An Easton City Council Public Hearing on Wednesday, June 10, will attempt to bring some clarity to the City’s increasingly convoluted efforts to revise its zoning ordinance.
Last November, the City proposed a new ordinance that would radically reshape it, encouraging development in many ways. Design standards would be relaxed or eliminated; environmental protections (such as limiting paving and building coverage in most neighborhoods) would be also be relaxed; warehouses would be allowed in riverfront areas; multifamily housing would be encouraged on College Hill; congregate housing (group homes) would be allowed on the South Side and West Ward; larger buildings would be permitted in the Downtown Historic District.
Over six revised drafts and in the face of public opposition, many of these provisions were removed. The critical issues that remain are relaxing or eliminating many of the City’s current Context Sensitive Design Standards; reducing environmental protections; allowing larger buildings in the Historic District.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission recommended that the City NOT make these changes. Last week, the Easton Planning Commission passed a similar Resolution, laying out in great detail how the City should protect its environmental and historic integrity. On Saturday, Mayor Panto was quoted in Lehigh Valley Live as supporting the Planning Commission Resolution.
On Tuesday, the mayor said he’d been misquoted. He supports “90%” of the Resolution, but will propose various amendments of his own, to permit certain projects to move forward. It appears that the Design Standards and size of buildings in the Downtown Historic District will be the focus of his amendments, but that isn’t clear. What is clear is that Easton residents should join Wednesday’s Public Hearing and express their opinions.
City Council Public Hearing to take public comments at a virtual (online) meeting: 6:00 PM, Wednesday, June 10
To watch and comment:
or phone 888 788 0099 or 877 853 5247
Enter meeting ID: 977 7717 0439*
Meeting Password: 393818*