Franklin supervisors begin to address alternative energy sources
By J. Chambless
The future of alternative energy sources in Franklin Township was brought up at the June 19 Board of Supervisors meeting, paving the way for future developments.
Several months ago, zoning officer Jeff Vogels approached the board about developing a solar array/alternative energy ordinance, since the township does not have one. After receiving some inquiries on the subject, the board agreed it’s important to have regulations in place so that there will be consistency with future projects. Vogels provided a summary of considerations, and the board members agreed that small and medium solar installations would continue to follow the regulations for accessory structures.
Large, commercial-scale solar arrays will need to have specific guidelines surrounding installation, maximum height, buffers, glare/reflectivity stormwater, decommissioning, site restoration and financial security. The board directed Vogels to draft an outline of a solar, alternative and wind energy ordinance for review at a future meeting. Supervisor Donna Dea suggested adding wind energy to the ordinance.
There are two zoning issues in the township. The owner of 1620 New London Road has said he is selling the property, since the stormwater requirements are cost prohibitive. He has been told he must end all of the business activity at the property by June 26 if he hasn’t complied with the Conditional Use requirements by that time.
The abandoned property at 3327 Appleton Road is still waiting for the Court of Common Pleas judge to make a ruling. Solicitor Mark Thompson said the judge works alone and there are no time requirements for issuing a ruling. Thompson expects a ruling sometime this summer. The entire report can be reviewed on the Township website (www.franklintownship.us).
The ongoing issue of reducing runoff into local streams was also addressed. At the April 17 board meeting, the supervisors had authorized the advertisement of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Plan for the White Clay Creek/Christina River watershed, and the Pollutant Reduction (PRP) Plan for the Big Elk Creek/Chesapeake Bay watershed. After 61 days, the township has received no public comments. The supervisors authorized LTL Consultants to submit the revised S4 Permit to the DEP no later than June 28.
Board chairman John Auerbach reviewed the types of projects the township could do as part of the permit, including stream bank restorations (expensive and could wash out); basin retrofits (which are also expensive and run the risk of washouts); or tree planting. The plantings are less expensive, grants are available, and have multiple benefits. Township staff would do the tree planting, mostly on private properties.
In other business, the board noted that the heat exchanger on the Township Building heater is leaking and the heater needs to be replaced. The board voted to move forward with the purchase of the new heating system from Marano Plumbing and Heating in an amount not to exceed $7,000. Auerbach noted that the township recently purchased two parts from eBay to fix the building’s air conditioner for $50, and is hoping the plumber will install them.
During public comment, Paul Lagasse asked about the recently passed referendum allowing alcohol sales in the township, and what needs to be done. Solicitor Mark Thompson said that the results were certified by Voter Services and will be sent to the Liquor Control Board. Nothing more needs to be done by the township.To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.