Council to consider amending town’s weed ordinance
NEWTOWN BOROUGH – vou better get out your yardsticks, or better yet, a lawnmower or weed whacker when the growing season resumes this spring.
At its Feb. 12 meeting, the Newtown Borough Council will consider an amendment to its weed ordinance that will set a limit of 12 inches on the height of weeds and grass in the borough.
Under the current ordinance, there is no limit on how high wHHGs DnG JUDss FDn JURw Rn D SURSHUWy, PDNLnJ LW GLIfiFuOW to enforce. The council is hoping to change that by inserting a maximum height.
During public comment at council’s gan. 8 meeting, former council member gulia Woldorf asked how the ordinance addresses natural lawns, meadows and rain gardens.
For example, she said, a natural lawn is when a property owner allows their lawn to grow with native plants, which some may refer to as weeds, but is considered a Best Management Practice (BMP) in certain situations.
Councilman Perry Warren said language is included in the ordinance that exempts plantings that are serving a “useful” or “ornamental purpose.
“If the purpose were useful or ornamental, then it’s not a noxious weed,” said Warren.
Woldorff also asked whether the borough had reviewed the RUGLnDnFH WR sHH whHWhHU LW Ls Ln FRnflLFW wLWh BM3s Ln WhH borough’s stormwater management ordinance.
For example, she said, there are natural plantings that some might consider weeds that are encouraged under BMP to prevent stream bank erosion along waterways such as Old Skunky, a natural drainage ditch that meanders through parts of the town.
“I understand the reason for revising the ordinance, but I just wanted to make sure that this ordinance is not contradicting what is considered BMP for recharging our aquifer and stormwater management,” said Woldorf.
BMPs, in certain cases, encourage property owners not to cut their lawns, to have a wilder lawn or a rain garden, said Woldorff.
Many of the decisions in that regard, said borough solicitor William Bolla, will be determined by the borough’s zoning RIfiFHU DnG EH EDsHG Rn whHWhHU WhH SODnWLnJs DUH sHUYLnJ D useful or ornamental purpose.
“A certain amount of investigation will be required before anybody would be cited under this,” said Bolla.
The ordinance is targeted to properties that are not maintained and weeds and grass are allowed to grow, creating an eyesore in the community.
VLRODWRUs wRuOG IDFH D finH RI $600 SOus FRsWs LI WhHy IDLO to address the issue.
In other business at its gan. 8 meeting, the council unaniPRusOy DSSURYHG D FHUWLfiFDWH RI DSSURSULDWHnHss IRU SOLPEHn Ouhiba, Tiramisu, Inc., 31 South State Street, for the installation for a hanging sign on an existing bracket at the future home of Trattoria Tiramisu.
ThH FRunFLO DOsR JUDnWHG D FHUWLfiFDWH RI DSSURSULDWHnHss WR DDnLHO /uFFL, 16 SRuWh SWDWH SWUHHW, CDIé FRn /HFhH, IRU WhH installation of a wall sign.
In addition, the council made the following reappointments to its boards and commissions: g. Eric gohnson, Civil Service Commission, for a six-year term through Dec. 31, 2018; MDUy CDWhHULnH MLOOHU, HuPDn RHODWLRns CRPPLssLRn, WhUHH-yHDU WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2015; :LOOLDP 3DONRYLFs, 1HwWRwn SHwHU AuWhRULWy, IRU D fiYH-yHDU WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2017; 3DuO SDOYDWRUH, SODnnLnJ FRPPLssLRn, IRU D IRuU-yHDU WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2006; /RUUDLnH 3HnWz, -RLnW Historic Commission, for a four-year term through Dec. 31, 2016; APy MRRUH, UHFUHDWLRn ERDUG, IRU D fiYH-yHDU WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2017; ChDUOHs SwDUWz ,,,, zRnLnJ hHDULnJ ERDUG, IRU D WhUHH-yHDU WHUP, WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2015; SWHShHn Rinear, Historic Architectural Review Board, for a three-year WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2015; .DUHn :hLWH, SODnnLnJ FRPPLssLRn, IRU D IRuU-yHDU WHUP WhURuJh DHF. 31, 2016; -LP :DLWkus, Shade Tree Commission, for a three-year term through DHF. 31, 2015; DnG HDUUy TRPOLnsRn DnG :LOOLDP 3DONRYLFs, zoning hearing board alternates, for a one year term.
The borough has openings on its planning commission, Environmental Advisory Committee and the Park and Recreation board. Residents interested in serving are asked to contact Marcia Scull at the Newtown Borough Hall.