Meeting held on August 22, 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, August 22, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Autumn Thomas, Chairman, Perry Katz, Vice Chairman, Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante, and Pam Fitzpatrick, members.

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

The members agreed that notes taken at the July 25, 2011, which lacked a quorum, were accurate.

New Business

Doug Liebau of Trenton Rescue Mission explained that his organization is a non-profit homeless shelter and substance abuse treatment center which provides some employment to its residents through a recycling and thrift shop program. The goal of the Mission is to transition residents back into society through a residential work/study program. The mission collects recyclables, including clothing and household items, which are either sold in the thrift shop, given away to the needy or further recycled as salvage. The Mission has some partnerships with other organizations, including the Association for the Blind in Newtown.

Mr. Liebau said that the mission is eager to expand its recycling into Newtown with support from the Township. Mission collection boxes could be placed in the Township. Collected tonnage is reported to the Township for recycling grants.

Mr. Katz noted that the Township’s residents use private haulers for their recycling, but perhaps the EAC could include information on the Mission in an article about recycling in the quarterly newsletter. Residents might be unaware that the Mission would pick up used items at their homes.

Mr. Bender said that he thought it might be a good idea to promote the job creation aspect of the Mission.

Ms. Thomas said that the EAC does not have an active role in the Township’s recycling programs, which are handled primarily through the private haulers. She said that if the EAC were to form any kind of partnership with the Mission or any organization, it would first have to be presented to the Board of Supervisors. The EAC does not have authority to permit collection boxes in Township property. Most of the collection boxes she is aware of in the Township are on private property.

The members thanked Mr. Liebau for his presentation and agreed to review the written information he provided and discuss it further on a future agenda.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition has sponsored a successful clean-up day earlier this month. Looking ahead, the Coalition plans to participate in Market Day and will be selling tee shirts.

Planning Commission: The recording secretary reported that the Commission had reviewed and recommended approval for an assisted living facility on the intersection of Durham and Eagle Roads.

gardening and composting. There are groups,

Park and Recreation Board: The recording secretary reported that the Park and Recreation Board had reviewed plans for a pool addition at the NAC and recommended that the Township accept a fee in lieu of open space.

Discussion of Projects

Quarterly Environmental Forums: Ms. Escalante reported that she has begun to research possible topics for quarterly forums. She suggested that perhaps a few of the forums could focus on a particular theme, such as green practices for homes and gardens, including lawn care and such as Tree Tenders and Penn Cooperative Extension, which have programs which could be presented at a forum in the Township.

Mr. Bender said that he would like a forum to focus on passive architectural concepts and benefits of LEED certification. He said that certain practices that are considered “green” can have a negative impact as well.

Ms. Thomas said that Middletown Township’s EAC has organized quarterly forums. Perhaps the EAC could review their agendas for ideas on topics and speakers.

Bird Town: Ms. Thomas reported that the EAC has received a donation from Makefield Friends for $100. Ms. Thomas is planning a fundraising/non-profit table at the Newtown Grant yard sale later in the month to raise additional money for the program. She is expecting some literature from the Audubon Society for the lobby shortly.

Clark Nature Center: Mr. Katz reported that he had completed a grant application for a mini-grant of $500 for greenways through DCNR. Awards would be announced in a few weeks. He had applied for the trails and for some tree plantings.

Wildlife Management: The recording secretary reported that Eccologix would be making a presentation to the Supervisors in September, seeking permission to expand the wildlife management program this fall.

Mr. Bender expressed some concern with the EAC’s position of culling the herd of deer. He said that while there seem to be a number of deer/vehicle accidents in the Township, he would have liked to have seen a comparison with the number of accidents which did not involve deer. The deer are beautiful and peaceful animals and he did not necessarily agree that a wildlife management program is necessary.

Ms. Fitzpatrick said that she grew up in this area and has seen an increase in the size of the herd as development has increased, taking away some of the deer habitat. There are also far fewer hunters than in the past. She has had some personal experience with Eccologix on her neighbors’ properties and feels they are professional and careful and she is supportive of the program.

Ms. Thomas noted that in addition to the traffic accidents, the EAC had documented destruction of the understory in our wooded areas before making its recommendation to allow for the program.

The recording secretary reminded the members that this had been an agenda item since the EAC was formed six years ago. During that time the members had researched the issue, collected data on Newtown as well as surrounding communities, had reviewed the reports of the surrounding communities’ wildlife management programs and had a number of presentations by wildlife biologists. It was only after five years of research that the program was initiated.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante reported that she had submitted a few articles to the Newsletter for the Green Corner including fall and winter home maintenance ideas and information on deer rutting season.

Stormwater Management: Ms. Thomas reported that she has been in contact with Township Engineer Michele Fountain to review information for the stormwater management pamphlet. Ms. Fountain will be attending the September meeting to discuss this further.

Correspondence: Ms. Thomas reported that the EAC had received a letter from a concerned resident about pine trees dying in the Eagleton Farms development and elsewhere in the Township. Ms. Thomas has responded, informing the resident that there have been a number of instances of the use of an herbicide called Impelis, made by DuPont. This herbicide has been recalled because it is killing pines, and there are a number of outstanding legal actions regarding the product.

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

Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary