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Vegetation Issues Vex Marlborough Supervisors
Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
2021-07-21

      Candlewyck on the verge of dedication

 

            The Marlborough supervisors acted on a wide range of issues last week, but the two items that elicited the most concern had to do with vegetation issues in the township.

            Supervisor Bill Jacobs initiated an emotional discussion during his proposal that the township write an ordinance curtailing the use of herbicides in the township after he had confrontations with PPL.

            "PPL is attempting to spray on my property without my permission," Jacobs said. "I've gone through three people and I almost got physical with the last one. This is close to home."

            Jacobs, who has dealt with health issues in his family, is primarily concerned about the potential carcinogens in the weed killers. He contacted an expert in California who told him that the number one cause of lymphoma and breast cancer is herbicides.

"I must protect my family," he said. "But it doesn't stop there. Neighbors, people come to visit me, my friends, my whole community, my constituents, I must protect them.

"No bullies have the right to come in and say, 'We're going to do this no matter what you say'. They don't have the right to do that."

            PPL has a right of way on Jacob's property and has a legal backing to eliminate dangerous threats to its equipment.

            Solicitor Mark Cappuccio cautioned the board that herbicides cannot be banned altogether but explained that they can be restricted. He cited a prohibition, in many municipalities, on glyphosate, a cancer-causing ingredient found in Roundup and other products.

            "You can't ban [herbicides] globally, all uses, because the public utility has to keep the right of way clear for utility purposes. So they're going to be using something. It may not be glyphosate."

            Jacobs, who has lived on his property for 45 years, lambasted the utility for saving money by spraying instead of cutting, at the expense of the public's health.

            Cappuccio said, "You can say, 'Please don't spray.' The issue is that they may not honor your request, but you can make a request with the Public Utility Commission (PUC). They can order that they not spray on your property."

            The solicitor promised to look into ordinances written in other municipalities to determine what, if anything, Marlborough could do. Jacobs has filed objections with the PUC and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

            On another topic related to plants, the supervisors authorized that another notice of violation of the nuisance ordinance will be sent to the residents of 1041 Magazine Road regarding overgrown vegetation that the township maintains causes a hazard for motorists on Geryville Pike.

            "This year we've gotten numerous calls about sight distance," said Township Manager/Secretary Marybeth Cody.  "It's a county road. I've reached out to them to say this is in the right of way. Could they mow it back? The county is not responsive," reported Cody.

            While there is an exception in the nuisance ordinance for allowing vegetation to return to a "natural state", the supervisors maintain that the property owners have actually added plantings that are contributing to the problem.

            The township will be scrutinizing the deed for the property to determine the ultimate right of way and will be comparing photos of the property from last year to this year.

            With the refurbishing of Knight Road, the Candlewyck development appears to be on track for a resolution for dedication at the board's August meeting.

            After an inspection Public Works Director Steve Fulmer said that "everything was done very well." His only concern was that an inlet had been filled with millings from the roadwork and has to be flushed.

            In a related matter, Fulmer received permission from the board to try and purchase a used rubber tire loader to help with the township's snowplowing responsibilities which will increase substantially now that the township will have to clear snow from Candlewyck.

            Money would come from funds already budgeted for a replacement truck and from the sale of two pieces of equipment.

            The overlay ordinance came back from the planning commission with a slew of comments mostly about the ordinance's application to churches and changes the planning commission would like to see to align houses of worship with clauses pertaining to museums and libraries, especially when it comes to parking.

            "You have to be very careful regulating churches," Cappuccio warned. Putting restrictions on outdoor worship services, for example, can only be done for specific reasons of health, safety and welfare.  "We can't get too picky on this," Jacobs said.

            Cappuccio will revise what needs to be revised and get a new draft to the township and county planning commissions. A new zoning map also has to be finished by the planning commission.

            The new draft may be presented at the August supervisors meeting, advertised, and approved at the September meeting.

            The board voted to apply for a grant toward the $350,000 repair of Reihman Road bridge. Repairs should keep the bridge viable for around ten years. At its June meeting, the board had discussed possibly initiating weight restrictions on the bridge, but the consensus this month was that restrictions are not necessary.

            Police Chief Darren Morgan reminded the meeting that National Night Out will be held at St. John's Church in Green Lane from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, August 14. The event provides a chance to meet local police and EMS and will feature music, food, games, demonstrations and other activities. Check in on the Marlborough Township Police Department's Facebook page for more information.

            The next board of supervisors meeting is on Wednesday, August 11.


 

 

 

 

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