ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Salisbury Township officials presented and reviewed proposed updates and modifications to the municipality's zoning, tree, and grading ordinances at the Board of Commissioners workshop meeting Thursday night.
In summary, the changes clarify, simplify and update regulations regarding such things as tree removal and replanting, how a "flag lot" property is measured, and the penalties involved for violations of the revised ordinances.
Assistant Township Manager Sandy Nicolo and township Planning and Zoning Officer Kerry Rabold said their goal was to provide easier and more streamlined procedures, offering the least burdensome options for residents.
Rabold explained one of the proposed changes allows a resident the opportunity to have the township plant a no-cost replacement shade tree of the homeowner's choice after the resident has removed a dead or diseased shade tree on or near their property. However, the property owner would be responsible for the ongoing care and maintenance of the tree.
The current shade tree ordinance specifies the replanting must be done on the same spot as the original planting but the proposed changes ease that restriction depending on a property owner's needs.
In addition, officials would like to increase the fine for removing a shade tree and failing to replace it from $100 to $500 per infraction. Homeowners, though, would have the option to circumvent the replanting requirement by filing a waiver application with the township, particularly with regard to cases involving impractical replantings.
The removal of non-shade property trees still requires township permitting and is capped per year.
Proposed grading permit changes involve more precise definitions of related terms and the distinction among projects such as a simple residential home addition versus a commercial endeavor which requires a full land development plan.
The commissioners offered their verbal approval for the modifications, some of which require review by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission or public hearings followed by formal approvals from the board.