THE ABINGTION JOURNAL
January 27, 2010
SAPA meeting moves plans forward
By Kerri Jordan
CLARKS SUMMIT— Cindy Campbell, community planner for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), spoke on moving forward with the zoning procedures of the Scranton Abingtons Planning Association at the re-organizational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21, at the South Abington Township Municipal Building.
After several years of discussion and development, the SAPA plan has 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.
As described on http://www.sapaplan.com, the SAPA Comprehensive Plan was created to set policies, guidelines, and standards for land development, conservation and economic initiatives.
“Hopefully we’ll get through this, and everybody will adopt and we’ll move forward,” Campbell said.
Denise Prowell, the secretary for the SAPA plan, passed out a letter submitted by Lee D. Jamison, Chairman of SAPA in regard to financial support from legislation for the zoning plan. In the letter, Jamison stated, “The members of the Scranton Abington Planning Association have overcome many challenges to arrive at the end of the planning portion of our project… There is no question that without the financial support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania this ambitious project would have never been possible.”
He also stated in the letter, “We all realize that without a continued commitment from the state to help finance the next phase, final completion will not be possible. When I consider all of the pertinent economic factors that affect Pennsylvania’s budget, it seems to me that the necessary funding is gravely endangered.”
Jamison also added in the letter, “The legislature did not provide any funding for SAPA in its 2010 budget. The work is now beginning on a 2011 budget, slated to be in place by July 1. Should the state fail to provide support for SAPA in the 2011 budget, the entire project will be suspended at some point far short of completion. This situation would threaten all of the work and money invested, and to me, is unthinkable and totally unacceptable.”
In conclusion to the letter, Jamison stated, “The elected leaders of the SAPA area are Senator Robert Mellow, Representative Kenneth Smith, Representative Kevin Murphy and Representative Jim Wansacz. I am requesting the committee make a motion and vote to contact these leaders and request a guarantee of funding for SAPA’s next phase, secured from the budget surplus if necessary.”
Leonard Wesolowski, SAPA representative for Clarks Summit, recommended in regard to Jamison’s letter, that they invite the legislators to a formal meeting to plea their issues of concern. “I think we have some strength we have 11 municipalities, and it will certainly help us when it comes time for implementation,” Wesolowski said. “We have nine now, hopefully 11. If they don’t give us some money to do so, it’s all been a waste of time and public money,” said Edward Osman, SAPA representative of Glenburn.
Campbell addressed the issue of what will happen if Scranton or North Abington does not adopt the SAPA plan. “If everybody doesn’t adopt, it becomes an issue because the plan will then have to be somewhat revised. It is not going to be able to implement the way it was written, particularly with someone like Scranton or Dunmore, because everything will have to be changed, she said.
“As far as North Abington, if they don’t adopt, I think it would be a very minor reworking of the plan because of the uses that are limited in North Abington,” Campbell said. “I’m hoping we can get everyone to adopt and we can move forward with this.”
According to the SAPA committee, they are hoping to have Scranton and North Abington adopt the plan by March at the latest, and hope to move forward by July if everything goes well. For details, visit http://www.sapaplan.com.