NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Minutes for the meeting held on January 29, 2007

 

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, January 29, 2007, 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.

Call To Order

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

Reorganization

Dr. Kaner nominated Dr. McEachron to serve as chairman. Ms. Sciarratta seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Dr. McEachron nominated Ms. Sciarratta to serve as vice-chairman. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Heil nominated Dr. Kaner to serve as secretary. Dr. McEachron seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of November 27, 2006. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment

Henry DeSilva and Candido Rodriguez were in attendance to discuss a town meeting scheduled for February 22, 2007 at the George School about Clean Renewable Energy Incentives, sponsored by State Representative David Steil. Mr. DeSilva explained that Representative Steil would be speaking about ways that Pennsylvania can improve incentives for installation of renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic, solar heating, geothermal or small wind energy. He discussed programs available to residents of other states, noting that Pennsylvania has not yet adopted some of these incentive programs. The meeting will only address home energy alternatives, not transportation alternatives.

Members assured Mr. DeSilva that as a first step they would educate themselves on the issues. Mr. DeSilva had provided some written materials for the members. They agreed to send a representative to the meeting to bring back information, to begin first educating themselves, then educating the residents of Newtown.

Mr. DeSilva briefly discussed efforts being made by other municipalities. He noted that 350 municipalities have subscribed to the Kyoto Protocols. Here in Pennsylvania, Media Borough has committed to have all of its municipal buildings produce their own electricity by 2010. He discussed green buildings, monitoring of traffic pollution and non-polluting sources of energy.

Open Space Evaluation

Dr. McEachron reported that he has been in touch with Susan Conklin of Worcester Township, the wife of a colleague. Ms. Conklin has prepared an inventory of open space for her Township, first preparing an evaluation method. She worked with the Natural Land Trust to obtain much of the necessary mapping and documentation that was needed. Ms. Conklin has offered to help guide this EAC, sharing her research methods.

Dr. McEachron suggested that he investigate field kits to be purchased for use in the evaluation procedure. He would try to learn more about what is available that best suits the EAC’s needs for the next meeting.

Ecostar Award

Dr. McEachron reported that he has contacted the Board of Supervisors about presenting this award, but had not yet had a response to his inquiry.

Newtown Creek

Dr. McEachron reported that the grant sought for the restoration project near Carl Sedia Park had been turned down by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Newtown Creek Coalition

Dr. McEachron reported that he attended the meeting for the recently formed Newtown Creek Coalition. In attendance were representatives of Newtown Borough’s EAC, Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation, both Borough and Township Planning Commissions, and the Township Park and Recreation Board as well as owners of properties along the Creek. The goal is to eventually restore the Newtown Commons as the center of activity and a focal point within the community. The first step will be to divide the creek into zones for a survey and evaluation. There had also been some discussion of seeking grants for some restoration of the creek.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan reported that he had followed up on last month’s discussion of wildlife management and deer population control. With help from Jean Tanner of the Newtown Township Police Department he was able to prepare a chart showing the number of automobile accidents in the Township involving deer. He plotted those accidents by month and by time of day. In 2006 there were 83 accidents reported to the police, most occurring October through December. He took the information provided and located each of the accidents on a Township map. Most accidents were clustered around a few locations.

Council Members agreed that Mr. McGuigan should enlarge the map to be presented during the next EAC report to the Board of Supervisors. As part of an ongoing education effort, the EAC could show the viewers of the Board meeting the most frequent sites of accidents involving deer. They discussed including an article about this research in the Newtown Newsletter.

Dr. McEachron and Mr. McGuigan agreed to report to the Supervisors during the February 21 meeting. Mr. McGuigan would enlarge his map and chart for the television audience.

Mr. McGuigan and Dr. Kaner agreed to investigate the incidence of Lyme Disease in the Township. Once that data, along with the car accident data, has been collected and evaluated, the Council would investigate performing a “tick drag”. Once all data is assembled the next step would be to investigate a public program of Wildlife Management. Upper Makefield and Lower Makefield have already begun this process.

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

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary