Minutes for the meeting held on April 28, 2008


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

Call To Order

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

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of March 24, 2008. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Dr. McEachron and Ms. Aslam abstaining.

Public Comment

Henry DeSilva provided members with copies of a press release and poster announcing the upcoming meeting on “Cool Cities” to be held on May 21, 2008 in the Township meeting Room. The Sierra Club will moderate the meeting. Dr. DeSilva said that he is attempting to promote the meeting among the members of other EAC’s in the County. He asked whether the meeting could be either televised live or recorded and shown on the government channel.

Dr. McEachron agreed to ask the Township Manager whether this would be possible.

Dr. DeSilva said that he had attended a meeting at Lower Makefield Township on green building, noting that a school in Lower Makefield is seeking to complete renovations to qualify for a gold level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. He suggested that the Township should consider requiring school district construction to be LEED certified.

Mr. Fisher noted that the Board of Supervisors had voted to seek silver LEED certification on the municipal complex expansion.

EAC Project Updates

Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan reported that he is continuing to update data on deer/car accidents and will contact the Bucks County Courier Times this summer about printing an update on the data collected. He will be investigating temporary signage warning motorists on roads with a high incidence of accidents.

Ecostar Award: Dr. Kaner reported that members had been forwarded the applications for the awards. He said that Signature Medicine has met the criteria with its paperless office, and Council Rock Art Department has promoted recycling education. He suggested that both be given the award.

Dr. Kaner moved to nominate Signature Medicine and Council Rock Art Department for Newtown Township Ecostar Awards. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Dr. McEachron asked the recording secretary to put the EAC on the May 14, 2008 Board of Supervisors agenda in order to ask the Supervisors to approve the award, as well as to update them on other EAC work.

Open Space Inventory: Dr. McEachron reported that he and Mr. McGuigan would be working on the maps to identify all of the open space parcels.

Ms. Aslam said that she has been speaking with Lynn Bush of the Bucks County Planning Commission about getting electronic copies of the maps. She hopes to have some of the preliminary work on overlaying maps completed shortly.

The recording secretary noted that the County is revising its guidelines for updating the Open Space Comprehensive Plans. When those guidelines have been received, the committee formed to revise the plan will begin its work. Andrew Levine and Susan Sutton from the Park and Recreation Board, and Jay Sensibaugh and Peggy Driscoll from the Planning Commission will also be on the committee. Mrs. Sutton had been on the original committee which drafted the 1997 plan; Township Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert is on the County Open Space Task Force.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Dr. McEachron reported that the Coalition is in the process of applying for a grant from the DCNR to develop a comprehensive inventory of the streamside corridor along Newtown Creek in order to evaluate and enhance pedestrian access to and connections across the creek which forms the boundary between Newtown Borough and Newtown Township and to raise community awareness of the historic and environmental significance of the creek through physical enhancements, interpretation and interactive programs. The Newtown Creek Coalition, through the Newtown Corporation, will submit the grant application. Newtown Borough Council and Newtown Township have submitted letters of support.

Member Comments

Ms. Aslam said that she has been contacted about a dumping area on the grounds of Bucks County Community College. She presented a newspaper article about the dump site.

Mr. Fisher said that he is familiar with the area referred to in the article. He and Ms. Aslam agreed to visit the site to confirm its current condition.

Dr. McEachron said that if it is confirmed that the area is an unofficial dump site, he will contact the College and Mr. Solomon of the Codes Department about it.

Ms. Aslam provided the members with copies of the most recent summary of recycling in the Township. She suggested that the Council consider possibly setting goals for improvement and promoting recycling through an educational initiative. She noted that the Township has been meeting its current goals, however there is not any data on recycling of yard waste.

Mr. Leck said that collecting yard waste requires a separate pick-up, and there have been difficulties with separating yard waste from other trash. Frequently residents bag yard waste separately, but then stuff other trash into the top of the bag.

The members discussed the many difficulties associated with recycling of yard waste and Christmas trees, including the required separate pick-up, the limits that some trash haulers put on number of bags, and the window of time during which the separate pick-ups are made. In some densely populated areas, there are street sweeping trucks that vacuum leaves raked to the curb.

Dr. McEachron suggested that the EAC should focus its efforts on a few specific projects, with each member championing one project. He suggested that perhaps promotion and education on recycling in general might be a general goal that a member could focus on. He noted that Dr. Kaner has taken the lead on the Ecostar and Mr. McGuigan has taken the lead on wildlife management. He asked the members to consider a goal or cause they wish to champion and to come to the next meeting with some ideas.

Dr. McEachron said that one area he would like to focus his efforts on is information and knowledge management through better use of the Township’s EAC website. He said that he would like the site to provide easy access to information on environmental issues, for example information on recycling of electronics and batteries.

Ms. Aslam suggested that public input should be sought on what the residents would like the EAC to be, what projects the residents would like undertaken, what environmental issues are of concern to the residents. She offered to draft a survey and attempt to work with the middle and high school environmental clubs on distributing, collecting and evaluating of surveys.

Dr. McEachron moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary