The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, April 24, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary; William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance were Jay Sensibaugh, Planning Commission Member and John Boyle, Assistant to the Township Manager.

Call to Order

Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Heil moved to accept the minutes of March 27, 2006. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Discussion of Projects

Newtown Creek

Ms. Sciaratta reported that a new grant application is being prepared, to be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department for a Delaware River Estuary Grant. The deadline is July 1, 2006. The Township Engineer had studied the stormwater basin and found that the soil is not permeable enough for infiltration. The grant will only be for repair of the riparian buffer. Riverkeepers will help outline any volunteer contributions that can be made.

Dr. McEachron agreed to make a preliminary contact with the Council Rock School District to discuss the possibility of using student volunteers for this project. He will contact the district a second time when detailed information on the project, and the volunteer contribution, is available.

Ecostar Award

Mr. Boyle reported that he did not have an update on the lighting complaints at LSAC, but would e-mail the members this week.

The members discussed whether to award LSAC with the complaint unresolved, or to postpone the award. Dr. Kaner pointed out that the lighting has been a disputed point between the residents and LSAC for many years, and might not be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction soon.

Mr. Heil noted that the application does not ask about lighting, and that LSAC has shown exemplary work in conservation and recycling, which the application does require.

Mr. Boyle suggested that there are two issues, the style of lighting and the hours that the lights are lit. He thought that there could be a resolution of the issue of the light fixtures very soon.

Mr. McGuigan said that if there were an indication that the light fixture complaint were being resolved, so that the fixtures comply with the approved final plan, then he would be in agreement to recommend that LSAC be given the Ecostar award.

Mr. Heil moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors award the Ecostar to the Law School Admissions Council pending resolution of the lighting complaint in such a way that LSAC’s light fixtures are in compliance with its approved final plan. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

PNC Bank’s application was reviewed. Dr. Kaner noted that PNC had not submitted a completed Ecostar application, but rather had provided information about the entire PNC Bank’s corporate environmental efforts.

Mr. Heil noted that no numbers have been provided that would help in evaluation, noting as an example that the literature says “we recycle paper”.

Mr. McGuigan agreed to ask PNC Bank to provide some site-specific information for the new Newtown branch only.

The members briefly discussed the procedure for presentation of the award. They agreed to ask the Board of Supervisors to present a plaque at a televised meeting. Ms. Sciarratta said that she would prepare press releases for the local newspapers.

Open Space

Mr. Heil provided a spreadsheet listing the properties that appear on the maps he had prepared. One sheet lists parcels ten acres or more, the other has parcels five to ten acres.

The members discussed asking the Bucks County Planning Commission for maps that would show wetlands, waterways, woods, and other environmentally sensitive areas. Mr. Heil said that soil maps could also be helpful in identifying environmentally sensitive areas. He also suggested aerial overlays for identifying wooded and wetland areas.

The members briefly discussed cataloging the open space for possible purchase and preservation, and discussed granting opportunities that might be available for the preservation of open space.

Ms. Sciarratta suggested prioritizing which parcels should be evaluated first. An evaluation form would be needed to help gather information. Once parcels are described they could be ranked for recommendations. She and Mr. McGuigan agreed to draft an evaluation form.

Review of JMZO Amendments on Riparian Buffers and Floodplains

The members discussed the provision of the current floodplain ordinance that permits a rise of one foot in the 100-year storm. Ms. Sciarratta explained the meaning of the 100-year storm.

Ms. Sciarratta said that the Ordinance addresses each instance of use or activity in the floodplain, but does not consider the cumulative effect, as development occurs up and downstream.

The members were in agreement that a rise of one foot seemed like too much. Ms. Sciarratta offered to revise the written comments she had provided at the last meeting. She would share this by e-mail with the other members before a recommendation would be made to the Board of Supervisors.


A letter from the Citizens Advisory Council requesting information for a Pennsylvania Conservation Directory has been received. Dr. McEachron agreed to respond to the inquiry.

Public Comment

Mr. Sensibaugh said that the Bucks County Planning Commission is updating the comprehensive plan. He showed maps they have prepared that outline areas served by public water and sewer. He also attended an environmental conference in Harrisburg and learned about funding programs for brownfields.

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully Submitted


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary