Meeting held on January 24, 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, January 24, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante, Pam Fitzpatrick, Perry Katz, Jay McGuigan and Autumn Thomas, members.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.

Organization of Council

The members introduced themselves and then discussed the duties and responsibilities of chairperson. It was agreed that a shared co-chairmanship might better serve the Township and the Council, itself.

Ms. Thomas nominated Mr. McGuigan and herself to share the duties of chairman. Ms. Fitzpatrick seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Ms. Thomas nominated Mr. Katz to serve as vice-chairman. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to approve the minutes of November 22, 2010. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 3-0-3, with Ms. Escalante and Messrs. Bender and Katz abstaining.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition had not met in December. She offered to continue as EAC liaison to this group.

Planning Commission: The recording secretary reported that Dennis Fisher, who is in Africa on a mission for his Church this month, has indicated via e-mail that he would continue as liaison to the EAC. The Planning Commission has not met in January, but looking ahead, expects to review a number of plans for commercial and business development in the next few months, including an assisted living facility on Durham Road, an expansion to the NAC and a dental office on Newtown Yardley Road.

Discussion of Projects

Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan shared a copy of his wildlife management report with the new members. He explained that the EAC had researched the issue for many years, focusing primarily on deer/vehicle collisions and on the impact of the deer herd on plant life. After research showed that the best approach to protecting our residents and our environment would be to work with wildlife management firms to cull the herd, the EAC conducted extensive interviews with the groups working elsewhere in the county. The EAC provided the Board of Supervisors with the data collected and provided the recommendation that the Township contract with Eccologix to cull the herd through a program of archery and sharpshooting in a controlled hunt, conducted in conjunction with the State’s Tyler Park hunt. The Board approved the archery component, which began in November, but has not moved forward on the sharpshooting component as of yet. Eccologix is expected to give a presentation at an upcoming meeting on the results of the archery portion of the hunt.

It will be the EAC’s ongoing responsibility to monitor this project and possibly make adjustments going forward.

Bird Town: Ms. Thomas explained that she had attended a presentation about a program called Bird Town, a bird habitat recognition program through which municipalities throughout Pennsylvania work to develop sustainable landscaping practices by utilizing open and other public space, new construction, and ecologically-friendly ordinances to provide habitats for birds. The program costs $850 to join, but there are incremental levels of membership. She said that she would invite Steven Saipher to attend the February meeting. She suggested inviting the Park and Recreation Board and Planning Commission. She would also extend an invitation to Tree Tenders.

Mr. Katz suggested that he bring the written information to the Boy Scouts. Many scouts are eager to work on projects which involve nature. It might interest some of the scouts to get involved in this program, particularly if it would involve working to improve our parks and open space. Scouts are also able to raise funds for their projects.

Stormwater Pamphlet: The recording secretary provided the new members with copies of sample pamphlets used by other municipalities to explain to residents simple methods to mitigate the impact of increased impervious surface when undertaking home improvement projects.

Mr. McGuigan said that part of the mission of the EAC is to provide education on environmental issues to residents.

Ms. Thomas agreed to continue to work on this project. Mr. Katz agreed to work on this as well.

Energy Conservation: The recording secretary reported that the Township’s wind turbine would be installed shortly; the concrete pad has been installed and needs to cure for 30 days.

Mr. McGuigan explained that this had been a project undertaken by Aliya Aslam, a former EAC member. The Township had receive a DCED grant for this.

Mr. McGuigan said that he has noticed solar panels on street lights in Jew Jersey. He would like the EAC to investigate the benefits and costs for such a project in Newtown.

Mr. Bender agreed to help research this.

Green Corner: Ms. Thomas said that she had begun assembling some information for the next Township newsletter. She wanted to confirm its distribution date. The deadline for submission is in early February, but she would want to include more spring information if the newsletter will not be mailed to residents until March.

The members discussed and the deregulation of electricity. Ms. Thomas said that she would research this as a possible topic for the green corner.

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 6-0.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary