NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes for the meeting held on February 25, 2008
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 25, 2008 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Dennis Annarelli, Aliya Aslam, Donald McEachron, and Jay McGuigan, members. Also in attendance was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.
Call To Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:35PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of January 28, 2008 as presented. Ms. Aslam seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Henry DeSilva reported that the Borough was interested in a leaf and wood waste program, which is now mandated for municipalities of larger size or population, although not smaller municipalities like Newtown Borough or Newtown Township. He gave Dr. McEachron a document from the Bucks County Consortium. Dr. DeSilva said that 90% of the start up cost for hardware and equipment would be paid for by the state. He suggested that the township might be interested in such a program; he said that Borough EAC co-chair John Duggan had given him a (paper) PowerPoint presentation. Dr. McEachron noted that the program was already mandated for waste haulers.
Ms. Aslam noted that the county had set a goal of 34% recycling of all trash, and that there was not much information on the township website. She suggested that words of encouragement regarding recycling by citizens be included on the website. Dr. McEachron said it was difficult to be specific, as each hauler had different procedures and collected different items. Mr. Fisher noted that the Comprehensive Plan includes waste management, and references Act 101 and notes technical assistance grants at a county level to help educate the public.
Dr. DeSilva noted three sources of information: Lower Makefield Township, Delaware Valley College (which has a large leaf recycling program), and Bucks County; these entities could be a good sourced of information, referrals, and “how they did it.” Dr. DeSilva said Lower Makefield was trying to divide its township into zones and negotiate rates. Dr. McEachron said they should see what regulations are mandated and what haulers are doing.
Ms. Aslam said she spoke to John Boyle, who directed her to information on the township website; she will speak with Gary Crossland and look at recycling reports and resources. She noted there is a full time person at the county dealing with recycling. Hough Associates is working on the waste management report.
Dr. McEachron said that if the township were divided into zones for haulers, that the awarding of bids should not be permanent; competition was important, and haulers should be competing with the standards or with each other. Mr. Annarelli said comparisons should be made regarding what materials each hauler recycles. Dr. McEachron noted that Walt Leck has offered to recuse himself from the discussion of waste management.
Ms. Aslam said she was approached by a group of students and a professor at Bucks County Community Center about construction debris at the back of the campus where it meets Tyler Park. Mr. Fisher will take a look at the area. Dr. McEachron said he would speak with the township manager to request that the township investigate the matter; Ms. Aslam will forward photos of the area sent to her by email to Dr. McEachron.
Dr. McEachron reported he had detected a strong smell of ethyl alcohol being released near the end of Friends Lane; he will pursue the matter. Ms. Aslam said she would check the database to see what air permits exist for businesses in the area.
Dr. McEachron reported that the township has established an open space plan update committee; he and Mr. McGuigan will represent the EAC on the committee. Because of the open space referendum voted at the last election, the plan needs to be updated to determine funding for open space. The preliminary open space inventory needs to be done by April; Mr. McGuigan and Dr. McEachron will work on the project. Ms. Aslam offered to work on electronic mapping.Ms. Aslam said that an EIS should be done for development projects and asked how it could become a required document for projects in the township; she noted that an EIS can also provide information regarding mitigation. Dr. McEachron said he was not aware of any such in depth studies done for developments that have come to the EAC’s attention. Ms. Aslam will bring to the next meeting examples of EIS’s and will look into what townships of a similar size to Newtown have for EIS requirements. Dr. McEachron suggested the creation of a database relative to environmental impact to determine the need for an EIS; an EIS is required by Federal regulations for larger projects. Dr. McEachron suggested the EAC look into the regulations in other township to determine what recommendations the committee might wish to make to the Board of Supervisors; Mr. Fisher will ask the Planning commission for feedback.
Discussion of Projects
Mr. McGuigan will bring a deer map indicating traffic accidents, Lyme’s Disease and habitat destruction to the next meeting. He reported that the Park & Recreation Board is looking into the issue of deer damage at Tyler State Park and the Clark Property. Dr. McEachron said he would like to gather data first and proceed slowly, before the public becomes too emotional over the issue. Mr. McGuigan said he hasn’t heard any reaction to the Upper Makefield deer program. Mr. Annarelli suggested the Board go to the supervisors for direction, to determine the sense of urgency over the problem and whether the EAC should pursue the issue. Dr. McEachron suggested that the information regarding Lyme’s Disease and accidents should still be presented to the public. Mr. McGuigan suggested seasonal signs or a blinking light might be installed as warnings in the fall to watch for deer.
Mr. Kaner has sent a letter to Newtown Middle school regarding the EcoStar Award.
Mr. Fisher reported there is not much presently before the Commission related to environmental issues. Ms. Donaldson will contact the committee when the Planning Commission has items with environmental issues.
Newtown Creek Coalition
Dr. McEachron reported that the attendance had been small at the last meeting, held last Saturday, and cited the River Conservation Plan for Upper and Middle Neshaminy Creek (which includes Newtown Creek) distributed at the meeting. The Committee gave him permission to send to coalition chair Mike Sellers a copy of the Sedia Park grant application to be used as an example of grant application. Dr. McEachron will contact Susan Sciarratta regarding the status of grant awards.
Dr. DeSilva announced the 11 th Annual PA EAC meeting on March 8 and passed around a flyer. He reported that Jason Brady, Sierra Club representative for SE Pennsylvania (including Bucks) has agreed to speak the Borough and Township EAC’s about Sierra Club. A question and answer session would be included, covering green cities and environmental programs. May 20 th was a possible date; Borough Hall would be available for the meeting. Dr. DeSilva will confirm with Mr. Brady. He said the Borough EAC was considering opening the meeting to the public, but that the presentation could be given to EAC members only. The township building was also suggested as a meeting venue; Dr. McEachron will speak to the township about possible broadcasting of the meeting.
On motion by Mr. Annarelli and second by Dr. McEachron, and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 pm.
Respectfully submitted by:
Leslie P. Dunleavy (for Mary Donaldson), Recording Secretary