Meeting held on February 28 , 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 28, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante, Pam Fitzpatrick, Perry Katz, and Autumn Thomas, members and Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order

Ms. Thomas called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Ms. Fitzpatrick moved to approve the minutes of January 24, 2011. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

New Business

Bird Town Presentation: John Rogers of the Audubon Society gave a PowerPoint presentation on Audubon’s Bird Town program, which promotes bird habitats in communities by inviting municipalities to train volunteers to evaluate properties for ecologically friendly and sustainable landscaping. The program helps residents to plan their yards and gardens with native species which will help to conserve water and energy while inviting birds back to the area. The program costs $850, but includes a number of opportunities for fundraising. Mr. Rogers said that locally, Upper Moreland’s EAC has already joined the program. In Upper Moreland the volunteers will work with individual homeowners, homeowners associations and on the municipal properties and parklands. Local landscapers will partner with Bird Town to help identify native plants among stock.

The EAC members agreed to continue to discuss this at subsequent meetings before presenting it to the Board of Supervisors.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission held a special meeting to hear a presentation on a proposed McDonald’s restaurant at Village at Newtown Shopping Center. This was an informal presentation; no formal plans have been submitted to the Township yet.

The Planning Commission will be reviewing Act 167, the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Stormwater Management regulations.

Discussion of Projects

Stormwater Pamphlet: Ms. Thomas reported that she has begun to draft a pamphlet for homeowners who are planning projects which will increase their properties’ impervious surface. The pamphlet will give guidance on mitigating the additional runoff.

Mr. Fisher noted that the pamphlet will be needed for all projects under the new stormwater regulations, as all projects, regardless of size, will have to include some stormwater controls.

Green Corner: Ms. Thomas reported that she had forwarded a few tips for the spring newsletter. She will begin gathering some articles for the summer.

Member Comments

Ms. Thomas said that she would send the members a link to the EAC handbook. The members might find it interesting and helpful.

Mr. Bender said that he is interested in researching the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens and in the park. He asked whether the EAC has the ability to enforce any prohibitions.

Mr. Fisher explained that the EAC is an advisory group. The EAC researches and makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. Only the Supervisors can authorize changes to the regulations and ordinances. He noted that the EAC had thoroughly researched wildlife management and had recommended a program which the Supervisors then authorized.

Ms. Thomas suggested that Mr. Bender research pesticides and present his findings to the EAC. The EAC could then present recommendations to the Supervisors.

Public Comment

Resident Jesse Weldenville said that the Bird Town project could have a positive impact on wildlife management, as deer would not roam onto roadways if plantings were adequate.

Mr. Weldenville asked if the EAC had considered the overpopulation of geese as part of the wildlife management project.

Ms. Thomas said that the members had begun some discussion on this but had not proceeded with a formal recommendation. Research was still in preliminary stages.

Ms. Fitzpatrick moved to adjourn at 9:20 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 5-0.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary