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Township Hopes Brush, Leaf and Log Standards Keep Debris Off Streets

Matthew Hersh

A proposal that had been touted as as a means of complying with the new mandates dictated by the state's Clean Water Act turned into law Monday night when Township Committee passed an ordinance that will require residents to change the way excess leaves, branches, and logs are put out for collection.

Stemming from an August presentation by the Township Department of Public Works when it was suggested that there be sweeping changes to the municipal brush collection program, the new law requires a more stringent enforcement of keeping roads free of debris.

"We've received many complaints from motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and the like that we had too much debris in the road," said James Pascale, Township administrator.

Residents will begin to be informed by mail starting this week as to changes in the program, according to Donald Hansen, superintendent of public works. The brush/log collection will begin in April and run through October. Pick-up will be separated by Township quadrants. A calendar outlining pick-up schedules will appear shortly on the Township website at www.princetontwp.org.

In Mr. Hansen's August presentation, he worried that the volume and largely unregulated amount of brush left curbside has quickly become a burden for public works as crews played catch-up to keep storm inlets clear. Additionally, throughout the summer, when the Township does most of its road construction, Mr. Hansen said the combination of the "constant" brush that needs to be picked up has actually slowed the progress of several road-paving projects.

"Our streets never, ever, looked clean," Mr. Hansen said, "and it kept on getting worse, and our streets suffered."

Under the new program, branches are to be placed in bundles or piles no greater than three feet in length, width and height. Branches are to be cut to be no longer than three feet in length and no larger than four inches in diameter. Also, bundles or piles cannot be placed more than three feet from the curb and cannot be left out more than three days before scheduled pick-up, according to the program.

Log pickup will occur in the spring and fall and logs can be no larger than three feet in length and six inches in diameter, with a maximum of three bundles or piles of logs per property for each scheduled pickup. Those piles, like brush, cannot be placed more than three feet into the road or put out more than three days prior to pickup.

The Township will continue with its voluntary bagged leaf program, which will once again resume in October.

Contracted landscapers working in the Township will now have to pay a $10 registration fee that essentially acts as an acknowledgement of the Township's standards.

While Committee seemed encouraged by the new standards, Philip Drive resident Mary Blair had her doubts, calling the program "unenforceable."

"I hope we revisit this next year," she said.

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