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Zoning Still Needs Input
While I commend the Northern Tier Coalition for making some changes in response to citizen comments on their proposed zoning ordinance, I believe a lot more input and change is needed.
At the 19 June NTC meeting, some supervisors wanted to stop and assess, while others wanted to pass the ordinance quickly. The residents spoke up for substantial rethinking, with more citizen outreach and input.
This is best done by an informative mailing, coupled with a questionnaire. Jessup recently did exactly that, about funding a new park. Zoning is far more important.
One old NTC survey addressed three zoning issues, and the results did not favor this proposal. Responses were: First, only two towns had a small majority in favor of the idea (undefined) of zoning; others had small pluralities in favor or opposed. Second, all residents voted 2-1 to favor property rights over control if zoned. Third, only 12% wanted to spend money on zoning.
In contrast, the current proposal strongly favors control over property rights, and will cost townships and residents considerable money and time. As an example, the Rural Agricultural District lists 41 primary allowed uses, of which only two do not need a Zoning Officer permit; the other 39 and the 31 secondary uses all require permits. Formal applications, fees and time will be required to get a zoning permit to do what you can do freely today – plus other required building or COG permits.
Instead, we should shift the balance from "Control" to "Property Rights" and reduce the costs by eliminating most permit requirements.
Write a simple ordinance to control only specified, undesirable activities. Rather than specifying what uses are allowed in a district, specify what uses are not allowed. Be clear about what zoning protects us from and what it costs. Be clear that all home- and farm-based activities are allowed without permits unless explicitly prohibited. Unconditionally allow existing uses and structures. These actions preserve citizen rights and eliminate the need for an expensive zoning office and process.
Each township must decide whether to adopt zoning, and how to tailor an ordinance to their needs. We still need a lot more citizen input and ordinance modification to do it well.
Linking Knowledge & The Economy
The Endless Mountains Technology Center (EMTC) is in the process of becoming a non-profit, 501(c) 3 organization whose mission is to partner with industry and education to establish a “Best-in-Class” technology center that will foster economic growth and educational excellence in Susquehanna County.
These are exciting times for Susquehanna County! The global market and the way business is conducted are changing. We can lay the foundation for global competitiveness here in Susquehanna County by facilitating advanced technological K-12 curriculum to our county schools, and retraining our adults through the use of educational and technological resources. The EMTC will also work with industry to offer manufacturing processes and application development in advanced technology fields, and workforce retraining as a means of attracting business and jobs to our county.
EMTC is making a difference now.
An advisory board was established and is comprised of Peoples National Bank, Snake Creek Lasers, NEP Wireless, B&S Quarries, Trehab, and Susquehanna County school districts, as well as a community liaison. Throughout this past year, EMTC has progressed to the planning and funding stage.
The EMTC has partnered with all six county school districts to bring unique educational opportunities to our K-12 students through Cornell’s Outreach Program. This program offers K-12 teachers professional development, which includes workshops, summer continuing education programs, hands-on inquiry-based labs, and an equipment lending library at no costs to the teachers or school districts.
The EMTC has partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly to develop and instruct an education course related to fundamentals electronic board assembly. These classes are being offered to adults to prepare potential employees for future job opportunities such as JEC Technologies, a company planning to build in Forest City with plans to hire 250 employees over the next five years. Forest City Regional schools will be including the RIT curriculum in its science courses. These courses will be available to all county school districts.
We have received a proposal from a top technology university in the country to partner with the EMTC to provide certificate, degree programs, and industrial application development programs in Susquehanna County
Learn More: An EMTC regional advocate will be available to provide a presentation to your group, as well as looking for your feedback. For more information on scheduling a speaker or to volunteer your help to communicate our goals, contact Roberta Kelly at (570) 853-3187 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EMTC is a young, county-based organization. Although much has been accomplished in a short time, there are many steps to be taken on our path to the future. Our next steps will be to conduct a feasibility study and to pursue funding to establish this “Best-in-Class” technology center in Susquehanna County. While most of our efforts have been voluntary, we are looking to our community to support this project by considering one of the following sponsorships; K-12 School Partner, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Family or Individual.
Thank you for helping us to improve the quality of life for the residents of Susquehanna County. Tax deductible donations can be mailed to: EMTC, C/O Peoples National Bank, 50 Main St., PO Box A, Hallstead, PA 18822.
Residents and visitors alike have seen or experienced her magic. The beautiful connection of three valleys, surrounded by full, lush mountains. Watching a rainbow trout glisten in the sunlight through the crisp clear waters. The fields used for farming, past and present. How the breeze tickles the tops of the long grass, or flowering of this year’s harvest. The eagles flying overhead, or the black bear that wanders, teaching her young. An owl hoots as a child giggles or screeches out while her brother, with a squiggly worm, chases her. Kids riding their bikes, carrying their fishing poles and a towel around their neck for swimming. The whistle and clack as the train crosses the mighty Starrucca Viaduct. The Paramphicus foot tracks found near Jefferson Junction. Incidentally, this is the only known place in the world where these foot-tracks can be found in a collectible quantity. The friendly, honest, people within a community. A government that cared about the community, justice and safety were a top priority.
Suddenly it is all fading or being taken away. What then? What happens to the quality of life for those that inhabit Lanesboro in the future?
The people need to pull together. Ask questions, demand answers. Call those people in power to the table for justice. Hear the troubles others are experiencing. It may affect your quality of life one day. Find out why and where your tax and fee dollars are going. Tens of thousands spent, due to B & S Quarries operations, at our expense! Why does Lanesboro owe B & S so much?
I have a few ideas that will aid Lanesboro to change back to what it could and possibly should be. Attend a couple of council meetings to hear the hubbub. Voice your opinions or ask questions, demand answers for those with concerns. After hearing both sides of the story, follow your morals for what is right.
For those who cannot attend meetings on a regular basis and do not do the computer thing, ask council to utilize the helpful and informative Susquehanna County Transcript to publish the minutes of the meetings. Attend a meeting when you are able, or someone needs action and is not getting it. The power is in the people. Do not give it away.
B&S victims need your help. Please contact Lanesboro government and DEP and request a public hearing for B&S’ latest large quarry permit application that is sneaking in. My power stands on the side of truth, safety and justice, not harm, money and corruption. Where does your power stand? I again thank the Transcript for all of the dedicated work they do for all of us.
Dennis S. Martel
Great Bend, PA
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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