Vote YES for Green Space in Northampton County
If you live in Northampton county, you now have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the future of your local environment, simply by pulling the right lever in your voting booth this November 5.
The Northampton County commissioners have placed a $37 million open space bond issue on the ballet. If approved by a majority of voters, the money would be spent over the next 10 years to buy and protect environmentally sensitive lands, farms, and parks. Of the total amount, $14 million will go to preserve environmentally sensitive lands such as watersheds and wetlands, $12 million to prevent development of farmland, and $11 million for public parks.
Protecting and enhancing our diminishing wild and natural areas has long been a priority of the Sierra club. For the past ten years we have also had an active national campaign to STOP SPRAWL! For almost three years, the Lehigh Valley Sierra Group has appeared before the Lehigh and Northampton County Councils to urge preservation of natural resources and a control of sprawl activities.
We were the first to urge inclusion of natural and open spaces as part of bond issues, including Northampton County's $111 million bond issue (which was mainly focused on county facilities, parks, and farm preservation). Early in 2002, Northampton County Council began consideration of a bond issue solely for open space. It held numerous hearings through August, and many groups and agencies made presentations. The Sierra Club testified for set of priorities focusing on the most threatened and valuable natural areas of the county. The final recommendation included "environmentally sensitive land and streams" as the highest priority.
We have also argued for the need of two other tools to fight sprawl and protect natural resources: multi-municipal land use planning, and an end to municipal and county policies which subsidize sprawl activities, either directly or indirectly. But we can't wait for these difficult institutional changes to be made-we have to act now for the precious resources we still have! Please tell your friends and neighbors about why you are voting for this bond issue.
The cost of the plan to a tax payer with a home assessed at $50,000 would be $25 a year. It is absolutely urgent that we buy land and easements before the developers get to the land! Help convince other Northampton County voters of the importance of this plan.
Here are 3 reasons why everyone should support open space.
Saving land saves money. The average 66 home housing development results in nearly $200,000 in school and other costs not recouped by property taxes. On the other hand, farms and forests result in an economic gain, even when the cost of preserving the land is factored in.
The Bog Turtle needs your help. This locally and nationally threatened species needs wetlands to live. These wetlands are quickly disappearing as more and more housing developments are being built. · You can save wild turkeys. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has helped to bring wild turkeys back to the area. But these birds need forests for their survival. The open space plan would protect those forests.
Cleaner, more abundant drinking water. To reach an underground aquifer and recharge into area wells, water must first get to the aquifer. Undeveloped lands allow water to do just that. These lands also act as a natural filter, to clean the water, providing safe drinking water for years to come.