In 2011, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation was awarded a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to develop a regional sustainability plan. Awardees under this joint HUD-EPA program were required to produce a Fair Housing and Equity Assessment, a set of study requirements overlapping to a large degree those of an Analysis of Impediments. Because the Lehigh Valley study area contained five jurisdictions subject to the AI requirements (Lehigh County, Northampton County, and the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton), Mosaic’s principals developed a project approach that would simultaneously meet the FHEA standards applied by the Sustainable Communities grant and the individual AI requirements of each of the five entitlement communities.
The resulting report provided detailed analysis of demographic and housing market data specific to each of the five jurisdictions and, where possible, for the 59 additional townships and boroughs included in the region as well. A comprehensive review of all 61 zoning ordinances in effect in the Lehigh Valley was performed by land use attorneys on our project team to identify opportunities to increase housing affordability and fair housing choice. We described our findings to local zoning officials in these jurisdictions, and in some cases, assisted them in revising their ordinances according to our recommendations.