Minutes for the meeting held on February 26, 2007


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 26,2007 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman, Michael Kaner, Secretary, William Heil, Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was Dennis Fisher of the Planning Commission, and John Boyle, Township Assistant Manager.

Call To Order

Ms. Sciarratta called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to approve the minutes of January 29, 2007. Ms. Sciarratta seconded the motion, which passed 4-0.

Open Space

Mr. McGuigan expressed his hope that the EAC could get the GIS from the township. Ms. Sciarratta stated her desire for overlay maps which could fit over each parcel for consistency. Mr. McGuigan stated that he spoke to Dr. McEachron and that other neighboring townships have done the same thing. Mr. Boyle requested a copy of the Natural Lands Trust proposal and cost estimate to create a map for Newtown Township. Mr. Heil noted that the proposal has three (3) maps but no indication if each parcel is listed. Ms. Sciarratta wondered if the person in charge of GIS at Newtown Township could get that information from the Bucks County Planning Commission.

Newtown Creek

Ms. Sciarratta stated that the Delaware River Keepers (DRK) contacted her and said that they would like to pursue Carl Sedia park work with a Growing Greener grant which starts this March. The DRK hired a grant writer and they need an okay from the EAC as to whether to rerequest the grant or change the scope. Mr. Heil noted that the board partnered with Newtown Borough and we must contact them as well as Newtown Creek Coalition.

Mr. McGuigan asked the scope of the project and wondered if it was just Carl Sedia Park or the stream bank adjacent to the park. His concern was that it may be seen by the residents and neighbors as an attempt to reclaim the property from private owners. Mr. Heil noted that it was both sides of the stream and that the only area affected involved a PECO right of way.

Mr. Boyle noted that a letter was sent to all affected homeowners and did not involve private property at all. He also noted that a copy of the letter sent to homeowners was included in the grant application. He noted the EAC needs Board of Supervisors (BOS) approval to submit any grants. Ms. Sciarratta noted that it was essentially a matter of updating the proposal and resubmitting it. Mr. Heil asked when the deadline was Ms. Sciarratta replied that the initial deadline was March 16, 2007 to talk to the DEP in re pre-application and probably also the DRK. Mr. Boyle jogged everyone’s memory with a recall of an early morning meeting this past year with the EAC, DRK and township Engineer to ensure that everyone was in agreement and that there were no points of dispute.

Mr. Heil stated that he attended the Borough EAC meeting on January 30,2007 and that they divided the creek into sector for a possible creek walk,

From the Dam-Durham Road, Durham Road-Washington, Washington Ave.-Stockberger, Stockberger-Barclay, Barclay-Bypass. Mr. Boyle stated that the Newtown Borough EAC Chairman (Mike Sellers) requested the parcels involved. Ms. Sciarratta stated that she will contact the DRK and let them know that we are interested in pursuing a grant pursuant to approval from the BOS.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan reported that he made a presentation to the BOS regarding getting the message out regarding Deer-Vehicle accidents and deer overpopulation. He stated that he will consult other townships to see how they are approaching the problem in hopes of saving money and addressing the problem. Mr. McGuigan stated that the EAC will need to spend money to determine the scope of the density scan and need to get ideas for the cost of data collection. Dr. Kaner stated that he is researching the Lyme Disease-deer relationship. Mr. McGuigan stated that he is contacting other neighboring townships but no data will be available until June. He asked about the possibility of placing signs during high accident times of the year warning drivers of increased deer. Dr. Kaner asked about PennDOT involvement and approval on state roads for signage.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission

Mr. Dennis Fisher gave an overview of their projects especially those environmentally-related. Mr. McGuigan asked for a forwarding of the Planning Commissions minutes. Mr. Fisher stated he would do that and he discussed how Joint Zoning Conservation Management districts regulate the size of lots for homes with agricultural requiring 5 acres and 30,000 sq. ft for a single home. Mr. Fisher stated that they are reviewing the Newtown Comprehensive Plan with Wrightstown and Upper Makefield with 1.5 chapters completed. Ms. Sciarratta asked whether there were any plans to include Newtown Borough in the Joint Zoning which they were in until the early 1990’s.

Parks & Recreation

No Report


It was noted that there were several pieces of correspondence.

  1. An email was received by Mr. McGuigan from a resident concerned about the possibility of a deer hunt.
  2. A prospective homeowner asked about environmental issues and was referred to the EPA.
  3. TinaMarie Leck emailed the EAC on a pilot program to encourage recycling. Dr. Kaner mentioned that if it comes to fruition, it could be an ECOSTAR worthy project.

Member Comment

Mr. McGuigan stated that Mr. Weaver from the BOS volunteered to be the liaison to the EAC. Dr. Kaner noted that there was a discussion regarding increasing the size of the EAC to 7 members but it would take some recruiting.

Mr. Heil discussed a recycling issue that the Borough wants to partner with the Township regarding leaf and waste removal. He stated that he had been informed regarding a grant that covered 90% of the cost of a leaf collection truck. that vacuums up leaves that have been raked to the curb. He questioned where the compacted/composted leaves would be placed. Ms. Sciaratta asked what other townships do in such situations. Mr. Heil replied that Cheltenham uses leaf trucks.

Mr. Heil noted that Earth Day will be April 22,2007and wondered if the EAC would be doing anything. Ms. Sciarratta stated that there was an event in the Borough with activities for children in the park. Mr. McGuigan mentioned that the EAC should plan early for next year and get involved with schools. Mr. Heil mentioned that there was/is a community service requirement in high school and possibly if the EAC could tap into that as a source of help for projects.

Ms. Sciarratta moved to adjourn at 8:38PM. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary