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Tiny Dick Thuggery

The June 26 Township Council meeting was easily the most disgusting public display I’ve witnessed in the more than 3 years that I’ve been attending council meetings.  I will be writing a second blog this coming week to cover it in detail but because there is a council meeting coming up on Tuesday, July 11 at 12:30 PM, I want you to be aware of the most critical issues.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the term “tiny dick thuggery,” let me define it for you.  It’s behavior by men (and it’s always men) who act in a thuggish or bullying manner to compensate for what they are missing either between their ears or below their waist or both. It’s equal parts arrogance, insolence, condescension and stupidity.  It’s always ugly and it was on full display on June 26.

Council Meeting, July 11, 12:30 PM

Why, you may ask, is there another council meeting so soon after June 26 and in the middle of the day? Well, it’s because the clowns on council want to push through 4 ordinances that they authorized to be written up at the June 26 meeting.  And since some of them require public hearings, they have to get moving if they’re going to get the hearing in and the zoning changes crammed through before the November election.

And why at 12:30 PM?  We all know the answer to that.  It’s so that it’s far more difficult for the bulk of residents to come to the meeting – midday on a workday – because they don’t want to hear from you and they don’t want you to get in the way of what they’re trying to pull.

So – show up, loud and proud in large numbers, and let them know that they can’t pull these stunts without paying a price.  Of course, they don’t care and they won’t listen to you, but the press will be there and lots and lots of us.  They know that and that’s why they’ve already moved the meeting to Se-Wy-Co instead of Town Hall.

You can read the agenda here (https://go.boarddocs.com/pa/lowersaucontwp/Board.nsf/public).  Then show up and sign up for both public comment periods – on the agenda and not on the agenda.  Even if all you say is that you oppose any or all of the ordinances in the agenda portion and that you oppose all the money that they’ve wasted on legal fees on the library and that you think it’s time for them to resign in the non-agenda portion, you’re allowed to have your 3 minutes.  Use it.  Just 20 people speaking takes up an hour.  Imagine if 50 people show up and speak.

Review of Ordinances

There are 4 ordinances on the agenda. 

A. Rezoning area east of 378 and north of Colesville Road from R40-Rural Suburban to LI-Light Industrial.  Several property owners there are very unhappy about this and it’s not clear why it’s so necessary, but I’d bet there’s some business that wants that land.

B. This is the biggie.  This is a new ordinance for a new zoning map and text amendments for the area covering at least the same area that was requested by the landfill (AKA dump) that was shot down by the Court for sloppy procedural work.  Here is the premier example of tiny dick thuggery.  

Photo by Fariborz MP on Pexels.com

Read this carefully.  The new proposed zoning has two options.  One is simply a repeat of the shot-down zoning change covering 275.7 acres with one major exception which I’ll cover shortly.  The other option is to rezone 848.7 acres (! – you read that correctly)  from RA-Rural Agricultural to LI-Light Industrial.  That includes a large number of parcels that are already occupied by residences – individual homes whose homeowners are now going to find themselves in the middle of a light industrial area.  That’s not what they bought into when they bought the land or their houses.  Many of them were told by the township about 4 or more years ago that the landfill would close in 5 to 7 years. It’s one of the most disgusting bait-and-switch tactics I’ve seen.

If THAT pisses you off, let me add the other significant change to this rezoning regardless of which option is chosen.  Currently, landfill use is a special exception use in RA zones.  That means that approval for a landfill to be built must go through a Zoning Board hearing.  When the Council changed it to an LI zoning in their failed attempt, they made landfills a conditional use, not a special exception, which meant that the landfill only needed to get the township council (not the Zoning Hearing Board) to approve its expanding the landfill after a conditional use hearing.  Those are all the hearings that were held during the Spring and then suspended when the judge threw out the rezoning.

The new ordinance changes landfills (AKA dumps) into a permitted use “by-right” in an LI zone.  That means that all those additional levels of protection against dump approval to prevent subsequent malfeasance are bypassed completely and as long as they get appropriate DEP and EPA approvals, they can go ahead and put a dump anywhere on the 848.7 acres where they own property.  And records seem to indicate that the dump is buying up more property adjacent to the current request.  So if you believe dump lawyer Maryanne Garber when the Morning Call reports that “there are no plans to propose an expansion larger than what was contained in the initial application,”  then you’re a Gullible Gus and I have a nice bridge I’d like to sell you.

Photo by Fariborz MP on Pexels.com

Why is this tiny dick thuggery?  Because there is no need for those additional 573 acres to be turned into zoning for industrial use.  There are plenty of other areas in the township far more suitable for LI zoning than an environmentally sensitive area already containing homes.  But Banonis and Carocci know that it’s those residents who started the ball rolling and continue to oppose the original zoning.  It was those residents who funded the legal challenge that got the previous rezoning kicked out on the basis of 8 identified procedural errors that were nothing more than the result of sloppy either lawyering or administration.  They brought it on themselves because their arrogance told them they could push it through before anyone noticed (remember the hearing 3 days before Christmas?).  Well they got caught with their tits in the wringer and now they’re pushing this out of spite.  That’s it.

C. This one is peculiar.  It’s for Zoning Text Amendments allowing Underground Storage Tanks as long as they are in compliance with federal and state regulations in Carbonate Geology areas.  As reported in Saucon Source, “Treadwell said township staff ‘have worked with the Sheetz people on this’ in reference to a proposal to build a Sheetz convenience store and gas station on Rt. 378.”  But that doesn’t make much sense since there are already two other gas stations with underground storage tanks within a mile of the proposed Sheetz station.  Are those tanks illegally in place?  Do they violate the zoning for their sites? The LVPC geologic maps show that almost the entire west side of the township is carbonate geology.  It doesn’t change within one mile of where those gas stations are.  While it may be true that they have “worked with the Sheetz people on this,” that doesn’t mean that the changes aren’t also for some other underground tanks in another part of the township.  This warrants keeping an eye on.

D. The fourth one is to submit a voter referendum for term limits in the General Election in November.  These are always stupid.  A democracy has built-in term limits.  They’re called elections.  If you don’t want someone to represent you, vote them out.  If you like someone who’s representing you but the other guys don’t, then term limits are a way for them to prevent you keeping the representative you like.  It’s stupid; it’s unnecessary, and it’s clearly targeted at Mrs. DeLeon, although it would not take effect until 2025.

Those are the four agenda items you need to be aware of.

My next issue will give you more of the disgusting details of the June 26 meeting, including a run-down of all the times in one meeting that Banonis-Carocci broke their own rules.

Will we be able to stop any of these ordinances on Tuesday? Probably not, unless Ingles AKA Silent Sam manages to find a backbone and oppose any or all of them.  Don’t hold your breath.  Yerger managed to find enough gumption to oppose the landfill ordinance as she did back in December, but if it’s just her and Mrs. DeLeon, that’s one vote short.

One other interesting question.  Why are there no minutes from the June 26 meeting to be approved at the July 11 meeting?  What exactly do we pay the administrative staff for?  Shouldn’t we know what happened then before we have to deal with what happens now?

See you on Tuesday.

Next Council Meeting: Tuesday, July 11, 2023, 12:30 PM Se-Wy-Co Fire Company

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