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Unlawful vegetation regulations adopted

Richard D. L. Fulton

(1/15) The Carroll Valley Borough Council voted at their January 14 meeting to adopt changes to the existing unlawful vegetation section of the municipal regulations regarding tree and plants in the borough.

The purpose of the changes is to clarify cutting undergrowth where it is occurring on vacant lots or into public right-of-ways.

Borough Manager David Hazlett told the News Journal the revisions were made because, "We felt the existing version was ambiguous in its regulation, and the ordinance was amended to clarify its intent."

"The existing code referenced the health of occupants of a neighboring property, and of potential fire hazards. This was being interpreted to cause vacant property owners to maintain their property in a way contrary to which would permit a natural forest ecosystem to exist," he stated.

The existing unlawful vegetation rules prohibit any vegetative growth, including trees, hedges, bushes and shrubbery, within five feet of the edge of a roadway.

The proposed rule in this regard allows for vegetative growth within five feet of a roadway, and thus within the right-of-way, if that growth does not exceed 12 inches in height. Vegetative growth within the right-of-way may not however interfere with vehicular or pedestrian use of that right-of-way, or interferes with drainage.

Other changes, which Hazlett characterized as "house-cleaning" type revisions were also enacted.

In other business, the council approved having the borough Planning Commission reconsider a recently rejected "chicken ordinance," which would have allowed borough residents to maintain as many as half a dozen chickens, with certain restrictions and guidelines, at the request of resident Anthony Wivell.

Wivell told the council at their January 14 meeting that having the ability to maintain up to half a dozen chickens would teach children the responsibility of maintaining animals, and sustainability, and the sale of by-products, such as eggs, could also generate revenue for the borough.

The proposed ordinance that would have allowed chickens to be kept failed to pass in 2012 after a draft was generated by the planning commission.

The council also decided to ask the borough Safety Committee to consider developing an evaluation system to determine whether or not given areas in the municipality would be suitable for street lights whenever requested by a resident.

The issue came to light at the meeting after the council approved a street light to be installed at the intersection of Little and Walnut trails at the request of a resident, after which, it was brought to the attention of council that other requests for street lighting had been denied in the past.

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