Ordinance takes Lititz by storm

By on April 30, 2014

Also, Hahn promoted to police sergeant

Lititz Borough is the latest municipality to finalize a new storm water management ordinance in keeping with statewide MS4 regulations.

Borough Council approved the new ordinance Tuesday evening following the required public hearing on the matter. That hearing was opened and closed within 60 seconds since no one from the public appeared to present any testimony on the matter.

MS4 refers to a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). These are publicly-owned systems such as ditches, curbs, catch basins, underground pipes, etc. designed for collecting storm water and treating it prior to discharging it to the state’s surface waters. It has become a hot issue over the past decade as efforts to reverse the damage to the Chesapeake Bay have taken center stage. The regulation’s intent is to reduce the polluting effects of farm and roadway runoff as Pennsylvania waterways empty into the bay. It is also aimed at improving water quality throughout the participating states.

Council member Doug Bomberger was the only member to vote “no” Tuesday, citing his support for the Lititz Planning Commission which recommended a larger allowable area of impervious surface. Council’s approval sets the threshold at 500 square feet.

MS4 regulations are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each municipality has been given certain guidelines and suggestions for how to revise local ordinances already on the books.

Such regulations originated at the federal level and were passed down to the states to implement. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provided a model ordinance as a starting point from which local governments could then modify any existing ordinances to assure they were in compliance.

All municipalities are required to have their new ordinances enacted by May 7.

Council president Karen Weibel offered perhaps the best summary explanation of what these new regulations mean.

“Anytime you plan to cover any part of your property with anything, call the borough to make sure you are in compliance with the storm water ordinances,” she said.

The new regulations set limits on how much of a property can be covered with impervious materials or structures. Weibel pointed out that even those who have served for years on local and county planning commissions struggled with the complexity and detail involved. And not unlike other local municipalities, the new Lititz ordinance is roughly a quarter of a ream of paper thick.

In other news, it was a proud moment for the Lititz Police Department with the promotion of officer Jared Hahn to the rank of sergeant. Hahn is a 2002 graduate of Warwick High School. He has been with the local police department since 2003. In addition, he is also the current president of the Lititz Fire Company.

Lititz Mayor Tim Snyder and Police Chief William Seace were on hand for promotion ceremonies during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“Sergeant Hahn received the highest score amongst all the applicants for the new sergeant position,” said Snyder. “I first knew Jared when he was about 14 years old. He has been volunteering and a big part of the community, helping with the fire company, the EMS and now on the police department.”

In other borough news, council gave borough manager Sue Ann Barry the green light to begin the grant application process in relation to the Lititz Rail Trail project. Working with Matthew Sternberg of the Lancaster Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the borough is hoping to receive two different grants.

Both Barry and Weibel pointed out that completion of the project is still as many as five years off, if not more. Where such efforts in Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township, Akron Borough and Warwick Township involved rail beds long since abandoned, those rail lines affected within Lititz Borough are still considered active. Weibel explained that it was still way too early in the process to even venture a guess as to the final budget for the project, but added that this was a small step in the right direction.

At another point in the meeting, Weibel, who is also council’s liaison with Venture Lititz, told council that the “Music For Everyone” program which has been enormously successful in Lancaster City would be expanded into Lititz in the coming months. She said the same group which had placed upwards of 20 pianos around center city Lancaster would be bringing six pianos to town.

Like those placed in Lancaster, the pianos will be artfully decorated. It is expected the pianos will be covered by a certain hour each day to avoid an nuisance use of them at inopportune hours and to help protect them against vandals.

Pianos may be in place by the end of May.

Gary P. Klinger is a freelance reporter for the Record Express. He covers the Lititz Borough and Warwick Township municipal beats, and he welcomes your feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/gpklinger.

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