Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

January 24, 2001  


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting February 14, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 1/24/01:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the 1/24/01 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously, with Mr. Sanderlin abstaining. 


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, January 24, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors: Vice Chairman Tom Jirele, Treasurer Scott Harp, Secretary Frank Mendicino and Member Raymond Goodnoe.  Also present were: Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires, Planning Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Tom Gockowski, Township Manager Cornell Hopkins and Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs.

 GENERAL INTEREST SECTION 

CALL TO ORDER:  Vice Chairman Tom Jirele called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence. 

INVOCATION:  Given by Messianic Rabbi Judy Madans of the Lion of Judah Church.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mr. Jirele announced that he will be chairing the meeting, as Chairman Stephen Sanderlin is ill. 

SPECIAL ACTION:

RESOLUTION 2001-6 - Thomas Bailey, Eagle Scout:  Mr. Jirele presented a resolution honoring Thomas Bailey of BSA Troop 43, who recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.  For his service project, Thomas reset the gravestones at the Newtown Presbyterian Church.

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Hopkins announced that on page two under the HARB report there will be two Certificates of Appropriateness to consider; also on page two, the Manager will have a report on snow removal; on page three under Routine Business the Manager will report on a plan extension for the Kramer subdivision, and make an announcement about brownfields cleanup; there will be an executive session regarding pending litigation following the meeting; and Oakleaf LLP, listed under the Planning Commission report, is now known as Autumn Leaf Development Incorporated. 

MINUTES & BILLS LIST:

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

ORGANIZATION MEETING OF 1/2/01:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the organization meeting of 1/2/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

REGULAR MEETING OF 1/10/01:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 1/10/01 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST:   

PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $161,055.62; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Harp moved to approve $6,534.99 in interfund transfers; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS: 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Allen Fidler, Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission, reported on their 1/16/01 meeting.  The Commission reviewed the conditional use application of LaStalla Restaurant in the Village at Newtown South, and recommended approval.  The Commission also briefly discussed the JMZO Amendment creating the O-LI District.  Mr. Goodnoe was present and discussed the Sustaining Newtown meetings.  Mr. Fidler said he went to the first meeting on 1/18/01 and found it worthwhile.

CONDITIONAL USE - LASTALLA RESTAURANT - VILLAGE AT NEWTOWN SOUTH - TMP# 29-10-85-6:  Frank Cipullo and Attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss the application for Use E-5, Eating Place.  The applicants propose to operate a Tuscan style family restaurant on the first floor of the Lovett Barn.  No liquor license is being sought.  There will be deliveries in the mornings, including a few large trucks.  Mr. Marshall stated the applicants will screen the dumpster.  In accordance with the Planning Commission letter of 1/17/01, there will be no outdoor music unless a permit is obtained for a special event.  Mr. Marshall noted that the building was reviewed and approved by HARB when the Workbench went in on the second floor; the applicant understands that any further exterior changes must be reviewed by HARB.  The outdoor seating area will be approximately 20 feet by 80 feet.  The applicants agree to the conditions recommended in the Planning Commission letter of 1/17/01.  Mr. Jirele asked for public comment; there was none. 

Mr. Harp moved to approve the conditional use application of LaStalla Restaurant, subject to the conditions recommended in the Planning Commission’s 1/17/01 letter, and provided that exterior changes will be reviewed by HARB.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE - AUTUMN LEAF DEVELOPMENT INC. (AKA OAKLEAF LLP) - 413 OFFICE CENTER:  Mr. Jirele opened the hearing on this application.  There was no one present to speak for the applicants, and no public comment.

Mr. Harp moved to continue the conditional use application for the 413 Office Center to the 2/28/01 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

RECREATION BOARD:  Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the Board’s 1/3/01 meeting, at which he was re-elected Chairman.  The Board met a new Recreation Department employee, Michael Laing, reviewed a refund policy, heard an update on plans for First Night and approved a Facilities Usage agreement.

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS: 

NEWTOWN AMBULANCE SQUAD:  Mr. Harp praised the Squad’s work, and encouraged residents to support the squad financially. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: 

Dr. Joe Ugras and Jim Bowe, members of the Cable TV Advisory Board, gave a brief update on their work.  They noted there is currently an opening on the Board.  The issues they are working on now include:  improvement of the educational channel lineup; problems with the rebuild of Comcast; and developing a performance standard for all utility devices.  Dr. Ugras thanked the Board of Supervisors and the Township staff for their advice and support.

Rich Di Lello of Lower Makefield spoke of problems relating to planned expansion of the Mercer County Airport, which will affect residents of several municipalities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Newtown Township.  Mr. Di Lello asked the Board of Supervisors to consider passing a resolution asking that the airport be required to obtain an Environmental Impact Statement.  Mr. Jirele said the Board will study the materials Mr. Di Lello provided and will discuss them at a future work session.

George Van der Horn, a Township resident, gave the Board a petition, signed by over 300 people, asking for safety improvements on the entire length of Swamp Road.  He thanked the Board for undertaking the Swamp Road Corridor study with Wrightstown Township.

Jim Ott, a resident of Stoopville Road, described the hazardous and noxious conditions caused by the truck traffic on his road.  He spoke against widening Stoopville Road because he felt this will only encourage speeding.  Mr. Ott expressed concern about an article in the Courier Times which he understood to imply that the Township is planning to link Stoopville and Silver Lake Road; Mr. Jirele assured him that there are no such plans.  Mr. Ott also asked how he can get a copy of the letter about the Interstate 95 ramp sent by the Board to Lower Makefield; Mr. Hopkins responded that he can call the Township office for a copy.  Mr. Ott then asked about plans for the Melsky Tract, and expressed concerns about wetlands on the property.  Mr. Jirele responded that the tract is still owned by the School District.  No formal site plans have been submitted to the Township, although Toll Brothers presented a sketch plan to the Board of Supervisors at a recent work session.  Mr. Harris explained the restrictions on development in the Conservation Management zone. 

Victoria Bowe, a resident of Tyler Walk, thanked the Township for the First Night celebration and expressed the hope that it will continue as an annual event.  She also thanked the Public Works Department for their recent snow removal work.  Ms Bowe added that she agrees with other residents who have spoken about the hazardous driving conditions on Swamp Road. 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:

CHAIRMAN: 

BOARD WORK SESSION:  Mr. Jirele reported on the Board work session of 1/15/01.  Representatives of the Newtown Place Homeowners’ Association are seeking a sound barrier along the Bypass.  The Board of Supervisors suggested they contact residents of other developments along the Bypass to assess the extent of noise problems in the area.  The Board met with Toll Brothers about the McLaughlin Tract, and discussed plans for expanding the municipal building.  There was an executive session regarding personnel matters.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE:  Mr. Jirele presented two applications for Certificates of Appropriateness. 

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - TYROL - 223 NORTH SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition of a portion of Frank and John Tyrol’s building at 223 North Sycamore Street, in accordance with HARB’s recommendations.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - MINK (PRO-DENT) - 219 NORTH SYCAMORE STREET:   Mr. Harp moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for a new building on Gary Mink’s property at 219 North Sycamore Street, in accordance with HARB’s recommendations.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE:   Mr. Harp reported on the Committee’s 1/22/01 meeting, at which they heard a presentation on the history of the Clark property.  A portrait of Mr. Clark was given to the Township.  The property is to be used as a nature preserve, and the Township is seeking volunteers to help maintain it.  Mr. Harp also stated that the Shade Tree Committee is working on getting grants to purchase trees for Township parks.  Mr. Harp said that Allen Fidler has been very helpful in this work.

MAIN STREET VISIONING MEETING:  Mr. Goodnoe reported on the first visioning meeting, held on 1/18/01 at Goodnoe Elementary School.   It was attended by about 50 persons, about half from the Borough.  Many good ideas were offered for shaping the economic future of the Newtown area.  A list of possible objectives was generated by the group.  The next meeting will focus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

MANAGER:   

SNOW REMOVAL:  Mr. Hopkins reported that Township crews did a good job of snow removal during and after the recent storms, but their efforts were hampered by the presence of parked cars and trucks on the streets.  He urged residents to park in their driveways whenever possible during a snow storm. 

TREASURER:  No items for this section.

SOLICITOR: 

ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING 2/1/01:  Mr. Harris reviewed the hearings scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board and asked if he should attend and oppose any applications.

ANDREW AND MARGARET SPEAKER - 7 BALSAM COURT:  No concerns raised.

BRANDYWINE REALTY TRUST - BYPASS AND LINDENHURST ROAD:  Mr. Mendicino noted that the Board of Supervisors reviewed the applicant’s signage plans and had no objection to what was presented at that time.  Mr. Hopkins will inform Mr. Harwood of this comment. 

PHEASANT POINT ASSOCIATES - EAGLE ROAD:  Mr. Hopkins commented that this appeal concerns a very technical dispute between the applicant and Mr. Harwood.  Mr. Harris said he will investigate the dispute.  If he finds that Mr. Harwood is correct, Mr. Harris can attend the hearing and advocate for Mr. Harwood’s position; if he finds that Mr. Harwood is not correct, Mr. Harris will attempt to settle the dispute outside of the hearing.  This was acceptable to the Supervisors.

Mr. Mendicino moved to direct the Solicitor to attend the 2/1/01 Zoning Hearing Board meeting and defend the ordinance in this appeal, pending his investigation of the issue.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

SUN COMPANY - WASHINGTON AND ELM AVENUES:  Mr. Goodnoe noted this property is part of a parcel of Township land which is surrounded by the Borough.  He recommended that the Solicitor determine how the Borough views this application. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to direct the Solicitor to attend the 2/1/01 Zoning Hearing Board meeting, consult with Newtown Borough, and defend the ordinance in this appeal.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

ENGINEER: 

SWAMP ROAD TRAFFIC STUDY:  Mr. Gockowski provided copies of a 1/12/01 letter from Carroll Engineering to the Township regarding their review of four proposals received for the Swamp Road Corridor Study.  Carroll Engineering’s recommendation is to interview Urban Engineers, with McMahon Associates as a second option.  Mr. Goodnoe said he preferred Orth-Rogers as a second choice.  Mr. Harris suggested a joint meeting with Wrightstown, which is also sponsoring the study, to interview the top two contractors.  Mr. Jirele said he will contact Wrightstown and see how they want to proceed.

Steve Hutchins, a resident of Stoopville Road, asked why the Township was undertaking this study when PennDOT recently completed a traffic study of Swamp Road.  Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe explained that the Corridor Study will be more comprehensive; it will look at many different aspects of Swamp Road, and it will look at the portions of the road in both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships.   It will also include specific recommendations for safety improvements.  Mr. Hutchins said he wants to see the speed limits lowered on Swamp Road; Mr. Jirele responded that the Township does not have the authority to do so.

Jim Ott asked if trucks could be prevented from using “jake brakes” on Stoopville Road.  Mr. Harris said that the Township has a noise ordinance, and he will check to see if it covers jake brakes or if it could be amended to cover them.  

Mark Shablin, a resident of Wrightstown, thanked the Supervisors for initiating the Swamp Road study.  He supported Mr. Ott’s and Mr. Hutchins’ comments.

Bill Peterson, a resident of Swamp Road, expressed concerns about truck traffic on his road.

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE OVER ROUTE 413:  Mr. Gockowski provided copies of Carroll Engineering’s 1/12/01 letter to the Township regarding a cost estimate for a bridge that would connect the Woll Tract with the nature preserve.  He noted that the high estimated cost ($354,500) is mostly attributable to ADA requirements.

STOOPVILLE ROAD AND LINTON HILL ROAD INTERSECTION:  Mr. Gockowski provided copies of Carroll Engineering’s 1/12/01 letter to Upper Makefield Township concerning the proposed four way stop signs.  He stated that no response has been received to date.

SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Gockowski provided copies of McMahon Engineering’s 12/4/00 letter regarding up to $2,050 worth of supplemental engineering services to provide survey stakeout to assist the Newtown Artesian Water Company with their work.  The Sycamore Street Committee has approved this request.  Mr. Jirele noted that where the letter mentions “the right side” of Sycamore Street it means the east side.  He felt it will be good to show residents where the curb line will be.

Mr. Mendicino moved to approve Addendum #2, as described in McMahon Engineering’s 12/4/00 letter, for supplemental engineering services not to exceed $2,050.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

 

LAND USE SECTION

NEW BUSINESS:  None.

OLD BUSINESS:  None.

OTHER ACTIONS:

ENGINEER:

CERTIFICATES OF COMPLETION:

NEWTOWN RAQUET CLUB CHILDREN’S ADDITION:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $25,470.31 in escrow funds for the Newtown Racquet Club Children’s Addition, based on Certificate of Completion #1.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $97,830.31 in escrow funds for the Newtown Shopping Center, based on Certificate of Completion #5.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER:  Mr. Mendicino moved to release $20,072.36 in escrow funds for the Newtown Rental Center, based on Certificate of Completion #1.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

SOLICITOR: 

AMENDMENT TO JMZO - MEDICAL OFFICES IN THE VC-1 AND VC-2 ZONING DISTRICTS:  Mr. Harris provided copies of the proposed amendment adding medical offices (Use D-2) as a permitted use in the V-1 and V-2 Districts.  The amendment has been approved by the Jointure and advertised for adoption at tonight’s meeting.  Mr. Harris commented that the Township does not have V-1 or V-2 Districts. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to adopt JMZO Amendment 2001-01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

MANAGER:  No items for this section. 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Hopkins noted that the Blockbuster application should not be on the plan expiration list, since the Board of Supervisors denied it at their last meeting.

 

ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION

 OLD BUSINESS:  None.

 NEW BUSINESS:  None.

 MANAGER:

 KRAMER SUBDIVISION:  Mr. Hopkins reported that the Kramer subdivision plans are not ready for review, and the applicant has asked for an extension to 4/4/01.  Mr. Harris commented that the legal issues surrounding this application seem to be coming to an end, so 4/4/01 is a realistic expiration date.

BROWNFIELDS CLEANUP:  Mr. Hopkins announced that the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority has received an EPA grant to help clean up brownfields, which can include oil spill or gasoline spills.  Any resident interested in applying for these funds can contact the Redevelopment Authority.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Jirele stated the Supervisors will meet in executive session for matters of personnel, and will not return to the regular meeting.

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Harp moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM. 

 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED: 

 

_____________________________

Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

 

Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______

 

 

_____________________________

Stephen D. Sanderlin, Chairman

 

 

_____________________________

Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman

 

 

_____________________________

Scott R. Harp, Treasurer

 

 

_____________________________

Frank Mendicino, Secretary

 

 

_____________________________

Raymond Goodnoe, Member