Meeting held on March 28 , 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, March 28, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Autumn Thomas, Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante and Pam Fitzpatrick, 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 February 28, 2011. Ms. Escalante seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

New Business

Ms. Escalante said that she has seen other municipalities’ EAC Web sites and wondered if Newtown’s could be improved or enhanced to include more information on topics like composting, recycling, hazardous and electronic recycling and native species of plants.

Ms. Thomas said that at one time, former member Aliya Aslam has suggested similar changes. At that time, the Township had agreed that the EAC could have its own Web site with a link on the Township site. It would be up to the EAC to develop such a site.

Ms. Escalante said that she would like the EAC to become more involved in community education. She agreed to write some “Green Corner” articles for the next Township Newsletter.

Ms. Escalante asked whether the EAC is ever involved in new development approvals.

Mr. Fisher reviewed the land development process, which involves professional review by the Township’s engineers and planners as well as by the Planning Commission and Supervisors. The Township’s and Jointure’s ordinances dictate the development of land and the requirements for stormwater management, woodland and riparian protections, etc. The EAC has been asked to comment on a few plans in environmentally sensitive areas.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition would host a presentation on the creek on April 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM at Chancellor Center. The Coalition would discuss future development along the creek and some plans for watershed restoration. The group will circulate a survey among participants in the meeting.

The Coalition has been granted 501(C)3 status and can proceed with grant applications and fundraising efforts on its own and with the Heritage Conservancy.

The Coalition will be sponsoring a clean-up day on April 30, 2011.

Tree Tenders: Ms. Thomas reported that Tree Tenders will be planting trees at Clark Nature Center on April 9, 2011. This volunteer organization has been working in Clark Nature Center on various pruning and trimming projects for some time. They offer free guidance on trees and planting of native species.

Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that he was aware of a number of grant opportunities for trees. He would share his information with Ms. Thomas after the meeting.

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission has begun an in-depth review of the recent Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan Ordinance adopted by the EDP. This act will require residents and developers to mitigate all increases in impervious surface with some type of stormwater management, regardless of the size of the project or the size of the parcel. The Planning Commission is hoping for some help from the EAC in creating some public information literature outlining simple stormwater management tools.

The recording secretary confirmed that she has shared the information provided to the Planning Commission by the Township Engineer with Ms. Thomas to be used in a pamphlet she has been working on.

Discussion of Projects

Wildlife Management: Ms. Escalante said that she would like to help Mr. McGuigan further research goose management.

Pesticide Use: Mr. Bender said that he has begun to research some slow release lawn care pesticides. He will continue with this research and present it to the EAC shortly. It is his hope that he will compile information to present to residents and homeowners associations.

Mr. Bender said that he has received a copy of the film “A Chemical Reaction.” He will screen it for the members at his home shortly. He suggested that once the members have seen the film, a public screening could be organized, perhaps in connection with Earth Day.

The members agreed to plan the screening for Friday evening, April 29, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

The recording secretary agreed to reserve the meeting room and television. She would send notice to the local papers and to the Township Web site.

Bird Town: Ms. Escalante suggested that the members find out whether the bird counts to be part of the Bird Town program would be impacted by the use of backyard feeders.

Ms. Thomas said that she thought the counts would be conducted in summer, while birds are feeding on native plants and people do not usually fill feeders.

Member Comments

Ms. Thomas announced that in addition to the Tree Tenders planting on April 9, the Boy Scouts will be conducting a clean-up at Clark Nature Center on April 2, 2011.

Ms. Thomas said that she will be conducting a class at Clark through Park and Recreation called “Weed Warriors.’ The dates are to be determined, but will be held from 9:00 to noon on Saturday mornings at Clark.

Public Comment

Mr. Sensibaugh said that a number of grants are available through the County for open space preservation projects. He would provide the members with additional information.

Ms. Fitzpatrick moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary