Zoning Changes and Legal Filings

St. Luke’s Hospital – Anderson Campus has filed its own appeal from Lower Saucon Township’s approval of the Bethlehem Landfill land development plan.  It filed its Land Use Appeal with the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County on January 4th. This court filing brings the number of legal proceedings currently pending against the landfill expansion to five.  

St. Luke’s appeal attacks the township’s approval of a preliminary land development and lot consolidation plan, the granting of waivers from ordinance requirements, and approving the plan despite the illegality of the underlying rezoning of the land. The hospital argues that these decisions were flawed both procedurally and substantively, violated conservation easements, were contrary to the Township’s own land development ordinance and its comprehensive plan, and violated other legal requirements. It notes that the hospital was denied the opportunity to make statements or present any evidence in opposition to the landfill’s land development plan, thus denying the hospital due process and violating the state Municipalities Planning Code. St. Luke’s also contends that the decisions lacked substantial evidence and were made without adequate public participation. The appeal aims to reverse the township’s decision and calls for a reassessment of the application’s environmental and community impact and for the matter to be remanded to the Township for proper proceedings.

The case is likely to be consolidated with other pending legal challenges, with hearings to be scheduled by the Court. We’ll post additional information as it becomes available. 

On September 19, 2023 residents filed a procedural due process challenged to the zoning ordinance adopted by Lower Saucon Township on August 30th.  Lower Saucon Township violated the due process requirements of the municipalities planning code when council majority limited hearing comments to 3 minutes, and refused hearing comments from any affected individuals, municipalities, or organizations that do not live or pay taxes in Lower Saucon Township.  The hearing also did not begin at 9am as advertised, and the procedures and conduct created a hostile environment for those attending.  

CRD-LST strongly supports these courageous residents in their fight to protect the rights of all!

In response to Lower Saucon Township’s adoption of a new ordinance allowing landfilling “as of right” on conserved land, residents filed a substantive challenge arguing the rezoning amounts to unlawful zoning including spot zoning, contract zoning, and violations against the PA Constitution.  These are just some of the arguments that residents claim should void the zoning ordinance. 

BREAKING CITIZENS FILE SUIT TO PROTECT THE FOREST FROM LANDFILL DESTRUCTION

MAY 8, 2023 COURT DECISION GRANTING PROCEDURAL CHALLENGE AND INVALIDATING LANDFILL EXPANSION ORDINANCE AMENDMENT.

Order-and-Statement-of-Reasons-FILED-5.8.23

Substantive Zoning Board Hearing Appeal

The complete Zoning Hearing Board Validity Appeal filed on January 17, 2023 can be downloaded at the link above.

Zoning Changes Approved by Township on 12/21/22

  • Make landfills a Conditional Use instead of a Special Exception. This means the Landfill doesn’t need Zoning Hearing Board approval for landfill use.
  • All previous environmental protections would be removed. Allows the Landfill to pay money in exchange for expanding rather than dedicate other land of equivalent environmental value for Open Space.
  • Eliminate the Township’s site plan approval process for landfill uses.

Final Zoning Ordinance Amendment

The full text of the Zoning Ordinance Amendment, Ordinance 2022-2, as adopted by the Township is linked at: https://ecode360.com/laws/LO1675 under the heading Ord. No. 2022-02.

Land Use Appeal

https://www.lstlandfillexpansion.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/land-use-appeal.pdf

On Friday, January 13, 2023, citizens of Lower Saucon Township filed an appeal against Lower Saucon’s rezoning of 275 acres of land. You can download the file here and read it. Click the Download button below.

Brief in support of appeal to void zoning ordinance for failure to comply with notice requirements and exhibits 

BRIEF-IN-SUPPORT-OF-LAND-USE-APPEAL

EXHIBIT-APPENDIX