LOWER MAKEFIELD, June 18 – State Rep. Steven J. Santarsiero, D-Bucks, announced at a news conference today that he has introduced legislation that would ensure community interests and resources are protected when developers challenge decisions made by zoning boards or other local government agencies.
“Too often, communities are burdened by development that overwhelms their ability to provide services and facilities for residents,” Santarsiero said. “My bill seeks to ensure that when a planning ordinance decision is challenged, the challenger provides a report guaranteeing the project would not harm local infrastructure or recreation.”
Santarsiero’s legislation would amend current law to extend to municipalities further authority over local land use by allowing them to reject development proposals that lack a review of potential impacts to infrastructure such as roads, storm water controls, schools, emergency services and recreation. It would also require that challenges to local zoning decisions identify the need for additional housing types if proposed, and prove that a project can be completed while maintaining natural resource protections.
The bill would maintain protections for landowners, including allowing landowners challenging an ordinance or zoning decision to propose a curative amendment. Santarsiero said some maps and ordinances can be decades old, and the curative amendment process gives landowners a significant say in the future use of their land.
Santarsiero’s main constituent service office is located at 277 N. Sycamore St. in Newtown. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the phone number is 215-968-3975. Additionally, staff is available in the Lower Makefield Township Building, located at 1100 Edgewood Road. Office hours there are noon to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.
The 31st Legislative District includes Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Lower Makefield Township, Yardley Borough and part of Upper Makefield Township.
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