Towns Allow For Herbicide Permitting Process

Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Executive Director John Jablonski, left, makes a presentation to Busti Town Board members Rudy Mueller, center, Jim Andrews and other board members regarding a potential stormwater and erosion control ordinance for the town, similar to ones established in the towns of Chautauqua and North Harmony and villages of Mayville, Celoron and Bemus Point. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

BUSTI — Representatives of the Chautauqua Lake Partnership finished their end-of-the-year visits to local municipalities in order to engage the permit process for potentially treating Chautauqua Lake waters with herbicides with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s approval earlier than usual.

For June’s most recent herbicide treatments, the CLP went through the permit process in spring. For 2019, they aim to treat waters in April or early May and want to make sure the at most 90-day permitting process can be completed for each municipality before then.

Resolutions passed unanimously Monday night in the towns of Busti and Ellicott do not commit the municipalities to any expenditures or final decision to apply herbicides for 2019. The door is left open for those votes next year. Lakewood passed a similar resolution last week and all other municipalities the CLP wanted to visit approved the preliminary resolution.

“Everyone we’ve gone to has approved it so far,” said Jim Cirbus, CLP President.

Cirbus and others emphasized the positive economic impact the lake has on the surrounding communities and now detrimental recent poor conditions have been. The towns of Ellery, North Harmony, Ellicott and Busti and villages of Lakewood and Celoron have all given the CLP the go-ahead to get permits.

In other lake-related news, John Jablonski, executive director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, gave a presentation on what could be a potentially helpful ordinance for the town of Busti if they were to adopt similar stormwater and erosion control measures similar to those enforced in the towns of Chautauqua and North Harmony and villages of Mayville, Celoron and Bemus Point.

He said the ordinances are a way for local municipalities to enforce regulatory procedures for both residential and commercial properties to reduce runoff and contain stormwater. Jablonski discussed how these measures help reduce the amount of phosphorus and sediment that flows into the lake and contributes to weed and blue-green algae growth. He added that developed lands can cause up to five times as much runoff as would normally occur.

“I would encourage the town to take every action they can to try to break this cycle,” Jablonski said.

Most of the county municipalities that already enforce this type of ordinance have mostly similar laws in place. Jablonski said levels of enforcement have varied. A stormwater ordinance could include requirements for developers to implement plans to control stormwater, erosion and sedimentation; guidelines for a project to include post-construction runoff management; provisions for inspection and enforcement of stormwater management; and construction site plan reviews.

Busti Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Swanson said these types of ordinances don’t work well and put a heavy burden on code enforcement on top of their already existing obligations. Town Supervisor Jesse Robbins expressed a similar concern and said he would like to take a closer look at the ordinances in municipalities throughout the county before deciding to pursue something similar.

The Busti Town Board also officially adopted the recent solar facilities law presented, along with slight changes that were made and discussed earlier in the month.