NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS 

JULY 25, 2001  


 

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting July 25, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 7/25/01:  Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 7/25/01 regular meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.

 


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, July 25, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Stephen Sanderlin, Treasurer Scott Harp and Secretary Frank Mendicino.  Also present were:  Planning Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley, HARB Member Elinor Campbell, Township Solicitor David Sander, 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 Judith C. Joseph, Chaplain/Bereavement Specialist, Quaker Interfaith Ministry and Wrightstown Meeting.  The Pledge of Allegiance followed this.   

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Harwood announced that an item relating to the Lovett barn is added under the HARB report, and there is a need for an executive session regarding real estate matters.  Mr. Sanderlin added that the report of the Investigative Committee would be item A under Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions.    

MINUTES & BILLS LIST: 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 

REGULAR MEETING OF 7/11/01:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 7/11/01 regular meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

WORK SESSION OF 6/18/01:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the minutes of the 6/18/01 work session.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST:   

PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $335,197.98; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $56,210.88; the motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER:   

CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE:  Mr. Harp reported that in the next 30 days the Capital Planning Committee would have a preliminary discussion of next year’s budget.   

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: 

INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE REPORT:  Mr. Sanderlin said that Reed Smith has completed their investigation of the alleged ethical violations, and the report has just arrived at the Township.  He suggested that the report be made available to the public at the end of tonight’s meeting.  

Mr. Harp moved to accept the Investigative Report from Reed Smith, and to make the report available to the public at the end of the meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Sanderlin asked that the public hold comments and questions regarding the report until the 8/8/01 Board of Supervisors meeting, by which time the Supervisors will have had time to review the report.  A representative of Reed Smith will be present at the 8/8/01 meeting to respond to questions about the report. 

HISTORIC AND ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE:  

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - LA STALLA RESTAURANT (LOVETT BARN):  Elinor Campbell, a member of HARB, reported that representatives of the La Stalla restaurant attended the last two HARB meetings to discuss 17 infractions identified by HARB relating to the renovation of the Lovett barn.  A cease and desist order was issued on 7/13/01.  Ms Campbell said that the restaurant’s representatives and HARB came to an agreement about all but two of the problems.  She asked the Board of Supervisors to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness in accordance with the minutes of HARB’s 7/24/01 special meeting, with items 14 and 17 withheld. 

Don Marshall, attorney for La Stalla, was present and said his client is in agreement with this recommendation.  

Mr. Harp moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for La Stalla restaurant in accordance with the minutes of HARB’s 7/24/01 special meeting, with items 14 and 17 withheld.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - TYROL’S SYCAMORE:  Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for Frank and John Tyrol’s project at 223 North Sycamore Street in accordance with HARB’s recommendation, which is:  HARB has the right to require that the existing stone walls be stuccoed, color and texture as approved by HARB.  Material selection also approved by HARB.  Mr. Harp seconded the motion. 

Discussion of motion:  Frank Tyrol was present and said that, although he prefers stonework, he will work with HARB in accordance with their recommendation.  

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously. 

ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH - DEMOLITION OF RECTORY:  Ms Campbell reported that representatives of St. Andrew’s Church discussed their plans for demolishing their rectory and constructing a prayer garden on the site. 

TRAFFIC IMPACT COMMITTEE:  Committee Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on the Committee’s 7/17/01 meeting.  The Committee discussed the Land Use Assumption report as updated by Mike Frank.  They recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the report. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to approve the Land Use Assumption report submitted by Mike Frank.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

Mrs. Doorley also reported that the Committee will be updating the capital improvements plan soon, which will make it possible for them to do the final calculations to set traffic impact fees. 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on the Commission’s 7/17/01 meeting, at which a quorum of members was not present.  Therefore, the recommendations made at this meeting were not formal recommendations. The Commission heard an update on the Closed Loop system from Traffic Engineer Jeff L’Amoreaux.  They reviewed a conditional use application from Stork Labs and recommended approval.  They also reviewed a conditional use application from Frank and John Tyrol regarding their property on Sycamore Street and recommended approval; the public hearing on this matter will be held later tonight.  The Commission also reviewed a sketch plan for the expansion of Newtown Commons. 

The Commission reviewed a revised plan for a minor subdivision of the Peppleman Tract and recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the subdivision.  They also recommended that the Board not oppose the applicants’ variance request.  The Commission reviewed the Sewer Authority’s plan for a pole barn and saw no problems with it.  The Commission also reviewed a draft JMZO amendment regarding the Canal Overlay District, and were generally not in favor of it because it seems to be taking of property and is written in a confusing manner. 

Mr. Sanderlin asked that the Commission make a formal recommendation on a letter from Representative Steil regarding traffic issues shared with Lower Makefield, which was distributed to members earlier. 

CONDITIONAL USE - TYROL’S SYCAMORE - 223 NORTH SYCAMORE STREET - TMP# 29-12-20:   Frank Tyrol and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss their application for D-1 Office Use for 6202 square feet in the Town Commercial District.  Mr. Tyrol was sworn in. 

Mr. Marshall stated that the Zoning Hearing Board granted a variance on 7/19/01 to allow nine by twenty foot parking spaces on this site.  He said that Mr. Tyrol’s business will occupy 3217 square feet and will operate as described in the Planning Commission’s 7/19/01 letter.  Additional conditional use applications will be submitted as additional tenants are identified.   Mr. Marshall also said that the plan meets ordinance requirements for the use of flood fringe areas.   

Mr. Tyrol affirmed that Mr. Marshall’s statements were correct. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to approve Frank and John Tyrol’s conditional use application for D-1 Office Use only, subject to the Heritage Conservancy’s 6/6/01 letter, with the understanding that the flood fringe area will be used for parking if necessary, only small truck deliveries are expected, Mr. Tyrol’s business will have a maximum of ten employees, no hazardous materials will be stored on the site and there will be no noxious environmental effects, the hours of operation will be normal working hours with occasional weekend use, the applicants will comply with the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 7/19/01, and additional conditional use applications will be submitted for additional tenants.  Mr. Harp seconded the motion. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Sanderlin asked if a formal recommendation by the Planning Commission at a meeting with a quorum of members was necessary to approve this application.  Mr. Sander said he thought not.  If it is necessary, the Board can ratify this approval later.  

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously. 

REVISED MINOR SUBDIVISION PLAN - PAUL ALLEN - PEPPLEMAN TRACT - TMP# 29-10-19, 29-10-20 AND 28-4-14: Ed Wild, attorney for Paul Allen, asked to speak to the Board regarding the Peppleman Tract plan, although it was not on the agenda.  He said that a variance request is scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Hearing Board before the next Board of Supervisors meeting, and he would like the Board to affirm the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the variance be granted.   Mr. Wild said that there are two issues before the Zoning Hearing Board: 

1.      The applicant is creating Parcel A, which will be merged immediately with the Borough parcel.  Reviews have raised a question about whether Parcel A requires a variance from the minimum lot requirements. 

2.      The applicant is seeking to reduce the ultimate right of way from 60 feet to 40 feet.  He intends to conform to section 604 of the ordinance, which requires that the setback be an average of the two adjacent buildings’ setbacks. 

Mr. Wild asked that the Board of Supervisors at least state their neutrality regarding these issues. 

Mr. Mendicino said that he would like to see the Planning Commission make a recommendation at a meeting at which a quorum was present before making any decision.   

Michael Sellers, attorney for Mel Kardos and several other neighboring residents, asked to speak to the Board on this issue.  Mr. Sellers said that the group of residents he represents helped to create the TC District several years earlier.  The group opposes this subdivision, and the requested variances, because it is a piecemeal approach to developing the tract.  Mr. Sellers asked the Board to address land development issues on the entire tract before taking a position on the variance request or approving the subdivision. 

Mr. Mendicino said that the Planning Commission recommended getting the Solicitor’s opinion on the driveway on lot 1 during their first discussion of this plan.  This was apparently not done, and not addressed during the second discussion.  Mr. Mendicino said this supports his belief that the Planning Commission should have a solicitor at their meetings. He said he would like the Solicitor to discuss the issue with the members of the Planning Commission, review the Commission’s minutes, and attend the hearing.   

Mr. Sanderlin said he agreed that the plan should go back to the Planning Commission for a formal recommendation, but he is not inclined to ask the Solicitor to oppose the variance requests.  

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS: 

AMERICAN LEGION POST 440 TEAM:  Mr. Harp congratulated the American Legion Post 440 team on making it into the playoffs. 

ILLNESS - MARIO LIONETTI:  Mr. Sanderlin expressed the Board’s wishes for Mario Lionetti’s swift recovery from a recent heart attack.  Mr. Lionetti is the Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: 

Elinor Campbell, member of HARB, expressed gratitude for the outstanding services of Ethel Hibbs, HARB Recording Secretary. 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS: 

CHAIRMAN:   

REGIONAL TRAFFIC CONCERNS:  Mr. Sanderlin announced that he would represent the Township at a meeting at the Afton Elementary School in Lower Makefield Township the evening of 7/31/01.  He invited Township residents to attend the meeting, at which regional traffic concerns will be discussed. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No items for this section. 

MANAGER: 

AMERICAN LEGION - FEE WAIVER:  Mr. Harwood said that Franklin Carver, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Veterans Association of Newtown, requested that the Township waive the fees associated with a variance request for a sign on their building.   

Mr. Sanderlin moved to waive the fees associated with the American Legion’s request for a variance to permit a sign on the south facade of their building.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

JMZO CONSOLIDATED ORDINANCE DISTRIBUTION:  Mr. Harwood distributed copies of the consolidated Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance for review by the Board of Supervisors.   

SOLICITOR: 

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD - 8/2/01:  Mr. Sander reviewed the applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board’s 8/2/01 meeting.  The Board indicated they saw no need for the Solicitor to attend the meeting on the Township’s behalf. 

ENGINEER: 

CLOSED LOOP SIGNALIZATION PROJECT:  Mr. Larason reported that PennDOT has seemed positive about the Township’s request to include emergency vehicle preemption provisions in the system.  This will require an additional $50,000 in state funds in the contract with Armour Electric.  Mr. Larason said that the Township has also expressed an interest in extending the Closed Loop system to make it possible to connect Eagle Road and Sycamore Street to the system.  PennDOT will not fund this addition, but it will allow the Township to contract separately with Armour Electric.  Mr. Larason provided a memo dated 7/11/01 with details about this project, and suggested that the Supervisors discuss this at their work session on 8/20/01.   

NEWTOWN CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT SIGNAL COORDINATION:  Mr. Larason provided copies of Mr. L’Amoreaux’s 7/13/01 letter to Newtown Borough regarding coordination with the Closed Loop system. 

ISTEA TRAIL:  Mr. Larason stated that the contractor has been asked to construct a temporary trail adjacent to Stockburgers, to be replaced when the Sycamore Street work is finished. 

GAUCKS LANE:  Mr. Larason provided copies of documentation regarding property ownership along the paper street and the paved portions of Gaucks Lane.  He reported that research is in progress regarding paved limits of the roadway and other properties that may utilize the roadway.  

Bill Peterson asked that properties along Silver Lake Road be included in the research. 

 

LAND USE SECTION 

 

NEW BUSINESS: 

SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS:  Tabled - 4/25/01. 

OLD BUSINESS:  No items for this section. 

OTHER ACTIONS: 

ENGINEER:   

CORRESPONDENCE: 

MINOR SUBDIVISION - PAUL ALLEN:  Mr. Larason provided copies of recent correspondence regarding this plan.

ESCROW RELEASES: 

NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER:  Mr. Mendicino moved to release $1,170.00 in escrow funds for the Newtown Rental Center, based on Certificate of Completion #4.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER:  Mr. Mendicino moved to release $204,575.23 in escrow funds for the Newtown Shopping Center, based on Certificate of Completion #11.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

SOLICITOR: 

NEWTOWN MEADOWS - BARN FACADE EASEMENT:  Mr. Sander provided copies of two letters dated 7/18/01 from Caroline Edwards, attorney for Beazer Homes, regarding the Facade Easement which Beazer was required to record for the reconstructed barn on the Newtown Meadows property.  Mr. Sander said that Beazer has executed the easement, and he finds it to be in proper form with all required exhibits. 

Ms Edwards was present and explained the background of this matter.  The facade easement  documents the current appearance of the reconstructed barn, the materials used, the obligations of the current and future owners and the rights of the Township to enforce those obligations.  

Mr. Mendicino moved to authorize the Chairman to sign the Facade Easement for the barn on the Newtown Meadows property.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

MANAGER: 

WAIVER OF LAND DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS - PRESTON PROPERTY:  Mr. Harwood asked the Board of Supervisors to waive the requirement to notify neighboring property owners about the development of the Preston property, and the required review by the Planning Commission. 

Mr. Harp moved to waive the requirement to notify neighboring property owners about the development of the Preston property, and to waive the required review by the Planning Commission.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously. 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:   

KRAMER SUBDIVISION:  Mr. Harwood said that the applicant has granted an extension to 9/14/01. 

SEWER AUTHORITY:  Mr. Harwood said that the applicant has granted an extension of 30 days. 

 

ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION 

 

OLD BUSINESS:  No items for this section. 

NEW BUSINESS:  No items for this section. 

MANAGER: 

MUNICIPAL SECRETARY - PART TIME TO FULL TIME:  Mr. Harwood provided copies of his 7/20/01 memo regarding his request to change the municipal secretary’s position from 28 hours a week to 40 hours a week.  The memo was accompanied by information requested at the Board of Supervisors work session on 7/16/01. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to approve changing the municipal secretary position from 28 hours a week to 40 hours a week.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp. 

Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino thanked Mr. Harwood for preparing the packet of information, and asked that he continue to discuss with the state what assistance they can offer the Township with records maintenance. 

 Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed unanimously. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  The Board went into executive session at 9:50 PM for matters of real estate, and reconvened at 10:50 PM. 

STIPULATION SETTLEMENT AND AGREEMENT - ELLIOTT BUILDING GROUP:  Mr. Mendicino moved to authorize entering into a stipulation settlement and agreement with the Elliott Building Group regarding the Pheasant Pointe Mandamus Action.  It is agreed that the five houses in the R1 portion of the property will be built in accordance with the specifications submitted by Elliott in March 2001; sidewalks will be installed around the entire cul de sac; Elliott will construct an 18 foot radius green area in the center of the cul de sac; Elliott will construct a retention basin at the Roberts Ridge park, and possibly make other improvements as necessary; it is understood that there is no precedential value to this agreement; and the basin will be completed within 60 days of entering into the agreement.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

VACANCY ON PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Mendicino moved to appoint Shawn Ward to a vacancy on the Township Planning Commission.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously. 

ADJOURNMENT:   Mr. Harp moved to adjourn.  With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:55 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