NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Meeting held on April 27, 2009
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, April 27, 2009 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were co-chairmen Aliya Aslam and Jay McGuigan and Members Dennis Annarelli, Pam Fitzpatrick and Walt Leck. Also present was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of March 23, 2009. Ms. Aslam seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mr. Fisher reported that the Newtown Creek Coalition hosted an open house on April 11, 2009, at which the history and future of the creek were discussed. Included in the discussion was some visioning for taking better advantage of the creek as a hub of commerce.
Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that he has asked the Township Engineer to help him in his review of the JMZO for information about environmental impact studies (EIS). The Engineer had provided Mr. Fisher with some information on other municipalities’ requirements for EIS as part of land development. Newtown Township only requires an EIS during land development in the quarry districts. He pointed out that information required as part of an EIS is frequently provided during land development as part of the JMZO performance standards.
Ms. Aslam suggested that if the Planning Commission wishes to do so,, the EAC could assist in developing a checklist to identify land development projects that might need information similar to an EIS.
Newtown Borough: Ms. Aslam reported that Newtown Borough is working on more energy efficient streetlights and traffic lights. The Borough has indicated it will share any information it gets with the Township. The Borough is also looking into acquiring some open land near CVS to preserve as open space and is forming an open space subcommittee. The Borough EAC will have a table at the upcoming Welcome Day on State Street. Looking ahead, Ms. Aslam suggested that the Township EAC attempt to have a table a future Welcome Days and Market Days.
Discussion of Projects
Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan reported that he had made arrangements for a group called “Deerfriends” to give a presentation on non-lethal methods of wildlife management, but they canceled at the last minute. Deerfriends had sent a number of links to Web sites and he read what was sent and forwarded the links to the members. He will attempt to reschedule the group, as he wants to be sure that all possible methods for wildlife management are explored. He reported that he is trying to gather results from Upper Makefield’s and Wrightstown’s hunts and will follow closely Lower Makefield’s to see if these hunts prove to have been successful in reducing the number of deer-vehicle accidents.
Mr. McGuigan said that with the Commission’s approval he would contact the Bucks County Courier Times and the Newtown Advance to get some coverage on the regional aspect of wildlife management.
Ms. Aslam said that as Mr. McGuigan continues to work on his white paper on wildlife management concerns he should attempt to first highlight why wildlife management is necessary, then make recommendations. His paper should first be presented to the EAC for adoption, then forwarded to the Board of Supervisors and the public.
The members briefly discussed addressing wildlife management with a controlled hunt. Mr. Leck suggested that the EAC could approach the State Gaming Commission about extending the deer hunting season and increasing the number of kills permitted. If there is a way to donate unwanted meat to food banks, the EAC should help to disseminate that information.
Open Space Inventory: Ms. Aslam suggested that Google Earth could be useful in confirming information in the inventory instead of doing on-site visits. She asked the recording secretary to scan the maps so that overlays could be done electronically. She said that she would also attempt to find older aerial photographs to compare with current Google Earth images to better see changes in the open space.
Ecostar: The members asked the recording secretary to forward applications to Council Rock School District and Recyclebank. At this point, no applications have been received.
Energy Conservation: Ms. Aslam attended a presentation of energy technology vendors at Lower Makefield. She spoke to a representative of Omni, a Bucks County manufacturer of small wind turbines. It is her understanding that the Township is considering this type of turbine to power the new public works facility. She suggested speaking to the Township Manager about this and about inviting the Omni representative to an upcoming EAC meeting.
Ms. Aslam reported that she is working on a presentation for the Board of Supervisors on certain energy concerns, including the removal of PECO rate caps in 2010, existing state programs for green energy technology, and options for green energy. She would like to examine the Township’s energy bills to see whether there could be any ways to save money or conserve energy.
Review of Action Items
Ms. Aslam reported that groundwater resource management at the regional level is primarily under the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and that the BRBC has issued guidelines to municipalities to assist them in developing specific rules in a document entitled “Guidelines for Developing an Integrated Resource Plan.” She reported that the DRBC considers the development and implementation of an IRP the responsibility of the local governments.
Mr. Fisher noted that protection of the groundwater is discussed in the Joint Comprehensive Plan. Guidelines are provided. Some protections exist as part of the JMZO’s natural resource protections, but these are not formal requirements specific to protecting the aquifer.
Ms. Aslam said that she would like the EAC to work on more public education on this issue.
Mr. Leck moved to adjourn at 10: 10 PM. Dr. Annarelli seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary