Minutes for the meeting held on September 24, 2007


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, September 24, 2007 in the 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 7:30PM.

Approval of Minutes

Dr. Kaner moved to accept the minutes of August 27, 2007. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Dr. Kaner moved to accept the minutes of September 1, 2007. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

New Business

Dr. McEachron reported that he had been forwarded information about contamination in groundwater on the Gray tract, which is part of the Federal Cemetery Overlay District. The Council members briefly discussed this, and agreed that no action should be taken at this time, as the Gray tract is in Upper Makefield. It was noted that the Newtown Township portion of the Melsky tract, which is also part of the Federal Cemetery Overlay, will be developed with homes serviced by public water and sewers.

Old Business

Market Day

The members reported that the EAC booth at Market Day, shared with Newtown Borough EAC, Newtown Creek Coalition and Friends of the Farm, was very busy. People stopping by were particularly interested in information of deer/car accidents.

Chairman’s Report

Dr. McEachron reported that he met with Michael S. Bernarsky of Bucks County Community College to visit the Gigliotti/Avignon site. He said that the site was thickly wooded, and it was difficult to ascertain where the houses are planned. He suggested that two Council members visit the site, and fill out the open space evaluation form. He would like to compare his impressions with that of other members. He said that if development proceeds, this evaluation could supply a basis for monitoring what happens with development.

Discussion of Projects

Review of Open Space

Mr. McGuigan reported that he has continued to fine tune the evaluation form. The members agreed to spend time at the next meeting doing work with the forms and maps, with a goal of completing the map work by April.

Dr. McEachron showed members a catalog of portable environmental sensors; the members discussed possibly purchasing these or asking Delaware Riverkeepers for training kits to be used when the on site evaluations begin.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan and Dr. Kaner each agreed to try to attend an upcoming meeting sponsored by State Senator Charles McIlhinney in October.

The Commission discussed asking the Newtown News to publish the maps on deer/car accidents. Mr. McGuigan said that as the season progresses, he would attempt to update the information.

The recording secretary reported that the Park and Recreation Department has recently received a grant for forest management planning at Clark Nature Center. This project would include some evaluation of deer related damage to the Clark Nature Center. The Council members agreed that this information could be useful in helping to extrapolate deer damage to the environment as a whole.

Ms. Sciarratta noted that, while methods such as deer hunts in other municipalities have been getting a great deal of publicity, and stirring controversy, there are some landscape modifications discussed in the Lower Makefield report that could also be useful. She also noted that there are tiers of response to the deer problems, particularly to car/deer accidents, such as publicizing high accident locations and signage on roads, as well as landscape techniques.

Ecostar 2007/08

Dr. Kaner reported that he had updated the Ecostar application for the Market Day table. He will be updating the Web site application for the new deadline of February 2008, for an award to be given in April 2008.nd He will also contact Council Rock School District about the awards. He will contact the Superintendent, building principals for schools within Newtown and the science teachers. He noted that the District has begun using an electronic method of communicating with parents to help reduce some of the paper flyers and notes that go home with children.

Ms. Sciarratta reported that Goodnoe Elementary School has a recycling dumpster outside the building to collect recyclables from students and neighbors.

Dr. McEachron said that he will announce this year’s program when he next reports to the Board of Supervisors at a televised meeting.

Ms. Sciarratta agreed to update the press releases and to work with the various business organizations in the Township and Borough to help spread the word.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition

Dr. McEachron was unable to attend the last meeting, but understood that they are close to deciding on some projects.

Ms. Sciarratta reported that the Historic Association is planning to place markers at many locations in the Township and Borough, some along the creek.

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


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary