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The Salisbury Township Environmental Advisory Council is considering ways to revamp the township Street Tree Ordinance.

“The board of commissioners has asked the township to readdress the shade tree removal and they’ve asked the EAC to get involved,” Cynthia Sopka, Salisbury Township director of planning and zoning told the EAC at its Aug. 16 meeting.

“What’s happening now is an appeal process, which is costly and time-consuming. We have an attorney here and a stenographer here [for Shade Tree Commission meetings],” Sopka explained.

Township commissioners convene as the Shade Tree Commission at township meetings to hear testimony and vote on residents’ appeals of requirements by Sandy Nicolo, Salisbury Township code enforcement officer, to replace shade trees that were cut down.

Commissioners convened July 13, March 23 and Feb. 23 to hear appeals of Nicolo’s rulings and frequently granted the residents’ appeals.

Commissioner Joanne Ackerman, who represents commissioners on the EAC and was part of recent Shade Tree Commission decisions, said, “One of the issues is that the people are coming in here, citing roots growth and gas lines in their appeals of rulings to plant a tree.

“How do you replace a tree where there’s an extensive root system? Would you plant one that got cut back by PPL so much that it died?” Ackerman asked.

“We cannot do what we did 50 years ago. We need the trees, but can we push them back a bit into the yards?” Ackerman wondered.

“I feel, in some respects, it’s just not fair. Maybe we can come up with a plan that’s more resident-friendly,” Ackerman said.

Stated the Aug, 10 meeting agenda, under new business, “The EAC will be working on addressing the issue of our Shade Tree Ordinance with the hope of streamlining the process, incorporating native trees and evaluating street trees in conjunction with those that are located in the electric right-of-way.”

In other business at the EAC meeting, with eight of nine members attending:

•It was announced the annual Walking Purchase Park cleanup is April 29, 2018.

•It was stated volunteers are needed to help with municipal building detention basin plantings.

•Township recycling centers’ hours were discussed, with some questioning why there aren’t later hours.

•The quality of township compost was discussed. A woman in the audience said the City of Bethlehem compost is much better than township compost.

•Copies of Heidelberg Township’s solid-waste disposal ordinance were distributed, which addresses dumping and dumping fines.