ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 26, 2005
DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS UNTIL APPROVED.
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, September 26, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: D.L. McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary; William Heil and Nancy Crescenzo, members. Also in attendance were Tom Jirele, Supervisor, Jay Sensibaugh, Planning Commission Liaison and John Boyle, Assistant to the Township Manager.
Call to Order
Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:30.
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.
Ms. Sciarratta reported that Richard Albert of Delaware Riverkeepers Network had confirmed that the Newtown Creek would be evaluated on October 12, 2005. Council members interested in participating should confirm meeting place and time with Ms. Sciarratta. She said that the evaluation would involve some field-testing of water and documentation of wildlife along the creek.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that Mr. Lombardi, a resident whose property is along the creek, wishes to participate in the study. Mr. Sensibaugh agreed to notify Mr. Lombardi of the meeting place and time.
Ms. Melanie Dickenbach, a member of the public in attendance, said that she is an environmental engineering student and employee of Lockheed Martin. She expressed interest in attending.
Ms. Sciarratta said that Jane Specter of JDNC would also be in attendance.
Dr. McEachron reported that he has contacted the Newtown Borough EAC about co-sponsoring the Ecostar program. The Borough Council would need to vote to approve co-sponsorship, but the EAC has expressed interest in supporting the project, and opening it to Borough businesses.
Dr. Kaner presented a draft application and a cover sheet, which explains that the award would be given to qualifying businesses that act in environmentally friendly way. The award would be given annually, and businesses could receive the award in multiple years. He said that he borrowed from programs in other states to draft the form. There are not any minimum criteria, in order to give the EAC some flexibility in judging applicants.
Dr. McEachron agreed to include the award application in his report to the Board of Supervisors. Once it has been approved by both the Township Board of Supervisors and the Borough Council, Ms. Sciarratta and Mrs. Crescenzo will prepare brief presentations for meetings of business groups in the community, including Newtown Business and Professional Association, Newtown Business Council, JDNC, and Newtown Business Commons Association. Ms. Sciarratta agreed to prepare a press release to be submitted to the local papers once approval has been given.
The Council briefly discussed allowing developers to apply, but agreed that for this first year, they would limit applications to businesses located in Newtown.
Environmental Impact of New Developments
Dr. McEachron reported that he had attempted to request the Hovnanian plans for development at Buck Road and the By-Pass, but had been told by the Township Manager that the Board of Supervisors had not included the review of plans among the duties of the EAC. He said that the Planning Commission, Park and Recreation Board and Board of Supervisors already review all plans, and the Township does not want to add another step in the review process. Dr. McEachron said that the EAC wanted only to look at the plans and possibly comment on environmental issues.
Mr. Jirele said that the Supervisors had expected to ask the EAC for input on certain environmentally sensitive projects, but not all developments. There has been some concern about the time involved in the review process and there was strong feeling that the Planning Commission and Township Engineer already review for such environmental concerns as wetlands, floodplains and stormwater management. The Ordinance that enacts this EAC does not give it any review power.
The Council briefly discussed the involvement of the EACís in the other municipalities in the jointure. It was noted that Upper Makefieldís EAC works closely with the Planning Commission.
Mr. Jirele suggested that the EAC begin to identify environmentally sensitive areas throughout the Township, beginning with the Township owned properties. He said that the Township owns a number of open space parcels that are not currently developed as parks; these are listed on the Park and Recreation department Web site. The Council agreed to review this list and visit sites to compile a list of environmentally sensitive areas. Mr. Jirele noted that there are also a number of privately owned areas with conservation easements that the EAC might want to inventory.
Liaisons to Other Boards and Committees
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she had not been able to attend the Park and Recreation Board meeting in September, but would attend the October meeting.
Dr. McEachron and Mr. Heil agreed to each attend one of the Planning Commissionís monthly meetings.
Dr. McEachron reported that he had been in touch with Susan Sutton about participating in next yearís Arbor Day celebration. Mrs. Sutton was very appreciative of the EACís interest in helping with the activities. She agreed to contact Dr. McEachron in the spring when planning for the events begins.
Ms. Dickenbach said that she was very impressed with all that the EAC has attempted in the short time that it has been in existence. She commended all on the hard work that has already been done on the Newtown Creek study and the Ecostar Award.
Dr. Kaner moved to adjourn at 9:00PM. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.