The June 22, 2015 Planning Commission meeting:

http://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2015/06/planners-deny-administrative-review-of.html


The May 26, 2015 Planning Commission meeting:

Yesterday's Planning Commission meeting was more of the same by Traditions of America. They stated that they will not touch the wetland. And around the wetland will be a large area with no houses, so the wetland will not be affected. Then they forgot the words that they just uttered when they responded to a question about storm water and said that with their plan "the water flowing into the wetland will be interrupted by our detention ponds."  Biddison, the mouthpiece for TOA, went on to say that he doesn't know why the SaveGreenPond people are so upset about TOA's plans because they will not be touching the pond! TOA appears to be completely clueless that SaveGreenPond means Save the Green Pond Ecosystem. If you destroy the wetland, you destroy the ecosystem.


You can read more about the meeting here:
http://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2015/05/planner-developer-lash-out-at-green.html

The Planning Commission also wants no input from anyone about the water management scheme that TOA has devised for the wetland area. They only want input from TOA. The TOA plan has been studied by two separate engineering consultants, not affiliated with TOA, who have determined that TOA's analysis of their own plan is flawed. But the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission made it very clear at the meeting yesterday that they don't want to hear about any other analysis other than the analysis done by TOA. (Remember, the initial analysis by TOA's own consultants had determined that the wetland was less than 1/2 acre! After endless badgering by SaveGreenPond, the Corps of Engineers agreed with us that the wetland is much larger than the 1/2 acre that TOA was using for their calculations.)

Unfortunately, the attendance by supporters of SaveGreenPond.org was very sparse.

There was one supporter of TOA who was in the audience in the back of the room applauding every time a Planning Commission member or a TOA representative made a positive comment about TOA. Surprisingly,  that person also happened to be one of the Bethlehem Township Commissioners! That seemed very inappropriate.

Another interesting development was that the person who apparently is responsible for setting the wheels in motion and keeping them in motion to develop Green Pond Marsh also addressed the Commission members. John Daub introduced himself and said that he thought this was the best development plan for his land that he has yet seen.

The Planning Commission has stuck its head in the sand about the hydrology of the wetland and does not want to hear any information about that issue other than what was presented to them in closed meetings by TOA. They also keep touting their belief that "because the Toll Brothers development plan was approved in 2005 for this parcel" that means that the present TOA plans are automatically approved! And they keep mentioning that the present plan 'only' has 265 homes and not the 350 homes in the Toll Brothers plan from 2005.

We can't seem to get it into their consciousness that it's not building less homes that will save the Green Pond ecosystem. If they want to save the Green Pond ecosystem, their plans need to remove the detention ponds that will be adjacent to the wetland.


The February 23, 2015 Planning Commission meeting:


This past Monday the developer, Traditions of America, made a presentation of their new development plan to the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission. The new plan stays out of the small core Marsh area that the Corps of Engineers recently identified as wetland. But the plans have five detention ponds that abut against the east, west, and south sides of the Marsh with absolutely no buffer around the Marsh. The developer plans to dig (if they can get a waiver from the township) very deep detention ponds to hold 'overflow water' in these detention ponds immediately next to the Marsh. Unfortunately, this will have a deleterious effect on Green Pond Marsh. So if Bethlehem Township approves these detention ponds next to Green Pond Marsh, they will essentially be approving the deterioration/destruction of the unique Green Pond Marsh.

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Upcoming February 23, 2015 meeting:


The developer will make a presentation at the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission meeting this coming Monday February 23 at 7pm. Apparently, the developer has asked for review of only the requested plan waivers for this meeting and not a review of the plan in its entirety. The full review of the plan should happen at a future meeting.

 

Earlier this month, an article in www.lehighvalleylive.com stated that the developer has submitted new plans to the township for development in the Green Pond Marsh area:

www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/02/developer_back_with_slightly_a.html#incart_river

 

The article states that the new plan reduces its original home count from 265 to 261 to accommodate for the additional wetlands found in November on the Farmersville Road property, Traditions partner David Biddison said. Biddison says he requested the new wetlands study to help answer concerns from residents opposed to the homes because of their possible encroachment on wetlands. But this is only part of the story...We would like to thank Jim Schmid of Schmid & Company (www.schmidco.com) for the thorough and compelling wetlands report he produced and distributed to all parties involved, that helped prod the Corps of Engineers to do the right thing and take another look at the Green Pond Marsh wetland area.

 

In the www.lehighvalleylive.com article Biddison goes on to state "we're conscious of the wetlands area so we tried to maintain that area." Traditions has shown that they are "barely conscious" of the importance of the Green Pond Marsh wetlands, as evidenced by the plans Biddison has submitted thus far. If Biddison is truly concerned about Green Pond Marsh and it's unique habitat, then the current development plans will include a substantial buffer between the Green Pond Marsh area and any development areas.


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The
August 18, 2014 meeting:


The developer (Traditions of America-TOA) presented their development plans to the Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners on Monday August 18, 2014. Traditions of America proposed a 20.35-Acre conservation area at Green Pond Marsh. That sounds good as a statement by itself, but in reality when you look at their map, it is the Traditions of America spin doctor in action. The "conservation" area they refer to has detention ponds as its main component in place of the high value marsh habitat that is presently there. This will destroy the wetlands that are now classified as an Audubon IBA (Important Bird Area) and essentially replace them with detention ponds which have almost no value for most of the species that use the wetlands. It may be OK for TOA's water management plans, but it is very bad for the Green Pond Marsh Important Bird Area.

If Traditions of America is truly concerned about "conservation", then they should stay out of the marsh area and do their earth moving and construction outside of the marsh area.

You can read different accounts of the meeting here, here, here, and here and here.

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July 28, 2014 meeting:

The developer (Traditions of America) presented their preliminary development plans to the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission on Monday July 28, 2014.

The bottom line of the evening’s presentation, from SaveGreenPond’s standpoint, is that the developer is intending to proceed with his plans based on his belief that Green Pond Marsh is NOT a wetland.

Many items, including the ones listed below, point to the reality that Green Pond Marsh IS a wetland:

1. Historical maps of the wetland area.
2. Current maps of the wetland area.
3. The type of hydrology that exists there.
4. The types of plants that still exist there (even though farming has removed most of the wetland indicator species).
5. The variety of birds that currently, actively, use the wetland (over 160 different species).
6. Common sense.
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