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SAPA denies that it is zoning

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SAPA denies that it is zoning

Postby Sal » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:41 pm

When zoning is changed in a community, it affects everyone including homeowners.  How will this affect your property?  Why didn’t they tell you they are rezoning?  Is it because you may have concerns?  So they do it behind you back and deny it too.


THE ABINGTION JOURNAL

January 6, 2010
SAPA plan stirs debate
By Gerard Hetman

As the comprehensive plan crafted by the Scranton-Abingtons Planning Association is adopted by more municipalities, not all local residents have joined the rush to approve the revolutionary change in local zoning.

Newton Township resident Sal Pileggi, a landowner and community activist, has been a vocal critic of the SAPA agreement. He claims that changes made to longtime zoning policies under the new plan will devalue much of the property in Newton and other surrounding communities, leading to potential financial hardships for property owners. Referring to the implementation of the plan as a “regulatory taking of land” in the adopting communities, Pileggi has waged a campaign urging legislators and citizens alike to reconsider the issue on his web site, http://www.newtonpa.com.

“What can a farmer do if he has all this land, can’t farm it, and needs to sell it to maintain his livelihood?” Pileggi recently said of the plan. “If you devalue land owned by people for generations, what is left for them to use in financial dealings and things like that?”

After several years of debate, discussion, and development, the SAPA plan has now been adopted by nine of the 11 member communities in the plan. This includes the Townships of Abington, Glenburn, Newton, South Abington and West Abington; and the Boroughs of Clarks Summit, Clarks Green, Dunmore and Dalton. As of this writing, only the City of Scranton and the Borough of North Abington Township have yet to approve the plan.

Using his web site, Pileggi has been organizing residents of the communities involved in SAPA to voice their oppositions to what he sees as unnecessary and harmful changes to existing zoning laws that he believes are modified under the SAPA legislation. He claims that the intent of the SAPA plan is to stop land currently used for farming to be sold or developed for any other use in the future, therefore limiting the value of such property.

In response to Pileggi’s concerns, Denise Prowell, the secretary for the SAPA plan, said that the plan is “a general policy guide and an ideal for the future - it is not zoning.” Prowell said that chapter four of the SAPA plan contains recommendations for zoning tools and techniques that the leaders of each involved community can use in order to suit the best interests of their own municipalities. “The planning dept. at DCED (the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development) has worked closely with SAPA and all- or at least the vast majority of- multi-municipal planning groups in the state, during their planning and implementation processes, to help if the group members have questions, and to give info about the process,” Prowell said of the legal process. Prowell also urged residents of the communities involved in SAPA to review the plan in full on the group’s web site, which is available at http://www.sapaplan.com.
Sal
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Re: SAPA denies that it is zoning

Postby Sal » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:58 pm

Denise Prowell, the secretary for the SAPA plan, said that the plan is “a general policy guide and an ideal for the future - it is not zoning.”


This is the type of deception that SAPA has been using for years to conceal what they are doing.

Francine Miller, secretary of Newton Township did not know what the minimum lot size would be because the Township did not do its zoning yet.  I explained to her that the SAPA zoning plan call for a minimum 25 acre lot size.  Ms. Miller said she was told that it was up to the municipalities to do their own zoning not SAPA.  I agree, it is up to the Township but SAPA is the zoning plan and the Township adopted that plan.
 
Why would the Township adopt a zoning plan and not follow it?  That makes no sense.  Ms. Miller did not have the answers and suggested that I talk to a supervisor and so I am patiently waiting to hear from one.

The problem is that people in charge of SAPA have been misleading and trying to confuse people so that they could slip the zoning through without opposition.

After everything is finalized, the municipalities will begin rezoning according to the SAPA zoning plan that they adopted and you will be left scratching your head.

Then the story will change.  When you complain they will blame you the victim.  They will tell you that the plan was around for years. There were public meetings and it was advertised and approved.

The people involved in SAPA have been very deceptive and there are public officials involved.  All these years they never told you that they were rezoning everything and that it would have an effect on you.  

This appears to be a serious violation of public trust.
Sal
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