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North Canaan targets roadside invasives

NORTH CANAAN — With roadsides free of accumulated snow this year, the selectmen discussed a proposal for off-season roadside mowing at their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.

Environmentalist Tom Zetterstrom proposed that the town crews use the dormant season to mow roadsides, targeting woody invasive plants including Japanese knotweed. Referencing a map of knotweed infestation displayed by selectman Christian Allyn, Zetterstrom said, “We don’t have much knotweed left.”

Combatting the spread of knotweed has been a multi-year effort for area towns.

By acting now to mow woody plant growth during the dormant season, Zetterstrom said that in the future it will be less challenging for crews to do the roadside mowing.

He also said ash trees continue to present a problem for the town.

“Every ash tree in town is a hazard tree,” Zetterstrom reported, due to ash borer insect damage. “They are all leaning toward the highways.” He said that state Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) is working to amend state regulations to remove ash trees from the protected list and permit their removal.

Allyn’s map also details mugwort management efforts, along with control work being done with a variety of invasive woody plants and shrubs.

“Area towns are moving ahead and North Canaan has led the way,” Zetterstrom said .

Wandering chickens

Responding to residents’ complaints, the selectmen have received a proposed ordinance from Tim Abbott, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), prepared by the P&Z to prohibit poultry from wandering beyond their home turf.

The ordinance would impose on property owners a warning for the first infraction, to be following by fines for further infractions. The selectmen indicated that they would discuss the ordinance at their next meeting, perhaps scheduling a public hearing to encourage public comment. A Town Meeting would eventually be needed to approve the ordinance.

The selectmen voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Lynn Fowler from her post as the town’s representative on the Housatonic River Commission. Jack Anstine was named to replace her on the river commission.

Business Networking

The selectmen announced that a business networking event, sponsored by the Economic Development Commission (EDC), is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17 at the Great Falls Brewery, beginning at 6 p.m. Selectman Allyn reported that the EDC has completed a promotional video that will soon be posted on the town website.

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