ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF MEETING OF AUGUST 9, 2005
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Sciarratta moved to accept the minutes of August 9, 2005. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 3-0-2, with Mr. Heil and Mrs. Crescenzo abstaining.
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Tuesday, August 9, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: D.L. McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary and Nancy Crescenzo, member
Call to Order
Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:30.
Approval of Minutes
Ms. Sciarratta moved to accept the minutes of July 12, 2005. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Discussion of Ongoing Projects
Ms. Sciarratta reported that she has been in touch with Jane Specter of the JDNC, who has worked on projects dealing with Newtown Creek’s historical, cultural and recreational history. She suggested inviting Ms. Specter to the October meeting to give a presentation on her research.
Delaware Riverkeepers has notified Ms. Sciarratta that it has postponed its study of Newtown Creek until the autumn. She will notify members when the study is scheduled.
Dr. Kaner reported that the draft of the award application had been circulated by e-mail to the Council members, and all have agreed that they would like to remove reference to a site inspection. He suggested that the application substitute the site-inspection reference with Dr. McEachron’s draft wording, which says that the award is contingent upon on-site verification.
Dr. McEachron moved to approve the award application as submitted by Dr. Kaner with the substitution of item six, which refers to a site inspection with, “Any award is contingent upon an on-site verification of the information contained in the application”. Dr. Kaner seconded.
Discussion of motion: Ms. Sciarratta said that she would like to amend the form somewhat to make it clear that all businesses are eligible to apply for the award. The form now refers more to manufacturing issues. She said that she would like to add an item to the form for additional information to be provided that would be more appropriate to office settings. She suggested modifying the form to include a seventh part, which would allow applicants to include any activity that enhances the environmental quality of Newtown. She agreed to draft appropriate wording and forward it to Dr. Kaner to be included in the form.
Dr. McEachron amended his motion to include the addition of a seventh part to the application for additional information that enhances the environmental quality of Newtown, and to name the award “Eco-star”. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Dr. McEachron said that he would contact the Township to ask if the form could be included on the Township Web site, to be downloaded and submitted in writing. They agreed that the form should be made available by late September or early October, with a deadline of January 1, 2006. The first awards should be given in April of 2006, perhaps highlighting a connection with Earth Day and Arbor Day. They agreed that they would like the awards presented at a televised Board of Supervisors meeting during the “special actions” section of the agenda.
Mrs. Crescenzo suggested that after the award forms have been completed and awards presented, it might be a good idea to ask applicants to provide feedback on the process. This would allow the Council to better evaluate the success of the program and the form.
The Council discussed ways to publicize the award and to generate interest in applying for it. The Council agreed that there would not be one “winner”, but that any applicants that qualify would receive the award. The award would be for one year, and businesses could re-apply in subsequent years. They agreed that to help generate interest in the award, they should make brief presentations at the meetings of business organizations. Mrs. Crescenzo volunteered to speak to the Newtown Business Commons Association, and Ms. Sciarratta volunteered to speak to the JDNC and the Newtown Business and Professional Association, of which she is a member.
Dr. McEachron said that he would investigate whether this could be a joint effort with Newtown Borough. He said he would speak to Mr. Weaver or Mr. Jirele and also contact Newtown Borough’s environmental group. He also suggested that once the application form is complete and contact has been made with the various business groups, the EAC should ask to be added to the agenda of a Board of Supervisors meeting to give a report on what they’ve been doing. He suggested asking to be part of the “Reports” section of the agenda at the Board’s first October meeting.
Environmental Impact of Proposed Developments
Dr. McEachron said that the ordinance that formed this Council is broad and vague about whether the Council should be involved in reviewing plans of proposed development for environmental impact. He said that he is concerned about the environmental impact on the watershed.
Mrs. Crescenzo commented that Upper Makefield’s Environmental Advisory Council does review development plans and it makes recommendations to the Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors. She said that there had been some discussion during the formation of the Newtown EAC that they not “step on toes” of other boards and commissions that are already involved in plan review.
Dr. McEachron said that he did not think that the Planning Commission and Park and Recreation Board looked at plans with the same environmental concerns. He suggested that if the EAC could review plans they could make comments and ask questions that these other entities have not considered. He said that if the EAC remained objective they could make valuable contributions to the land development process. He said that he would speak to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors about this.
The members discussed becoming involved in the Arbor Day Foundation. Mrs. Crescenzo noted that the Foundation provides opportunities to purchase very inexpensive trees.
Dr. McEachron said that he thought that the Council Rock School District is already participating in this along with some of the Township Park and Recreation Board members. He said that he would contact Susan Sutton of the Park and Recreation Board to see if the EAC members could contribute to the Arbor Day program.
Ms. Sciarratta passed on the letter from Upper Makefield’s EAC to Dr. McEachron. He agreed to contact that EAC about attending one of their meetings and learning more about what they are doing.
Dr. McEachron suggested that the Council members consider meeting twice each month until some of their proposed projects are up and running. He said that they could check their availability and communicate through e-mail on this.
Mrs. Crescenzo noted that she had seen something in the newspaper about Newtown Township’s successful recycling efforts. She said that she would try to find out more about this so it could be commented on during the EAC’s first report to the Board of Supervisors.
Mrs. Crescenzo moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0./p>
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary