Supervisors Authorize Work on Natural Resource Law

Lower Frederick supervsiors (at top) Dan Orfe and Marla Hexter as they prepared for Tuesday’s board work session

LOWER FREDERICK PA – With their eyes on preserving natural elements in Lower Frederick that make it an increasingly attractive place to buy a home, the township Board of Supervisors continued discussions during their Tuesday (July 27, 2021) work session on a proposed “natural resource ordinance.” It’s intended to become part of the municipality’s zoning law, Solicitor Peter Nelson said.

The proposal focuses on creating, enforcing, or referring to existing township land management standards. It could cover rules for protecting wetlands, woodlands, steep slopes, flood plains, storm water, and what are known as riparian buffers. The buffers are vegetation areas on the banks of creeks or streams that prevent erosion, control runoff, enhance animal life, and add essential nutrients.

What’s at stake in the law, supporters claimed, is the beauty of the township itself.

Within the past five years Lower Frederick has seen an explosion in land development, and its prospects for future residential and commercial growth. Protecting natural resources that make the township vibrant and valuable, supervisors and board volunteers said, will help maintain them for future generations of families drawn by all the municipality offers.

However the choices of what to include in the proposal, or cross-reference in other ordinances, can be far-reaching, Nelson acknowledged. Supervisors, as well as members of the township Planning Commission and the township Environmental Advisory Council, said they were concerned by what they called “an overwhelming number” of options available in a sample law the solicitor offered earlier for review.

Supervisors favored a suggestion from Planning Commission Chair Crystal Gilchrist to have Nelson write “a first draft (of the proposal) for all to see,” and then circulate it for further discussion among municipal boards and groups involved. That would include, they said, the township’s newly formed Open Space Committee, whose members have not yet been announced.

Supervisors also determined they didn’t want to wait until their Aug. 3 (Tuesday) general meeting to act on Gilchrist’s advice. In a unanimous 5-0 vote, they authorized Nelson to proceed with drafting an ordinance for later review.

There is one natural resource Nelson suggested supervisors could omit, and with which they also agreed. The proposed law won’t cover protection for agricultural soils. “There aren’t a lot of farms” in Lower Frederick, the solicitor noted and – after consulting with township engineer Carol Schuehler – he said he also learned its “soil’s not great.”

Photo by The Post