Franklin Commission Debates Sewage Systems and Environmental Plans

The latest meeting of the Franklin (Gloucester County) Environmental Commission tackled environmental issues, particularly the need for better sewage systems in Malaga and the importance of updating the environmental resource inventory. The meeting also addressed budget concerns, potential changes in leadership, and the impact of development policies on the area’s rural character.

A central point of discussion was the conversion of seasonal cottages into year-round residences, revealing a problematic reliance on old cesspool systems. The commission discussed the need for sewer installations in specific areas to mitigate existing issues and support local businesses in Malaga, which are currently hindered by the lack of local sewer infrastructure. The conversation underscored the necessity of advanced sewage treatment systems that pre-treat water before it enters the ground.

The commission also highlighted the need for an updated environmental resource inventory, noting that the existing open space plan had not been properly implemented. This lack of implementation raised concerns about the storage and management of the commission’s records. The potential disposal of file cabinets prompted a member to stress the importance of acquiring a new used fireproof filing system to safeguard documents.

Financial discussions touched upon the confusion surrounding the allocation and expenditure of funds designated for park development. Members debated the need for matching funds and the utilization of the open space and farmland preservation fund. A related issue was the bureaucracy involved in procuring materials and supplies for commission activities, with frustrations voiced over the complex procedures that delay progress.

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The commission also considered an application for a variance to build a new garage, weighing the potential impacts on neighboring properties and the environment. This discussion naturally extended to broader concerns about the area’s historical character, the challenges presented by narrow streets, and parking limitations.

Further, the commission discussed the necessity for better notification of meetings, an improved master plan process, and the retention of the area’s rural character amidst development pressures. Clarity and specificity in the master plan were requested, particularly regarding zoning conditions and conditional uses.

The subject of leadership arose, acknowledging the possible need for a new chairperson should the current chair not return. Additionally, the commission examined the lack of an emergency management report, an oversight that could have implications for community safety and preparedness.

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Environmental maintenance issues were not overlooked, as the commission addressed the need for cleanup efforts at Malaga Park, including repairs to broken posts and the installation of signage at trail entrances.

Finally, the meeting concluded with a discussion on the commission’s meeting schedule, emphasizing the need for better advance notice to accommodate members’ conflicting schedules.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Jake Bruno
Environmental Commission Officials:
Jason Brandt, Giovanni Cavone, Evan Duerr, Margaret Duerr, Mark Fiorella (Township Committee Liaison #1), Jonathan Keen (Township Committee Liaison #2), Frank Kohute, Jeffrey Link, Suzanne McCarthy, William Petravich, Jon Stippick

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