Lambertville introduces amendment to protect wells

The zoning change would preserve the quality and quantity of the city’s water supply.

By: Linda Seida
   LAMBERTVILLE — The City Council has introduced an amendment to the zoning regulations in an effort to preserve the quality and quantity of Lambertville’s water, officials said.
   Part of the amendment is intended to protect residents’ wells from being contaminated or depleted due to encroaching development.
   Another part is an interim measure concerning requirements for dealing with stormwater. It is the first step in crafting the city’s final stormwater regulations, which the state requires to be complete by 2006.
   Mayor David Del Vecchio and members of the council appointed a committee June 1 to make recommendations on how best to implement the regulations. The committee will include Councilwoman Cynthia Ege; engineer John Miller, who is a member of the Planning Board; hydrogeologist Vincent Uhl, a member of the Environmental Commission; attorney Timothy Korzun, chairman of the Planning Board; and Paul Cronce, head of the city’s Road Department. The amendment could be passed as early as July.
   The committee will schedule a series of public meetings to inform residents of the coming changes, according to Mayor Del Vecchio.
   "Both issues really pertain to checklist items," Mrs. Ege said of the stormwater and well water focus of the amendment. "We’ve had such a problem with drainage in Lambertville for a long time. You worry about developments that come in. Whatever comes in you don’t want to affect quantity or quality of existing wells. Not only that, but for people buying these new homes, you want to protect them."
   Before officials can craft a final version of the stormwater regulations, the city must first develop a master plan for stormwater management by 2005 as all municipalities in New Jersey must. A year later, an ordinance based on the master plan must be in place.
   The proposed amendment would apply to all site plans and subdivision plans subject to review by the city. All projects would be required to adhere to the city’s regulations unless county or state standards are more restrictive.
   Plans submitted to the city for review would be required to indicate existing surface water drainage structures, marshlands, woodlands, wetlands, existing manmade structures, roads, utilities and the property’s boundary. Plans also would be required to indicate watershed boundaries.
   In addition, the plans would be required to include a stormwater management report, including the total area to be paved or built on, estimated land to be occupied by stormwater management facilities and an accounting of the type of vegetation growing there. Also, details of a plan to manage surface water would be required.
   The second ordinance proposed last week is designed to better protect residents’ wells from nearby development, according to officials.
   The ordinance has been crafted in response to a need that officials perceived in recent months, according to Mayor Del Vecchio. Residents often were concerned about the impact on their wells from nearby subdivisions.
   The ordinance would require developers to determine if sufficient water is available to supply their projects. It also would require them to assess the impact of new wells on existing residential, institutional and commercial wells. In addition, laboratory testing would be required to determine the potability of a new well’s water.