The Future of Northampton County Parks, Farmland Preservation and Conservation Efforts Up for Debate Tomorrow
“The future of Northampton County’s parks, farmland preservation and conservation efforts will be up for debate when county council holds its first regular meeting of the year Thursday.”
If this statement from a recent Morning Call article, is as concerning to you as it is to us, then we hope you’ll attend the Northampton County Council meeting tomorrow, Thursday, at 6:30 p.m.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is expected to present details from the 185-page report, Livable Landscapes. The report was 18 months in the making and sets base goals for the county to meet over the next 25 years. The report is intended to be a plan that Northampton County legislators can use when approaching projects involving recreation, farmland preservation and natural spaces.
The 2003 Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan states the regional goal for farmland preservation as “To preserve approximately 25 percent of the land in Lehigh and Northampton counties for agriculture. We ask: “Does the Livable Landscapes report support this goal?”
According to the Livable Landscapes draft, its goals are as follows:
- Goal 1 – Conserve, restore and enhance natural resources;
- Goal 2 – Provide and maintain an exemplary park, trail and recreation system to meet residents’ needs and enhance tourism opportunities;
- Goal 3 – Conserve, restore and enhance a greenways and blueways network;
- Goal 4 – Preserve farmland and farming to meet food production, economic and open space needs;
- Goal 5 – Preserve historic, cultural, and scenic resources and landscapes;
- Goal 6 – Advance County open space resources and usage through funding, promotion, education, partnerships and other strategies.
With the arrival of the LVPC’s projected 146,000 more people to the Lehigh Valley over the next 20 years, it is RenewLV’s position that as we see development outpacing farmland preservation, efforts to preserve farmland need to be supported and increased.
This idea is further supported by Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Assessment Report: Lehigh Valley Local Food Economy. In it, the report states, “the biggest challenge facing the Lehigh Valley local food economy is the loss of farmland (page 1).” It continues, “The local food economy generates $17 million in economic activity for the Lehigh Valley annually and has the potential to contribute much more.”
Join us at the Northampton Council Meeting on Thursday. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, located on the third floor of the Northampton County Courthouse at 669 Washington St. If you live in Lehigh County, this issue also impacts you as, according to the Morning Call article, the LVPC will start work on a Livible Landscapes plan for Lehigh County when Northampton’s plan is finalized.