Meeting held on June 27, 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, June 27, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairmen Autumn Thomas, Sanford Bender, Pam Fitzpatrick and Perry Katz, members. Also in attendance were Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison and Kathy Pawlenko, Director of the Park and Recreation Department.

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Katz moved to approve the minutes of May 23, 2011. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Liaison Reports

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission reviewed the new stormwater regulations prior to their being adopted by the Supervisors. The new regulations, issued by the DEP, require mitigation of all projects which increase impervious surface, regardless of size or of existing impervious ratio. Newtown’s Supervisors agreed that small residential projects would be self-regulated. The Township Engineer has been reviewing the EAC’s pamphlet for stormwater management on small projects. The PC also recently reviewed a zoning application for deer fencing on two residential properties adjacent to Newtown Creek and the Township’s Rockbridge open space. During the review the Bucks County Planning Commission Executive Director reported that some of the rural municipalities in the County have exempted deer fencing from their zoning ordinance.

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition has worked with the Heritage Conservancy on a survey of awareness and use of the creek. The next creek clean-up date is August 6 at 9:00 AM in the Centre Avenue parking lot. The Coalition is planning to host a creek walk as part of Market Day in September.

Discussion of Projects

Clark Nature Center Stewardship Plan: Mr. Katz gave a brief PowerPoint presentation of the Stewardship Plan developed by the Heritage Conservancy. Mr. Katz was looking at the plan with goals of eventually developing a Nature Center similar to Churchville Nature Center, providing a meeting place and educational programming, of connecting the Clark trails to the existing Township trail system and adaptive reuse of the buildings on the property. The Heritage Conservancy report also referenced some forestry activities as a means to generate some revenue for the Nature Center.

To help attain the goals, Mr. Katz said that first the EAC would need to help determine the Township’s vision for use of the property, raise visibility of the property and establish a “Friends of Clark Nature Center” group which could help with maintenance, improvements and fundraising activities.

The members briefly discussed possible fundraising activities. Mr. Bender said that he is a member of Churchville Nature Center. He would recommend that the EAC develop some benefits of membership before seeking enrollment in a friends program.

Mrs. Pawlenko said that before proceeding with any activities, the EAC would need to get the Park and Recreation Board involved. Any presentation to the Supervisors should be done jointly. She then suggested a few ideas for small projects to benefit the park and raise awareness of it as a community asset. She noted that there are an outdoor classroom, bird blind and some bird houses in the park. Perhaps running some recreation programs for pre-schoolers and elementary school children would raise visibility of both the EAC and the park. She offered to promote any programs the EAC might want to attempt in the Township newsletter and in the programming brochure. She suggested that an immediate goal for the park would be to make it more user friendly, by improving the trails, providing more benches, marking certain tree specimens. She is working with the Visitors Bureau on a children’s passport “destination Bucks County.” Clark Nature Center could be included in the map and passport book. She urged the members to consider very small projects as a starting point. She reminded members that the Park and Recreation Board meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

Bird Town: Mrs. Pawlenko again suggested that the EAC sponsor a program or class with the Recreation department as a way to raise some funds and provide information on Bird Town. She outlined some possible baby bird watcher programs for small children as a way to begin. The brochure deadline is in mid-July.

Wildlife Management: Mr. Bender reported that he has spoken to Stephen Saphir of the Audubon Society on goose management. It seems that the geese have become a problem throughout the County.

Member Comments

Mr. Bender reported that he would be attending a Bucks/Montgomery EAC program on vertical farming.

Mr. Bender moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary