BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
APRIL 11, 2001
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 25, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 4/11/01: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of 4/11/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, April 11, 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: Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Township Solicitors David Sander and Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Bob Larason, Township Public Works Director Tom Harwood, Township Recreation Director Bill Wert 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 Pastor Suzan Farley of the Ascension Lutheran Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Hopkins announced that a Special Action will immediately follow this item; on page two, discussion of the Council Rock Alternative School will become item 10 B 1, and a report on the Business Development Council will become item 10 B 6.
APPOINTMENT OF INTERIM TOWNSHIP MANAGER: Mr. Sanderlin announced that Township Manager Cornell Hopkins has resigned, effective 4/20/01, and he asked for a motion to appoint Tom Harwood, Director of Public Works, as Interim Township Manager.
Mr. Mendicino moved to appoint Mr. Harwood Interim Township Manager, effective 4/12/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
DISCUSSION OF MOTION: Mr. Goodnoe stated that he believes Mr. Harwood is very competent, but Mr. Harwood is already doing two important jobs, Public Works Director and Zoning Officer. Mr. Goodnoe asked the Board to consider naming someone not on staff, and said the Board should have done more to search for a new Manager. Mr. Sanderlin responded that some staff will be added in the Public Works and Codes Departments. He added that the Board has been in touch with several executive recruiters. Mr. Jirele and Mr. Mendicino stated they felt the Board has made good progress in the search for Mr. Hopkins’ replacement.
Tony Passello, a Township resident, thanked Mr. Hopkins for his service to the Township
Mr. Goodnoe questioned whether Mr. Harwood should be appointed before an agreement with him on terms and conditions of employment has been reached. Mr. Mendicino agreed to amend his motion, and Mr. Harp agreed to amend his second, as follows:
The appointment is subject to reaching agreement with Mr. Harwood on terms and conditions of employment within 30 days. The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay”.
MINUTES amp; BILLS LIST:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
WORK SESSION OF 3/19/01:Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the work session of 3/19/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.
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.
DISCUSSION OF THE MOTION: Mr. Mendicino said that he had requested that a transcript of his remarks at the 3/28/01 meeting be attached to the minutes. He asked that the minutes not be considered for approval until this is done and Board members have a chance to read the transcript.
Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Jirele withdrew the motion.
PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $218,000.19; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp noted that this figure is different from the figure on the bills list previously distributed.
ESCROW FUND AND RECREATION FUND EXPENDITURES: Mr. Harp explained that the remaining expenditures are compliance payments out of the escrow fund and payments to be made out of the Recreation Fund.
Mr. Mendicino moved to approve expenditure of $1,500 from the Escrow Fund and $3,879.92 from the Recreation Fund. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
TREASURER: No items for this section.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:
PLANNING COMMISSION: Vince Lombardi, a member of the Planning Commission, reported on their 4/3/01 meeting. Traffic Engineer Jeff L’Amoreaux updated the Commission on several road projects. He will discuss the Township’s Transportation Improvement Plan at the 5/1/01 meeting.
The Commission discussed traffic issues related to the Wiltshire Walk development at Newtown-Yardley Road and Upper Silver Lake Road. Mr. Lombardi called this plan one of the most complex plans he has ever seen. The Commission will review stormwater management issues on 4/17/01 and zoning issues on 5/1/01. Sketch plans for the McLaughlin Tract and two office developments on Durham Road were also reviewed. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Supervisors support the denial of Sunoco’s Zoning Hearing Board application and require Sunoco to restore the roof and reconfigure the lighting. The Kramer subdivision plan will be reviewed at the 4/17/01 meeting.
Mr. Lombardi reported that several officials from Upper Makefield Township, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Planning Commission, were present and asked that Newtown Township review the proposed development on the McLaughlin Tract and several others in the area jointly with Upper Makefield Township, including Wrightstown Township when appropriate. Mr. Lombardi asked that the Supervisors formally direct the Planning Commission to pursue the joint review.
Mr. Mendicino moved to direct the Planning Commission to review the proposed developments on the McLaughlin Tract, the Gray Tract, the Melsky Tract and the Hibbs Tract jointly with Upper Makefield Township, including Wrightstown Township when appropriate. The Township will send a letter to the other two townships to this effect. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Vince Lombardi, Chairman of the Committee, reported on their 4/10/01 meeting. The Committee heard a presentation by McBride/Stockburger regarding plans for their property on Sycamore Street. Mr. Lombardi said the Committee feels the auto dealerships are assets to Sycamore Street.
PENNDOT SPEED LIMIT STUDY - LINDENHURST ROAD: Mr. Sanderlin said that a 3/29/01 letter from PennDOT stated that Lower Makefield Township has requested a speed limit study on Lindenhurst Road, a section of which lies in Newtown Township. The letter described the steps the Township should take if it wishes to have the Newtown portion included in the study.
Mr. Mendicino moved to direct the Engineer to request a speed limit study on the Newtown portion of Lindenhurst Road. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sanderlin and passed unanimously.
MAIN STREET VISIONING SESSION: Mr. Goodnoe said that the third Main Street Visioning session was held on 4/5/01 at Goodnoe Elementary School. About 40 people participated in developing a visioning statement that will guide the Main Street Manager program. The fourth and last meeting will take place on 5/17/01.
VERIZON: Mr. Harp said that Comcast has rectified most of the problems with the installation of pedestals, but now there are problems with Verizon’s installations. Mr. Harp said that Mr. Harwood met with Verizon on 3/27 but they have been unresponsive so far. Mr. Sander said that he is ready to support any action by the Township.
APPOINTMENT TO CABLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp moved to appoint Walter Iwaskiw to the Cable TV Advisory Committee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
SUBPOENA: Mr. Mendicino asked Mr. Goodnoe several questions about the subpoena Mr. Goodnoe handled last month in the Township Building on 3/14/01. Mr. Goodnoe responded that the subpoena was dropped off at his place of business that morning. He stated he does not know who delivered it, who whited out Mr. Hopkins’ name and typed in Chief Duffy’s, or when that alteration occurred. Mr. Goodnoe also stated he does not recall if he called Mr. Hopkins the morning the subpoena was delivered.
Mr. Sanderlin asked that comments about the proposed Alternative School be held until that item comes up on the agenda (item 10 B1).
Chet Zaremba, who works in the Township, stated that the Township has become a laughingstock because of recent news articles about the Board of Supervisors. He said he regrets the loss of Mr. Mendicino as a candidate, and asked the Board to explain what is going on.
Tony Passello, a Township resident, said he agrees with Mr. Zaremba. He also expressed concern about the impact of the Wiltshire Walk development on the area around the site and the difficulties of projecting traffic and planning roads in the OR District. Mr. Sanderlin responded that some plans for properties in the area are known. He said the prudent course is to build roads adequate for currently identified needs, and have enough right of way to expand if necessary.
Mr. Mendicino thanked Mr. Zaremba for his remarks. He said that he can not discuss the issues which Mr. Zaremba asked to have clarified tonight because of possible legal issues.
Glenn Beasley, a resident of Linton Hill Road and the husband of a candidate for Supervisor, stated the Board should have anticipated Mr. Hopkins’ resignation. He also commented on Mr. Mendicino’s failure to file the financial interest form and to appeal the Board of Election’s decision in a timely fashion.
Dr. Janet Lioy, a resident of Stoopville Road, said she opposes the widening of Stoopville Road and would like to see a light at Eagle Road, a lower speed limit, more police surveillance with radar and more truck inspections.
Mary Conti, a resident of Wrightstown, asked about the progress of the light synchronization project. Mr. Larason said the bid opening is now scheduled for 5/24/01. Ms Conti said the widening of Stoopville Road will make it as wide as Durham Road.
Jim Ott, a Township resident, gave the Board a letter applying for a position on the Citizen Advisory Board for the Swamp Road study. He said he spoke with Representative Steil today about permitting local police departments to use radar. Representative Steil recommended that concerned residents write to Representative Geist, the chairman of the Pennsylvania State House Transportation Committee. Mr. Harp suggested that such letters should be copied to Representative Steil and Senator Conti. Mr. Jirele thanked Mr. Ott for staying on top of this issue. Mr. Mendicino read an excerpt from an e-mail message from Mr. Goodnoe to Mr. Sanderlin commenting on Mr. Ott’s ideas.
Victoria Bowe, a Newtown resident, asked about the Citizens Advisory Committee for the truck study. Mr. Sanderlln said the Board will discuss this soon.
Bill Peterson, a resident of Swamp Road, said he counted 691 cars, 122 trucks and 22 buses passing his driveway on Swamp Road during rush hour on a recent Monday morning. The next day he counted 889 cars, 98 trucks and 9 buses in the same time period on Stoopville Road. Mr. Peterson stated he felt Swamp Road is already carrying its share of truck traffic.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:
LOCAL GOVERNMENT WEEK:Mr. Sanderlin announced that 4/15/01 to 4/20/01 has been designated Local Government Week by Governor Ridge.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:
PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL - COUNCIL ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT: Mr. Jirele said that representatives of the School District met with the Board of Supervisors last fall and explained their plans to provide a permanent home for the Alternative School. Mr. Jirele said he concluded that it was a well run program.
Mr. Jirele introduced Charles Lange, Director of Special Services for the School District. Mr. Lange provided some written materials about the Alternative School. He said that the program serves high school students at risk of dropping out of school because of dysfunctional behaviors and academic or attendance problems. The primary goal of the program is to encourage positive attitudinal changes in students. Mr. Lange said that students who have weapons or drug violations are not admitted to the program.
Mr. Sanderlin said that many of the residents in attendance tonight are concerned because the Alternative School is planned for a site next to Goodnoe Elementary School. He asked if the students in the two schools would have any contact with each other. Mr. Lange introduced Tom Coates, Director of the Alternative School. Mr. Coates said there is no reason the two groups would have contact. He also said that his students do not present a danger to younger children. He stated that many people are making incorrect assumptions about the students. The principal of the Welsh Elementary School, where the program was housed for a while, stated that there were no problems during that time.
Several parents of children in the Council Rock School District expressed their concerns about the location of the proposed school. One parent said he is a former student of the Alternative School and remembers an incident when the program was asked to leave one location because of student behavior. He also asked that it not be located next to the elementary school. Mr. Lange said that the Preston property is a good location because it is near jobs, athletic facilities and other community services needed by the students. Mr. Sanderlin explained that the School District will give the Township the “Library Tract” in exchange for the Preston Tract, which is more suitable for public use than as a private residence. Goodnoe Elementary School will be able to expand its parking facilities as well.
A resident asked why these arrangements were not discussed in public before. >Mr. Sanderlin responded that land acquisitions are always handled in executive session to avoid negatively impacting property values in the area. It is being made public now because an agreement has been reached. Several residents protested the fact that local residents were not notified about plans for the school. They asked the Board to delay a decision on this agreement until residents can learn more about the program. Mr. Mendicino said that residents will have six months after the agreement is signed to ask questions and address concerns with the School Board.
Jerry Krupp, a member of the Council Rock School Board, said that the School Board will be holding a public meeting on 5/24/01 to discuss parking concerns.
A resident said that the legal definition of an alternative school is broader than what is being proposed; he asked if this might change in the future. Mr. Lange said that any change in the charter for the Alternative School would be described in the annual application to the state, which the public can review and comment on.
A senior student in the Alternative School spoke about the value of the program and the fact that the students are not a danger to the community.
A resident said he was not opposed to the school, but would like to see it at another site. Another resident said the agreement is a good example of the benefits of intergovernmental cooperation, and the terrible parking situation at Goodnoe Elementary School will be improved.
Mr. Sanderlin stated he believes the agreement between the Township and the School Board is a good one, because it will enable the School District to provide a permanent home for a good program. He said that the Township’s role is to oversee such matters as parking, traffic and stormwater management; the operation of the school is the responsibility of the School Board. Mr. Sanderlin encouraged the School Board to work with and educate the community about the Alternative School.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve the agreement between the Township and the Council Rock School District. The purchase of the Preston property will be funded by money allocated in the general fund for improvements to Roberts Ridge. The Solicitor is authorized to negotiate with the Prestons for the purchase of their property. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
DISCUSSION OF THE MOTION: Mr. Harris suggested that the Township and the Prestons obtain updated appraisals, and that wording of the motion be altered to authorize all the steps necessary for implementation. Mr, Jirele and Mr. Mendicino agreed to amend the motion as follows:
The Township and the Prestons will obtain updated appraisals of the Preston property. The Solicitor and the Engineer are authorized to take the appropriate steps to implement the agreement. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe commented that the parking problem at Goodnoe Elementary is a serious issue that he wishes had been resolved earlier. He stated his belief that the students of the Alternative School do not pose a threat to residents or children at Goodnoe.
JOINTURE: Mr. Jirele reported that the Jointure met on 4/5/01 and worked on the codification of the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Frank is almost finished his work of bringing the three municipalities’ versions together.
MAIN STREET VISIONING: Discussed under Members’ Comments.
CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp said he was not able to attend the 4/10/01 meeting, but he reported that the Committee met with the Emergency Services and Technology Departments. Next month the Committee will meet with the Police Department.
COMPREHENSIVE PARK AND RECREATION PLAN (RES-2001-8):Mr. Goodnoe moved to adopt Resolution 2001-8, closing out Keystone PITA Grant Project (Key-Tag-4-114). The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL:Mr. Harp reported on the 4/5/01 Council meeting, at which Kathy Leader discussed publications for youth. The new resident packets are now complete and ready to be mailed. Mr. Harp suggested the Council work on helping local businesses that are displaced when they lose their leases. Mr. Harwood also attended and reported to the Council on new projects.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
ZONING HEARING BOARD: Mr. Harris said that he will attend the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on 4/12/01 and oppose the Sun Oil Company application, as previously directed by the Supervisors. He will also attend the 5/3/01 ZHB meeting to oppose the Pheasant Pointe application.
PRESTON/COUNCIL ROCK AGREEMENTS:Addressed above under Reports of Other Board Members.
ISTEA TRAIL: Mr. Larason reported that the Trail will be relocated off the Upper Silver Lake Road manhole. Construction is expected to begin again during the third or fourth week of April.
BRAKE RETARDER SIGNS: Mr. Larason provided a memo outlining the steps necessary for PennDOT to authorize placement of signs prohibiting the use of brake retarders. Carroll Engineering’s estimate of the cost is $1200 to $1500. Mr. Hopkins noted that the study will be funded by money already appropriated in the general engineering fund.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize Carroll Engineering to proceed with the study required for the placement of signs prohibiting the use of brake retarders, at a cost not to exceed $1500. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
LAND USE SECTION
SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - STOOPVILLE ROAD - TMP# 29-7-5: Mr. Sanderlin announced that Edward Murphy, attorney for the applicant, had to leave earlier in the evening. Therefore the review of the sketch plan will be rescheduled.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
CORRESPONDENCE: Mr. Larason provided copies of recent correspondence regarding the Newtown Investors Site Plan.
NEW HAVEN REFORESTATION AGREEMENT: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the agreement between the New Haven Home Owners’ Association, Trafalgar House Property, Inc. and the Township. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Harris said that he will ask for a motion to accept dedication of the roadways later.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES - SIGNING IMPROVEMENT AGREEMENT AND MYLARS: Mr. Harris stated that all the necessary documents have been submitted and the Improvement Agreement and mylars are ready for signing.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to sign the Improvement Agreement and mylars for the Jehovah’s Witnesses project. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
APPLEBEE’S APPEAL: Mr. Harris asked for authorization to sign the Settlement Agreement on their appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board decision. Mr. Harris recommended that the elevations given to the Board at its work session be attached.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Solicitor to sign the Settlement Agreement with Applebee’s, provided that the elevations given to the Board by Hank Lieberman at a work session are attached. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.
MANAGER: Mr. Hopkins noted that this is his last Board of Supervisors meeting. He stated he has been proud to serve the Township, and wishes the best for Mr. Harwood. Mr. Goodnoe said he enjoyed working with Mr. Hopkins, and thanked him for his contributions to the Township, particularly in the areas of financial management and personnel administration.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: None to be addressed.
No items for this section.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Sanderlin announced the Board will meet in executive session on 4/12/01 primarily for personnel matters.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Harp moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 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