ALCS submits letter on Cornwall Development Plan
Appalachian Land & Conservation Services Co.
PO Box 5128 Harrisburg, PA 17110 Phone: (717) 232-8335
June 9, 2010
Mr. Paul Vranesic, Chairman
Cornwall Borough Council
Cornwall Borough Hall
36 Burd Coleman Road
P.O. Box 667
Cornwall, PA 17016
Dear Mr. Vranesic,
I am writing to confirm that ALCS has received written notice of the June 14th meeting in Cornwall regarding the proposed zoning action there.
It is ALCS’s position that the related master plan meets every possible “smart growth” standard, and that the re-zoning request should be granted. Efficient use of land through high density, mixed use, the re-use of un-reclaimed mining land, the re-use of abandoned industrial land, the concentration of new development in areas where infrastructure already exists, to name just a few parts of this plan, are the hallmarks of smart growth and good land use policy. With LEEDS buildings, it is a signature project, and I wish that all of Pennsylvania’s development were so well planned and executed as this.
The fact that a great deal of existing open space and wildlife habitat is also being retained is an amazing bonus. It is my professional opinion that when all is said and done, this project will be one of Pennsylvania’s best examples of smart growth.
Change is not always easy, and sometimes change does affect people’s lives; I acknowledge and respect those people’s feelings. However, growth is coming to Lebanon County and central Pennsylvania, whether we like it or not. Land somewhere in the area is going to absorb that growth. Either the growth is absorbed in a place like Cornwall, where it belongs, or it is absorbed in the pristine farmland around Cornwall. You will hardly find one Pennsylvanian anywhere who wants the farmland to be developed first. By concentrating the growth and absorption inside Cornwall, we can hopefully buy time for the county and Commonwealth to conserve the farmland around the area.
I am proud to have played a role in this project, and in fact in 2006 I proposed a similar plan to the majority landowner. Although originally the plan was to add our land to the Game Lands, after the Commonwealth completed its land swap adjoining us, that option was off the table. Subsequently enrolling that land in an incredibly well planned smart growth development is the next best thing, and it is consistent with my values and goals as a professional conservationist and smart growth practitioner.