Coun­cil to con­sider amend­ing town’s weed or­di­nance

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Jeff Werner

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.

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