Minutes for the meeting held on May 16, 2007


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 in the Martindell House meeting room. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary, William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to approve the minutes of April 23, 2007. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Open Space

Ms. Sciarratta presented a series of maps of the Jointure taken from the Draft Comprehensive Plan, along with two quadrangle maps from the USGS and an aerial photograph of the Township with tax map parcels superimposed. She indicated that the Newtown portions of the Jointure maps could be enlarged and edited to only show the Township.

The members reviewed the maps and discussed an appropriate size to ask for enlargements. It was agreed that an enlargement similar in size to a map currently on the wall of the Martindell meeting room would be a good size to have for the inventory of open space. This map was not measured by the members, but appears to be about 24 by 36 inches. Ms. Sciarratta agreed to speak to Mr. Wert, who had provided the Comp Plan maps, along with a CD of the text, about getting enlargements. She would ask for an enlarged copy of the aerial photograph and of the ag soils map. She would also ask if a transparency of the tax map could be made to superimpose over the other maps.

Mr. Heil had created a master list of tax map parcels by size, which would be used to begin the inventory. Mr. McGuigan suggested using the evaluation sheets he had prepared to first gather information available on the maps for each tax map parcel, after which an in person evaluation could be done. The members agreed that the best time would be summer for in person evaluations. They asked that an earlier June date be found for the regular meeting.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan reported that he would attend upcoming Environmental Advisory Council meetings in Lower and Upper Makefield to learn the results of their wildlife management consultants’ recommendations. He noted that recent newspaper reports on these municipalities’ wildlife management investigations have indicated that a regional rather than municipal approach would be desirable.


Dr. McEachron asked the members whether they would like to consider extending Ecostar beyond the business community.

The members discussed extending Ecostar to organizations. Scout troops and school clubs might qualify. Dr. Kaner noted that a portion of the middle school curriculum involves ecology and environmental issues. He suggested contacting science teachers and leaders of school based science clubs in September to make them aware of the Award program.

A calendar for the next awards cycle was agreed to: September through December would be used for publicizing the award with a January deadline for applications. Winners would be chosen in February, with presentation of awards to coincide with Earth Day/Arbor Day in April.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition

Dr. McEachron reported that the Coalition is planning a creek walk, and is asking the Newtown Township EAC to help with distribution of letters to homeowners about the walk. Members agreed to discuss distribution plans via e-mail.

Dr. McEachron said that the next scheduled Coalition meeting will be on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM at LaSalle University. A report from the Bucks County Community College science department will be presented. Classes at the college have recently completed water testing in the creek. Dr. McEachron said that he would be unavailable for this meeting and asked that one of the other members attend. The members agreed to confirm availability to attend the meeting via e-mail.

Planning Commission

Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission will be reviewing the draft of the updated comprehensive plan at upcoming meetings.

Park and Recreation Board

The recording secretary reported that Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert and Township Naturalist Russell Strover have been awarded a $12,000 grant for a Clark Nature Center Natural Resource Management Plan from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society “tree-vitalization” program. A contract has been signed with the Heritage Conservancy to develop the management plan, which will be used by the Horticultural Society as a model for other municipalities for natural resource management.

Member Comments

Dr. McEachron asked whether the EAC should be advertised as available to answer residents’ environmental questions.

Dr. Kaner expressed some concern about providing any information directly to residents, or prospective residents, but suggested instead that, if approached by anyone for information, members refer questioners to resources, such as internet links to various sources.

Dr. McEachron suggested that the members each review the EAC links on the Township Web site to evaluate whether the links are adequate and easy to navigate from the Township Web site.

The members agreed that in June they would like to plan a meeting earlier in the month, to begin working on the open space inventory map review. The recording secretary will circulate available meeting dates among members.

Mr. Heil moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary