Meeting held on November 26, 2012

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, November 26, 2012 at the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were Chairman Autumn Thomas, Vice Chairman Perry Katz, and members Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante, Eric Korn and Pam Fitzpatrick.

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

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Fitzpatrick moved to approve minutes of September 24, 2012 and notes of October 22, 2012 . Mr. Bender seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Ms. Escalante reported that the Coalition has canceled its next meeting and will resume its regular schedule in January. The Coalition sponsored a picnic which was well attended.

Planning Commission: The recording Secretary reported that the Commission reviewed a Zoning Hearing Board application for a 52 townhouse development for the Newtown Swim Club property. As this meeting lacked a quorum, no formal recommendation was made for the Supervisors, however some members did express concern about the impact of the proposed density on infrastructure.

Discussion of Projects

Bird Town: Ms. Thomas reported that the October Bird Town training session has been rescheduled to March 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM. This session will be co-sponsored with Lower Makefield’s EAC. Funds are still $120 short for 2013 membership in Bird Town. Ms. Thomas will be attending a Bird Town summit in Audubon, PA next week. She invited the other members to attend with her. She will try to learn how other groups are being funded.

Mr. Korn offered to seek sponsorship from some of his corporate contacts.

The members discussed ways to promote the benefits of the Bird Town program. The concept is vague and difficult to explain, based on the premise that a bird friendly environment is a healthy environment.

Wildlife Management: The recording secretary reported that, through the Park and Recreation Board, she learned that Eccologix is conducting a hunt at Clark Nature Center. Clark is the only Township property currently included in the hunt.

Ms. Thomas asked that an EAC member take on this project as Mr. McGuigan is no longer on the EAC. There was no response.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante reported that she had submitted materials on winterizing for the next newsletter and would begin to gather information on composting for the spring newsletter.

Quarterly Forums: Mr. Korn said that he would try to organize a topic for the next forum. The members agreed that rather than try to hurry on a program for January, they would concentrate on promoting the Bird Town forum in March and planning a forum for June. The March forum could also be used as a promotion for upcoming forums.

The members discussed natural gas drilling as a possible topic for a June forum. Mr. Katz agreed to plan a draft agenda which would cover all aspects of the issue, including economic issues as well as environmental issues. He would try to avoid political aspects and try to focus on informational presentations only.

Member Comments

Mr. Bender reported that he will be attending a solar energy conference in Australia in December. He will give a report at the January meeting.

Mr. Korn noted that Bird Town and the Newtown Creek Coalition meetings had been canceled, he wondered if the residents are becoming disinterested in environmental concerns.

The recording secretary explained that in November and December, because of holidays and budget planning, the Supervisors and Borough Council schedules are changed, forcing the cancelations or creating difficulty with rescheduling. Park and Recreation has been canceled as has Technology. The next Environmental Advisory Council meeting would be on Christmas Eve and cannot be rescheduled because of the conflicts with other Board meetings.

The members agreed to communicate via e-mail to try to schedule an unofficial meeting, perhaps meeting in a coffee shop or library.

The members discussed using Facebook or LinkedIn to promote the EAC, Bird Town and Quarterly forums. Mr. Korn agreed to research this.

Public Comment

Resident Vera Kaminski said that she read in the newspaper that McCaffrey’s is building a self-sustaining hydroponic farm in Lower Makefield to grow organic lettuce and other vegetables and herbs. She also read that the Phillies are sponsoring solar panels in Lancaster County, but she did not know details about this. She is also planning to attend a conference on energy pricing to help consumers select electricity providers.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary