Meeting held on February 27, 2012

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, February 27, 2012 in the Township Main Meeting Room. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Autumn Thomas, Vice Chairman Perry Katz, Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante and Pam Fitzpatrick, members. Also in attendance was Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order: Ms. Thomas called the meeting to order at 7:40 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Katz moved to accept the minutes of January 23, 2011. Ms. Escalante seconded and the motion passed 3-0-2, with Mr. Katz and Ms. Thomas abstaining.

Quarterly Forum Planning: The members walked through the building discussing locations for adult and children’s meetings and arrangement of rooms. Ms. Escalante and Mr. Katz agreed to arrive before 9:30 AM to review set-up for refreshments. Mr. Fisher would help with use of projector/screen for PowerPoint presentations. Mrs. Fitzpatrick would bring art supplies and name tags for children’s program.

The agenda for the day was set:

  • 10:00 AM arrival, welcome
  • 10:10 AM Bonnie Tobin/DCNR presentation
  • 10:50 AM Newtown Creek Coalition
  • 11:20 AM Tree Tenders
  • 11:50 Wrap Up

Ms. Fitzpatrick explained that the children would be in the community room working on an activity lead by Ms. Tobin called “everyone lives downstream.” This program involves creating a series of posters which connect to one another to show the life along a stream. Presentation of the finished project could be part of the wrap-up.

Ms. Thomas noted that DCNR had forwarded an e-mail blast to its master list of surrounding EAC’s and other interested environmental groups. She was optimistic that the event would have a good turnout.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Mrs. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition has been granted 501(C)(3) status by the IRS, so contributions are now tax deductible. The Coalition has become a participant in efforts to preserve the integrity of the Centre Avenue Bridge, which is scheduled for major repairs by PennDOT. There is concern that the historic bridge, built in 1796, might be rebuilt rather than preserved during the repair. The Coalition has also reached out to Pennswood Village in Middletown to discuss ongoing efforts to preserve the creek.

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Commission has recently reviewed a planned expansion for Goodnoe Elementary School, but did not make any formal recommendation, as the project may need zoning relief for existing non-conformities.

Park and Recreation Board: The recording secretary reported that the Park and Recreation Board heard a presentation from Spartans Cricket Club about building a pitch in a Township park. The Board was supportive and the Club went to the Board of Supervisors with the Park and Recreation Director and Chairman and were given the go-ahead to build a pitch in Silver Lake Park. A Newtown family has been raising funds to build a playground in Veterans Park in memory of their infant son. They have raised enough money for the equipment and the Park and Recreation Board agreed to apply for matching funds from the County’s open space program to complete the project.

EAC Projects

Bird Town: Ms. Thomas reported that the Bird Towns signs have arrived and she will be working with Interim Public Works Director Ron Weaver on placement of the signs. She has posted information on the Bird Town workshop on the Township Web site. She will be attending and hopes some interested residents will also attend.

Clark Nature Center: Mr. Katz reported that he has submitted his final report for the Growing Greener Grant. Copies had been e-mailed to the members in advance of his submission. He is looking at other grant opportunities for the park. He is also drafting an appeal for a “friends of Clark Nature Center” group to form in the Township and will aim to include it in the next Township newsletter.

Mr. Bender said that it is important to plant trees in locations where they can help prevent erosion.

Stormwater Pamphlet: Ms. Thomas reported that the pamphlet will have to be modified to reflect recent changes to the stormwater ordinance.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante reported that she would be including information of eco-friendly cleaning products and the “friends of Clark” update. She would also like to include an article on the upcoming forum and an announcement on the next forum, possibly a June forum on gardening.

Member Comments

Mr. Bender noted the increase in storms in recent years and their impact on rivers and streams. He has been researching the impact of the weather on flooding along the Delaware River. He would like to propose a workshop on preparing for storms to avoid damage from run-off. He would like the EAC to research grant opportunities for public education on stormwater management, climate change and disaster preparedness.

Ms. Escalante said this might be a good topic for a quarterly forum and encouraged Mr. Bender to research this further.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary