The Future of Northampton County Parks, Farmland Preservation and Conservation Efforts Up for Debate Tomorrow

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“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.

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Moving Ideas to Action

4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities
"Our Towns, Our Farms, Our Future"

Our 4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth was a huge success! We focused on social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. Check out the coverage of our event by The Morning Call here

SoCap and Ben Price of CELDF.

Last year on December 9th, 2016, almost 200 community leaders and concerned citizens gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown for RenewLV's fourth annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities to discuss social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. We also held table discussions that covered topics such as strategies for land preservation, community revitalization and municipal cooperation.

At last year's Summit, we asked the questions:

•How do you balance what appears to be competing interests: Doing good and making money?

•How does overbearing local, state or federal laws prevent us from preserving quality of life and/or supporting smart growth?

•How do we achieve local self-determination without giving up some of the laudable goals of regulations intended to provide quality of life and prosperity for all?

A big thank-you to all of the Summit for Smart Growth sponsors who contributed to last year's discussion! You made this event possible!

Mountain View

Report Highlights Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Renew Lehigh Valley has often noted the benefits of smart growth development for municipalities, including cost savings. A new report by Smart Growth America details the benefits for municipalities realized through smart growth development. Read the full report here.

Watch the Envision Lehigh Valley Virtual Meeting

RenewLV and our partners at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the City of Allentown, the City of Bethlehem, and the City of Easton held a one-of-a-kind virtual public meeting for Envision Lehigh Valley. 100 participants logged in through a live video feed, Facebook, Twitter, and live chat. Missed the meeting? View the full recording on YouTube here

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