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Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council
June 3, 2015
Attendees: Lynn Rothman and George Yasko
The meeting was called to order at 18:06 at the DAR House
Energy committee: No Report
Green Committee: No Report
Lynn Rothman attended the Citizen Traffic Advisory Committee meeting held June 3 at City Hall. Eight pedestrian stings are scheduled for this summer; one will have media coverage. The City has applied for a grant for a Trail Feasibility Study on 4th Street beginning at Hayes St. and heading west. Desire to add benches, trees, trashcans, etc. These projects are in keeping with the EAC’s interest in the walkability of Bethlehem. There was also discussion about the upcoming repair of the Fahy Bridge. The City will have to decide how automobile/truck and pedestrian traffic will be handled during the construction period.
A Public Hearing preceded the June 2nd City Council meeting. Considered were the following zoning ordinance amendments: Impervious coverage, Tree Conservation and SALDO Amendments-Recreation fees.
The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) concurred with City Council’s proposed amendment to change the maximum impervious coverage in the RR District to 50%. The maximum impervious coverage in the RS District would remain at 75%. The Planning Commission was unanimous in their support.
Regarding tree conservation, the LVPC had the following comments in their letter of May 1, 2015:
“The zoning ordinance amendment on tree conservation does not conflict with the County Comprehensive Plan.
The zoning ordinance amendment on tree conservation does not conflict with the County Comprehensive Plan. The amendment allows for a one-to-one tree replacement at a new development, instead of the previous proposal of two new trees for each removed, while only development in the RR (Rural Residential) and CM (Office Research Center) Districts must still replace trees at a two-to-one ratio . LVPC warns that this provision increases the likelihood of a net loss of trees on site at any new development, since the regulation does not and has never required replacement of unhealthy trees or those below a certain size . Furthermore, construction and earth disturbance can damage otherwise healthy trees . LVPC encourages the City to review our model regulations on Woodlands - for details on tree protection methods that help to conserve natural resources, when development activity might otherwise pose a threat.
The SALDO amendment on recreation fees is a matter of local concern .”
The Amendments above will be on the agenda for a Public Reading on June 16, 2015.
George Yasko attended the May 28th meeting of the Monocacy Creek Watershed Association. Ralph Carp, Director of Parks and Public Property for the City of Bethlehem and Kristie Fach, Director of Ecological Restoration for Wildlands Conservancy discussed the upcoming Monocracy Creek Assessment that is to begin this summer. They are looking for volunteers to walk the Monocracy Creek, complete site assessment forms and possibly collect samples. Training will be provided. More details will follow. Ralph also discussed the work at Monocracy Park. The plan is being reassessed and will not begin until next spring or summer. Ralph is planning open public presentations to keep users of the park informed and to answer questions. This is an area where the EAC will be able to assist.
Meeting adjourned at 19:17
Minutes submitted by: Lynn Rothman and George Yasko