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Caridi reacts to impact fee legislation; new Pike visitors guide has digital focus

February 15, 2012

At the Pike County Commissioners meeting on February 8, chairman Rich Caridi expressed surprise at the new state legislation establishing Marcellus Shale impact fees, which was passed last week by the legislature.

“I’m disappointed that the legislature put the burden of imposing impact fees on the counties rather than on the state government,” Caridi said. “This puts still another burden on the counties.”

Caridi also reacted negatively to the provision that a county that has no producing wells cannot receive the fees. “Our roads that will be used by the trucks, pipelines that cross the county, the possible presence of compressor stations, housing costs that may occur, these may adversely affect us,” he said.

The legislation stipulates that distribution of impact fees is also tied to a municipality’s willingness to adopt zoning ordinances that provide for reasonable gas development and aren’t more restrictive than other industrial uses.

Environmental groups and others attacked the bill as a giveaway to the drilling industry. According to Jan Jarrett, CEO of PennFuture, in order to collect the fees, municipalities must agree to allow drilling and waste-water impoundments in all zones, including residential zones, and they must allow compression stations in agricultural and industrial zones, and as a conditional use in residential zones. “It’s pretty bad,” she said.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill on February 13.

Also at the meeting, a group called Discover Pike PA introduced the fourth annual visitors guide. The new guide will have a digital focus on discovering Pike County by complementing the social media landscape, allowing visitors to utilize the website with their smart phones and tablets while planning their trip or while in the county.

The group will continue to provide a printed version for those without access to the Internet. The guide will have a complete re-design, including enhanced editorial and coupons to complement advertisements.

Forty thousand guides and 80,000 maps will be printed and distributed to 300-plus locations throughout Northeast PA, New York and New Jersey, and will be available at interstate welcome stations. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is also taking an active role in distributing the guide and map.

In order for these planning tools to be as comprehensive as possible, local tourism–related businesses need to be listed and keep their information up to date. Because of the hotel tax funding, the group is able to offer free listings in the guide and on the website to tourism-related businesses, plus full-color advertising at reduced costs.