NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

MAY 23, 2001


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 13, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 5/23/01:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 5/23/01 regular meeting with one change.  Under Reports of Committees, Boards, Commissions, under Cable TV Committee, Mr. Bowe’s statement was that over time, Mr. Polner “will possibly have saved Township residents as much as a million dollars in cable fees” through his work.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, May 23, 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:  Cable TV Committee member Jim Bowe, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Bob Larason, Interim Township Manager Tom Harwood 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 Reverend Anthony Easton of St. Mark’s AME Zion Church.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

 

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Sanderlin announced that on page two under Reports of Officials, the Engineer will have an item relating to the Newtown Trail #1.

 

 

MINUTES & BILLS LIST:

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

 

REGULAR MEETING OF 5/9/01:  Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 5/9/01 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mr. Jirele abstaining.

 

BILLS LIST: 

 

PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $158,959.65; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $76,313.21; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

 

TREASURER:

 

QUARTERLY BUDGET:  Mr. Harp announced that the Quarterly Budget will be sent to the Supervisors in this week’s packets.  Mr. Harp and Ms Gibbs will meet with department heads regarding the budget on 6/1/01.

 

 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

 

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD:  Mr. Jirele reported that this month’s HARB meeting was canceled for lack of business.

 

CABLE TV COMMITTEE:  Committee member Jim Bowe stated that the Township’s Cable TV consultant, Fred Polner, saved Township residents almost a million dollars a few months ago when he found miscalculations in Comcast’s request for a rate increase.  Mr. Bowe said that Mr. Polner’s services have saved Township residents further costs in his review of the contract with Comcast.

 

COMCAST CABLE TV RATES - RESOLUTION 11-2001:  Mr. Harp moved to adopt Resolution 11-2001, approving cable TV rates as follows.  The operator selected rate of $12.50 for basic service is approved; the maximum permitted rate for basic service of $17.08 submitted by the franchisee is disallowed; the maximum permitted rate of $17.03 for basic service is approved; an hourly service charge of $46.04 for equipment and related service, as described by Comcast on Form 1205, is approved; the monthly charge of $0.11 for leased remotes is approved; the monthly charge of $2.92 for converter 1 is approved; the monthly charge of $0.92 for converter 2 is approved; and the charge of $23.02 for changing tiers is approved.   The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.

 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Harris stated that the Planning Commission Chairperson reported on the Commission’s review of the following items at the last Board of Supervisors meeting, and the Commission’s recommendations were distributed in the Board’s packets.

 

CONDITIONAL USE (SOIL STRIPPING) - PHEASANT POINTE - ELLIOTT BUILDING GROUP - TMP# 29-3-27, 29-3-28.1, 29-4-38:   Mr. Harp moved to approve the conditional use application to move approximately 10,000 cubic yards of rock and fill dirt, not to include topsoil, from the Pheasant Pointe site to a site outside the Township.  All costs of review will be paid by the applicant.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.

 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele asked if the Township ever checks whether there is no topsoil moved.  Mr. Larason said that his office monitors soil removals.  Mr. Sanderlin asked if there was any public comment; there was none.

 

Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.

 

CONDITIONAL USE (SOIL STRIPPING) - NEWTOWN OFFICE COMMONS - R. J. KROENER, INC. - TMP# 29-10-81:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the conditional use application to move approximately 11,100 cubic yards of soil from the Newtown Office Commons site to a site outside the Township.  All costs of the review will be paid by the applicant.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Sanderlin noted that the Planning Commission’s letter mentioned the possibility that the soil to be moved could go to Swamp Road Park.  Mr. Harwood said that Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert was already in contact with the applicant.  Some of the soil will go into storage and be used at selected sites at the park.  Mr. Harwood said that no cost to the Township had been discussed.

 

Mr. Sanderlin asked if there was any public comment on this matter.  Jim Bowe asked the Township to consider using some of the soil to cover some rocks at the bottom of a hill at Swamp Road Park which is frequently used for sledding.  

 

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously.

 

CONDITIONAL USE - TOPPER’S SALON AND HEALTH SPA - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24:  Timberlake Townes of J. Loew Associates was present to discuss this and other items relating to the Newtown Shopping Center. 

 

Mr. Mendicino moved to approve Topper’s conditional use application for Use E-3, Service Business in Unit F of the Newtown Shopping Center, subject to the Heritage Conservancy letter of 4/24/01.  Services will include makeup, skin care, massage, manicures and pedicures.  There will be some retail sales.  No hairdressing services or artificial nails will be offered, and only step van deliveries are expected.  A maximum of 20 employees will work two shifts.  The hours of operation will be 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM seven days a week.  There will be no hazardous materials or noxious environmental effects, and refuse storage is provided for in the approved plan for the shopping center.  All costs of the review will be paid by the applicant.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele asked if the overall signage plan recently presented to the Board by Mr. Loew includes this tenant; Mr. Townes said it does.

 

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously.

 

CONDITIONAL USE - LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24:  Mr. Townes noted that the operating hours should be 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 AM to midnight on Friday and Saturday.  He said that Longhorn is proposing a building about 200 square feet less than the area of the pad shown on the approved plan for the shopping center, but it is squarer in shape.  He did not have architectural drawings of the proposed building.

 

Mr. Mendicino noted that the Planning Commission had concerns about the effect of new legislation regarding liquor license on this application, since the Longhorn representative stated at the Commission meeting that the company’s plans depend on obtaining a license.  Mr. Townes asked if the Supervisors would oppose a license for Longhorn if it would exceed the quota determined by the 2000 census.  Several Supervisors indicated they would oppose such an application.  Mr. Goodnoe said he would not want conditional use approval to be construed as approval of the license application.

 

Mr. Mendicino asked how the Board of Supervisors can approve this application without architectural drawings.  Mr. Townes said that Longhorn is willing to have the entrance face the parking lot rather than Route 413, but Mr. Townes has not yet seen a plan.  He also stated that signage for this tenant was not included in Mr. Loew’s overall plan and would be submitted separately for review.  Mr. Mendicino said that his recollection was that the applicant said at the Planning Commission meeting that he would have a plan for the Board of Supervisors to review tonight.  He further stated that he was uncomfortable approving this application without having all the relevant information.   Mr. Harris agreed to prepare a written analysis of the new liquor license laws for the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

 

Mr. Mendicino moved to continue the hearing on this application to 6/13/01.  The applicant will provide a floor plan and elevations, as well as information about architectural materials to be used and signage; this information will be provided to the Township at least one week before the 6/13/01 meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

 

REVISED CONDITIONAL USE - BED, BATH AND BEYOND - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24:  Mr. Harris explained that the applicant wanted to correct the conditional use approval of 1/10/01, in which it was stated that one large truck delivery a week was anticipated.  The applicant anticipates approximately 10 large truck deliveries a week.  All other aspects of the application are the same.

 

Mr. Mendicino said that he is concerned about the number of large trucks at this store.  He said that the loading area is visible from the Bypass and from the homes across the Bypass.  He asked if the shopping center can provide a tree buffer in the back of the store; Mr. Townes responded that the center cannot do this, but that the planned landscaping for the center should be adequate.  Mr. Harris asked if the applicant would agree to a condition that there be no overnight parking at the loading area; Mr. Townes responded that this was acceptable.

 

Mr. Mendicino moved to continue the hearing on this application to 6/13/01, when the applicant will provide a landscaping plan for the area.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

SIGNAGE PLAN - BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24:  Mr. Sanderlin noted that the signage plan submitted called for two 40’ square signs, which are twice as large as those approved for Applebee’s.  The ordinance allows 20’ square signs.  Mr. Mendicino said that the Planning Commission questioned the placement of one of the signs on the back of the building; Mr. Harwood said that the ordinance does not prohibit this.  Mr. Jirele said he did not want to see additional signs in the windows.  He and Mr. Sanderlin said they would not oppose a plan with two 20 foot square signs saying “Blockbuster”, plus two eight foot square “torn ticket” logos.

 

CONDITIONAL USE - BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve the conditional use application for Blockbuster Video, subject to the Heritage Conservancy review of 4/19/01.  The applicant will use 5,000 square feet on Pad #4 for Use E-1, Retail Shop.  Videos, DVDs, laser disks, etc. will be rented, and there will be some retail sales of prepackaged snacks.  There will be no adult video section.  Only step van deliveries are expected.  A maximum of ten employees will work two shifts.  The hours of operation will be 10:00 AM to midnight seven days a week.  There will be no hazardous materials or noxious environmental effects, and refuse storage is provided for in the approved plan for the shopping center.  There will be a maximum of two signs, on the east and west sides, as shown in the plan submitted to the Township on 4/25/01.  The signs will not exceed 20 square feet in area, including the title and the logo. There will be no exposed signs in the windows, including neon or TV screens.  All costs of the review will be paid by the applicant.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.

 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Larason said he has been monitoring the square footage as the conditional use applications from the tenants are submitted and approved, and it is still under the overall approved amount for the center.  Mr. Townes said that Topper’s is using less space than originally planned, and Pad #1 will be smaller than shown on the original plan.  Mr. Sanderlin asked if there was any public comment; there was none.

 

Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.

 

 

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS:

 

JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION:  Mr. Goodnoe reported on the fourth and final visioning session, held 5/17/01.  Approximately 30 people attended.  He read the vision statement developed by the Corporation regarding encouraging and sustaining the economic viability of the Newtown area.  Four standing committees on design, organization, economic structure and promotion will continue the work of the Corporation; volunteers are still needed for these committees.  A joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and Newtown Borough Council is being planned.

 

TOWNSHIP MANAGER SEARCH:  Mr. Harp reported that the Supervisors and a group of 13 citizens will be meeting this week with the search firm hired by the Township, to discuss the qualities to be sought in candidates for the Township Manager position.

 

BOCCE TOURNAMENT:  Mr. Sanderlin said that the Supervisors were invited to enter a team in a bocce tournament sponsored by Bensalem Township to benefit Just For Kids.  Although most members cannot attend, Mr. Sanderlin suggested that the registration fee of $25.00 be sent as a contribution.

 

Mr. Mendicino moved to send a $25.00 contribution to Bensalem Township for the bocce tournament.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

 

 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS:

 

Tony Passella asked about the status of the investigation of allegations concerning Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Hopkins.  Mr. Sanderlin responded that he hoped the investigation will conclude in 30 days.

 

Jim Ott asked for an update on Stoopville Road.  Mr. Larason responded that he has still not received a response to his letter from PennDOT.  He said PennDOT may be planning to install additional signs regarding the present speed limit.  Mr. Ott asked why the review of the McLaughlin Tract plan is tabled.  Mr. Sanderlin said that the plan has been tabled at the request of the applicant.

 

Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, asked if businesses need a conditional use approval to serve liquor.  Mr. Sanderlin responded that permission to serve liquor is part of the approval for an Eating Place Use; however, there must be a public hearing for the license application.  Mr. Iwaskiw also asked if there is room in the loading area for Bed, Bath & Beyond for 45 foot long tractor trailers to turn safely.  Mr. Sanderlin said this is part of the Engineer’s review of the plan,

 

 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:

 

CHAIRMAN:

 

JOINT MEETING WITH BOROUGH:  Mr. Sanderlin said that the joint meeting of the Supervisors and Newtown Borough Council that Mr. Goodnoe referred to in his Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation report is tentatively set for 6/12/01.

 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ WORK SESSION 5/21/01:  Mr. Sanderlin reported that the Supervisors heard a presentation by the YMCA, which is considering opening a facility in the Township; discussed a sound wall along the Bypass; reviewed the Comcast Cable TV rates; discussed labor issues; exempted the Joint Municipal Authority from escrow requirements; clarified bid acceptance procedures; and discussed record storage in the Municipal Complex.  After the work session an executive session for personnel matters was held.

 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No items for this section.

 

MANAGER:

 

BUCKS COUNTY CONSORTIUM:  Mr. Harwood said that the Consortium met last week jointly the Montgomery County managers and heard a presentation from a public relations firm on dealing with the public and the media.

 

SOLICITOR:

 

SUN OIL UPDATE:  Mr. Harris reported that at the 5/3/01 Zoning Hearing Board meeting, Newtown Borough officials testified that the proposed signage would be detrimental to the historic appearance of the area.  The Zoning Hearing Board encouraged the applicant to meet with the Borough representatives, and continued the hearing to 6/7/01.

 

COUNCIL ROCK/PRESTON AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris reported that the agreement has been signed by the Prestons and returned.  He asked the Board of Supervisors to authorize payment of a $5,000 deposit so that settlement can proceed.

 

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize a $5,000 deposit towards the purchase of the Preston house.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

 

ZONING HEARING BOARD:  Mr. Harris reviewed the hearings scheduled for the 6/7/01 meeting.  He stated that the Zoning Hearing Board has many applications before it, and has scheduled an additional meeting on 6/21/01.  The Supervisors indicated that there was no need for the Township to take a position on any of the four new applications.

 

PHEASANT POINTE MANDAMUS ACTION:  Mr. Harris reported that there has been no change in this situation.

 

SEPTA SIGN ORDINANCE VIOLATION:  Mr. Harris reported that SEPTA has applied to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance from the sign ordinance in response to the Township’s citation.

 

ENGINEER:

 

PROJECT STATUS REPORT:  Mr. Larason provided copies of a status report on current Township projects as of 5/8/01.  Mr. Mendicino asked that the Planning Commission provide a recommendation regarding the placement of signals on Durham Road, as discussed in Mr. Larason’s project status report.

 

ISTEA TRAIL #1 - RELEASE, INDEMNIFICATION AND HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT:  Mr. Larason provided copies of a proposed agreement with Tony DePaul and Son, contractor for the Trail #1 project, releasing the contractor from liability for problems resulting from construction of the portion of the trail under the Route 332 Bypass bridge.

 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to authorize the Chairman to sign the Release, Indemnification and Hold Harmless agreement with DePaul and Son.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

 

ISTEA TRAIL #1 - CONTACT WITH PENNDOT:  Mr. Larason said that PennDOT has requested that a single person be designated as their contact on this project.  Mr. Larason said that several Township officials have been calling PennDOT about funds to be reimbursed to the Township.  Mr. Sanderlin said he does not want this to be a burden on Mr. Harwood.  Mr. Harwood said he will be able to delegate most of this task.

 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to designate Mr. Harwood as PennDOT’s contact person for the Trail project.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

ISTEA TRAIL #1 - CONTRACT EXTENSION AND SUPPLEMENTAL CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION AND INSPECTION EXPENSES:  Mr. Larason asked the Board of Supervisors to approve the contractor’s request for an extension on the Trail project to 7/16/01.  He noted that PennDOT is supportive of this request.  Mr. Larason also asked the Board to approve an additional expenditure of $6,728.76 for an additional inspector to monitor the contractor’s work.

 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to extend the contract with DePaul and Son to 7/16/01, and to approve additional expenses as outlined in Mr. Larason’s letter of 5/22/01.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

 

 

LAND USE SECTION

 

 

NEW BUSINESS: 

 

SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT:  Continues to be tabled.

 

 

OLD BUSINESS:  None.

 

 

OTHER ACTIONS:

 

ENGINEER:

 

ESCROW RELEASES:

 

ST. ANDREWS BRIAR:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the release of $104,117.40 in escrow funds for St. Andrews Briar based on Certificate of Completion #3.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

PHEASANT POINTE: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the release of $66,833.50 in escrow funds for Pheasant Pointe based on Certificate of Completion #4.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe said he has observed a pile of old tires at the construction site.  Mr. Harwood said the Township will send an inspector to the site tomorrow to see if the tires have been removed.

 

 Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously.

 

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the release of $629,628.48 in escrow funds for the Newtown Shopping Center based on Certificate of Completion #9.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

CLIVEDEN PHASE III: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the release of $96,690.81 in escrow funds for St. Andrews Briar based on Certificate of Completion #4.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

 

Discussion of motion:  Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, asked if the Certificate of Completion meant that the public improvements in Cliveden III are ready for dedication.  Mr. Larason said it does not.  Mr. Iwaskiw asked for a response to a request he made in a meeting with the Supervisors on 4/16/01.  Mr. Larason said he would prepare a report for the Supervisors so they can respond.

 

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously.

 

SOLICITOR:

 

ACME ASSUMPTION AGREEMENT:  Mr. Harris reported that the revised agreement had been circulated to the Supervisors.  He noted that the timeline has been extended.

 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to ratify the agreement with Albertson’s regarding the Acme Market on Sycamore Street.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

 

MANAGER:  No items for this section.

 

 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Harwood said that the Township received an extension to 7/15/01 on Wiltshire Walk today.  Mr. Jirele noted that the final plan for the Platt Swim Club will expire before the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

 

FINAL PLAN - PLATT SWIM CLUB:  Mr. Jirele moved to deny approval for this plan unless an extension is received from the applicant by 6/7/01.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

 

 

 

ROUTINE BUSINESS

 

 

No items for this section.

 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Sanderlin announced that there will be an executive session for personnel matters following this meeting.  The Board will not reconvene.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Harp moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 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