BETHLEHEM – April 29, 2013State Senator Lisa Boscola announced today that the Slate Belt Council of Governments has been awarded a Municipal Assistance Program grant in the amount of $33,500 for a project involving Portland Borough, Lower Mt. Bethel Township and Plainfield Township in Northampton County.

The Bethlehem legislator said the grant, which is awarded by the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Municipal Assistance Program (MAP), assists local governments plan for and implement a variety of services and improvements, and soundly manage development with an emphasis on intergovernmental approaches.

“Counties and municipalities are eligible to apply for funding through this program,” Boscola said, “Some COG’s are eligible, as well, to apply for certain projects, as in this case, where duly authorized by participating municipalities.”

The grant will be used to assist Portland Borough in updating its comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance, and subdivision and land development ordinance.  The comprehensive plan and ordinances are outdated and there are current development impacts involving an industrial park in the Borough.

The project includes using Lower Mt. Bethel’s current SALDO (Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance) to prepare a model ordinance incorporating a Visually Interactive Communication system, similar to the Penn State model – it would be an electronic model, allowing users to easily search and navigate the ordinances.  It is proposed that, when completed, the model ordinance would be adopted by Portland Borough, Lower Mt. Bethel and Plainfield Townships.  As part of the grant application it was also noted that the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has expressed interest in adding the model SALDO to its library for use by other communities throughout the Lehigh Valley when adopting new SALDO’s.

Please feel free to contact Senator Boscola’s office with any questions or concerns with this announcement or questions regarding the Municipal Assistance Grant Program by calling (610) 868-8667.

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