NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

APRIL 25, 2001


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 9, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 4/25/01: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 4/25/01 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, April 25, 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 Chairperson Karen Doorley, Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires and Co-Chairman Dick Weaver, Cable TV Advisory Committee member Jim Bowe, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Bob Larason and Interim Township Manager Tom Harwood.

 

GENERAL INTEREST SECTION

 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman Sanderlin called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.  He announced that Matthew Gardner, Mr. Goodnoe’s stepfather, passed away this week and asked those present to remember him during the silence.  

INVOCATION:  Given by  Mr. Edward Trzansky, Director of Government and Community Relations at LaSalle University.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Harwood announced that there will be a report from the Recreation Board under Reports of Committees, Boards, Commissions on page two; and there will be no report on the Jointure under Other Board Members on page two. 

MINUTES & BILLS LIST: 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 

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. 

REGULAR MEETING OF 3/28/01:  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.

BILLS LIST:   

PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $246,472.08; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe. 

Discussion of the motion:  Mr. Jirele asked that the amount of a vision benefit for a former employee ($59.00) be tabled until it can be confirmed that the appropriate paperwork has been received. 

Mr. Harp and Mr. Goodnoe amended their motion to approve the bills list without the vision benefit in question, making the total bills list $246,413.08.  The motion passed unanimously. 

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $332,597.46; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER:  No items for this section. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:   

CODES COMMITTE:  Tabled to next meeting. 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on the Commission’s 4/17/01 meeting.  The final plan for a minor subdivision of Robert and Maria Kramer’s property in the Conservation Management District was reviewed, and the Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the plan with several conditions and issues to be resolved.  Mr. Sanderlin asked how many votes were needed for the Commission to take action.  Mr. Harris advised that a quorum of members must be present (five), and a majority of those present must vote in favor of an action.  Mr. Harris also stated that he plans to meet with Mr. Kramer and his attorney before the plan is presented to the Board of Supervisors to sort out some legal questions. 

Mrs. Doorley reported that the Commission also reviewed the preliminary plan for Tyrol’s Sycamore, an office development in the Town Center District, and recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan and the eight waivers requested.  The Commission also reviewed stormwater issues related to the Wiltshire Walk development.  They will discuss zoning issues involved in this plan at their 5/1/01 meeting. 

The Commission reviewed three Zoning Hearing Board applications and made the following recommendations: that the Board of Supervisors not oppose the application from Rona Waters, provided the applicant can document the adjoining neighbor’s concurrence; and that the Board not oppose the Newtown Shopping Center’s application, but reconsider the size of the freestanding sign.  The Commission could not make a recommendation regarding the application from Mr. and Mrs. Hou because the calculations needed to be clarified.  However, members were concerned about the size of the increase in impervious surface apparently being requested. 

Mrs. Doorley also reported that the Commission will be meeting with the Upper Makefield Planning Commission at the end of May to review development plans for the Gray Tract.  The Commission will be appointing a member to the Swamp Road Study Citizens Advisory Committee at their next meeting on 5/1/01. 

HISTORIC AND ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD:  Mr. Jirele reported that HARB met last week and is recommending approval for two Certificates of Appropriateness. 

ST. ANDREW PARISH - 138 SYCAMORE STREET - TMP# 29-10-10:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of parking lot lighting for St. Andrew Parish, in accordance with HARB’s recommendations.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

FRANK TYROL - 223 NORTH SYCAMORE STREET - TMP# 29-12-20:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the design of the renovation of an existing building and a new building, in accordance with the recommendations of HARB.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

CABLE TV COMMITTEE:  Jim Bowe reported for the Committee.  He said that the last meeting was canceled.  The Committee is working on a set of guidelines on programming that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors when approved by the Committee.  Mr. Harp asked about the progress of Comcast’s installation of pedestals in Tyler Walk; Mr. Bowe responded that construction will start soon. 

Mr. Harp stated that Verizon contacted Mr. Harwood and agreed to apply for the proper permits, remove equipment already installed, and build underground unless absolutely necessary.  Mr. Harwood added that a formal agreement will be made with Verizon and sanctioned by the District Justice. 

PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE:  Mr. Harp said that Newtown Borough will have an Arbor Day program on 4/27/01, and the Township will celebrate on 4/28/01 by planting a tree at the Municipal Complex.  Mr. Harp also reported that the Township has been awarded grants for the purchase of trees for Roberts Ridge Park and Swamp Road Park.  Mr. Harwood added that the plans for the trees will be presented to the Planning Commission and then the Board of Supervisors. 

Mr. Harp thanked Boy Scout Troop 99 for helping to clean up the Clark property, and reported that a letter honoring a Township resident will be distributed in the next Supervisors’ packet.  He announced that the next meeting of the P&OS Committee will be at the Clark house on a date to be determined, at which time the portrait of Mr. Clark will be hung.  Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Mendicino suggested that Mr. Harp confirm with Mr. and Mrs. Milnor that they are comfortable with the Committee meeting in the house, since the agreement they made with the Township specified that the house will be their private dwelling during their lifetimes. 

RECREATION BOARD:  Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the 3/2/01 meeting of the Recreation Board.  The Board received an update on enrollment for summer programs.  Most of the meeting was devoted to planning for the new skateboard park.  Mr. Bires reported that there will be a task force formed to plan and develop a proposal. 

MEMBERS COMMENTS:

NEW POLLING PLACE:  Mr. Sanderlin announced that the polling place for District Two has been changed to the American Legion Post at 41 Linden Avenue. 

PA STATE ASSOCIATION OF TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS:  Mr. Goodnoe reported that he represented the Township at the convention of the State Association of Township Supervisors last week in Hersey.  Participants voted on resolutions, learned about new laws, attended seminars, and heard about new goods and services.  He noted that about half of all Pennsylvania citizens live in townships.  The group adopted 46 resolutions, including statements favoring local use of radar to enforce speed limits, advocating changes in liquid fuels allocations, opposing unfunded mandates, and calling for the removal of MBTE from gasoline. 

ALLEGATIONS:  Mr. Jirele called for a complete investigation of allegations of misconduct by Mr. Goodnoe and former Township Manager Cornell Hopkins which were presented by a Township resident last month. 

Mr. Jirele moved to appoint Mr. Harp and Mr. Sanderlin as a committee to investigate the allegations.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Jirele moved to appoint the firm of Reed, Smith, LLP, as independent counsel to advise the committee, at a rate of $280.00 per hour for partners and $215.00 per hour for associates.  The Interim Township Manager and all Township employees are directed to cooperate fully with the investigation.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.    

AWARDS:  Mr. Mendicino commented that the Township has received many awards because of the efforts of many staff, officials and volunteers.  Mr. Sanderlin affirmed that the help of residents in the conduct of Township business is invaluable. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: 

Carl Koenig of Wrights Road presented a six page petition dated 4/6/01 to the Supervisors regarding the proposed subdivision of Robert and Maria Kramer’s property.  It was signed by 20 neighbors and asked that no waivers or variances be granted to the Kramers beyond what the courts have granted.  He said that the neighbors of the property have not been notified about actions affecting this property dating back to 1996 until recently.  He also stated that the Zoning Hearing Board and the courts make their decisions based on what he called a “brown paper bag sketch”, not a detailed plan.  The sketch is attached to the petition.  Mr. Koenig asked Mr. Harris what his position is on whether the Kramer property is subject to all ordinance requirements.  Mr. Harris responded that the Township opposed the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision, and that what the court upheld does not meet the Township ordinance’s requirements.  He said he hopes these issues will be resolved in his meeting with Mr. Kramer and his attorney.  Mr. Koenig asked if the neighbors can attend this meeting; Mr. Harris suggested that it might be possible for a representative to attend. 

Mr. Jirele commented that in the future it would be helpful to have the text of the Zoning Hearing Board decision for reference during discussion of this matter. 

Robert Smith of St. Andrews Place asked that the Township continue to notify neighbors of the Kramer property about meetings or actions regarding the property.  He also stated his belief that the Kramers should be held to the same standards as other property owners in the Township. 

Dick Weaver, Co-Chairman of the Recreation Board, reported that planning for the First Fourth celebration, to be held on 7/7/01, is progressing.  New events this year will include tennis matches, horseshoe games and medieval games. 

Richard Tonge, a Township resident, asked about the Swamp Road Study advisory committee.  Mr. Sanderlin said he will speak about this in his Chairman’s report. 

Bill Peterson of Swamp Road reported on traffic counts he observed on Swamp Road and Stoopville Road during early morning hours.  He observed more trucks on Swamp Road.  He also stated that noise and dust from blasting operations are a big problem on Swamp Road, particularly in the summer.  He said he expects the problems to worsen when the culvert on Swamp Road is improved. 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS: 

CHAIRMAN:   

MEETING WITH LOWER MAKEFIELD AND REPRESENTATIVE STEIL:  Mr. Sanderlin reported that he and Mr. Jirele met with Lower Makefield officials, Bucks County Planning Commission representatives, Representative Steil and others regarding shared traffic issues.  The Bucks County Planning Commission will propose two alternate configurations for access from the Bypass to the OR District depending on how the Heston property is developed.  The BCPC agreed to remove the proposed road through the Sterling property.  A revised map and summary will be sent to the Planning Commissions and Boards of Supervisors of both municipalities and will be made available to the public.  Mr. Sanderlin thanked everyone involved for their efforts.  He noted that an editorial in the Courier-Times complained that the meeting was not open to the public; he wrote a letter responding to the editorial, but the newspaper chose not to publish it. 

Mr. Jirele thanked Mr. Sanderlin for his efforts on this matter. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Sanderlin announced there will be an executive session later tonight to discuss matters of personnel, land acquisition and litigation. 

WORK SESSION 4/16/01:   Mr. Sanderlin reported on the 4/16/01 work session, at which the Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Bennett Associates to conduct a search for a new Township Manager at a cost of $15,000 plus incidental expenses.  The firm estimated the search will take three to five months. The Supervisors also appointed four residents to the Swamp Road Study Citizens Advisory Committee:  Madeline Faust, James Bowe, George Van Der Horn and Jim Ott.  Mr. Jirele and a member of the Planning Commission will also serve on the Committee.  After the work session the Supervisors held an executive session for matters of personnel, land acquisition and pending litigation. 

Another executive session was held on 4/24/01, at which the Supervisors made an agreement with Mr. Harwood regarding his employment.  

MAIN STREET VISIONING:  Mr. Goodnoe reported on the third Visioning meeting on 4/17/01.   Four ongoing committees have been formed to work on economic structure, promotion, organization and design.  Each committee has held its first meeting.  Volunteers are still needed for the committees.  The fourth and last meeting will be on 5/17/01.  Mr. Mendicino asked if a record of participants is being kept.  Mr. Goodnoe responded that a record is being kept and will be shared after the last meeting. 

MANAGER:  No items for this section. 

SOLICITOR: 

INTERIM TOWNSHIP MANAGER’S AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris provided copies of the employment agreement signed by Mr. Harwood. 

Mr. Harp moved to sign the employment agreement with Mr. Harwood; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Mendicino thanked Mr. Harwood for agreeing to serve the Township in this role. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING 5/3/01:  Mr. Harris reviewed the applications scheduled for the Board’s 5/3/01 meeting.  He noted that the Supervisors have already directed him to oppose the applications from Pheasant Pointe and Sun Oil.  

Regarding the Hous’ application to permit nearly a 50% increase in impervious surface for a swimming pool and patio (TMP# 29-20-6), Mr. Sanderlin asked Mr. Harris not to oppose the application, but to voice the Supervisors’ concern about such a large increase and the possibility of problems with stormwater.  Mr. Harris stated he will be present for other matters anyway.  He will make sure the calculations are correct, that stormwater concerns are addressed and that this is the minimum relief needed.  

Mr. Goodnoe commented that swimming pools are considered impervious surface except in Planned Residential Developments.  He suggested that the Planning Commission might study this discrepancy in the ordinance. 

Regarding the Newtown Shopping Center’s application for signage (TMP# 29-3-2-4), Mr. Harris noted that the Planning Commission recommended that the size of the freestanding sign at the entrance be reconsidered.  He suggested that he oppose the application only if it is inconsistent with the discussion at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting at which Mr. Loew agreed to certain conditions.  

Mr. Jirele moved to direct the Solicitor to audit the application of Mr. and Mrs. Hou, and to review the application of the Newtown Shopping Center.  The Solicitor will oppose the Newtown Shopping Center application only if it is inconsistent with the discussion that took place at the Board of Supervisors meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Mendicino commented that the discussion at the Supervisors’ meeting took place very late at night, and the proposal was very complex. 

The motion passed unanimously. 

RESOLUTION - PENNDOT REIMBURSEMENT AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris provided copies of a resolution requested by the Township Engineer authorizing the signature of the supplemental Reimbursement Agreement for the Newtown Trail.  

Mr. Harp moved to sign the supplemental Reimbursement Agreement; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

ENGINEER: 

LINDENHURST ROAD SPEED STUDY:  Mr. Larason provided a copy of a letter sent to PennDOT at the Supervisors’ request.  It asks that the Newtown Township portion of Lindenhust Road be included in their speed study. 

STOOPVILLE ROAD SPEED STUDY:  Mr. Larason provided copies of a 4/13/01 letter from PennDOT, which states that their findings that the current speed limits are appropriate and no adjustment is necessary.  PennDOT did identify a sight distance problem at the intersection with Linton Hill Road. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to direct the Solicitor to appeal the findings described in PennDOT’s letter of 4/13/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. 

Discussion of motion: Mr. Harris recommended that Mr. Larason send the appeal of this letter, consistent with previous correspondence with PennDOT on this subject.  

Mr. Mendicino and Mr. Jirele agreed to amend the motion accordingly, to direct Mr. Larason to appeal the findings in the 4/13/01 PennDOT  letter.  The motion passed unanimously. 

Jim Ott, a Stoopville Road resident, commented that he recently wrote to Representative Geist about traffic on Stoopville Road.  He stated that the road is about three miles long and there are 56 mailboxes and four major developments on the road.  At least four more developments are planned, and several other properties are likely to be developed.  He stated he recently saw a driver nearly pass a school bus because of excessive speed.  Mr. Ott also commented that the Conservation Management District was created to protect the aquifer of the area, but it is to be expected that people who buy houses in developments will want to put in swimming pools. 

TOWNSHIP CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PLAN UPDATE:  Mr. Larason said he expects to have new Transportation Service Area boundaries and per-trip impact fees ready to be reviewed at the 5/21/01 Impact Fee Advisory Committee’s meeting.  

SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Larason said that Carroll Engineering had a preconstruction meeting today with the Water and Sewer Authority for work on Sycamore Street.  He expects they will break ground around 5/7/01, and complete their work around 6/1/01.  They will be working from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM Monday through Thursday. 

 

LAND USE SECTION

 

NEW BUSINESS: 

SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS - TMP# 29-7-5:  Tabled to a later meeting.  

OLD BUSINESS:  None. 

OTHER ACTIONS: 

ENGINEER: 

ESCROW RELEASES: 

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve the release of $52,419.97 In escrow funds for the Newtown Shopping Center, in accordance with Certificate of Completion #8.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

CAU OFFICE PARK: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the release of $402,688.50 In escrow funds for the CAU Office Park, in accordance with Certificate of Completion #1.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

BUCKS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE LIBRARY ADDITION:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the release of $57,200.00 In escrow funds for the Bucks County Community College Library Addition, in accordance with Certificate of Completion #1 (FINAL), pending the payment of any outstanding bills.  The motion was seconded by Mr.Jirele and passed unanimously. 

MCLAUGHLIN MINOR SUBDIVISION - TMP# 29-4-38: Mr. Larason stated that the linens for the McLaughlins’ minor subdivision are ready to be signed. Mr. Sanderlin asked that specific mention be made of the requirement for an easement for a shared driveway on this plan. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to sign the linens for the McLaughlin subdivision, subject to confirmation that the required cross easements for the driveway are included.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

Mr. McLaughlin was present and stated that the easements are included in the plan. 

SOLICITOR: 

NEW HAVEN REFORESTATION AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris asked the Supervisors to accept the dedication of public improvements pending receipt of the deed, so the HOA can begin planting immediately.

Mr. Jirele moved to accept dedication of public improvements in New Haven, pending receipt of the deed of dedication signed by Trafalgar within 30 days.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele asked what the consequences of this action are.  Mr. Harris responded that the Township will be assuming responsibility to maintain the road without having the deed in hand.  He said he does not consider this a significant risk. 

The motion passed unanimously. 

PRESTON PROPERTY PURCHASE:  Mr. Mendicino asked if the Township has obtained an updated appraisal of the Preston property.  Mr. Harris responded that both the Prestons and the Township have done so. 

MANAGER:  No items for this section. 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  None to be addressed. 

 

ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION

 OLD BUSINESS:  None. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None.  

MANAGER: 

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPDATE:  Mr. Harwood provided a copy of the updated promulgation regarding the Township Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Chairman to sing the promulgation; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

GASOLINE AND DIESEL FUEL BIDS:  Mr. Harwood provided the results of the bidding process.  He recommended that the Township award the contract for premium gas, at $.9903 per gallon, and for diesel fuel, at $1.0055 per gallon, to Farm and Home of Telford, PA.

Mr. Mendicino moved to award the contract for gasoline and diesel fuels to Farm and Home, as recommended above by Mr. Harwood.  The contract will cover the period of 5/1/01 to 4/30/02.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

PIPE AND INLET BIDS:  Mr. Harwood provided the results of the Consortium’s bid process and recommended that the Township award the contract for inlet tops and pipes as described in his memo of 4/3/01. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to award the contract for inlet tops and pipes as recommended by Mr. Harwood in his memo of4/3/01.  The contract will cover the period of 4/1/01 to 3/31/02.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  The Board of Supervisors recessed for an executive session regarding land acquisition at 10:15 PM.  The Board reconvened at 10:25 PM. 

PURCHASE OF PRESTON PROPERTY:  Mr. Harris stated that the Prestons and the Township have obtained updated appraisals on the Preston property.  Both appraisals were increased approximately 6.5% over the original figures.  The Second Class Township Code requires that an offer be made at a price which is the average of the two appraisals.  Therefore Mr. Harris recommends that he be authorized to make an offer of $252,500 to the Prestons.

Mr. Mendicino moved to authorize the Solicitor to offer $252,500 to Mr. and Mrs. Preston for their property at 264 Frost Lane, and to negotiate the agreement of sale.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Harp moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 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