Minutes for the meeting held on July 24 , 2006


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, July 24, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was John Boyle, Assistant to the Township Manager.

Call To Order

Ms. Sciarratta called the meeting to order at 7:45 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Heil moved to accept the minutes of July 3, 2006. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Discussion of Projects

Newtown Creek

Ms. Sciarratta reported that the application for a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Delaware Estuary Watershed Grants Program has been submitted. Recipients are to be notified in mid-November. She provided copies of the grant to the members and agreed to provide a copy to Peter Bechscki, a resident whose property adjoins the creek.

Ecostar Award

Mr. McGuigan reported that he had attempted to obtain site-specific information from the Newtown Branch of PNC Bank, and had informed his contact there of the deadline of July 15, however he has been unsuccessful in getting the completed application. He will make one additional telephone call, since it is possible that his contact is out of the office on vacation.

Mr. Boyle reported that the Township, Newtown Gate Homeowners Association and LSAC will hold a meeting in August at which the lighting issue is expected to be resolved.

Ms. Sciarratta said that Friends Village is no longer interested in submitting an application for the award.

Review of Open Space

Mr. McGuigan provided a draft open space evaluation sheet to be used when visiting sites. The form, including point values, is based on the form used in Upper Makefield. It was created in conjunction with the Heritage Conservancy.

The members reviewed the questions and discussed possible modifications. Mr. Heil suggested including alluvial soils along with agricultural soils in evaluation. Other adjustment factors were discussed, and the members agreed to consider awarding or deducting points based on size of property, presence of environmental hazards, noise and wind buffering and presence of conservation easements. Old growth and contiguous woods will be considered as factors in awarding points for woodland associations and habitats.

Mr. McGuigan expressed some concern about testing the form by visiting privately owned properties without the knowledge or consent of the property owners. The members discussed first evaluating either common areas of developments in which they live or publicly owned lands.

Mr. Boyle suggested that the members first visit a site together to review the components of the evaluation form. He suggested inviting Mr. Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy to accompany them, as he was instrumental in developing the form used by Upper Makefield.

Ms. Sciarratta agreed to arrange a convenient time for members and Mr. Marshall to test the form in the common areas of Woods of Saxony, where she resides. Once they have tested the form together, Mr. McGuigan could forward any changes to the form to the members, after which they could individually test it at a publicly owned property and later compare results.

Mr. Heil noted that some information requested on the form could be provided by soil and topographical maps prior to a visit to a site. He said that the Bucks County Planning Commission is in the process of updating the comprehensive plan, after which updated aerial photographs with map overlays will be available.

Ms. Sciarratta suggested preparing a press release for publication in local papers and the Newtown Township Newsletter announcing the open space evaluation project. She said that she would write an article after the members have held the test evaluation.

JMZO Review of Riparian Buffers and Floodplains

The recording secretary reported that the EAC recommendations and comments have been forwarded to the Township Solicitor to be used in drafting an amendment to the ordinance.


Ms. Sciarratta received a copy of the EAC Handbook published by the EAC Network.

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 8:55PM. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed 3-0.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary