Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

FEBRUARY 14, 2001  


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting February 28, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 2/14/01:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 2/14/01 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.  


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, February 14, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Stephen Sanderlin, Vice Chairman Tom Jirele, Treasurer Scott Harp, Secretary Frank Mendicino and Member Raymond Goodnoe.  Also present were:  Planning Commission Chair Karen Doorley, Sycamore Street Committee Chair Vince Lombardi, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Bob Larason, Township Manager Cornell Hopkins and Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs. 

GENERAL INTEREST SECTION

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

INVOCATION:  Given by Pastor Harry Whyte of the More View Bible Church.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

SPECIAL ACTION:

CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK:  Officer Valerie Vogel announced that this is Child Passenger Safety Week, and described the proper installation and fitting of child car seats and restraints.  Officer Vogel has received special training in child passenger safety; she invited residents to bring their child car seats in to the Police Department and have her install them correctly. 

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Hopkins announced that on page 1, the Recreation Board report is deferred to the next meeting; and on page 3 under Routine Business, he will have reports on two requests from the Council Rock Athletic Association and on cash reserve adjustments for last year.

MINUTES & BILLS LIST:

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

WORK SESSION OF 1/15/01:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the 1/15/01 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

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.

BILLS LIST: 

PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $173,255.01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining. 

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Harp moved to approve $317,218.96 in interfund transfers; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

Mr. Harp commented that the Township realized about $70,000 in additional revenues because of changes recommended last year by then Treasurer Tom Jirele and Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:  

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Planning Commission Chair Karen Doorley reported on the Commission’s 2/6/01 meeting, at which they reviewed a preliminary plan for a minor subdivision at 391 Eagle Road.  The applicants propose to divide an approximately seven acre property into two lots.  The applicants will return to the Commission with a revised plan. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS:  Mrs. Doorley said the Commission also discussed their concerns about the lack of Planning Commission input into Zoning Hearing Board decisions.  Mrs. Doorley asked if the Board of Supervisors can establish a procedure in which the Planning Commission can review matters before they come to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mrs. Doorley said the Commission is not asking that applicants be required to appear before them or that consultants be involved in these reviews.  Mr. Sanderlin said he would like to have the Commission’s comments before deciding whether to oppose an application.  He directed Mr. Hopkins to revise the current procedure so that information on Zoning Hearing Board applications is shared with the Planning Commission, to enable the Commission to review and comment on the applications before they are heard by the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mrs. Doorley asked that this procedure take effect in time for the next Planning Commission meeting. 

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE:  Committee Chair Vince Lombardi reported on a “scoping field view” meeting conducted with PennDOT officials and others on 2/13/01.  The group walked the length of Sycamore Street while studying the plans for the project.  Mr. Lombardi said he was impressed by the PennDOT officials’ interest in how the improvements will affect local residents and businesses.  He noted that the staking out of the curb line was very helpful. 

Mr. Lombardi also reported on the Committee’s meeting later on 2/13/01.  They discussed the scoping field view, the present roadway conditions, and the Stockburger expansion plan.  The Committee felt the Stockburger plan will have a positive effect on Sycamore Street. 

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS:  None. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: 

Dick Weaver reported that the First Fourth Committee had its first meeting to plan the event, which will take place on 7/7/01.  Two members have been added to the committee, and there will be new attractions and a scholarship fund.

Jim Bowe reported for the Cable TV Advisory Committee.  He said that Comcast will announce a rate increase tomorrow.  Mr. Bowe said that RCN has been having difficulty because of the failure of Philadelphia to act on their bid to provide services there.  He asked for continued patience and support from the community for the Committee’s efforts to bring competition to cable TV in Newtown.  Mr. Harp read excerpts from an RCN press release announcing that RCN is ending its quest to provide service in Philadelphia, freeing up funds with which they will proceed with constructing their network in suburban towns.  Mr. Sanderlin noted that the Township’s agreement with RCN specifies that service will be provided in 2002.  Mr. Jirele thanked members of the Cable TV Advisory Board for their hard work.

Sue Beasley, a resident of Linton Hill Road, expressed appreciation for Officer Vogel’s presentation.  She asked if the Township could broadcast a video on seat belts that was shown recently at Goodnoe Elementary School.  Mr. Sanderlin said the Township is in the process of obtaining a copy of the video.

Marcy Conti, a resident of Wrightstown Township, asked about the status of the light synchronization project on the Bypass.  Mr. Larason said bids will be opened on 4/15/01 and construction will probably start in the summer or fall of 2001.  Ms Conti asked about the deadline for getting projects onto PennDOT’s 12 year plan.  Mr. Larason responded that he believes the deadline is in the fall.  Ms Conti asked if the meeting with potential contractors for the Swamp Road study has been set; Mr. Jirele responded that it is being discussed, but there is no date yet.

Tom McGowan, a farmer on Twining Road, provided copies of a plan showing a projected road through his property connecting Stoopville Road with the Bypass.  He asked what the Supervisors’ position on this plan is.  Mr. Jirele said he had seen the plan several times, but there never seemed to be much support for it.  Mr. Sanderlin said that there are no plans to construct this road unless Mr. McGowan’s property is developed.  He said that the Township would like Mr. McGowan to continue farming his property, but needs to have a plan for access to the OR District in case the property is sold to a developer.

Glenn Beasley, a Newtown resident, asked about the synchronization project.  Mr. Sanderlin responded that fiber optic cables will be connected with a computer system that will regulate traffic lights on the Bypass according to traffic patterns.  The system should discourage speeders, since the lights will be timed for cars traveling at a reasonable speed. 

Jim Ott, a resident of Stoopville Road, expressed concerns about plans to connect Stoopville Road with the Bypass, the density of proposed development of the Melsky Tract, and plans to widen Stoopville Road.  Mr. Ott also expressed concern about the Township’s request to Toll Brothers to straighten out the sharp curve in Stoopville Road as part of their proposed development of the Melsky Tract.  Mr. Sanderlin said that this change will move the road a little further away from homeowners and improve the safety of the road.  He said he has always opposed connecting Stoopville Road with the Bypass.  Mr. Sanderlin said that the Township can not change the speed limit on Stoopville Road, which is a state road.  Mr. Ott asked how local police departments can gain access to radar speed enforcement equipment.  Mr. Sanderlin said that the Pennsylvania legislature seems to fear that local police departments will “overenforce” and use radar to generate revenue.  Mr. Goodnoe commented that the Bucks County Association of Township Officials has passed a resolution supporting the use of radar by local police departments.  Mr. Ott stated he opposes straightening the curve and widening Stoopville Road or its shoulders.

Marcy Conti said that local governments can help persuade PennDOT to change speed limits on state roads. 

Lisa Kruse, a resident of Stoopville Road, expressed concerns about a development being built in Wrightstown Township very close to her driveway.  She stated that since Wrightstown has no traffic impact fees, there will be no acceleration/deceleration lanes and no road improvements required of the developer.  Ms Kruse said that entering and exiting from her driveway will be very difficult because the developer is seeking access on Stoopville Road.  Mr. Goodnoe said that the acceleration/deceleration lanes could be required by Wrightstown as part of the plan approval process. 

Tom Landell, a resident of Stoopville Road, stated he lives near the sharp turn referred to above.  He said he fears that straightening and widening Stoopville Road will encourage speeding.  Mr. Sanderlin said that the Township plans only a minor improvement, enlarging the shoulders of the road.

Sue Herman, a resident of Lower Makefield, said that the Township’s plans will make Stoopville Road as wide as Route 413, and she does not consider this a minor improvement.  

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS: 

CHAIRMAN: 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL:   Mr. Sanderlin said he was unable to attend the most recent meeting of the Council because of illness. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:

JOINTURE:  Mr. Sanderlin said he was unable to attend this meeting as well.  Mr. Jirele said  that Wrightstown’s auditor will examine the 2000 records for the Jointure.  Mike Frank’s report on the recodification of the JMZO was reviewed.  Mr. Frank suggested clarifying definitions and standardizing the format.  The Jointure also discussed the status of several pending ordinances.

CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE:  Mr. Harp reported that the Committee met on 2/6/01.  They discussed options for funding the Newtown Fire Association, began long term planning for parks, the community center, etc. and reviewed the debit schedule for Township properties. 

MANAGER: 

SNOW REMOVAL:  Mr. Hopkins said that snow removal on 2/5/01 and 2/6/01 was very difficult and took a long time, due to the nature and timing of the snowfall.  He asked residents to be patient when others’ snow problems are addressed before theirs; the Public Works Department follows a plan for clearing snow.

TREASURER:

AUDIT:  Mr. Harp noted that the annual audit will begin next week.

SOLICITOR: 

ZONING HEARING BOARD HEARINGS:  Mr. Harris reviewed the items scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Hearing Board on 2/19/01.  Mr. Harris will attend and represent the Township for the Sunoco application, as he was directed to do previously by the Board of Supervisors.  The Sunoco hearing was continued from the January meeting because of posting and notice problems.

ACME - ASSUMPTION AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris provided a final draft of this agreement which reflects his comments on the initial draft.  Mr. Sanderlin said the Board of Supervisors will review the final draft and consider it at their work session Monday night.

JMZO AMENDMENT - OFFICE-LIGHT INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT:  Mr. Harris provided a copy of the ordinance approving the creation of this district, and a copy of his letter suggesting the form for a motion to adopt the ordinance.  In accordance with Newtown Borough’s request, the Sunoco Station remains zoned for Professional Services.  Mr. Jirele stated he felt the new zone is an excellent idea, but he is opposed to increasing the impervious surface ratio in the LI District and therefore will be voting against adoption. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to adopt an amendment to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance establishing an Office-Light Industrial Zoning District and changing the impervious surface ratio in the Light Industrial Zoning District, and he further moved that the zoning map be amended as depicted on Exhibit “A” to the ordinance amendment, except that Tax Map Parcel #29-10-45-2, the parcel at Washington and Elm Avenues, shall remain PS Professional Services and shall not be rezoned Office-Light Industrial.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting “nay”.

Mr. Harris stated that this ordinance will be considered by Wrightstown at its first meeting in March.

ENGINEER:  No items for this section. 

LAND USE SECTION

 NEW BUSINESS:  None.

OLD BUSINESS:  None. 

OTHER ACTIONS:

ENGINEER: 

CORRESPONDENCE - NEWTOWN OFFICE COMMONS FINAL PLAN:  Mr. Larason provided a copy of Carroll Engineering’s 2/1/01 review letter on the final plan for the Newtown Office Commons.

ESCROW RELEASES: 

NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER:  Mr. Mendicino moved to release $8,192.00 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #2.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

PENNS PRESERVE: Mr. Mendicino moved to release $153,444.60 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #3.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

ST. ANDREWS BRIAR: Mr. Jirele moved to release $48,428.10 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #2.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

EAGLE GLEN PHASE 2: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $40,925.00 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #5.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER:  Mr. Jirele moved to release $14,068.40 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #6.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

EAGLE GLEN PHASE 1A:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $48,080.00 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #6.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

MARIAH’S HILL:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $43,795.92 in escrow funds for this project in accordance with Certificate of Completion #6.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

 WHATLEY MINOR SUBDIVISION - LINENS:  Mr. Larason advised that the linens for this subdivision are ready for the Supervisors’ signature.

SOLICITOR: 

NEW HAVEN REFORESTATION AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris provided a copy of the revised New Haven Reforestation Agreement and stated he believes it is now satisfactory.  He recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve it after it has been signed by the parties involved.  Mr. Hopkins said there is a reference to a “Board-approved plan” which is unclear.  Mr. Harris said he will clarify this.

BED, BATH AND BEYOND CONDITIONAL USE:  Mr. Harris said that his letter summarizing the approval of this conditional use repeated a mistake in the Planning Commission minutes.  Bed, Bath and Beyond has requested that the decision be clarified to include the correct hours of operation, which are 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to amend the conditional use approval of Bed, Bath and Beyond to include the correct hours of operation:  7:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

MANAGER:  No items for this section. 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Hopkins noted that the conditional use application of AT&T Wireless will expire on 2/28/01.  Mr. Harris will contact the applicant and ask them for an extension. 

ROUTINE BUSINESS

 OLD BUSINESS:  None.

 NEW BUSINESS:  None.

 MANAGER:

COUNCIL ROCK NEWTOWN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION REQUESTS:  Mr. Hopkins stated he received two requests from Buck O’Neill of the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association: to renew permission to put eight 24” X 36” advertising signs up on the outfield fence at Chandler Field, and to leave them up during the Little League season instead of taking them down after every game, as currently required.  Several Supervisors said they supported the first request but not the second.

Mr. Harp moved to renew permission granted to the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association to affix advertising signs to the outfield fence of Chandler Field, provided that the Association continues to remove the signs after each game.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

CASH RESERVE ADJUSTMENTS:  Mr. Hopkins reported on unbudgeted expenditures authorized by the Board of Supervisors as essential to the operations of the Township.  These will be allocated from excess funds carried into 2000 from 1999.  The expenditures are $4,500.00 for fireworks at First Night 2000 and $13,267.03 for the Police Management Study. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Sanderlin announced there will be an executive session for matters of personnel and land acquisition, with no need to reconvene the meeting. 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Mendicino moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 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

 

 

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Raymond Goodnoe, Member