BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
JUNE 27, 2001
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting July 11, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 6/27/01: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 6/27/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, June 27, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Stephen Sanderlin, Secretary Frank Mendicino and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Recreation Board Chairman Dick Weaver, Planning Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township Engineer Bob Larason and Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs, who was also Acting Interim Manager and Acting Treasurer.
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 Scott Harp is out of town on business, Tom Jirele is stranded at an out of town airport, and Interim Township Manager Tom Harwood is on vacation.
INVOCATION: Given by Pastor Virginia Miles of the Penns Park United Methodist Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Ms Gibbs announced that the hearing on the conditional use application for the Council Rock/Goodnoe School/Preston property (page 1) is tabled. Mr. Sander noted that there is no problem with the expiration date for this application.
MINUTES & BILLS LIST:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
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.
PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mr. Goodnoe moved to pay bills totaling $499,687.63; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
INTERFUND TRANSFERS: Mr. Mendicino moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $180,700.00; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT: Finance Director Elaine Gibbs stated that four certificates of deposit have matured. She provided information about interest rates available at several area banks, and recommended that the certificates be reinvested for 90 days at 4.00% with Commerce Bank. The four funds are:
Mr. Mendicino moved to reinvest the four certificates of deposit listed above at Commerce Bank at 4.00% interest, as recommended by the Finance Director. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: Tabled until Mr. Harp can be present.
CABLE TV COMMITTEE: Tabled until Mr. Harp can be present.
PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Tabled until Mr. Harp can be present.
PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler reported on the Commission’s 6/19/01 meeting. The Commission reviewed Toll Brothers’ sketch plans of possible developments on the McLaughlin Tract and the Gray Tract. Members of the Upper Makefield Planning Commission were present as well. A work session with Upper Makefield has been set for 7/12/01.
Mr. Fidler reported that the Commission also reviewed eight pending Zoning Hearing Board applications, and made recommendations on applications from SEPTA, Jeffrey Frantz, Orleans and First National Bank. They also discussed a JMZO amendment that would permit identifying signs near the Bypass under certain conditions. The Commission will review a revised draft at their next meeting.
Mr. Mendicino asked where the access is located on the sketch plan for the McLaughlin Tract that the Commission reviewed. Mr. Fidler responded that it appeared on the western property line.
COMMUNITY CENTER COMMITTEE: Committee Chariman Allen Fidler reported for the Community Center Committee. He said the Committee presented their findings to the Supervisors at their work session on 6/25/01. Mr. Sanderlin thanked Mr. Fidler for a fine presentation, and said the Committee will report at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors in the near future.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION MEETING: Mr. Goodnoe reported that the Corporation met on 6/21/01 and focused on the goals and objectives of the four standing committees established following the visioning process. The Design Committee is looking at ways to make Newtown more pedestrian friendly, and how to make views from State Street and Sycamore Street more attractive. The Promotion Committee is planning a symposium of community groups. The Economic Structure Committee is taking an inventory of businesses and surveying residents. The Organization Committee is planning to create a comprehensive calendar of community events. The Corporation meets again on 7/19/01.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi asked to give his report, which was tabled at the last meeting. He stated that the Committee heard a report on the Sewer Authority work at their 6/13/01 meeting, and was pleased with the work of the Authority’s contractor. Earlier today, members of the Committee and others held a preconstruction meeting with the Newtown Artesian Water Company at the site. Mr. Lombardi said the Water Company expects to begin work on 7/9/01 and will finish in three or four weeks. Mr. Sanderlin thanked Mr. Lombardi and the Committee for their good work on this project.
Dick Weaver reported on the planning for the First Fourth celebration scheduled for 7/7/01. He announced that the event has a website: www\newtownsFirstFourth.pa.us. Mr. Sanderlin encouraged residents to attend the event.
Richard Tonge asked about the status of the Swamp Road traffic study. Mr. Larason said progress has been slow. PennDOT has not yet set a date for the public meetings. Mr. Sanderlin said that Mr. Jirele is the Supervisors’ representative on the study advisory committee, and Mr. Mendicino is the Planning Commission’s representative.
Jim Ott asked why the widening of Stoopville Road is the #1 priority project on the Township’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list, when so many residents oppose it. Mr. Sanderlin responded that getting a project onto PennDOT’s 12 year plan is a long process. By the time the Stoopville Road project is ready to be funded, the Township will know whether other road projects being undertaken now have addressed all the current concerns.
Mr. Ott also expressed concern about a property owner who has allowed very tall grass to grow near the sharp bend in Stoopville Road. Mr. Sanderlin said he will ask Mr. Harwood to check on this problem.
Richard Tonge asked about the status of the light synchronization project on the Bypass. Mr. Larason said that the bids have been opened, but he has not been informed of any award. He said that PennDOT has agreed to do the project this year on a compressed schedule.
Tony Passello asked about the acquisition of the former Acme building, and how the Township plans to use it. Mr. Sanderlin explained that the Township is now inspecting and assessing the building. He said that the most likely use for it will be as a community center, but the decision has not been made yet.
Mr. Passello also stated he is in favor of blocking off Silver Lake Road near the proposed Wiltshire Walk development. Mr. Sanderlin responded that there is a diversity of opinions on the Board of Supervisors regarding this part of the plan.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:
WORK SESSIONS: Mr. Sanderlin said that the Community Center Committee’s presentation at the 6/25/01 work session was covered earlier. He will defer reporting on the 6/18/01 work session until the minutes are available.
COUNCIL ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT FACILITY USAGE FEES: Mr. Sanderlin reported that he has written a letter concerning usage fees to the School District, as he was asked to at the last Supervisors’ meeting. It will be made public after it is sent.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: No other reports.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
ZONING HEARING BOARD: Mr. Sander reviewed the applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on 7/5/01.
APPLICATION OF JEFFREY FRANTZ: Mr. Sander noted that the Planning Commission had recommended opposition to the application of Jeffrey Frantz on the grounds that the relief sought would result in an excessive increase in the impervious surface. Mr. Sanderlin said he did not see the need to have the Solicitor oppose the application, but the Codes Department’s representative should be asked to bring up the Planning Commission’s concern. Mr. Goodnoe said he was most concerned about adequate stormwater management.
ENGINE BRAKE RETARDED ORDINANCE: Mr. Sander provided a copy of a 6/8/01 letter from PennDOT approving the Township’s request to enact an ordinance prohibiting the use of “jake brakes”. He asked if the Solicitor should draft such an ordinance. Mr. Sanderlin responded that there is a diversity of opinions among Board members on this subject, and he will table this question until all five Supervisors can be present.
LIQUOR LICENSE TRANSFER APPLICATION FORM: Mr. Sander stated that the Board of Supervisors enacted a fee of $500 and an escrow of $1,000 for new liquor license transfer applications. He provided a copy of a suggested application form for the Board’s consideration. Mr. Sander explained that, under the new law, the Township has the authority to approve a transfer of a license into the Township when the quota is exceeded.
Mr. Sanderlin tabled consideration of the application form until all five Supervisors can be present.
WASHINGTON CROSSING/LINTON HILL ROAD ACTIVE WARNING DEVICE: Mr. Larason reported that PennDOT is no longer in favor of installing an active warning device at this intersection, and is conducting a new traffic study to determine if a full signal system is warranted.
WALNUT AVENUE/SWAMP ROAD: Mr. Larason reported that work will begin on this project on 7/9/01, and should end in 45 days at the most.
ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT (ACME PROPERTY): Discussed earlier.
STOOPVILLE ROAD/HEMLOCK AVENUE: Mr. Goodnoe moved to authorize the Solicitor to prepare a resolution to apply for a flashing warning device at the pedestrian crossing at this intersection. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Larason to look into the possibility of a solar powered light.
LAND USE SECTION
SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS: Tabled - 4/25/01.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
NEWTOWN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: Mr. Mendicino moved to release $54,235.00 in escrow funds for this project, based on Certificate of Completion #1. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $464,272.10 in escrow funds for this project, based on Certificate of Completion #10. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino asked if this Certificate included landscaping; Mr. Larason responded that it did not.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $80,955.88 in escrow funds for this project, based on Certificate of Completion #3. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
SOLICITOR: No items for this section.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
KRAMER SUBDIVISION: Mr. Larason said that the expiration date for this plan may be 7/4/01, not 8/4/01. He suggested that the plan be denied, based on the recommendations of the Planning Commission and Carroll Engineering, unless an extension is received.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to deny the Kramer Subdivision plan, pending receipt of an extension from the applicant. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously.
Mr. Mendicino noted that the Wiltshire Walk plan needs to be approved at the next meeting.
ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION
OLD BUSINESS: None.
NEW BUSINESS: None.
FULL TIME ADMINISTRATIVE EMPLOYEE: Ms. Gibbs asked the Supervisors to approve changing an administrative position that will be vacant soon from 28 hours a week to full time. She said that if this position is full time, it could have additional responsibilities for organizing and maintaining Township records and for assisting the Executive Assistant with some routine tasks. Ms Gibbs said she has a candidate who is willing to fill the position immediately if it is full time. She would like very much to have the outgoing employee, who is leaving 7/12/01, train the new person.
Mr. Sanderlin said he supports this proposal, since the Supervisors did authorize additional staff to sort through Township records and destroy those that are unnecessary.
Mr. Mendicino said there is a possibility of getting help with the records from the Pennsylvania Extension Service, but he has not seen evidence that the Township has sought this help. He said he would like a written report on the proposed responsibilities of this position. Mr. Mendicino added that this kind of decision should be left for the new Manager to make.
Mr. Sanderlin moved to change the 28 hour administrative position to a full time position. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe but failed to carry 2-1, with Mr. Mendicino voting “nay”.
Mr. Goodnoe commented that he had heard that PennDOT considers the Township the official record keeper for any projects PennDOT does in the Township.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Sanderlin said there is a need for an executive session regarding pending litigation. There will be no need to reconvene.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Mendicino moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 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