ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF MEETING OF JULY 3, 2006
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Heil moved to accept the minutes of July 3, 2006. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed 3-0.
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, July 3, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman (late); Michael Kaner, Secretary; William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was Jay Sensibaugh, Planning Commission Member.
Call to Order
Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. Kaner moved to accept the minutes of May 22, 2006. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Discussion of Projects
(Ms. Sciarratta arrived)
Mr. McGuigan reported that he has not heard from the PNC bank in response to his questions about site-specific data.
Dr. McEachron said that he would contact Mr. Boyle about the LSAC lighting issues.
Ms. Sciarratta said that she had been contacted by Friends Village about possibly submitting an application.
Ms. Sciarratta reported that she had been contacted by two people who had attempted to attend the canceled meeting. Peter Bechschy said that he lives on Barclay Street and has riparian rights to the creek in the area near the proposed project. He was very interested and supportive. Ms. Sciarratta agreed to provide a copy of the grant application to him when it is completed, and if the application is successful to meet with him to review the project. She has contacted Bucks County Community College about arranging for volunteers for the project, but has not made any arrangements yet. She has received a letter of support from Newtown Borough.
Dr. McEachron provided a copy of the scope of work for the project. He said that next Monday, July 10, at 9:30 AM he and Ms. Sciarratta will meet with the Delaware Riverkeepers, Mr. Pellegrino, Mr. Boyle and the Township Engineer to review the grant application and scope of work.
Review of Open Space
Mr. McGuigan provided copies of a review/evaluation form that he and Ms. Sciarratta had prepared. The form has borrowed elements from the form used by Upper Makefield, and one used by the Heritage Conservancy, and uses a 100-point scoring method.
Dr. McEachron noted that some of the questions on the form are not detailed enough to provide information that might be needed for a careful evaluation. He gave as an example the scoring for wooded areas, without any differentiation for old growth vs. new forest.
The Council discussed whether the form should include an evaluation at all, or whether the charge to the EAC is just to provide an inventory of open space. Mr. Heil said that it would be helpful to include the evaluation for use in seeking grants for the purchase and preservation of land for open space. He also noted that some of the questions could be answered using maps and published information, while other questions could only be addressed by on-site visit. He suggested altering the form to separate the on-site observations.
The members agreed that the form should be made into a simpler format to be used in the field. Mr. McGuigan volunteered to re-format the questions to a spreadsheet/checklist style.
Dr. McEachron suggested that photographs might also be useful as an attachment to the form. He also offered to research forms used by school children participating in a GLOBE program for environmental evaluation.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that our current Ordinance is being reviewed by the jointure for a possible amendment that would remove active recreational space from the open space calculations.
Dr. McEachron suggested testing the form, by using it to conduct a sample review. The members agreed that each of them should separately evaluate the same parcels and compare the results at the next meeting. They decided to each visit the Melsky tract, the Sterling farm and the Hovnanian property next to Newtown Crossing. Using the form, each would first describe then evaluate each site.
Review of JMZO Amendments on Floodplains and Riparian Buffers
The members briefly reviewed the final draft of the recommendations that have been discussed at previous meetings and have been circulated among them via e-mail.
Mr. McGuigan moved to forward the review and recommendations of JMZO 2004-03, floodplains, and 2004-06, riparian buffers, to the Township Solicitor. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Sensibaugh agreed to send members the draft of the proposed open space amendment to the ordinance, which the jointure’s Planning Commissions have been reviewing. He said that the Planning Commission has been reviewing the zoning application for the Elliott group for development of the old Acme site, where there are some concerns about water-run-off controls. They have also seen a sketch plan from McGrath Builders for the Goodnoe property on Sycamore Street.
Ms. Sciarratta said that she had been asked by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council about a legal case in Newtown involving a reservoir. She did not respond because she was unaware of any such cases.
Mr. Sensibaugh suggested that the inquiry might refer to the Township appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board decision on the Brandywine tract. This case involves a bridge over Core Creek, which empties into Lake Luxembourg in Middletown. He said that there has been a settlement in that case, and there is now a proposal to develop the property as age-qualified housing, without construction of a bridge.
Dr. Kaner moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM. Dr. McEachron seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary