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Mauch Chunk Lake and the
Mauch Chunk Creek
Proposed private development in the Special District Zoning around Mauch Chunk Lake and the Mauch Chunk Creek watershed threatens our water supply.
by Organizers for Save Carbon County
Residents of Carbon County are coming together to protect our water supply which is potentially at risk from two sources:
Ed and Regina Kanick's proposed amendment to allow the development of homes with on-lot septic 1000' from Mauch Chunk Lake.
The ongoing Jim Thorpe Borough Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance Update, including all Zoning regulations.
Why it matters:
The Middle Carbon County Comprehensive Plan enacted Special District Zoning to protect and preserve water quality in Mauch Chunk Lake and the Mauch Chunk Creek watershed, which provides drinking water to Jim Thorpe residents.
2023 is a Municipal Election year, and four Jim Thorpe Borough Council seats are up for re-election.
So that voters can make informed decisions, and protect our resources, we need to increase awareness of the risk to drinking water and water quality in the Mauch Chunk Creek and Lehigh River fishery that these issues pose.
The property owners, Ed and Regina Kanick, purchased 55 acres around the lake at a cost of $200,000. This depressed purchase price was due to the restrictive zoning of which the Kanick's were aware. Now the Kanick's seeks to change the zoning to develop that land for profit which will put our watershed in unnecessary risk.
The Kanick's are proposing to build up to nine houses at only 1000 feet from the Lake with on-lot septic. The current zoning requires that any development be half a mile from the lake and does not allow on-lot septic. Since there is no municipal sewage service to the Lake area, this zoning has protected the watershed from development. The Kanick's are seeking a zoning change to allow their development to proceed.
Save Mauch Chunk Lake Chronology
September 21, 2022: Draft letter from the Carbon County Planning Commission. The summary states:
"The Carbon County Planning Commission, in reviewing the above subdivision believes we found several areas of non-compliance with the requirements of the Jim Thorpe Borough Land Development Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance that precludes any recommendation by the Carbon County Planning Commission for approval of this subdivision plan at this time as submitted for our review.
We would also wish to point out that this is a Borough issue regarding land development requirements within the Mauch Chunk Creek watershed and the potential for the contamination of the Mauch Chunk Creek and possibly the Borough water supply tap for the west side of the Borough."
October 11, 2022: Carol Etheridge delivers a letter to members of Jim Thorpe Borough Council and the Jim Thorpe Borough Planning Chairperson stating concerns with the proposed amendment.
October 13, 2022: Carol Etheridge and Steve Chuckra speak at Jim Thorpe Borough Council regarding concerns about the proposed amendment. Borough Council votes to move forward with the assessment of the proposed amendment.
November 14, 2022: The final letter from the Carbon County Commissioners urging the Jim Thorpe Borough Council not to approve the requested amendment.
December 20, 2022 at 2:00 pm: Save Carbon County President Linda Christman and member Brandon Fogal speak at the Carbon County Planning meeting regarding concerns about the proposed amendment. The Carbon County Planning Director, Dave Bodnar, reads the letter against the proposed amendment.
December 20, 2022 at 6:30 pm: Save Carbon County President Linda Christman and member Brandon Fogal speak at the Jim Thorpe Planning meeting regarding concerns about the proposed amendment.
January 12, 2023: Save Carbon County President Linda Christman and members Ciro LoPinto, Sharon LoPinto, and Steve Chuckra speak at Jim Thorpe Borough Council Meeting regarding concerns about the proposed amendment.
January 14, 2023: Email from Jim Thorpe Planning Commission Chairperson Louis Hall stating they will discuss the framework for the letter at the next Borough Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, January 17.
February 9, 2023: Save Carbon County and Save Mauch Chunk Lake turnout of ~100 people at Jim Thorpe Borough Council meeting. Over fourteen speakers voiced their concerns with the proposed amendment to the Special Zoning District and shared petitions with 300 signatures. Mayor Michael Sofranko states that in the case of a tie-breaker, he is against the proposed amendment.
Here's what you can do...
If you'd like to get involved to help support this community initiative there is no time to waste. Below are a few helpful resources and calls to action to help get you started:
Sign our petition to tell Jim Thorpe borough council to vote NO to this proposed zoning change.
Dear Borough Council, I'm writing to voice my opposition to the proposed zoning change to allow for on lot septic near Mauch Chunk Lake.
Borough Council meets and holds public comment twice a month, on the first and second Thursday each month. You can find a schedule at this link.
Save Carbon County organizers website.
Log-in to continue or add to the discussion on our community message board.
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