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Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council
February 4, 2015
Attendees: Present were Council members Fran Cundall, Mike Topping and George Yasko.
Approval of January Minutes: Although recommended for approval by those present, without a quorum, the minutes were tabled.
Sub Committee Reports:
Energy: George reviewed the proposed solar ordinance as recommended for approval by the City Planning Commission and noted that the restrictions for placement on roofs were still in place. He will write a letter to City Council supporting the proposed ordinance, except for the roof restrictions, which should be removed. Roof structures, which otherwise meet all City Codes and are visible from the street, should only be prohibited in areas subject to review by the City Historic and Architecture Review Boards.
Green: Fran reported that no meetings have been held so far this year.
Transportation: George reported that Anne Felker is still looking for someone to head this committee and meanwhile Lynn Rothman has offered to become the EAC liaison to the committee.
External Committee Reports:
Zoning: No report.
Planning: Lynn had gone to the meeting when the solar and lot coverage ordinances were discussed. (See Energy for the solar comments.) She reported to George that the 75% lot coverage restriction was accepted by the Planning Commission. The EAC still believes this is not restrictive enough in those areas of the City where large lots, such as in the RR Zoning District, are found. Normally, lot coverage restrictions include all impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, patios, pools, etc. and so a 75% restriction makes sense on smaller lots, but not large lots. Under the proposed restrictions, lots of 15,000 sq. ft. and larger could allow excessive amounts of impervious coverage.
City Council: No report.
City Council Coverage Schedule: So far, George has March & November and Jack was to take June. George will email everyone a proposed new schedule.
Filling the open seats on the EAC: Presently, we need two additional members. If a member of City Council is to be appointed, then they must make every effort to come to the meetings in order to meet quorum requirements. If this is not possible, George will compose a letter to City Council indicating our recommendation to return to the previous makeup of the EAC without a member from City Council. The idea of someone acting as a proxy for an EAC member was also discussed, but, unless they are already involved with the EAC, a person picked as a proxy may not have sufficient knowledge of EAC affairs to be effective. George also promoted the idea of associate members becoming active even though they may not want to come to every meeting. As mentioned in the past, local college students should be asked to become involved. Also, George will contact outdoor writers Gary Blockus from the Morning Call and Mark Demko from the Express Times to promote the EAC and its activities.
Monocacy Creek Assessment: The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has subcontracted this study to the Wildlands Conservency, which will work with local Monocacy Creek organizations and volunteers to collect water samples and make visual assessments of the creek. He has planned a coordination meeting of the various groups for sometime in March and plans to have the study under way this summer.
PennEast Pipeline: Although not to be located in our immediate area, this will have an effect on publicly owned and/or preserved open spaces in Northampton County, be a cause of forest fragmentation, and cross a number of streams all of which will have some negative effects on our environment. George thought that the positive and negative effects of this pipeline could be discussed at a future meeting and then the EAC could decide if they wanted to take a position on the matter.
Next Meeting: George will find out if our next meeting will be held at Lehigh, Moravian College, or City Hall.
Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at approximately 6:45 PM.