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Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council
May 6, 2015
Attendees: Present were Council members Fran Cundall, Jack Gambino, Lynn Rothman, Mike Topping and George Yasko. Also present was Kalyna Procyk, who is in the process of being appointed to the EAC.
Approval of March Minutes: After discussion and the insertion of three corrections, Fran moved to approve the corrected minutes; seconded by Jack; approved.
Announcements: Mike reported that 20 shad were caught and placed into the Shad Tank at Hugh Moore Park, where they are meant to spawn for the next few weeks. Steel Stacks will hold their first “Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley” festival May 30-31 at which various organizations, which are involved with the outdoors, will present activities and displays for free to the general public. George will try to find a brochure, made some time ago, which helps explain the EAC’s purpose and goals. This could then be handed out to people at the festival. Mike indicated that various brochures from sportsmen’s organizations will also be available. EAC members agreed to try and attend some of this year’s festival and then plan to take a more active part in next year’s festival. A general discussion followed concerning the specific goals and objectives of the EAC and the various committees, present and future, which are meant to promote discussion and action on environmental issues. Jack recommended that the EAC consider an agenda of topics, which we would concentrate on over the coming months and in discussing various topics, it is important to show how a particular subject impacts the City and its residents.
Sub Committee Reports:
Energy: Still waiting for Council’s first reading of the proposed solar ordinance.
Green: Fran reported that the committee held a meeting on March 25th and discussed many ideas for activities this year including a community garden in Friendship Park between Garrison and North Streets west of Linden Street. They are looking for neighborhood involvement in the garden so that planted vegetables are protected and get to be used by those who planted them. A work party was held on April 11th and the committee will meet again in May. George wondered if a garden could be planted on the parkland south of Macada Rd. and west Center Street. Parking might be a problem and Kalyna noted that most of the people who live in the area have plenty of room on their home lots to create a garden if they would like one.
Transportation: Lynn reported that the committee met and discussed pedestrian and bicyclist issues. They plan to conduct a pedestrian “Sting” operation this summer during which cars, which do not obey the pedestrian crosswalk rules will be noted. She learned that bike lanes in the street are not preferred by bicyclist because of sudden conflicts with car doors being opened into the bike lane area. A bike lane on the reconstructed Fahy Bridge was discussed. The May committee meeting has been canceled. Jack wondered if a preferred bike route was available in the City and was told nothing like that has existed since the original bike lanes were proposed years ago.
External Committee Reports:
Zoning: The difference between zoning priorities and Environmental priorities was discussed and Mike stated that if we feel that a certain type of development was inappropriate for a given area for environmental reasons, then we should promote changes to the zoning ordinance for that area which would restrict development in ways that are environmentally sensitive.
Planning: No report
City Council: Lynn noted that City Council reaffirmed their authority to appoint members of the EAC and Library Board as recommended by President of Council and changed the tree conservation requirements in the denser areas of the City so that only one tree was necessary to replace a removed tree.
Filling the open seats on the EAC: Kalyna Procyk has agreed to become a member of the EAC and should become official once her resume and home address is given to the City Clerk.
Associate Members: Once again, George promoted the inclusion of associate members for the EAC who could come to meetings and become involved with existing committees or projects of their own choosing. In this way they could also be added to our mailing list and therefore able to keep up with EAC activities.
Monocacy Creek Assessment: Volunteers will be needed to help with the assessment. As a part of this study, some large trees will be removed and George thought that some of the wood could be used for artistic purposes.
New Business: A large amount of trees have been removed behind the Hotel Bethlehem and various areas of the City have been promoted for tree removal because of utility lines. Mike recommended that any time a utility proposes to remove or cut publicly owned trees in the City, they should be required to coordinate with the City Forester.
Website & Facebook: George is still working on updating any information for these programs.
Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at approximately 7:30 PM.