NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Meeting held on February 22, 2010
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 22, in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were Dennis Annarelli, Aliya Aslam, Pam Fitzpatrick (late), Walt Leck, Jay McGuigan and Autumn Thomas. Also present was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Dr. Annarelli moved to nominate Mr. McGuigan to serve as chairman. Mr. Leck seconded and the motion passed 5-0.Mr. Leck moved to nominate Mrs. Fitzpatrick to serve as vice chairman. Dr. Annarelli seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Approval of Minutes
Ms. Thomas moved to moved to accept the minutes of November 23, 2009. Ms. Aslam seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Leck abstaining.
Resident Megan Regalis said that she is a watershed specialist for Bucks County Conservation District and had been invited to attend by Ms. Fitzpatrick and learn more about what the EAC has been doing.
Mr. McGuigan said that the EAC can have up to seven members. He asked Ms. Regalis to send a letter of interest to the Board of Supervisors if she is interested in being appointed to the EAC.
(Mrs. Fitzpatrick arrived at this point)
SEPTA R-8 Rail Line: Mr. McGuigan said that he has been in touch with John Frey, a member of the PA-TEC group interested in re-activating the SEPTA R-8 rail line from Newtown to Fox Chase/ The group is interested in gaining support of the EAC’s and governing bodies of the municipalities along the route. The group will be making a presentation at the Town Hall meeting scheduled for Sunday, February 28, 2010 at the George School, sponsored by Newtown’s 21 st Century Voice.
Ms. Fitzpatrick urged the members to attend the meeting, but noted that it would be shown as a video stream on www.oneifbyland.com
The members discussed some of their concerns and questions regarding reactivating the rail line. Mr. Leck said that the tracks are in disrepair along sections of the route. He wondered whether bringing the route back would be too costly. He also discussed some of his concerns about parking at the terminus, which is near the new homes where Frost Watson had been.
Mr. McGuigan said that he has been a rail commuter and his concern is with time. The train can be very slow and he wondered whether commuters would be interested if it did not save time or money as compared with the trains from Woodbourne Road or Cornwells Heights. He noted that the R-8 line does require a transfer at Fox Chase and is not a direct line to Center City.
The recording secretary said that she had heard the presentation when it was given to the Board of Supervisors. Information about parking, time and costs is included in the presentation.
Mr. McGuigan said that he would try to arrange for the PA-TEC representatives to come to an EAC meeting at some time in the future.Tree Tenders: Ms. Thomas reported that she has arranged for Tree Tenders, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, to give a workshop in Newtown Township. The workshop consists of three evening classes, on September 23, 30 and October 14 at the Township meeting room. She provided copies of the brochure announcing the event. A meeting is scheduled on March 16 with Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko and Tree Tenders to review trees to be pruned for the demonstration and to select a location for the tree planting. She will represent the EAC at this meeting.
Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Fitzpatrick reported that the Creek Coalition is sponsoring a visioning meeting on March 2, 2010 at the Chancellor Center at 7:00 PM. Newtown Borough and Township’s Planning Commissions will be in attendance to discuss the future of the creek, particularly as it flows through our shared downtown area.
Mr. McGuigan asked whether the Creek Coalition has any educational information on healthy watersheds and riparian buffers. This might be a topic of interest for future EAC agendas.Ms. Regalis said that there are classes given by the BCCD on watersheds. She would forward information. Ms. Fitzpatrick has attended these classes.
Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher noted that our JMZO has some very specific regulations regarding riparian buffers, retention and detention basins and wetland protections. He would speak to the Township engineer about providing a summary of these ordinances.
Mr. Leck asked whether the brine mixture being used on roads to prevent icing would have impact on the watersheds.
Ms. Regalis said she would review and forward information; she did not know whether the impact would be different from the traditional salt used for icy roads.
Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan said that he has been updating the deer/vehicle accident maps with the newest data from the Police Department. He has also spoken to Park and Recreation Chairman Andrew Levine about working together to include any Township owned parks or open space for a hunt, should the EAC eventually present a recommendation of a controlled hunt to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Levine has indicated that the Park and Recreation Board would be interested in supporting any recommendation the EAC might make regarding wildlife management, as the Township parks are being negatively impacted by the herds.
Mr. McGuigan said that he will be looking onto requests for proposals for wildlife management programs.The recording secretary suggested that Mr. McGuigan speak to Township Manager Joseph Czajkowski about this, as Mr. Czajkowski had been Township Manager in Upper Makefield when it put together proposals for a wildlife management program which included a hunt using bow hunters.
Ecostar Award: The recording secretary reported that she had distributed new flyers created by Ms. Thomas as well as revised Ecostar applications to the leaders of the business community at the recent NBCA/Newtown Corporation quarterly meeting. The meeting’s theme had been energy conservation; three speakers discussed reduction in electricity and gas use, reduction in paper use, recycling, green cleaning products and energy efficient lighting. A special e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, was created for the Ecostar applications, which include instructions on submitting the application electronically. The meeting was attended by representatives of fifty Newtown businesses. No applications have been received.
Ms. Aslam said that she would try to follow up with the Newtown Advance and Bucks County Courier Times to try to generate interest in the award.
Energy Conservation: The members asked the recording secretary to follow up on the wind turbine for the new public works building.
Green Corner: Ms. Thomas said that she would prepare an article about green cleaning alternatives for the next newsletter and would speak to Township Assistant Manager John Boyle about a specific “Green Corner” spot in the newsletter. The winter letter broke up all of the information and interspersed it throughout the newsletter without the title EAC Green Corner.
Mr. McGuigan provided copies of a letter from Henry DeSilva of Newtown Borough’s EAC announcing an event protesting gas fracking’s impact on waters.
Ms. Aslam suggested inviting Riverkeepers to an EAC meeting to discuss gas fracking and other issues of concern.
Ms. Thomas said that she had recently attended a land ethics seminar at Bowman’s Hill. At the event she spoke to representatives of Middletown Township’s EAC, which is sponsoring an earth day event at Oxford Valley Mall.
Ms. Aslam said that she had attended a clean-up event at Washington Crossing State Park. She noted the Creek Coalition’s creek clean-up events and suggested that the EAC could also sponsor a park clean-up event, perhaps at Tyler Park.
Ms. Thomas suggested that instead of Tyler, the EAC should consider an event at Clark Nature Center. Some of the trails there are in need of some attention. Perhaps an event co-sponsored with the Park and Recreation Board would be successful.Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 6-0
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary