Schlossberg bill to give municipalities tools to analyze the regional significance and impact of real estate development projects

HARRISBURG, July 14 – State Rep. Michael Schlossberg is planning to introduce legislation to give municipalities additional tools to determine how a planned development project may impact the region.

Schlossberg said that mega-real estate developers are turning agricultural and open spaces into road-clogging warehouses and other uses that hurt taxpayers through costly infrastructure nightmares, not to mention their quality of life related to more traffic, higher pollution levels and land deterioration.

"It is frustrating to be stuck in traffic on a stretch of road which used to be relatively easy to travel, especially when you are late for work, for a doctor's appointment or for picking your kids up from school," said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. "My bill would give local leaders the tools and resources they need to determine what impact these projects will have on their community and the chance to protect the quality of life, health and infrastructure of the people they were elected to represent."

Schlossberg said the bill came about after a mega-development project was filed in Upper Macungie Township. The three-warehouse project, recently approved by the zoning hearing board and still pending review by the township’s planning commission and supervisors, is estimated to create as many as an extra 4,400 vehicle trips to an already badly congested area. It's a project, according to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, that is inconsistent with the regional comprehensive plan and not suitable for the site.

Schlossberg's bill would provide for a comprehensive, coordinated, timely and well-communicated review and approval process, where potential adverse impacts from the development are appropriately evaluated and mitigated and where cost-effective and reasonable accountability measures are put in place.

"Reasonable and responsible development is expected; it creates jobs, expands economic opportunities and supplies needed housing in growing regions. But that development needs to take into account the impact it has on the rest of us," he said.

This bill stems from recommendations made by a task force of the Joint State Government Commission.