South Whitehall Plans Community Garden, Seeks More Information on Single Use Bag Ordinance | Regional News from Lehigh Valley

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SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. – The Township of South Whitehall is ready to support a community garden, but needs more information before considering limits on single-use bags.

Green Advisory Council Chairman Frank Petrocelli presented the two ideas to the Council of Commissioners on Wednesday, stressing that the “GAC” can come up with ideas, but that any ordinance or expense must come from elected leaders.

A community garden would provide fresh produce to needy residents. The GAC’s preferred site would be the Parkland Community Library, allowing a combination of gardening with an educational component.

“See if it takes root and thrives, “said board chair Christina” Tori “Morgan. If the trial is successful, a larger garden and other sites could be considered.

Commissioner Michael Wolk supported the idea, if a formal security plan is presented. He said young children may be on the site and safety policies are needed. Prior approval of the garden requires such a plan.

Commissioner Diane Kelly was the only ‘no’ to vote for the garden, although she said she supported the concept.

“I feel like we are rushing” into something new, she said. She suggested that Covered Bridge Park could be a better and safer site than the library because there would be less traffic.

Petrocelli said the garden could start in the spring of next year. The workforce would be provided by volunteers. If the program expands, a garden manager could be hired.

When Wolk asked what a successful pilot garden would be, Petrocelli replied: “It is a success if it is well maintained, it is attractive to the eyes”, and of course, if it produces fruits and flowers. vegetables.

The proposal to consider moving towards limits on single-use plastic bags has been more difficult to sell by the GAC. A survey of companies in the canton yielded only fifteen results, an insufficient sample to draw conclusions.

Ben Long, who at 28 is the youngest of the commissioners, said he represents a generation ready to embrace change that benefits the environment.

Commissioner Joe Setton said moving people away from the convenience of plastic bags would be “a big project.”

Petrocelli said some states and communities have already placed limits on single-use bags. Alternatives to current practice could include using paper bags and billing for bags.

He asked the board if the GAC should pursue the idea. Commissioners called for more information and for the advisory group to seek more feedback from businesses.

Kelly said adding costs during a pandemic is a bad idea, and she advocated for education first.

The Grand Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce said its environment and energy committee was considering taking a position on the sack ordinances. Consistency is an issue.

“The committee is concerned that if each municipality enforces different ordinances, it will create a patchwork series of regulations confusing consumers,” Brittney Waylen, the chamber’s vice president of government affairs, said in a statement earlier Wednesday. .

Later in the meeting, Wolk thanked Interim Township Director Randy Cope and CFO Scott Boehret for their work on the 2022 budget and for moving the audits forward. The town has caught up on a decade of audits.

“They are doing an incredible job,” he said. “They are doing a great job.”

Boehret had good news for the board. The township has earned an Aa2 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, which means South Whitehall will get an excellent interest rate on the upcoming $ 13.1 million bond sale.

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