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Milford Township officials voice concern over spotted lanternfly

UPPER MILFORD TWP., Pa. - With a recent announcement from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture of a wider quarantine expansion into areas where the spotted lanterfly has been detected in parts of Lehigh, Bucks, Berks and Montgomery counties, local officials have been warning residents to be vigilant as they travel throughout the affected counties.

Milford township supervisors say they are concerned that the lanternfly could spread further by way of a local turnpike interchange. The invasive pest, which poses a threat to crops and several of the state's plant species, is commonly transported to other areas by latching onto construction materials, wood, yard waste, and outdoor household articles like grills, lawn mowers and garden tools.

"It's spooky that we have a turnpike interchange and it can spread very far and fast," Township Manager, Jeff Vey said. " The reason that they're such a great concern is that they have no predators, they're very indiscriminate and will eat just about anything," he said.

Vey and other township officials voiced concern during the Tuesday's meeting. They don't think people know about the problem and how to eradicate the pest if spotted.

"I do not think people know that they're out there, Vey said. "What we did was caught, chipped and removed the majority and left a designated few to act as traps."

He explained that once the eggs have been laid in those marked areas, volunteers could go back later and scrape them off before they could hatch.

Township Supervisor Thomas Courduff praised those who have made an effort to tackle the problem head on, but said other surrounding municipalities need to do more. "I wish other municipalities would've been more proactive like we have been in containing these critters," he said.

"This is the only area along route 663 where we really have found them [lanterfly] so far," Dave Winkler, public works director, said. "It seems like they're winning and moving to other townships."

In other news, the board of supervisors approved a preliminary plan of second phase of the proposed Life Queast Milford Village, a massive multi-use development along the John Fries Highway, between the Mill Hill and Portzer roads.

According to the township solicitor, Scott MacNair, sections one and four of the current phase include several proposed configurations to the multi-story apartment complex, retail shops, and healthcare facilities, including adjustments to the Mill Hill Road.

Before granting approval for conditional use, officials heard from several residents who voiced concerns during the meeting that the project would cause disruptions to their neighborhood with problems like speeding, improper water drainage and scattered construction equipment. Township officials and project supervisors assured that they would conduct the construction with local residents in mind and in conformance with the township's regulations and ordinances.

Project developers said they expect the next phase of work to start within 12-16 months.
 


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