Truesdale Lake  

South Salem, New York

Letter About Proposed Changes to Town Wetlands Law

Passing on this note from Janet Andersen who is a resident in the Twin Lakes neighborhood, a member of the Three Lakes Council, and Chair of the Lewisboro Conservation Advisory Council (CAC).

Friends and neighbors,

The Town Board proposed a new wetland code that is so flawed and so alarming that I cannot believe they will vote on it as it stands. However, since the changes in this law would lead to increased pollution in our lakes, and possibly to degraded drinking water supplies, it’s not too early to let the Town Board know of your concerns.

You can write to supervisor@lewisborogov.com  or confsecy@lewisborogov.com, and ask that the message be distributed to the town board.  Tell them that the water quality of the lake is important to you, and that you don’t want the board to weaken the protection of those waters and allow more algae and weeds to grow. You could also tell them that you care about safe drinking water, and you don’t want the protection of that vital resource to be diminished.

I’ll provide a details of a few examples where I feel the new law could endanger our lakes. Our current law prohibits animal pens and manure storage within 150 feet of the edge of our lake. The proposed law would allow animal pens, chicken coops, and manure storage to abut our lakes with no buffer distance at all. I can’t justify allowing new sources of phosphorus next to our lakes, streams, and wetlands. The proposed code would also allow new chemical and petroleum bulk storage facilities to be placed next to lakes with no buffer, an equally perplexing provision.

The proposed law has other changes. Activities within 150 feet of our lakes and wetlands fall into different review categories. Some activities are allowed without any permit, such as repairing a dock. Other activities require an administrative permit, where an applicant meets with the wetland administrator to review the plans and get a permit. The next level is a Planning Board permit, and in these cases, the activity is put on an agenda and plans are available to the community. Some Planning Board reviews will require certified notification to neighbors and public hearings. The code proposed by the Town Board allows many more activities without any permit, and makes the majority of regulated activities into administrative permits.

I’m personally concerned about having no visibility to many activities if the new code is adopted. Today, we can easily look at the on-line planning board agenda and the proposed plans. In some cases, we have met with the applicant or developer to get a better idea of the proposal and to understand lake impacts. If these activities were administrative, no one in the community would see these items.

One example that would be administrative is vegetation control in wetlands. Many of you will remember BEEP, our Brazilian Elodea Eradication Program, which called for harvesting two acres of weeds from Lake Waccabuc. While it would have been easier for me to go forward without a Planning Board review and public hearing, I feel the public (you!) benefited by the open communication of the plans and the ability to ask questions. As another example, it’s common for lakes Truesdale and Katonah to apply annual weed herbicides and bi-weekly algaecides to their lake waters. If someone proposed these chemicals for our lakes, I feel that the community should be notified and have the opportunity for comment, instead of the action being approved administratively without public notice.

The Town Board agenda shows that they will discuss this proposed code at their Monday meeting (UPDATE: this meeting was postponed to Feb 13th due to ice storm), so if you care and can take the time to send a note before that, please do so.  But I am sure that discussion will continue, so whenever you have a chance to comment, please make your views known.

If you want to know more, please see our website for more details. https://www.threelakescouncil.org/about-us/advocacy/town-wetland-code/  And as always, questions and comments are welcome.   Thank you!

Jan
— Janet Andersen, fablesx2@optonline.net

One Comment

  1. Contact the Westchester County Executive and our Sentaor Terrance Murphy. Make them aware of the situation and forward them the details and a copy of this letter. They are big supporters of pro environment and conserving our natural resources. Especially that this new proposed law can contaminate our drinking water. Please forward this information to them.