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Chester County Press

New Garden Hills’ planting project taking root

08/22/2023 03:44PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo courtesy of Stan Lukoff          A substantial project to establish riparian buffers and live stake shrubs in New Garden Hills included the planting of 425 trees, 70 shrubs and 65 live stake shrubs by a group of coordinators and volunteers last November.


By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

In the middle of the black-and-white, page-turning business of the Aug. 21 New Garden Board of Supervisors’ meeting, another color took center stage, and it was the color of nature.

Township resident Stan Lukoff, a master watershed steward with certification from Penn State Extension and a key component of the township’s efforts to provide education about the importance of plantings to the environment, gave an update of a year-long project that has created a riparian buffer and live stake nursery in the southeastern quadrant of New Garden Hills.

A riparian buffer is an area adjacent to a stream, lake or wetland that contains a combination of trees, shrubs and/or other perennial plants and is managed differently from the surrounding landscape, primarily to provide conservation benefits like improved water quality, erosion and flood control, food for wildlife, as well as serve as a deterrent to flooding and low stream flows.

Similarly, live staking of shrubs helps to stabilize stream banks, prevents erosion, and filters nutrients and other pollution from upstream runoff.

Originally approved by the township in April of 2022, the project received a $33,000 grant as well as an additional $34,000 in in-kind contributions that kick-started the project last September with site clearing, invasive and dead tree removal, mowing and clearing and the installation of an eight-foot-tall metal fence for the live stake shrub nursery, and culminated with the planting of 425 trees, 70 shrubs and 65 live stake shrubs by a group of coordinators and volunteers last November.

Additional trees and shrubs were planted this past April, and educational signs explaining riparian buffers and live stake nurseries were installed in May. While the project is expected to be completed this fall, it will continue to be maintained by the township over the next 25 years.

In addition to Lukoff, the project was managed by township residents Sarah Dooley, Steve Dooley, Mike Estep and Nancy Henderson; Master Watershed coordinator Meagan Hopkins-Doerr; Shane Morgan, a project consultant and administrator with White Clay Wild and Scenic; and Mike Buck, the township’s Parks & Open Space Superintendent.

Other township business

The board formally adopted two measures that will both serve to enhance residents’ quality of life and lower the potential cost to public safety. The board adopted the township’s Rental Inspection Ordinance that will provide for the inspection of -- and permits for -- residential units in the township and will require landlords to file reports to the township listing their rental units; authorize the township’s code enforcement officer to inspect the condition and use of the units; permit the officer to enforce compliance with township regulations; and authorize the officer to establish permits and fees and advertise penalties for violations.

The ordinance will go into effect in January of 2024.

To establish controls and regulations governing the safety and occupancy of township buildings, the board formally adopted the 2018 edition of the International Fire Code that will safeguard residents and properties from fire and explosion hazards arising from the storage, handling and use of hazardous substances, materials and devices; and provide for the issuing of permits and the collection of fees.

New Garden Flying Field Aviation Director Jon Martin shared the success of this years’ Future Aviators Camp, which brought 280 youngsters – some from as far away as Hong Kong – to the New Garden Flying Field. He also informed the board that the access road to the Flying Field will be resurfaced, and that the initial stage to refurbish and expand the airport’s aviation center and administrative offices is anticipated to begin after Labor Day.

The board approved 180-day extensions to the Kaolin Real Estate Holdings Corporation and to Purolite, LLC for their land development plans on Starr Road.

Township Manager Christopher Himes said the Public Works Department has nearly completed the paving project on Starr Road, with striping and landscaping still to come. Supervisors Kristie Brodowski and David Unger thanked the department for their work in clearing downed trees during the severe storms that swept through Chester County on Aug. 7.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected].