NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Meeting held on June 23, 2008

 

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, June 23, 2008 in the Township Building. In attendance were: Jay McGuigan, Vice Chairman, Michael Kaner, Secretary and Autumn Thomas, member. Also in attendance were Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison and Henry DeSilva and Candido Rodriguez, Newtown Borough EAC Liaisons.

DUE TO ILLNESS THE JUNE 23, 2008 EAC MEETING LACKED A QUORUM

Call To Order

Mr. McGuigan called the meeting to order. Because the meeting lacked a quorum, those in attendance agreed to introduce themselves and update Ms. Thomas on the EAC’s ongoing projects.

Public Comment

Dr. DeSilva reported that the Township/Borough jointly sponsored Cool Cities program had been very successful. Jim Gray of Lower Makefield Township had given a presentation on open space preservation. It was noted that Lower Makefield now requires an EAC environmental assessment as part of land development. The presentation also included information on leaf collection and recycling.

Dr. DeSilva said that he has contacted Lynn Bush of the Bucks County Planning Commission, who has agreed to speak at a jointly sponsored event in the future. The Bucks County Planning Commission could provide baseline data for the Cool Cities initiative.

Dr. DeSilva spoke about the Lower Makefield requirement that school renovations have LEEDS certification, and said that this is something that should be considered for Council Rock.

Discussion of Projects

Ecostar: Dr. Kaner explained that the EAC sponsors an award program for those businesses and institutions that have demonstrated environmental awareness and have instituted environmentally friendly business practices. He and Mr. McGuigan will present the second annual award on Wednesday to Signature Medicine, which has developed a paperless medical practice and to Council Rock Art Department, whose focus this year has been on recycled materials used in creating art.

Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan said that the EAC has been collecting data on deer accidents and on the impact the deer population has had and continues to have on the environment. As deer accidents increase, it will become necessary to address the problem, but right now the EAC is only pursuing an educational campaign. Research gathered has shown that posting of temporary signage at locations of frequent deer/car accidents has been effective in reducing the number of accidents by as much as 50%. Mr. McGuigan presented some sample signs, which can be purchased at costs between $22 and $70, depending on the number of signs ordered. Signs could be placed at peak locations during the seasons when accidents are occurring most often.

Mr. McGuigan said that he has also researched reflectors, but these have gotten mixed reviews for effectiveness. The cost is about $1000 per mile.

Open Space Inventory: Mr. McGuigan reported that the Open Space Comprehensive Plan must be updated in order to qualify for the County Open Space Plan money. Newtown Township is eligible for $580,000 in grants for preservation of open space. A committee has been formed to address the update. While the EAC has been charged with creating an inventory, work has progressed very slowly, as it is a time consuming and tedious process. The inventory is now more urgently needed in order to participate in the County program. The committee has discussed hiring students to do the work and has estimated that it would cost about $1000 to hire the students. The committee is asking that the EAC consider using its budget to hire the students to complete the project. Any money taken from the EAC can be reimbursed by the County’s Planning Grant program.

Because the meeting lacked a quorum, a decision on using the budgeted money for the open space inventory was tabled.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission has recently considered and recommended adoption of two JMZO amendments. One would better define the calculation of open space under the Ordinance. Currently there is some vagueness regarding the inclusion of detention basins in the open space calculations. The other ordinance would require a buffer of 50 to 100 feet around wetland delineations, depending on the slope of the property, in certain zoning districts. Properties already developed would be grandfathered. The Planning Commission also discussed an ordinance that would require a permit for disturbance of natural resources, but the members felt there was need for further revisions to more clearly define natural resources and whether restitution would be required of violators.

Member Comments: Mr. McGuigan said that at past meetings the Council had discussed goals and objectives. Each member had agreed to champion a project. He asked members to continue to consider this in preparation for the July meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary