Pennsburg officials are not happy they will have to potentially shell out thousands of taxpayer dollars for unfunded mandates set by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Those mandates, ultimately pushed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, officials said at Tuesday night’s council meeting, will see the borough retrofitting stormwater basins in an effort to reduce phosphorus levels in the Green Lane Reservoir.
The borough agreed to reconstruct one basin per year in order to renew its MS4 stormwater permit in 2013, said Borough Engineer Jack Seber.
And while reducing phosphorus levels to improve water quality may sound like a good idea, DEP did not test levels of the substance in the reservoir, nor can they say how much is coming in from each municipality.
Municipalities across the state are, however, charged by DEP with each removing a predetermined amount of phosphorus from their stormwater.
Phosphorus, which is used on a large-scale basis in farming applications and as an animal byproduct, could still come from residents applying lawn care products in boroughs like Pennsburg, DEP officials reportedly said.
So without any data supporting the move to replace stormwater basins to reduce phosphorus levels to the reservoir, Pennsburg officials moved to spend (not to exceed) $5,000 to complete surveying, testing and planning for a new basin behind the Gordon Baver property on W. Eighth Street.
Actual construction costs, Seber said, couldn’t be estimated until that planning is complete.
In other news, the borough approved a street tree trimming contract to CS Kalb Tree and Landscape, of Pennsburg, in the amount of $2,049. Officials spoke extensively about trees along Main Street, in the 100 through 500 blocks, some of which needed extensive work because they were growing out onto the sidewalks and were impeding traffic.
Officials said Kalb’s bid included pruning all the trees to avoid damage and loss due to disease.
Kalb said most of the trees, some of which are already showing disease, could be saved if pruned correctly.
Council also accepted with regret, the resignation of Councilman Doug Landis, effective immediately. Council President Kris Kirkwood, who was assigned to fill Landis’ role on the Upper Perkiomen Valley Police Commission, said Landis resigned for personal reasons.
Borough Administrtive Manager Jeanne Hopkins was directed to advertise the open council seat, which the borough has 30 days to fill. They expect to vote on Landis’ replacement at the Sept. 3 council meeting.
A lawyer from Fox Rothchild, representing Hallman Developments, the developers of the Still Waters age-restricted community on Eighth Street and Montgomery Avenue in the borough, told council of a proposal to add one additional twin home to the development. The home would be constructed on a 20,500-sq.-ft. land-locked parcel adjacent to the development that they recently purchased from its owner.
The developer would need variances for setbacks at the site, but said the addition would only minorly change the approved land development plan. Representatives of the developer said they looked forward to going into the land development process again for the updated plan in the near future.