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 28, 2008

 

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, January 28, 2008 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Dennis Annarelli, Aliya Aslam, Donald McEachron, William Heil, Michael Kaner, Walter Leck, and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.

Call To Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30PM. The members introduced themselves to one another.

Reorganization

Mr. McGuigan nominated Dr. McEachron to serve as chairman. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

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

Mr. McGuigan nominated Dr. Kaner to serve as secretary. Mr. Leck seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

Dr. McEachron moved to accept the minutes of November 26, 2007. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 3-0-4, with Dr. Annarelli, Ms. Aslam, Mr. Heil and Mr. Leck abstaining.

Discussion of Projects

The Chairman reviewed the status of each of the projects the EAC has undertaken for the benefit of new members.

Open Space Inventory

Dr. McEachron reviewed the open space inventory being conducted by the Council. He explained that through the winter the members are creating lists using maps, documenting historic and cultural resources, groundwater limitations, agricultural soils, forest cover, wetlands and watersheds, flood plains and alluvial soils, steep slopes and zoning. He has taken some of the maps home and will continue to work on them before the next meeting. Once the initial work has been completed, site visits will be conducted, in part to confirm the information gathered from the maps. Photographs will be taken and attached to each parcel’s information.

Ms. Aslam said that she might be able to help with the mapping project, creating digital overlay maps, rather than using acetate overlays.

Mr. McGuigan provided copies of a spreadsheet he created for the inventory. He noted that using the maps, groundwater limitations have already been entered for parcels larger than 10 acres.

Dr. McEachron stressed that the Council would not be making any recommendations at this point, only documenting the open space that currently exists within the Township. Environmental review is not part of the review process for land development in Newtown at this time. The Council might be asked, based on this documentation, to give an opinion on possible impacts of new development on the environment.

Ecostar Award

Dr. Kaner reviewed the project, noting that the award had been limited to businesses last year, but that this year it has been expanded to include schools. There have not been many applicants, and some effort should be made to directly contact businesses and schools to urge them to participate. He will contact the schools to try to encourage them to apply for the award, as many schools do have recycling programs in place. In response to Ms. Aslam’s questions, Dr. Kaner said that no goals have been set for recycling or for other environmental efforts, so as not to limit the application. The information requested is broadly defined. Last year the Law School Admission Council was awarded primarily for its recycling efforts.

Mr. Leck discussed his trash hauling business’s recent affiliation with Recyclebank. Since the program began there has been a substantial increase in recycling within the Township. He attributes the success in part to the rewards program which has encouraged children to become involved. His firm is planning to give an award to the top five recyclers when the program has completed one year. The program keeps exact data on residential recycling.

The Council discussed extending the Ecostar to residences. It might be possible to plan an award for residential recycling by neighborhood.

Mr. Leck said that the Township does have information on recycling, as each trash hauler reports to the Township.

Ms. Aslam suggested that in addition to offering an award, the Council could promote an educational program to instruct businesses on ways to recycle. She said that she would contact the Township manager to get figures on solid waste recycling to learn what our recycling has been and to help set Township wide goals for the future.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan reviewed the research compiled last year and provided an updated list of deer/car accidents for 2007. He noted that there has been an increase in accidents since he last compiled statistics. He will be using this information to update the map and graphs he created last year. At this point, the EAC has again only been providing information to the residents on wildlife management, and not making any recommendations. The EAC has been tracking the research and recommendations of surrounding municipalities regarding deer populations. At this point, the EAC is just attempting to document the impact of wildlife on the environment, including the rising incidence of Lyme disease, deer/vehicle accidents, destruction of undergrowth in wooded areas.

The members discussed the importance of educating the residents, particularly of the locations and times of day of the deer accidents. When drivers are made aware of spots with frequent accidents, they are on the alert for the deer.

Mr. McGuigan said that he would update the maps and place them on the Township Web site and try to get the information in the local press.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission

Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission had discussed asking the EAC to provide a liaison to the Planning Commission to give advice on environmental issues when plans are reviewed.

Because the Planning Commission meets twice each month, the EAC members discussed rotating liaison duties, with each member taking one month.

Mr. Fisher noted that not all Planning Commission reviews have environmental concerns at all. At the next meeting the Commission will probably review revisions to an already approved plan, for example. He suggested that the Recording Secretary, who also prepares the Planning Commission agenda, update the EAC on upcoming matters. It might not be necessary for the liaison to attend all meetings. He said that he would attempt to learn how other municipalities’ planning commissions interface with their EAC’s.

Public Comment

Henry DeSilva, Candido Rodriguez and George Fisk were in attendance to ask the Commission to participate, along with the Newtown Borough EAC, in an event sponsored by the Sierra Club and Smart Power on energy conservation. The event would take place in April, and if possible would be held in an outdoor setting.

The members agreed that they would be eager to participate in such a program.

Dr. DeSilva also spoke briefly about a climate protection agreement sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which urges state governments and the federal government to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012. He said that he would like the EAC to investigate this and possibly ask the Board of Supervisors to adopt the agreement.

Member Comments

Dr. McEachron suggested that “Education” be added to the monthly agenda, with a goal of educating the public on various environmental issues.

Dr. Kaner moved to adjourn at 9:20 PM. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary