Condo Complex May Modify Lawn Chemical Use
Fewer chemicals and treatments may be part of future lawn management, following complaints by some residents.
The homeowner's board at Society Hill Bernards I, where a group of residents have been questioning the use of certain lawn chemicals at their condominium complex, is moving in the direction of modifying its lawn treatment program to scale back on the use of treatments, one of the board members said.
The Society Hill Bernards I homeowner's board last week had heard some modified proposals for lawn treatments at the 440 or so housing units at the complex off Valley Road, according to Tom Stiff, treasurer for the board.
Stiff said this Thursday that he expects the board will pass a resolution that the association will return to a treatment program of "integrated pest management" — meaning that the program would treat problem areas rather than blanketing the entire property with pesticides and treatments.
But the board has "yet to work on details," Stiff added.
Stiff also cautioned that he was speaking as an individual, not officially on behalf of the board. The board's president, Bruce Stoneley, did not return or pick up a number of phone calls in the past week.
But Stiff did say this week that the association has no plans at this time for further lawn treatments, and likely will use at least a more organic-type fertilizer for its next lawn application.
Another option laid out last week by the landscaping company which currently does lawn treatments as required at Society Hill I is putting any pesticide application on lawns in winter or very early spring, when children are less likely to be outdoors playing on grass, according to Stiff and Beverly Petrallia, a vocal opponent of the most recent lawn treatments.
A group of about 20 multi-family housing residents, including a group that lives at Society Hill Bernards I as well as other residents from other complexes in the township, had brought their concerns before the Township Committee last Tuesday. As planned, Petrallia said some Society Hill I residents then attended the private meeting of the homeowners association board on Wednesday, June 27, when the landscaping company outlined some alternative options for lawn treatments.
Petrallia, who lives at 96 Woodward Lane, said on Thursday that she had not yet heard from an answer from the homeowners' board on whether the lawn treatments will be changed.
But she did say on Thursday that she had heard from other residents at multi-family housing complexes about the topic of lawn treatments — "more than I have expected."
"Homeowners are asking why and how come," according to Petrallia.
Michelle Franck of Spring Ridge, which also has attached housing arrangements, including many condominums, at the June 26 Township Committee meeting praised township officials for Bernards' own program during the past few years to stop using synthetic lawn and pesticide products on township-owned property and at local schools.
Franck asked that the township somehow "contact our homeowners' association to communicate your successful program and how our community can follow suit." Franck's comments were echoed by other residents at the Township Committee meeting.
Township officials did not respond that night.
Since then, however, Stiff said he has contacted the township Department of Public Works, and asked about the township's own system. He said he also has spoken to a representative at Society Hill Bernards II, which supposedly has already has in effect some of the approaches being considered for Society Hill I.
Stiff added that some of the board members for the Society Hill I association joined the board without a great deal of knowledge about lawn treatments.
He said that some information being passed along has not been quite accurate — for example, he said a somewhat less concentrated form of the product Trimec had been used.
At the meeting, Township Mayor Mary Pavlini asked whether the Society Hill residents had contacted their homeowners' association.
"We have done everything," Petrallia responded.
Petrallia who earlier in June had fended off her homeowner association's attempts to spray the lawn near her condo building with units 89 to 98. She said she had served on the association board a few years ago, when Society Hill I had a more organic lawn program.
Earlier in June, Stonely, a pharmacist, said warnings quoted by opponents on some of the lawn chemicals that may have been used earlier are directed to workers who mix a concentrate of the chemical with enought other liquids to spray a 44-acre area.
Stonely said then that the homeowners association can't offer "different people different solutions" when it comes to lawn care. He added that some residents, both on and off the board, have been objecting to the mix of weeds and rough grasses that have grown in the untreated lawn area around the 10-unit condominium complex where Petrallia lives.
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