Meeting held on September 24, 2012

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, September 24, 2012 at the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were members Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante, Pam Fitzpatrick and Eric Korn. Also in attendance was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Ms. Escalante moved to accept the minutes of August 27, 2012. Ms. Fitzpatrick seconded and the motion passed 4-0. .

Old Business

Quarterly Forum: Ms. Escalante reviewed the June 2, 2012 quarterly forum. She noted attendance of about a dozen residents. The topics included Bird Town, organic gardening and landscaping.

Ms. Escalante said she would begin planning the next forum shortly with a goal of having a fall or winter topic.

Mr. Fisher said that Township Engineer Michele Fountain would be interested in attending a future forum. He suggested that stormwater management could be a topic of interest to residents with Ms. Fountain as a speaker.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Escalante reported that at the September meeting, members discussed proposed improvements by PennDOT to the Tamara Farm Bridge on Swamp Road. A group of residents have been actively opposed to the proposal and were interested in learning how the Creek Coalition worked with PennDOT to stop the Centre Avenue Bridge plans from moving forward.

Mr. Fisher said that he has been part of the residents group opposed to the Tamara Farm Bridge project. The group does not want the road or bridge expanded, just repaired for safety’s sake.

The Coalition will have a table at Market Day and will sell tee shirts as part of its fundraising efforts.

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Commission had not met in September, but did comment unofficially on a Zoning Hearing Board application seeking to keep pigs and chickens as pets on a non-conforming lot in the R-1 medium density residential zoning district. The next meeting will be the final review of the two energy ordinances, which set guidelines for use of solar energy and wood fired boilers.

Park and Recreation Board: The recording secretary reported that the Board had approved an Eagle Scout project to restore the Clark Nature Center rhododendron garden. The Board was very excited by the Scout proposal, as restoration of the garden had been a highlight of the Clark Stewardship Plan created by the Heritage Conservancy.


Stormwater Management Pamphlet: Mr. Korn provided copies of the final draft of the pamphlet and said that he would forward it to Township Engineer Michele Fountain for final approval. Once approved, it could be printed in small quantities as needed and provided to residents seeking permits for small projects which will increase impervious surface.

Bird Town/Quarterly Forum: Ms. Escalante reported that Bird Town training will be the focus of the next quarterly forum, set for October 20, 2012 in the main meeting room, from 9:30 until 2:00 PM. No special room set-up is required. She would send press releases to the Advance, Newtown Patch and Bucks County Courier Times. The projector and screen will be needed.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante reported that the next deadline is late November. She would like to have a report on the Bird Town training and an update on wildlife management.

Public Comment

Resident Vera Kaminski provided information on a sustainability forum her friend hosted in Michigan and suggested this might be a topic of interest for Newtown or Bucks County EAC’s to investigate. She said that Frenchtown New Jersey would be hosting a “green festival” on Saturday, which might be of interest to members.

Ms. Kaminski provided copies of a checklist found on Oprah Winfrey’s Website. The checklist points out both home energy measures and health issues. The members were eager to review the checklist and possibly edit it for the Green Corner, as some of the suggested energy saving measures are fairly easy to implement and of no cost.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary