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Carbon County vs. Mahoning Township

Published December 23. 2013 05:00PM

Dear Editor,

For years, the taxpayers have watched the Carbon County Commissioners try to bully the Mahoning Township Supervisors into approving the proposed Packerton Yards Industrial Site; wasting taxpayer money by appealing the Township's decision not to grant waivers to local land use regulations.

PA Law, Act 247 of 1968, commonly referred to as the MPC (PA Municipalities Planning Code), Section 501, specifically gives the governing body of each municipality the power to regulate subdivision and land developments within their municipal boundaries. Judge Matika, of the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas, wisely ruled in favor of the Township and recently the PA Commonwealth Court upheld his decision.

One would think that the Carbon County Office of Planning & Development (OPAD) would have advised the County Commissioners on how to follow local land use controls… after all, formerly with Judy Borger, and now with David Bodnar, being the experts put in charge by the Commissioners, they should know these laws.

The Carbon County Comprehensive Plan, created by OPAD and approved by the Commissioners in the late 90's, outlined a much more realistic goal for the Packerton Yards as a tourist parking area servicing Jim Thorpe and surrounding areas.

Wouldn't it have been better to sit down and discuss proposals and procedures and try to find common ground to proceed before spending tons of taxpayer money on this project? Or, was it out of arrogance or ignorance that the Carbon County Commissioners tried to supersede Mahoning Township regulations and dictate to local government?

In either case, it was an expensive lesson for the taxpayers of Carbon County…. But, then again, with a 48% tax increase, these Commissioners have been an expensive lesson too.

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Duane A. Dellecker

Lehighton, PA

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