Envision Lehigh Valley presents plans to Northampton Borough Council
Rachel Bradshaw of Envision Lehigh Valley appeared before members of the Northampton Borough Council to explain the organization's efforts in seeking input in developing a series of plans for economic development.
Bradshaw fielded a number of questions and comments from council members Ed Pany and Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. at the July 18 council meeting.
"Is this a permanent government agency?," Pany asked.
"No," Bradshaw replied.
Bradshaw said the Lehigh Valley received a regional planning grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) beginning in 2012 and culminating in 2014.
A portion of the grant, reported to be over $3 million, is to be used for public outreach into all the areas of the Lehigh Valley.
The goal of public outreach is to gather input from residents regarding their values, goals and regional identities.
Pany mentioned too often he has seen agencies formed which later, he said, "You can't get rid of them."
Pany questioned how Envision Lehigh Valley is going to do better than the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.
Bradshaw said her organization is working in tandem with the regional planning commission, without any reported conflicts.
Council was assured Envision Lehigh Valley is not seeking any funding from municipalities like Northampton.
Lopsonzski, who is critical of HUD, told Bradshaw it is an example one federal agency that should be eliminated.
Council also indicated they are not at odds with Bradshaw's presentation and goals.
Since 2012, Envision Lehigh Valley has hosted 30 public meetings.
The five plans being formulated are to include Lehigh Valley Regional Housing, Regional Sustainable Economic Development, Jobs/Housing Balance, Climate and Energy Conservation and Fresh Flood Access.
Bradshaw also said the five plans will be summarized by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the author of the "Comprehensive Plan: The Lehigh Valley 2013."
Bradhaw added the comprehensive plan will be updated to include new input from public participation and information from new updated plans