Board of Supervisors
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 11, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 3/28/01:Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the 3/28/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 25, 2001. Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 3/28/01 regular meeting with the transcript of Mr. Mendicino’s remarks attached. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, March 28, 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: Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires, Recreation Board Co-Chairman Dick Weaver, Planning Commission Member Sue Beasley, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Ken Yerger and Township Manager Cornell Hopkins.
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 Sister Francesca Onley of Holy Family College. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Hopkins announced that there are no additions to the agenda.
MINUTES & BILLS LIST:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
REGULAR MEETING OF 3/14/01: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the 3/14/01 regular meeting with one change. Under the Manager’s Report - Purchase of Truck item in the General Interest section, a second sentence should read “Mr. Harp said that all bid procedures required by the State were followed”. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $170,064.46; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.
INTERFUND TRANSFERS: Mr. Harp moved to approve $25,282.87 in interfund transfers; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
TREASURER: No items for this section.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:
PLANNING COMMISSION: Sue Beasley, a member of the Planning Commission, reported on their 3/20/01 meeting. The Commission reviewed a request from Community Association Underwriters to revise their approved final plan for an office complex in the OR District and recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve CAU’s plan to demolish and rebuild an existing barn. The Commission also began their review of the preliminary plan for Wiltshire Walk. Because of the plan’s complexity, the Commission will review the traffic, zoning and stormwater management issues at their next three meetings. The Commission also reviewed four applications to be heard by the Zoning Hearing Board on 4/5/01, and did not recommend opposition to any of them.
Mr. Mendicino stated he would like to see the Wiltshire Walk plan reviewed by the Joint Planning Commission. Mr. Sanderlin said he will ask them to consider the plan.
TENTATIVE PLAN - WILTSHIRE WALK - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AT PENNS TRAIL AND UPPER SILVER LAKE ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52, 29-10-52-2, 29-10-52.1, 29-10-52.2, 29-10-52-10: Mr. Sanderlin opened the public hearing on this plan and announced that the applicant has requested that the hearing be continued to 5/23/01.
Mr. Jirele moved to continue the public hearing on Wiltshire Walk to 5/23/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE (SOIL STRIPPING) - NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER - 861 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD – TMP# 29-10-52-8: Shannon Wilson, owner, was present to discuss his request to remove up to 1,000 cubic yards of soil from the construction site on his property at 861 Newtown-Yardley Road in the Medium Density Residential District. Mr. Sanderlin asked for comments from the Board of Supervisors and the public; there were none.
Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the conditional use application of Newtown Rental Center; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE - ADVENT OPTRONICS - 205 PHEASANT RUN - TMP# 29-10-133: Zino Altman, president of Advent Optronics, was present to discuss his application to use 5,000 square feet of an existing building in the Light Industrial District for Use G-1, Manufacturing. Mr. Altman explained that Advent plans to develop testing methods and equipment for the optical communications industry at this site. He expects to have deliveries, by UPS-type trucks or couriers, about once every two weeks; pickups will be about once a month. Mr. Altman stated the company will have about one visitor a month. An average of nine and a maximum of 12 employees will work a single shift, 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. No hazardous materials will be on site, and there will be no outdoor refuse storage and no noxious environmental effects.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the conditional use application of Advent Optronics, subject to the Heritage Conservancy review letter of 3/1/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE - MCBRIDE MOTORS/STOCKBURGER INC. - 4 TO 8 SYCAMORE STREET - TMP# 29-11-106: Attorney John VanLuvanee and engineer Wayne Johnson were present to discuss their application for Use E-11, Automobile Sales, for a site of approximately one acre in the Town Commercial District. Mr. VanLuvanee explained that the site is being developed in conjunction with the adjoining property to meet the minimum lot size requirement. The application has been favorably reviewed by the Sycamore Street Committee and the Planning Commission. Mr. Johnson stated that the two properties total a little over three acres. In the first phase the applicants will add some parking areas. In the second phase, when current tenants’ leases have expired, the building at 4 Sycamore Street will be razed and the buildings at 6-8 Sycamore Street will be reduced. The impervious surface maximum will not be exceeded. Mr. Harris said that the land development plan should be submitted before the first phase begins, and Mr. VanLuvanee agreed to this.
Mr. VanLuvanee stated that there will be a maximum of ten employees on the site The hours of operation will be 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday. The only hazardous substance will be the gasoline in the cars, and the only outside storage will be the cars. No repair work will be done at this site.
Mr. Jirele asked about Mr. Harwood’s summary sheet, which indicates that 21 parking spaces are required and 15 are proposed. Mr. VanLuvanee responded that this will be addressed in the land development process, and that the applicants do not plan to seek a variance on parking spaces. They may seek one regarding tree removal. Mr. Jirele asked about sidewalks, and Mr. VanLuvanee responded that the applicants will coordinate their plans with the Sycamore Street Committee.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the conditional use application of McBride Motors to permit Use E-11, Automobile Sales, subject to the Heritage Conservancy’s review letter of 2/5/01. This is approval of the use only; land development approval is necessary before Phase 1 or Phase 2. There will be a maximum of ten employees, the hours will be as described above, no repair work will be done, no hazardous materials except for gasoline will be kept, the applicants will not seek a variance on parking requirements, and tree removal will be dealt with during the land development approval process. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sanderlin asked if there was any public comment on this application. A tenant of the applicants stated the trees on the property are in good condition and should not be removed. He said the tenants are being forced out, and he feels that a car dealership does not enhance the Sycamore Street community.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion was passed unanimously.
RECREATION BOARD: Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the Board’s 3/7/01 meeting. Summer camp registration is proceeding; Camp Newtown is full, and the two other camps still have a few vacancies. Most of the meeting was devoted to discussing a proposal to build a skateboard park. Mr. Bires introduced Dick Weaver, Co-Chairman of the Recreation Board, and asked him to provide more details.
Mr. Weaver said that Officer Sigafoos was present at the meeting and discussed safety and liability concerns with the Board. Other topics included sites, contractors, funding, parental involvement, security, access, hours of operation, supervision and scheduling. The discussion will continue at the Board’s next meeting on 4/4/01.
Mr. Sanderlin commented that he is generally favorable towards the idea of a skateboard park, but is concerned about liability. Mr. Weaver said the Recreation Board is paying close attention to this issue. There are insurance options to address the Township’s liability, and other municipalities have not encountered problems in this area. In response to further questions from the Supervisors, Mr. Weaver added that the facility would be secured with a fence, different age groups would be scheduled at different times, and the facility would probably be open to rollerbladers too.
FIRST FOURTH: Mr. Weaver reported on the planning for the First Fourth event, which is scheduled for 7/7/01. There will be new activities this year, and the softball game will return. He is looking for volunteers to work on the event.
Mr. Harp moved to approve the expenditure of the $7500 budgeted for the First Fourth event. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
SWAMP ROAD TRAFFIC STUDY (RES-2001-7): Mr. Sanderlin asked Mr. Harris to speak on Resolution 2001-7. Mr. Harris provided copies of the resolution, which appoints Urban Engineers to conduct the Swamp Road Traffic Study. Mr. Harris said that he and Terry Clemons, Solicitor for Wrightstown Township, need to negotiate some final wording, but they are in basic agreement with the resolution before the Supervisors. Mr. Mendicino asked that the words “and or member” be struck from the first sentence of the fourth paragraph. Richard Tonge asked if the project will be completed in time to get any recommended improvements onto PennDOT’s Traffic Improvement Plan (TIP). Mr. Sanderlin said that Mr. Larason told him the substantive part of the study will be done in time to produce a preliminary report for the purpose of getting onto the TIP.
Mr. Jirele moved to adopt Resolution 2001-7, with the deletion requested by Mr. Mendicino; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mr. Jirele invited residents to apply in the next few weeks for the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Swamp Road study.
BOARD RELATIONSHIPS: Mr. Mendicino stated there have been occasions when the will of the majority of the Board has seemed to be overruled by Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Hopkins. He also stated that Mr. Goodnoe and some Township residents notified the Board of Elections that he did not file the required financial disclosure form in a timely fashion. He asked Mr. Hopkins about the events of 3/14/01, when a subpoena for the documentation in question was served at the Township office to Chief Duffy. Mr. Hopkins responded that he was not in the office at that time. Mr. Mendicino expressed his frustration about getting answers about the events surrounding the subpoena.
PENNSYLVANIA LAND USE CONFERENCE: Mr. Goodnoe reported he attended the “Growing Greener” Conference last week in Hershey. The participants discussed ways to deal with suburban sprawl. The focus was on balancing development with land preservation, and finding ways to reuse existing buildings.
SHIR AMI - 25TH ANNIVERSARY: Mr. Sanderlin congratulated Congregation Shir Ami on their 25th anniversary. They are the largest reform temple in Bucks County.
Bonnie Wellman, a resident of Raintree, criticized Mr. Mendicino for his earlier politically oriented comments. Mr. Sanderlin noted that anyone can speak on anything at the Supervisors’ meetings; he will limit speakers only if it is necessary in order to accomplish Township business.
Shirley Milnor, a resident of Eagle Road, asked Mr. Mendicino to stay active in Township politics.
Ed Leary, a Township resident, said he ran for Supervisor two years ago and was removed from the ballot in the same fashion as Mr. Mendicino. He stated he has documented alleged ethical violations by Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Hopkins, and is requesting that the State appoint an independent counsel and hold formal hearings on these allegations. Mr. Jirele asked if Mr. Leary has filed a formal complaint; Mr. Leary stated he had not, but he was sending his documentation to the State. He provided copies to the Supervisors.
Richard Tonge, a Township resident, urged the Supervisors not to widen Stoopville Road because he fears it is the “back door” to a northern bypass.
Shawn Ward, a resident of Eagle Ridge, stated he disagrees with Mr. Tonge. He would like to see all the roads be made safe so they can take their share of the truck traffic.
Bill Sterling, a Township resident, asked about a 4/5/01 public meeting to which Lower Makefield Township Supervisors have invited Newtown Township Supervisors regarding joint traffic concerns. Mr. Sanderlin stated that he thinks public meetings are not the best way to address these concerns, and the Township will continue to work on them through Representative Steil.
Peter Grubel, a resident of Stoopville Road, stated he thinks the widening of Stoopville Road is a waste of money that could better be spent on other improvements. He suggested that a Citizen Advisory Committee similar to the one planned for the Swamp Road traffic study be established for this project. He asked if the Township plans to make any improvements to Swamp Road. Mr. Hopkins responded that the Township is looking at the intersection with Twining Bridge Road, but improvements would most likely be made to Twining Bridge Road. Mr. Jirele said there will not be any construction work on Swamp Road during the traffic study.
Elinor Campbell, a long time resident of Washington Crossing Road, said the traffic on her road is very bad. She also congratulated the Council Rock High School girls’ basketball team on placing second in the State championships, and asked that the Supervisors formally recognize their accomplishment.
Tony Passello, a resident of Kirkwood, asked what would have happened if a resident had not filed a complaint with the Board of Elections about Mr. Mendicino. Shawn Ward, a local attorney, stated that a candidate’s petition would be turned down without the financial disclosure form attached. Mr. Sanderlin said that the form that was filed late was the municipal copy, so he was not sure what would have happened without the complaint. Mr. Passello asked who has authority over plans for providing access to the OR District from the bypass; Mr. Sanderlin responded that the Township is responsible, but PennDOT has to approve the plans. Mr. Passello asked what the agenda is for the Lower Makefield meeting; Mr. Sanderlin responded that he did not know beyond the general topic of joint traffic concerns.
Steve Hutchings, a resident of Stoopville Road, asked about the progress of Township efforts to prohibit the use of “jake brakes”. Mr. Sanderlin responded that the Township Engineer is investigating where and how the signs can be installed. Mr. Hutchings stated he does not favor widening Stoopville Road or straightening out the curve. He asked how long the concept of straightening Stoopville Road has been on the Township’s Traffic Improvement Plan; Mr. Sanderlin responded that it has been on the list for many years. Mr. Mendicino stated that if subsequent improvements to the road make the project unnecessary, the Township has the option of not doing the project when the funding is finally available.
Jim Ott, a Township resident, stated that the Stoopville Road project has been on the Township’s TIP since 1992. He suggested using riprap to widen the road shoulders rather than blacktop, as a way to increase safety without encouraging speeding. Mr. Ott also expressed regret for what happened to Mr. Mendicino’s candidacy.
Jim Bowe reported for the Newtown Area Cable Committee. He and Mr. Harp met with Representative Steil regarding establishing standards for cable installations. The Committee met last week with representatives from several local educational institutions regarding improving the use of the educational cable channels. Mr. Bowe also said that an agreement has been reached between Comcast and Tyler Walk residents regarding Comcast’s equipment upgrade in the development.
A resident of Stoopville Road asked about the status of the McLaughlin Tract. Mr. Sanderlin said that the developer has not submitted a sketch plan for review. The resident stated he agreed with Mr. Hutchings about the curve in Stoopville Road.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:
CHAIRMAN: No items for this section.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:
BOARD WORK SESSION: Mr. Jirele reported on the 3/19/01 Board work session. The Supervisors discussed the need for a sound barrier along the bypass with several residents; they met with the Elliott Building Group about Pheasant Pointe; they met with the owner of Applebee’s and discussed lighting and signs; and they met with the contractor for the new Public Works building. The Board also held an executive session for matters of land acquisition.
HISTORIC AND ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: No report.
PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp reported that the Committee met on 3/26/01 and discussed a source of grant money for trees for the Roberts Ridge park. He asked that the Supervisors sign the grant request tonight so the request can be submitted tomorrow. The grant requires an in kind match from the Township, and is similar to one received last year.
Mr. Harp moved to sign the grant request to the Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council, to be matched by the Township with in kind services. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp reported that the Committee approved the Comprehensive Plan, and they will bring it to the 4/11/01 Board of Supervisors’ meeting for formal adoption. Mr. Harp asked that a copy of the plan be sent out with the next Supervisors’ packets.
ARBOR DAY: Mr. Harp moved to celebrate Arbor Day, which is on 4/5/01, by planting a tree at 10:00 AM on 4/28/01 at the Municipal complex. He will donate a dogwood tree. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: Mr. Harris described the six hearings scheduled for 4/5/01, two of which have been considered at an earlier meeting. The Supervisors agreed there was no need for Mr. Harris to represent the Township in any of the four new matters.
SUNOCO SIGN VARIANCE APPLICATION: Mr. Harris stated he will continue to work in conjunction with Newtown Borough on the Township’s response to the revised plan proposed by Sunoco.
JMZO AMENDMENT - CELL TOWERS (ORD 2001-5: Mr. Harris provided copies of the proposed Cell Tower ordinance, which has been advertised for adoption tonight. He stated the ordinance has no impact on Newtown Township.
Mr. Jirele moved to adopt Ordinance 2001-5; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PROJECT STATUS REPORT: Mr. Yerger provided copies of the current project status report.
AMENDMENT TO THE SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE: Mr. Yerger provided copies of a proposed amendment to require that plans be submitted in an electronic format, to clarify that applicants need not return to the Park and Open Space Committee under certain circumstances, and to require applicants to submit peak hour traffic impact calculations. Mr. Yerger stated that a motion is needed to advertise this amendment.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to advertise this amendment; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
STOOPVILLE ROAD: Mr. Yerger provided copies of PennDOT’s response to the Township’s request for a speed limit study on Stoopville Road. The letter states that PennDOT expects to complete the study by the beginning of April. It also describes what is required to install signs prohibiting the use of brake retarders (“jake brakes”). Mr. Yerger stated that Carroll Engineering can prepare the formal request at minimal cost; he will prepare an estimate.
LAND USE SECTION
EXTENSION OF CONDITIONAL USE APPROVAL - DURHAM ROAD ASSSOCIATES - TMP# 29-3-35 and 29-3-36-2: Mr. Hopkins provided copies of a 3/12/01 letter from the attorney for Durham Road Associates requesting an extension of the conditional use approval process. Mr. Hopkins noted that some of the delays on the approval of this project have been due to the Township’s process. The letter requests an extension of one year retroactive to the date of the conditional use approval in March 1999. Mr. Harris suggested an extension to 6/1/01.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve an extension of the conditional use approval process for Durham Road Associates to 6/1/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
REVISION OF FINAL PLAN - COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION UNDERWRITERS - LINDENHURST ROAD - TMP# 29-10-78: Hal Hoeland of Princeton Development Group, architect Frederick Schmitt and Mark Blasch of CAU were present to discuss their request to revise the approved final plan for an office complex on Lindenhurst Road in the Office Research District. Mr. Hoeland stated that the final plan included renovation of an existing barn on the property, but the applicants have subsequently discovered serious problems with the structure and layout of the barn. Mr. Hoeland said the applicants are requesting permission to demolish the barn and to build a new one. Mr. Schmitt displayed a sketch of the proposed new barn. He stated that the barn would add about 1,000 square feet to the footprint, but impervious surface limits will not be exceeded. The applicants also submitted a 3/13/01 letter from the Newtown Joint Historic Commission stating that the Commission does not object to the proposed demolition. Mr. Harris commented that the applicants will need to submit a revised plan, with the new footprint, to be recorded; Mr. Schmitt agreed to do this. He also said that some additional grading will be needed.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve this revision to the final plan, and to waive the land development process for the building of the new barn, with the understanding that the applicants will work with the Township Engineer regarding the new construction. The Board of Supervisors does not object to the demolition of the existing barn. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
CORRESPONDENCE: Mr. Yerger provided copies of recent correspondence regarding the Newtown Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Revised Final Plan, the Wiltshire Walk PRD, the 413 Office Center, Durham Road Offices and Tyrol’s Sycamore.
CHANDLER HALL - PHASE 2: Mr. Yerger stated this release was approved at the last Board of Supervisors meeting.
NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $21,269.09 in escrow funds in accordance with Certificate of Completion #7. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $8,507.00 in escrow funds in accordance with Certificate of Completion #2A. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
NEWTOWN OFFICE CENTER - FINAL LINENS: Mr. Jirele moved to sign the final lines for the Newtown Office Center. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Hopkins said there are no plan expirations that need to be addressed tonight.
ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION
LETTER FROM LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP: Mr. Sanderlin asked if the rest of the Board was in agreement with him regarding his preference for pursuing the issue of the two townships’ traffic concerns through Representative Steil rather than through public meetings. The other Supervisors indicated their agreement.
EXTENSION - KRAMER SUBDIVISION: Mr. Hopkins asked the Board of Supervisors to approve an extension to 7/4/01 requested by the applicants.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve an extension of the approval process for this project to 7/4/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
FIREARMS: Mr. Hopkins said the report from Sergeant Matthews details the final steps in purchasing new firearms. The Board voted unanimously to approve the purchase.
SERT TEAM: Mr. Hopkins said that Chief Duffy has requested a decision on this matter tonight. Mr. Sanderlin said that he recalled the Supervisors had requested information from the Police Department regarding manpower, funding and alternate ways to provide this service. Mr. Hopkins will communicate with Chief Duffy about this request.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Sanderlin announced that the Board will meet in executive session for matters of litigation and land acquisition, and will not return to the regular meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Mendicino moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 PM.
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