Minutes for the meeting held on September 25, 2006


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, September 25, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; William Heil, Michael Kaner and Jay McGuigan, members.

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 July 24, 2006. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed 3-0 –2, with Dr. McEachron and Dr. Kaner abstaining.

Discussion of Projects

Newtown Creek

Dr. McEachron reported that he has heard from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to clarify a few points on the grant application. One expense was listed as $14,000, and the Foundation wanted that number broken down, with more detail provided. A decision on awards is not expected until November.

Ecostar Award

Mr. McGuigan said that he has been unable to get site-specific information from PNC Bank about the Newtown branch.

The recording secretary will speak to Township representatives to determine whether the LSAC lighting problem has been resolved.

The members agreed to try to promote the award again next year.

Review of Open Space

Mr. McGuigan presented a revised evaluation form to be used for an inventory of open space. The members reviewed each component of the form, making changes as needed. Mr. McGuigan said that he would include a note on any evaluation point that would be determined by existing maps.

Dr. McEachron suggested that a photograph accompany any completed form.

Ms. Sciarratta agreed to contact Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy and Russell Strover, Township Naturalist, for help in training the committee members to complete the forms. She said that she would also research which agencies might have maps for specific features, such as soils, wetlands, floodplains, topography and conservation easements. She will contact Michael Solomon, in the Township Codes and Zoning Office, for some guidance in locating appropriate maps. She noted that Upper Makefield’s EAC has already completed an inventory using a form similar to Mr. McGuigan’s draft. She would contact Upper Makefield for guidance in locating some of the existing documentation.

Dr. McEachron agreed to make initial contact with Council Rock School District about the possibility of using student volunteers to help with this, as well as other ecological projects.

Mr. McGuigan agreed to continue revision of the form, based on this meeting’s discussion, and forward revisions to the members for input.

The recording secretary noted that some of the information on existing open space might be available through the Park and Recreation Department.

JMZO Amendments

The recording secretary agreed to contact the Township Solicitor for an update on review of the revised ordinances.

Member Comments

Mr. McGuigan said that he is concerned about the impact of deer on the environment. The members discussed speaking to the Park and Recreation Director, who has also been researching the deer population.

Mr. Heil said that he has had some concerns about residents’ misconceptions about what can be flushed down storm drains. He said that some residents believe that anything dropped into the storm drains is carried to a facility for purification. He suggested that the EAC try to start a public education campaign.

Dr. McEachron said that this, along with some of the other projects discussed, would work well as part of an urban ecology project using student volunteers. He thought it would be worth discussing with the Superintendent of Council Rock Schools.

Public Comment

Pam Fitzpatrick and Leo Fitzpatrick were in attendance, and had contributed to some of the discussion during the meeting. They were very happy about the ideas the Council would like to pursue. As longtime residents of the area, they have increasing concerns about the loss of open space.

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:00. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary