Easton approves new comprehensive growth plan

Outside+of+Alpha+Building+in+downtown+Easton%2C+which+some+Lafayette+offices+occupy.%0A%28Photo+by+Courtney+DeVita+19%29

Outside of Alpha Building in downtown Easton, which some Lafayette offices occupy. (Photo by Courtney DeVita ’19)

Jane Collins

As Lafayette plans to expand in the coming years, Easton also has plans to grow and improve its community into the year 2035 by following its newly approved Comprehensive Plan.

The last comprehensive plan for Easton was released in 1997. The Easton Planning Commission proposed a plan last year, but that was rejected by Easton Mayor Sal Panto and the City Council. They made suggestions for revision and subsequently approved the updated plan on Feb. 22 of this year.

One of the goals of the new plan is to be involved in handling Lafayette’s expansion plans, according to The Morning Call. The article went on to say that Panto affirmed in the city council meeting that the plan will not interfere with Lafayette’s expansion, and he remains in full support of the college.

President of The Village on College Hill Mary Liz Colley wrote in an email that the city’s comprehensive plan includes several issues that “pertain directly to Lafayette and College Hill that would fall directly under the stated desire for the city to ‘work with Lafayette College on its plan to expand campus.’ These include: develop neighborhood sustainability, promote affordable housing, develop new neighborhood parking strategies, and reduce traffic on Cattell Street.”

The Morning Call outlined additional goals included the plan, namely to “address health concerns associated with opiate use, lead paint, asbestos, homelessness and mental health disorders” to “seek economic development and tourism opportunities,” among other community development concerns.

Panto wrote in an email that he thinks the comprehensive plan benefits from Lafayette’s relationship with Easton, and that the commission largely took into account Lafayette’s planned expansion.

“The Comprehensive Plan recognizes the importance of Lafayette College to the City and encourages the continued partnership between the college and the city.  The plan anticipates strong growth of the college over the next twenty years,” he wrote in an email.

The college did contribute to the 2015-2016 plan, according to the outdated plan from fall 2015, which was amended in order to be approved this year. It had been in the works since 2013.

“At the onset of the comprehensive plan rewrite, the consultant team held a series of phone and in-person interviews with key stakeholder agency groups, LVPC, not-for-profit organizations, Crayola and Lafayette College to determine their future goals and current plans,” the outdated plan reads.