recreation.

The proposed Middle Carbon Comprehensive Plan includes Penn Forest Township, and Jim Thorpe, Summit Hill and Lansford boroughs. Nesquehoning council in 2007 opted out of being included in the plan. Jim Thorpe adopted the plan on April 11. So far, it is the only middle Carbon municipality to do so.

The real work began in 2008, when each municipality appointed members to a planning committee that was to launch the initial assessment and mapping.

Funding for the Middle Carbon project is through the four municipalities, the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The county also plans to adopt a comprehensive plan, but is waiting until the municipalities adopt theirs.

Also on Wednesday, the planning commission reorganized, keeping Kafkalas as chairman, Oransky as vice chairman, and Ditsky as secretary.

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