Franklin supervisors grapple with stream sediment regulations
● By J. Chambless
The burden of complying with federal stream sediment restrictions was a topic of long discussion at the Feb. 27 Franklin Township Board of Supervisors meeting.
The township’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer system permit must be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection every five years. The last permit application from the township was rejected, and the township is required to implementing projects to prevent sediment from continuing to pollute streams. The current permit has been extended through April 2019.
As part of the permit application, the township has to come up with solutions for managing stormwater in two of the three watersheds in the township. The largest, the White Clay Creek, requires a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Plan, and the smaller watershed (The Chesapeake Bay) requires a PRP (Pollutant Reduction Plan). The third watershed area is so small that no plan is required.
The board’s discussion considered stream restoration (935 feet) in the Franklin Preserve or retrofitting 25 detention basins. For the PRP plan, a stream restoration and tree planting on private property would meet the requirement. Board members were concerned about agreeing to the permit application before knowing the costs of the projects, but it is difficult to get a cost estimate until there are engineered plans.
The board ultimately decided not to advertise the Permit Application at this time because they need more information. The township has asked the DEP for a three-month extension. The topic will be discussed again at the March 20 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Shane Morgan, the management plan coordinator at White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic Recreational Rivers Program, updated the board about the Catch the Rain Rebate Program. The voluntary stormwater implementation program has been ongoing since 2016. The program was developed by the White Clay Wild and Scenic River Program and the Brandywine Conservancy to address stormwater washing off the land, which is the largest source of pollution to the White Clay Creek.
Almost all of the rain falling on roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots, mowed lawns and patios ends up as stormwater runoff. Morgan said the program has expanded to include both residents and HOA lands and offers up to 50 percent cost assistance up to $2,500. It has been very successful in Franklin Township, with about 24 percent of the participants from the township. For more information, and if you live in the White Clay Creek Watershed, visit http://whiteclay.org/catchtherain.
The board got updates on four zoning issues in the township. The owners of 1651 New London Road have submitted a Zoning Hearing Application for a change of use; the owners of 1620 New London Road have submitted a Conditional Use Application; and 206 Fox Run Road has been sold (a resident of that subdivision thanked the township for continuing to work with the bank to secure the area and take down trees while the house was vacant). A home at 3327 Appleton Road is still unresolved since the District Court Judge continued the case until the Court of Common Pleas judge made a ruling. The Court of Common Pleas date was cancelled due to weather, and has been rescheduled for March 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Township Historical Commission chairman Paul Lagasse reported that the Plow and Harrow Inn and the former Lawrence property were not deemed eligible by PennDOT’s historical resource review, despite follow-up comments from Karen Marshall (the county's heritage preservation officer) and the Franklin Township Historical Commission. However, despite PennDOT review recommendations to the contrary, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission deemed 1668 New London Road and 1881 New London Road eligible for the National Register as historic farmsteads. National Register eligibility allows for more input from the property owner if they have concerns about PennDOT's proposed roadwork.
The board also unanimously endorsed Landscapes3, the Chester County Comprehensive Plan.
For updated township information, visit www.franklintownship.us.To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.