Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

February 19, 2001  

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting March 14, 2001. WORK SESSION OF 2/19/01:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 2/19/01 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously with Mr. Mendicino abstaining.

Members Present:            Steve Sanderlin, Chairman; Tom Jirele, Vice Chairman; Scott R. Harp, Treasurer; Raymond W. Goodnoe, Member; Steve Harris, Township Solicitor; Ken Yerger, Township Engineer; Cornell Hopkins, Township Manager. 

Call to Order:            Mr. Sanderlin called the meeting to order at 8:15 PM.   

Executive Session was held before the meeting, for matters of personnel.

Item 2 was removed from the agenda. 

Land Use 

Penns Preserve  Lot #7 – Mike Vesey, Orleans Corporation

Mike Vesey has requested a limited disturbance of the amount woodlands on Lot #7 for the construction of a swimming pool.  This involves a revision of the tree protection area on Lot #7; a letter from Ken Yerger (Carroll Engineering) dated 2/12/01 states that the revision falls within the zoning requirements for Woodland disturbance.  A revised plan will need to be approved and signed by the board of supervisors.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the amendment to the final plan.  Mr. Harp seconded; the motion carried unanimously.  Mr. Harris asked if there were any conditions, such as a requirement to replace trees; there are no conditions.

Acme – Assignment and Assumption Agreement

Mr. Harris presented the lease agreement with Acme, and said that by signing this agreement the township would assume all responsibilities of the landlord.  There is a provision for a 60-day due diligence review period in which surveys, site analysis, environmental studies, etc. are allowed.  If the board decides it does not wish to proceed in this period, it is free to opt out.  There is a provision for a 90 day extension of the review period if needed, which is possible in the case of invasive testing. 

Mr. Harp asked if there was anything the township should be careful of; Mr. Harris answered that it may depend on whether the ultimate decision is to purchase the property or not.  If only the lease is assumed, there are concerns as responsibilities of the landlord involve the condition of the property when it is turned back.  Mr. Harris said the decision to purchase should be made before the lease is signed.

Mr. Jirele said that the township should handle this as if it is a 5-year lease situation; Mr. Harris said that a site inspection is needed first.  Mr. Harris had greater concerns over the indemnity language.  He said that if this is a purchase situation,  there are not big concerns and this would be a very attractive lease. 

Mr. Hopkins said that if all goes as expected the township would

·         have the mechanical, roof and wells inspected

·         get two independent appraisals of the property

·         get a 90 day extension of the due diligence period if it proceeds to Phase 2 environmental review

·         want to consider uses in order to check for the realistic possibility of these uses.

Mr. Hopkins said that the township has a copy of the original lease.

Mr. Harris said that the lease has been renewed for 5 years.  He said that Phase 1 environmental review involves a literature search, Phase 2 is more invasive and would require an extension of the review period.  Mr. Yerger said it would take several weeks to mobilize both Phase 1 and Phase 2. 

Mr. Hopkins said that if the board indicated its approval, he would set up contracts and schedule due diligence inspectors.  Mr. Harris said that Acme has the right to refuse inspections.

Mr. Harris said that if the board approved the agreement in form, he would finalize the language.  Mr. Jirele said he would like an estimate of the funding necessary to fix the building/property before returning it to the owner.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to authorize Mr. Harris to finalize the agreement with Acme, and to authorize Mr. Hopkins to schedule inspections.  The building inspector should be instructed to assess the current condition/flaws and to review and estimate funding necessary to return the property to the owner at the end of the lease.  Mr. Jirele seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Beasley asked if there was anything in the lease concerning how Acme must leave the building, such as leaving the coolers.  Mr. Harris said that Acme would make all maintenance records and other information available to the township.  Walter Leck noted that the township should check for transformers with PCB’s on the property, as special people are needed to remove them; some older stores have had such transformers.

Mr. Harp asked Mr. Hopkins to estimate operating expenses, such as utilities, for the Acme building. 

MADD – Letter of Request

The board had previously been presented with a request from MADD to build a memorial at Silver Lake Park, to be built on township property with MADD funds. 

Mr. Harris noted the following considerations:

·         If the board allows the memorial, they would need to treat other groups equally in the future

·         There are liability issues, as the only access to the memorial would be across township land.

·         Who would maintain and be responsible for the memorial?

Mr. Harris said that he has received another letter asking for a decision by the board.

Mr. Harris said that the township cannot support with funding a memorial or organization.  Mr. Hopkins said that $25,000 has been set aside for parking at a future date, including 10-20 parking spaces and sign, and that the Newtown Trail will come in at the other side.

Mr. Sanderlin cited a precedent of organizations erecting structures on township land (ex: little league put up a snack bar and backstops). These structures were then given to the township. 

Mr. Goodnoe suggested the board adopt a policy to not allow private organizations to erect structures on township property.  Mr. Hopkins said that the township might wish to allow money to be given to the Recreation Department for structures as an alternative; only the township could build on township parks. 

Mr. Goodnoe said that the response to MADD should be that no private organization may build on township land, and that a policy should be developed. 

Mr. Harris said it would be acceptable to deny the request and then direct the Park and Open Space Committee to draft a policy.  Mr. Harp asked Mr. Harris to forward a draft of suggested parameters to him by Friday.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to respectfully deny the request of MADD to build a monument in Silver Lake Park.  Mr. Harp seconded.  Mr. Sanderlin said he was disappointed that a township needs to consider such issues, as drunk driving is such a large problem, and that it was too bad the township needed to decline the request.  Mr. Jirele, Mr. Harp and Mr. Goodnoe voted yes; Mr. Sanderlin opposed; the motion carried. 

Pheasant Pointe – Zoning Hearing Board Matter

Mr. Harris said he wanted to clarify the issue going before the ZHB.  A portion of the development is zoned CM and a portion lies in an R-1 district.  It was pointed out to the developer that, given the impervious surface limit, there was a limit to the size of the houses that could be built in R1 that would meet the impervious surface requirements.  The developer came to Tom Harwood, who said that the requested houses did not meet the zoning code for R1.  Mr. Harwood took the issue to the ZHB. 

The developer has submitted an application for a variance, asking that they be allowed to subtract the additional impervious surface amount required for the houses they want in the R1 from the CM portion.  Mr. Harris said that Mr. Harwood is correct in his assessment of impervious surface; there is no question that a variance is required. 

Objection to the variance would mean that the houses could be as small as 1600 sq. feet.  The developer is looking for additional impervious surface per lot.  Mr. Yerger suggested that if the development accessed Eagle Road there would be less impervious surface to figure.  Mr. Jirele suggested that if the developer eliminated one house they could meet the impervious surface requirement; he said that they should have seen this problem earlier.

 The consensus of the board was to object to the variance, and they instructed Mr. Harris to oppose the variance at the ZHB meeting.

Tom Salvadore noted that the issue had been clearly explained to the developer at a prior meeting. 

Applebee’s – ZHB Matter

Mr. Harris distributed a sketch of Applebee’s that reflected the decision of the ZHB.  Applebee’s has presented a settlement proposal that eliminates the etched windows and has only 3 windows, 21.92 sq. ft. each, facing south, west and north – no sign on the east.  One of their proposed signs would have beaded lighting.  Mr. Jirele asked if the beaded lighting had been allowed by the ZHB; Mr. Harris said that it was not discussed, but that Mr. Harwood has ruled the beading lighting meets the code.  Ellie Campbell asked if Applebee’s planned to have one of their traditional large apple signs; it was pointed out that if they did it would have to be included in one of their three proposed signs.

Mr. Harris said that he favored the decision of the ZHB over the proposed settlement agreement; Mr. Jirele agreed.  The consensus of the board was that the settlement proposal was not acceptable; if the township loses the ZHB decision would stand.

ISTEA Trail/Sewer Manhole

Mr. Harris said that there is some concern over a manhole on the trail.  The township doesn’t need Sewer Authority concerning the trail location, but a manhole on the trail could cause someone to trip.  The Authority is asking the township to indemnify it from such accidents.  Mr. Harris said that there is nowhere in the township where the trail will be exclusively over a sewer authority right of way.   There may be some room to move the trail so that won’t be over a manhole.  The board agreed that this would be a good idea if there is sufficient right of way.

 Mr. Yerger said that the trail could probably avoid the manhole on Upper Silver Lake Road.  Mr. Hopkins said that there was concern over the stretch between Core Creek and Commerce Bank.  Mr. Harris suggested that the engineers be instructed to avoid manholes whenever possible, and to bring back the issue if there is a problem.

Maintenance Building Facility – Louis Melchiondo, Superintendent of Roads and Public Facilities

Mr. Hopkins presented a memo detailing the cost for phase one in the building expansion plan, concerning the maintenance and records storage buildings.

Mr. Goodnoe said that at some point the committee directed the architects to look at splitting part of the building into two floors, with a loft area.  He asked Mr. Melchiondo if the pole barn or the split floor area for lifts should be insulated.  Mr. Melchiondo said that they could have a lift in the wash bay area; he would like a place to wash the ice and salt off vehicles in the winter.  He said parking is not a problem, but they are out of storage space for incidentals such as snowplows.  Mr. Hopkins asked him if the 2-story building could accommodate washing equipment.  Mr. Melchiondo said that would be good; there are no floor drains in the pole barn or accessibility to tools.

Mr. Hopkins explained that in the latest plan office and sleeping quarters for the public works staff would be in the new, heated building, that everything that required heat would be in the building.  Mr. Melchiondo said that office space and space for up to 10 people were needed, as well as possible facilities for women in the future.  He noted that the new building would be quieter and easily insulated.  There was concern for garage doors opening to the north, as it can be quite windy.  Mr. Melchiondo said that the bay space seemed sufficient, and that there could be only one garage door.  There was a question about the storage of the sweeper, and if the 2nd floor was high enough to accommodate it.

Mr. Melchiondo said that he would like to get together with the architect and review the plans. 

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize expenditures to have Donovan & Associates meet with the staff to further plan and estimate the cost for renovating the maintenance building.  Mr. Goodnoe seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Campbell commended the township for excellent work on the roads last Monday.

Brandywine Realty Trust – Anthony Rimikis

Mr. Rimikis presented a concept plan for the Roberts Tract, which they have an option on, an attempt to develop the OR.  The comprehensive master plan includes five office buildings, and the master plan road would link to the Bypass.  A wetlands study has been done.  The revised sketch shows a significant green area buffer next to the residential properties.  As indicated on the plan, the road could take two different paths.  The roadway could be moved over the Baldwin and CAU properties; CAU has approved, they are in discussions with Baldwin.  They may ask for a waiver on the number of parking spaces required, and request that traffic impact fees go toward the cost of the road.  The plan has received conceptual approval by PennDOT, including the intersection at the Bypass, which Brandywine would construct.

Mr. Rimikis said that they want a 150-foot buffer between the road and residential areas.  They would reserve the right of way for a possible road north in the future.

Mr. Rimikis said that the plan includes 4.7 parking spaces per 1000, which they feel is sufficient for OR purposes.  Mr. Sanderlin said he would like to see 5 per 1000 planned for, some of which could be left in green, and built later if necessary.  Mr. Rimikis said that they might also need relief for the roadway and storm water management.

Mr. Rimikis said that CAU would like a second egress, but it hasn’t been discussed yet.  Mr. Goodnoe said that this might work well, as it would help limit traffic on Lindenhurst.

Mr. Jirele invited Mr. Rimikis to return to the board for further comment.  Mr. Rimikis said that they have the property under option now, with a limited window of opportunity, and he had come to the board to make sure Brandywine was on the right track.

Mr. Sanderlin said that storm water management was an important issue.

Mr. Goodnoe said that the presented plan seemed to be consistent with the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinances.

The Newtown Trail

Mr. Yerger said that they have been attempting to get an easement over Council Rock High School property since November, and asked the board’s guidance on how to proceed.  Mr. Harris said he would speak to school district solicitor Derek Reid.

Liquor Law Legislation

Mr. Sanderlin noted recent changes in the state liquor law, and asked Mr. Harris to prepare a summary of the legislation for the board.

Lisa Kruse – Zoning Issue

Ms. Kruse said she had come to obtain a status report on the driveway issue involving a neighbor’s fence and adequate site distance.  She said she has sent numerous letters to the township, ZHB, Carroll Engineering and Tom Harwood, and has not received an adequate response.  She said that there was a ruling that site distance should be 388 feet in a westerly direction, as stated in an order dated October 12, 2000.  She said that to date they do not have this site distance.  In the order, the measuring of minimum clean site distance was specified as PennDOT standards, which is 10 feet off the white line, 3 ˝ feet high.

Ms. Kruse said that they are asking that Carroll Engineering redo the survey based on PennDOT standards, in accordance with the order of 10/12/00.

Mr. Sanderlin asked if PennDOT and Carroll Engineering has ever been at the site at the same time; Ms. Kruse said that it could not be arranged, and suggested that perhaps the township would like to have a traffic investigation.  She said that they do not wish hardship on their neighbors, but just want the site distance entitled to them by order of law.

The discrepancy between the site distance measurements by Carroll Engineering and PennDOT were discussed. Ms. Kruse said that the ZHB decision specified measurement by PennDOT standards.  Mr. Goodnoe said that a site visit with everyone present was needed; Mr. Sanderlin agreed.

The consensus of the board was to direct the engineer to arrange a visit and measurement at the site with solicitors and PennDOT and all involved parties at the same time.  Mr. Jirele said that neighbors should also be notified of the meeting.

Bill Sterling

Mr. Sterling asked the board about the origins of a map he had recently received, which showed a road running through his farm.  Mr. Sanderlin said that the map came from the Bucks County Planning Commission, and that it stemmed from a request for roadway infrastructure planning in the OR.  Mr. Sterling was concerned with the road indicated on the map that would go from the Bypass to Twining Road; this road would run through his property.   He asked who from the board had approved it.  He said he had spoken to the BC Planning Commission and they told him that the representatives from Newtown and Lower Makefield Townships had agreed to the map.  The board disagreed.

Mr. Sanderlin explained that the reason for the map was to indicate possible roads that developers would be responsible for constructing, in the event the property was developed in the future.

Mr. Paul Sterling said it might be a good idea to impress upon Lower Makefield the damage to open space when roads are put on maps.  Mr. Bill Sterling said that he, his son and family have no intention of selling the farm, but that lines on a map suggest development.


Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 pm.


Respectfully Submitted by:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary          3/7/01