Maintaining private lands is already difficult. Township ordinances should assist the homeowner rather than interfere. Maintaining these private lands preserves the “rural character” of Highland. It is critical that you attend the public hearing on this proposed change and voice your objection. The public hearing is on Wednesday December 17 at the Highland Activity Center (Township Hall) at 6:30 PM. I am told that this proposed change is not coming as a request from the Fire Department. Perhaps this will be explained at the hearing.
For decades Highland Township has worked to permit development without losing its “rural character”. Although the Township has a large amount of State Park land, the “rural character” is preserved primarily by large acreage homeowners. But land does not remain “natural” if left alone; it needs active management. In the 1990s the rural homeowner’s task began to seriously ramp up as invasive plant species came into the area either intentionally or by accident from Europe and Asia. These aggressive, invasive plants require serious work on the part of the homeowner to be controlled. Cutting and burning these plants is the most powerful way of controlling them. In addition, insects and pathogens have completely eradicated American elm and ash trees among others, resulting in dead trees toppling over in wind storms throughout the area. Burning is the only reasonably efficient way of dealing with all of this dead brush. If not burned, seeds will germinate thus making the land management task harder. Please let all large parcel landowners know of this proposal and urge attendance at the hearing.