A Society Hill condo resident who earlier this month fended off her homeowner association's attempts to spray the lawn near the condo building which she, and she says additional residents, believe would be dangerous to health, said she and others will attend the Township Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
"We [will be] here on behalf of health and safety," Beverly Petrallia, of 96 Woodward Lane, said late Tuesday morning.
Petrallia said there is general agreement in the 10-unit condominium building that includes the units 89 to 98 that they don't want the grass near their homes to be treated with the same lawn chemicals that the Society Hill I Homeowners Association has commissioned to be placed on landscaping throughout the jointly owned condominium complex.
Petrallia said she and others will urge the Township Committee to approve an ordinance banning certain pesticides in the township. The Township Committee has in the past declined to interfere with decisions made by private homeowners associations and on other private properties, although the municipality and the local school district have both begun following a pesticide-free program on public and school properties in recent years.
Petrallia: proposal also due to be made before homeowners association this week
Petrallia also said the professional landscaper who is responsible for treating the lawns also will approach the private homeowners' association on another night this week to present an alternative to the treatment plan now arranged for Society Hill I.
Earlier this month, the condominium block including Petrallia's unit had placed red flags on grace around the building to oppose a scheduled treatment with a lawn mixture that includes Trimec 992, a broadbased herbicide that Petrallia said is carcinogenic and can cause respiratory problems.
Petrallia said there is reason to believe that repeated exposure to lawn chemicals could have been responsible for the cancer that killed her dog in previous years. She said that the association board had stopped using such treatments for a few years, but the current board has members who want to resume the use of those lawn chemicals.
Bruce Stonely, president of the homeowners association which he said strongly supports the same lawn care for all the commonly owned property surrounding buildings in that section of Society Hill 1, said earlier this month that there multiple members on the board who, even more than he, want consistent lawn care at Society Hill I.
"We are trying to maintain property values," Stonely said.
At that time, he said the homeowners association had in years past looked into more organic type of lawn chemicals and were advised that the product was less effective and more expensive.
Stonely said the homeowners board has four members who are especially adamant that the building which he said had been given an exemption from the same treatment as everyone else now receive the same lawn care.
The clover and other types of grasses and plants mixed in on the lawn of that building are inconsistent with the smooth green lawn areas surrounding other buildings, he said.
Stonely said the issue had been been kind of a bone of contention for the last eight to nine years," Stonely said.
Petrallia said she, along with others, had really begun objecting to lawn chemicals being used right near their homes after her dog, a Doberman Pinscher, died of cancer in 2008, and other residents had children who experienced reactions such as rashes whenever weed killers were applied nearby.
Some of residents have since moved to neighborhoods, even in Society Hill II, where such lawn chemicals aren't used, she said, adding that she believes some homeowner boards are more sensitive to concerns by their residents.
Petrallia said she believes the substance proposed to be sprayed on the lawn near her home is more appropriate for agricultural or industrial use.
While Petrallia points to literatures stressing the dangers of Trimec 2, Stonely, a pharmacist, said warnings are directed to workers who mix a concentrate of the chemical with enought other liquids to spray a 44-acre area.
He said earlier this month that the homeowners association can't offer "different people different solutions" when it comes to lawn care.
Joseph Speeney, president of the Bernards Environmental Commission, said he plans to attend the meeting, but will be there as a resident, not a representative of the environmental commission. However, the environmental commission has been encouraging township residents to explore and consider organic methods of lawn care, and has posted information on the topic on the township website.
Other Township Committee agenda items
Also on the agenda for Tuesday's Township Committee meeting are further consideration of a Retail Consumption Liquor License for Basking Ridge Restaurant, also known as Fair Winds Catering and the Bamboo Grill; a proposed amendment to the township's state affordable housing plan; and a discussion on a potential rebid for a new surface at the closed roller hockey rink at Harry Dunham Park.