BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
JUNE 13, 2001
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 27, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 6/13/01: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 6/13/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, June 13, 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, Planning Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, 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 Dr. Harry Pearson of the Newtown Assembly of God Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: No additions.
MINUTES & BILLS LIST:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
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.
WORK SESSION OF 5/21/01: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 5/21/01 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $774,207.27; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
INTERFUND TRANSFERS: Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $682,176.47; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
BUDGET MEETINGS: Mr. Harp reported that he and Ms Gibbs have met with department heads for a quarterly update on their budgets; all departments are on track.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:
RECREATION BOARD: Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the Board’s 6/6/01 meeting, at which no official business was transacted for lack of a quorum. Members present discussed the Facility Use Policy received from the Council Rock School District. Mr. Bires said that under this policy, Township programs using school facilities will have to pay about $200,000. Mr. Harp suggested that the Supervisors communicate with the School Board to ask for better coordination with school officials. Mr. Sanderlin commented that the Township has waived fees for the District because they are both supported by the taxpayers.
Mr. Jirele moved to send a letter to the School District encouraging cooperation between the Township and the School District regarding usage of school facilities and fees charged. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if the policy applies to all users of school facilities; Mr. Bires said it does. Mr. Harp said he understood the policy is not approved yet. Mr. Sanderlin said he would like the letter to ask that municipalities be exempt from the fees.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
FIRST FOURTH: Barbara Hains spoke about plans for the First Fourth celebration on 7/7/01. Festivities will start at 9:00 AM, and will include a parade, sports events, speeches, food and entertainment.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Mr. Sanderlin stated that Mr. Lombardi, Chairman of the Committee, is not present due to illness. Mr. Lombardi asked him to report that the sewer work on Sycamore Street is now complete. Repaving will begin on 6/18/01.
ADDENDUM #3 - SUPPLEMENTAL ENGINEERING SERVICES: Mr. Larason provided copies of a 5/21/01 letter from McMahon Associates requesting $5,460.00 for additional work on the Sycamore Street project in conjunction with work to be done by PECO.
Mr. Mendicino moved to approve $5,460.00 in additional engineering services by McMahon Associates in accordance with McMahon’s 5/21/01 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ADDENDUM #4 - SUPPLEMENTAL ENGINEERING SERVICES: Mr. Larason provided copies of a 5/22/01 letter from McMahon Associates requesting $7,300.00 for additional work on the Sycamore Street project mandated by PennDOT as a result of the field view meeting on 2/13/01.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve $7,300 in additional engineering services by McMahon Associates in accordance with McMahon’s 5/22/01 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler reported on the Commission’s 6/5/01 meeting. The Commission recommended approval of the TIP list proposed by the Traffic Engineer (copies were provided in the Engineer’s Report tonight). The Commission discussed the parking lot expansion at Goodnoe Elementary School and a sketch plan for the Heston Tract.
The Commission also recommended approval of a conditional use application from Axcell Biosciences and denial of one from Rimon Day School. They also recommended that the Supervisors not approve a final plan for a minor subdivision of the Peppleman Tract at Durham Road and South State Street.
The Commission completed its review of the revised preliminary plan for Wiltshire Walk, a major subdivision at Newtown-Yardley Road and Upper Silver Lake Road, and recommended approval of the plan with a number of conditions (listed in the Planning Commission’s letter of 6/7/01). The Commission also recommended approval for a minor subdivision related to the Wiltshire Walk plan, and reviewed four applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board meeting of 6/21/01.
EXPANSION OF PARKING - GOODNOE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Tom Ames of the Council Rock School District was present to discuss a sketch plan for improvements to the Goodnoe school property and surrounding areas. The improvements separate bus and parent dropoff traffic, provide more parking for school staff, and provide parking for the Roberts Ridge Park and the planned Alternative School. Mr. Ames displayed a sketch of the improvements, which include changing the bus dropoff point to the gym in the rear of the school, having parents drop off their children in the front, adding an access on Frost Lane and a driveway across the front of the Preston property leading to parking for the Roberts Ridge Park and the Alternative School. Mr. Ames stated that some parking spaces had been moved to the rear of the school in response to the Planning Commission’s comments. He said that the District has filed a conditional use application with the Township, and he expects that it will be reviewed by the Planning Commission in the next few weeks.
Mr. Sanderlin commented that this is a unique site with some challenges, but that this was the best plan he has seen that addresses all the concerns he has heard. Mr. Harp asked if the driveway for the Alternative School and Roberts Ridge parking could go behind the Preston house; Mr. Ames stated that there is insufficient room, and too many trees would have to be taken down. Also, the District is concerned about mixing different kinds of traffic.
Nancy Carroll, a nearby resident, thanked the Township and the District for working together on this plan. She said that the driveway across the front of the Preston property will damage the residential character of the area, and will require taking down a number of trees as well. Mr. Sanderlin said he prefers to see the traffic for the Alternative School and the park separate from the Goodnoe school traffic, as did many residents who commented on this plan at a Board of Supervisors meeting a few months ago.
Allen Fidler, a resident who owns a property downhill from the school, asked about stormwater management. Mr. Harris responded that the Township will build a detention basin to address the increased impervious surface.
Arnet Clark, the neighbor directly across Frost Lane from the Preston property, presented his own plan showing the access driveway for the park and Alternative School parking going down the west side of the Preston house. Mr. Ames said the District has reviewed Mr. Clark’s plan. Mr. Sanderlin said that if the driveway comes down to the west of the trees the Goodnoe school will lose about 18 parking spaces.
Mr. Goodnoe said he has concerns about stormwater management. He asked that the Township review this aspect of the plan as if the normal land development process was not being waived. He stated that he is comfortable with the District’s plan in principle.
Mr. Harp said he prefers to see the driveway moved from the front of the Preston house.
Mr. Mendicino asked if it would be possible to add a third access from Frost Lane; several Supervisors said this would be confusing to drivers and therefore dangerous. Mr. Mendicino then asked for an executive session in which to discuss a concern about this matter.
The Board of Supervisors met in executive session and reconvened at 9:35 PM.
Mr. Sanderlin said there is a diversity of opinion on the Board regarding the School District’s plan. He stated that the Board must approve the sketch plan by vote because the normal land development process is being waived. He said the District must still submit an engineered plan to the Township to be reviewed; then the plan will go to the Board of Supervisors for signing and recording.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the layout displayed on the sketch plan presented tonight by the School District. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino asked that Board members consider the idea of adding a third access from Frost Lane, and Mr. Harp stated his preference for moving the driveway from in front of the Preston house. Mr. Mendicino and Mr. Jirele said they want to see a substantial fence around the elementary school. Mr. Ames assured them that this is part of the District’s plan.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed 3-2, with Mr. Mendicino and Mr. Harp voting “nay”.
PRESTON PROPERTY - SCHOOL DISTRICT REQUEST: Mr. Harris said that settlement on the Preston property is scheduled for 6/15/01. He said that the District has requested permission to make some interior improvements in the Preston house as soon as the Township takes title. The improvements involve rehanging a door and installing a radon amelioration system.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to authorize the School District to enter the Preston house to make minor interior revisions, including rehanging a door and installing a radon amelioration system. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Ames stated that the School District’s Facility Use policy reviewed by the Recreation Board is in draft form, and the Supervisors’ comments would be welcome.
CONDITIONAL USE - AXCELL BIOSCIENCES - 826 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-86: Attorney Don Marshall and Dr. Roger Davis were present to discuss Axcell’s application to expand the G-2 and D-1 uses approved in 1999 by 5680 square feet, in an existing building in the Office-Light Industrial District. Mr. Marshall asked the stenographer to swear in Dr. Davis, who will affirm Mr. Marshall’s statements. Mr. Sanderlin opened the public hearing.
Mr. Marshall said that the applicant would like to use 1180 square feet of the building for D-1 Office Use and 4500 square feet for G-2 Research Use. He stated that the applicants plan to continue their current activities, research and development for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. About ten small truck deliveries, and an occasional large truck delivery, are expected weekly. A maximum of 50 employees will work one shift from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, although a few employees may have a flextime schedule or work an occasional Saturday. Mr. Marshall said that there will be some hazardous materials on site; the employees are trained to handle them, there will be no effects on the environment, and hazardous waste will be picked up by a special contractor. The applicant has submitted a list of the hazardous materials to the Township, and will submit a floor plan to the Township showing where the materials are stored. Mr. Marshall also said that an additional 28 parking spaces will be assigned to Axcell to meet the requirements of the ordinance.
Dr. Davis stated that the information provided by Mr. Marshall is correct.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the amendment to Axcell Biosciences’ conditional use approval, subject to the 5/21/01 Heritage Conservancy review letter and with the conditions described above by Mr. Marshall. In addition, the applicant will pay all costs of reviews. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE - RIMON JEWISH DAY SCHOOL - 35 SWAMP ROAD - TMP# 29-11-80: No one was present to discuss this application. Mr. Sanderlin opened the public hearing.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to continue the public hearing on the conditional use application from the Rimon Jewish Day School until 6/27/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
REVISED CONDITIONAL USE - BED, BATH AND BEYOND - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24: Timberlake Townes of J. Loew Associates was present to discuss the revised conditional use application, which was continued from the 5/23/01 meeting. Mr. Sanderlin opened the public hearing.
Mr. Townes stated that the only change he sought in the conditional use approval was to allow 10 large truck deliveries a week instead of one. He displayed a landscaping plan showing buffering between the shopping center and the Bypass. He said he would agree to the condition that the trucks will not park overnight. Mr. Jirele said he visited the site recently and felt the buffering was sufficient.
Mr. Mendicino asked how long it will take for the trees planted along the Bypass to grow into a good buffer. Mr. Townes responded that the trees will grow slowly, but in a few years they will be substantial. He added that the loading dock for Bed, Bath and Beyond is further hidden by the building. Mr. Mendicino asked if trailers will be visible from the Bypass and from the residential area across the Bypass; Mr. Townes responded that they will be visible.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve a revision to the conditional use for Bed, Bath and Beyond changing the description of anticipated large delivery vehicles from one to 10 per week. The applicant agrees that there will be no overnight truck parking. The applicant will also pay all costs of review. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed 4-1, with Mr. Mendicino voting “nay”.
CONDITIONAL USE - LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24: Timberlake Townes of J. Loew and Associates was present to discuss this conditional use application, which was continued from the 5/23/01 meeting. Mr. Townes stated that he has requested a continuance of this matter.
Mr. Harp moved to continue the public hearing on the conditional use application until 6/27/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
SKETCH PLAN - HESTON TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS - 208 SILVER LAKE ROAD - TMP# 29-10-77: Mike Palmer of Toll Brothers was present to discuss the plan for 24 single family homes on a 77.3 acre property in the Office Research District. Mr. Palmer stated that this plan conforms to all ordinance requirements. An existing farmhouse and barn will be preserved, and the Joint Historic Commission has been asked to study the historic value of these buildings. Mr. Palmer said that the Park and Open Space Committee has not yet reviewed the plan.
Mr. Jirele asked about access for lot 24; Mr. Palmer responded that lot 24 will take access from Upper Silver Lake Road. Mr. Jirele also asked that the applicant review the alignment of the interior roads with existing intersections.
Mr. Sanderlin said that he would prefer that the applicant dedicate some space for public recreational use instead of paying a fee, and he would like to see the space along the front of the development so that surrounding residents can use it. Mr. Jirele recommended that the open space be near the southern boundary of the property.
Tony Passello, a nearby resident, said that one of the access points is opposite an access to the Kirkwood development, and there is a school bus stop on that corner. Mr. Sanderlin said that the ordinance requires that the access road be either aligned with Kirkwood’s road or at least 400 feet away from it.
Paul Sterling asked the Supervisors to study possible stormwater problems. Mr. Harwood commented that Lower Makefield Township has also raised this concern. Mr. Sanderlin said that this will be studied in detail during the land development process.
Richard Tomlinson asked if the deeds to the proposed houses will state that the development is in the Office Research District. Mr. Harris said that sales agreements must state the zoning district of the property.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION: Mr. Goodnoe reported that the Corporation gave a presentation to Newtown Borough Council on 6/12/01. The Corporation’s annual report is available in the Township building and the Sewer Authority building. Mr. Goodnoe encouraged residents to become active on the four ongoing committees established by the Corporation: Design, Organization, Economic Structuring and Promotion.
Robert Williams, a resident of Newtown Grant, suggested that politically oriented community comments be limited. He expressed concern about the cost of the investigation of allegations against Mr. Goodnoe, and suggested that the matter should be referred to the state Ethics Committee. Mr. Williams said that Mr. Caruso at the Ethics Committee is willing to advise the Township.
Steve Ordrick, an officer of the Eagle Glen Homeowners’ Association, presented a letter complaining about the open space between the two parts of the development. He stated that residents were not notified that the space was sold to a private owner, who has erected a fence around it. He invited Township officials to meet with the Homeowners’ Association.
Paul Sterling expressed concern about the costs of the Trail and the Sycamore Street project. He also asked if the loan made to a former Supervisor had been repaid. Mr. Harris responded that some has been repaid, and the Township is working on getting the rest. Mr. Sterling also asked if there is a report available on the police study; Mr. Jirele responded that a report is available from the Township office. Mr. Sterling suggested that the Township talk to some residents of communities in which Township Manager candidates have worked.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL: Mr. Sanderlin reported that the Council met on 6/7/01 and discussed the new resident packets. They canceled the July meeting, and possibly the August meeting, and will meet on 9/6/01.
NEWTOWN BYPASS WALL: Mr. Sanderlin said that the Board of Supervisors met with residents of several communities adjacent to the Bypass, and a letter to Representative Steil was drafted supporting the residents’ request for a sound barrier wall. Copies of the letter were circulated to the Supervisors.
Mr. Harp moved to authorize the Chairman to sign and send the draft letter dated 6/13/01 to Representative Steil. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Dan Faust, a representative of the residents living near the Bypass, thanked the Board of Supervisors for their support.
BUCKS COUNTY CONSORTIUM: Mr. Harwood reported that the Consortium met on 6/7/01 and discussed traffic light maintenance and repair. The next consortium meeting will be in September.
SEPTA - CITATION AND FEE WAIVER REQUEST: Raymond Porreca, attorney for SEPTA, was present and stated that SEPTA is seeking a variance to permit signs for a bus route and bus stops. Mr. Porreca also asked the Board of Supervisors to waive the fees associated with the variance request on the grounds that SEPTA is also a public governmental entity.
Mr. Jirele moved to waive fees for SEPTA for any variance request regarding placement of informational signs about bus stops or routes. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
NEWTOWN ZONING HEARING BOARD - SUN OIL UPDATE: Mr. Harris reported that the Zoning Hearing Board unanimously denied Sun Oil’s variance request on 6/7/01.
COUNCIL ROCK - PRESTON AGREEMENT UPDATE: Mr. Harris reported that settlement on the Preston property is scheduled for 6/15/01. Further work is needed to complete the agreement, including a subdivision and completion of plans for the parking lot and driveway.
ZONING HEARING BOARD - 6/21/01 MEETING:
PAUL ALLEN: Mr. Harwood said the applicant is revising his plan. Mr. Sanderlin said that the revised plan should be reviewed by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Harwood will ask the Zoning Hearing Board to continue the hearing.
JOINT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: Mr. Goodnoe moved to waive the fees for the variance request; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
ORLEANS HOMEBUILDERS: No opposition indicated.
READING: No opposition indicated.
PHEASANT POINTE - MANDAMUS ACTION: Mr. Harris stated there have been no new developments in this matter.
CLARK PROPERTY - PECO LEASE: Mr. Harris said he has been in touch with PECO regarding leasing the right of way adjacent to the Clark property; the process will hopefully be complete in a few weeks.
PROJECT STATUS REPORT: Mr. Larason provided a status report on engineering projects currently underway in the Township. Copies of recent correspondence regarding the Sycamore Street project, the brake retarder study and the Transportation Improvement Plan were also provided.
LINTON HILL CULVERT PROJECT: Mr. Larason reported that only one bid was received for this project, and it was too high. He recommended that the project be rebid, with a longer time frame.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to reject the bid received for the Linton Hill Culvert project; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to rebid the Linton Hill Culvert project in September for construction in spring 2002. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
LAND USE SECTION
SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS: Tabled from 4/25/01.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
ENGINEER: No items for this section.
CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATIONS: See items under Planning Commission report.
ACME ASSIGNMENT AND ASSUMPTION AGREEMENT: Mr. Harris said Carroll Engineering is waiting for Acme’s parent company to sign the agreement so they can begin environmental testing. Mr. Harris provided copies of Dave Sander’s 6/13/01 memo regarding the lease assignment timeline.
Mr. Harwood stated that he has received a proposal for this project from an architect, and he requested that this be put on the agenda for the Supervisors’ work session on 6/18/01.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Harwood stated he received a request for an extension regarding the Peppleman Tract. Mr. Harris explained that the conditional use expiration refers to the hearing date, and the land development expiration refers to the decision date.
ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION
OLD BUSINESS: None.
NEW BUSINESS: None.
PAINT BID RECOMMENDATION AND AWARD: Mr. Harwood provided copies of his 6/8/01 memo regarding bids received by the Consortium for traffic line paint and glass beads.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to award bids for white and yellow traffic line paint and glass beads in accordance with Mr. Harwood’s 6/8/01 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Sanderlin announced there was no need for an executive session.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Goodnoe moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:55 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