PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF MARCH 3, 2010
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, March 22, in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were Chairman Jay McGuigan, Vice Chairman Pam Fitzpatrick (late) Dennis Annarelli, Walt Leck and Autumn Thomas, members. Also present was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Thomas moved to moved to accept the minutes of February 22, 2010. Mr. Leck seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Tree Tenders: Ms. Thomas reported that she met with Tree Tenders member Barley Van Cleef and Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko to plan the Tree Tenders workshop on September 23, 30 and October 14, 2010. The three classes will be held in the main meeting room. Advance registration is required for the free seminar, which will demonstrate tree pruning and planting. Trees around the municipal complex will be pruned and a new tree will be planted on the site.
During the meeting, Mrs. Pawlenko discussed some rare specimen magnolia and rhododendrons at the Clark Nature Center which are in need of some care. Tree Tenders organized an event for the following Saturday, at which Ms. Thomas led a group of tree tenders in trimming and pruning the magnolia. Ms. Thomas said that she also discussed working with the Park and Recreation Board to form a “friends of the park” group to help with some of the work needed to protect and preserve the plants at Clark Nature Center, as was outlined in the Heritage Conservancy report. Ms. Thomas said that she will serve as EAC liaison at the next Park and Recreation meeting to discuss this partnership effort further.
Tire Storage: Mr. McGuigan said that he has noticed some residents stockpiling old tires on their properties. He has concerns about the environmental impact, particularly as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so would like information on the appropriate way to dispose of the tires.
Mr. Leck said that his business will pick up old tires, but there would be a charge.
Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan provided the members with copies of his wildlife management report, which shows all of the data he has collected on the increased incidents of deer/vehicle collisions over the past eight years. He noted that the number of accidents has been increasing by about 23% annually. He said that he would be reporting to the Board of Supervisors at the first April meeting and would like to ask the Board to authorize the EAC to proceed in getting estimates for a controlled hunt, as all of the EAC research seems to indicate that non-lethal methods of wildlife management have been ineffectual. He would like Board input on which parcels to be included in the estimate.
Mr. McGuigan moved to ask the Board of Supervisors to authorize the EAC to get estimates from wildlife management firms. Dr. Annarelli seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. McGuigan referred the members to the tax maps in the report, noting that many of the Township owned parcels are in close proximity to large, undeveloped parcels owned by the School District and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. These parcels are all located along the roads with the highest incidents. Perhaps with Board approval the EAC could work with these property owners to gain access for a hunt.
Mr. Leck expressed some concern about a hunt on Township owned parcels on opposite sides of Durham Road, which is heavily traveled.
David Kimble of Big Oak Whitetail Association was in attendance to discuss a recent Bucks County Courier Times article denigrating the success of Lower Makefield’s bow hunt. It was Lower Makefield’s contention that the bow hunt caused the sharpshooting efforts of White Buffalo to be much less successful than anticipated. Mr. Kimble reviewed the procedures followed by Big Oak while hunting Five Mile Woods for a period of a few weeks prior to the sharpshooting, as required by the State Fish and Game Commission. He noted that the bow hunting had been very successful and had met Lower Makefield’s goals of controlling the herd and providing local hunters with an opportunity to enjoy the sport. Lower Makefield was not charged by Big Oak for the opportunity to hunt on public lands. In response to Mr. McGuigan’s questions, Mr. Kimble agreed to forward to the EAC any available research he has on “compensatory rebound” which theory claims that when the herd is culled, the remaining healthy deer produce more than the typical number of offspring, thereby replenishing the herd. Mr. Kimble said that this theory does not appear to be supported by available scientific data.
Energy Conservation: The recording secretary reported that the Township Manager has applied for a grant for a wind turbine for the new public works building, but the awards have not yet been announced.
Green Corner: Ms. Thomas reported that she will prepare some spring/summer information for the Green Corner in the summer newsletter, which will be published in June.
Newtown Creek Coalition: ms. Fitzpatrick reported that the Coalition is planning some 325 th Anniversary of Newtown events at the Centre Avenue bridge. The Coalition has outlined some goals, including more and easier pedestrian crossings of the creek, particularly a pedestrian crossing at Greene Street. The Coalition is working on a master plan to encourage some public/private partnerships. A tour of the historic areas along the creek is planned by Jeffrey Marshall on June 11. The organization is also seeking 501(c)(3) status.
Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the Planning Commission has recently reviewed a number of Zoning Hearing Board applications for residential expansions requiring increased impervious surface. The Commission has been trying to advise the applicants to consider stormwater management as part of their plans. He suggested that perhaps the EAC could offer some advice on mitigating the impact of increased impervious surface through simple measures such as rain barrels.
Ms. Thomas said that one very effective way to deal with increased run off would be tree planting.
Correspondence: The recording secretary provided copies of correspondence among a concerned resident, the Township Codes Department, the Township Engineer, BCCD and DEP regarding run off from a soil stockpile along the Neshaminy Creek in Tyler Park. The issue was resolved quickly.
The recording secretary provided copies of an invitation to an EAC workshop/summit to be held in May in Doylestown.
Other Business: Ms. Fitzpatrick said that she has prepared a brief presentation on watersheds but would reschedule for the April meeting due to the late hour.
Dr. Annarelli moved to adjourn at 9:40 PM. Mr. Leck seconded and the motion passed 5-0.