NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

SEPTEMBER 12, 2001


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting September 26, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 9/12/01:  Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 9/12/01 regular meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, September 12, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Stephen Sanderlin, Vice Chairman Tom Jirele, Secretary/Treasurer Scott Harp, Member Raymond Goodnoe and Member Richard Weaver. Also present were: Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Community Center Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Allen Fidler, Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires, Constable Mark Bylick, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Bob Larason, Interim Township Manager Tom Harwood, Township Park and Recreation Director Bill Wert 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. He asked those present to think of the victims of yesterday’s terrorist attack and their families during the silence.

INVOCATION: Given by the Reverend Nancy Stroh of the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

SPECIAL ACTIONS:

INTRODUCTION OF CONSTABLE’S DEPUTY: Newtown Township Constable Mark Bylick was present, and introduced Deputy Constable Andrew Bethman, who will be taking over Mr. Bylick’s duties. He also introduced Brian Zavodnik, who will assist Mr. Bethman.

COMMUNITY CENTER AD HOC COMMITTEE: Mr. Sanderlin introduced Allen Fidler, Chairman of the Community Center Ad Hoc Committee, and presented a proclamation to him in honor of his service to the Township. Proclamations were also presented to the other members of the Committee: Leslie Dunleavy, Bernie Bires, Sue Beasley, Fran Poole, Steve Povernick, Dan McCloskey, Laura Leigh Tomlinson, Anna Marie Zambruski, Scott Harp and Bill Wert. Mr. Goodnoe thanked Mr. Fidler for his willingness to serve the Township in many capacities.

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Harwood announced that the Platt subdivision will be considered under Old Business in the Land Use section, and the Transportation Enhancement Program Application is removed from the Manager’s report in the General Interest section.

Mr. Sanderlin added that the Reed Smith recommendations to be considered under the Solicitor’s report in the General Interest section will be tabled to the next public meeting of the Board of Supervisors. He said that a motion is necessary since one of the recommended actions is a proposed ordinance.

Mr. Harp moved to table consideration of the Reed Smith recommendations until 9/26/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously, with Mr. Goodnoe abstaining.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS:

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

REGULAR MEETING OF 8/22/01:Mr. moved to approve the minutes of the 8/22/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. and passed unanimously.

WORK SESSION OF 8/20/01:Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 8/20/01 work session. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST:

PAYMENT OF BILLS:Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $305,840.17; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

INTERFUND TRANSFERS: Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $20,678.71; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT: No items for this section.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

CAPITAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp reported that the Committee is now meeting twice a month, most recently on 9/4/01. They are looking at the Township’s capital needs for 2002 and beyond, and will present some options to the Board of Supervisors during the budget process this fall. The next meeting will be 9/20/01.

PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp introduced Sue Sutton and Russ Strover, who reported on the Committee’s recent activities.

Ms Sutton said that a grant will enable the Shade Tree Committee to plant trees at Roberts Ridge Park this fall. The Committee is seeking donations to fund additional trees to be planted along the Trail.

Mr. Harp said that checks can be made payable to the Newtown Township Park and Recreation Department and directed to the Tree Fund. He also said he will donate a tree.

Mr. Harp moved to allow the public to contribute to the Tree Fund, and to direct the technology staff to put information about the fund on the Township website. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.

Mr. Jirele said he will also donate a tree.

Russ Strover said plans for the tree planting are being coordinated with the School District. Roberts Ridge Park will also be sharing rest room facilities with the School District.

RECREATION BOARD: Chairman Bernie Bires reported that the Board met on 9/5/01. Representatives of the Little League were present. Mr. Wert reported to the Board that participation and revenue from summer programs were the highest in the last five years. Mr. Bires and Mr. Wert visited the skateboard park in Doylestown. The Board is investigating the possibility of a joint soccer program with Upper Makefield.

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Chairman Vince Lombardi reported that the Committee met on 9/11/01. The heard reports on the Water Company’s work, a construction meeting with PECO gas division and a meeting with PennDOT officials. The Committee also discussed a sound barrier at Sycamore Street and the Bypass (outside the Sycamore Street project).

PLANNING COMMISSION: Mr. Lombardi also serves as Secretary of the Planning Commission, and reported on the Commission’s 9/4/01 meeting. The Township Traffic Engineer updated the Commission on the Closed Loop system and reviewed PennDOT’s recommendations for the intersection of 413 and the Bypass. The Commission also reviewed a revised preliminary plan for Wiltshire Walk and recommended approval. Approval of a minor subdivision of the Platt property, part of the Wiltshire Walk plan, was recommended at an earlier meeting.

Mr. Lombardi also reported that the Commission reviewed a sketch plan for the Newtown Ice Center at 209 Penns Trail. Commission members saw problems with parking and access, and felt the proposed building was too large for the site. The Commission also reviewed conditional use applications from Annie B’s Confections and Platinum Executive Suites, and recommended approval of both applications.

The Commission discussed a draft Community Development Block Grant application, and recommended that funds be sought for improvements to several intersections along Swamp Road near the German Tract. An alternative use would be for updating the subdivision and land development ordinance. Mr. Goodnoe noted that some improvements to this part of Swamp Road are part of another project. He expressed concern about the entrance to the shopping center. Mr. Jirele said the entrance might need to be realigned.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT APPLICATION: Mr. Larason stated that the CDBG application must be advertised for public hearing.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to ask the Township Traffic Engineer for a recommendation on the intersections of Swamp Road and Walnut, Linden and the shopping center. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

Mr. Jirele moved to advertise a public hearing on the CDBG application for the next public meeting of the Board of Supervisors. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE - ANNIE B’S CONFECTIONS - 66 WALKER LANE - TMP# 29-10-99-1-4: Mr. Sanderlin said the applicant has requested that the hearing be continued.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to continue the public hearing on the conditional use application of Annie B’s Confections to 9/26/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE - CHICK-FIL-A - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-24: Timberlake Townes of Newtown Bucks Associates, and John Martinez and Gene Anchez from Chil-Fil-A, were present to discuss the application for Use E-6, Eating Place with Drive-Through, for a building of approximately 4,211 square feet to be constructed on Pad #1 of the Newtown Shopping Center. Mr. Townes displayed a sketch of the site and stated that the plan for the drive-through window has changed to address the concerns raised by the Planning Commission in their review on 8/21/01. He said striping and signage have been added, and cars exiting the pickup window will be permitted right turns only.

Mr. Townes stated that the proposed signage complies with the ordinance requirements for size, but he will seek a variance on the height of the signs. Mr. Jirele suggested that the signage be similar to the signage on which Applebee’s and the Township agreed. Mr. Townes said that would be acceptable.

Mr. Townes stated that the proposed restaurant will not produce any offensive environmental effects, and the rooftop equipment will be screened.

Mr. Harris said the applicant should file an amended plan, since the revisions shown tonight change the traffic patterns. Mr. Larason concurred. Mr. Townes suggested that the Township Engineer review the revised plan, and the Board’s approval be contingent on the Engineer’s approval.

Mr. Jirele said he was concerned about the traffic patterns related to the drive-through service. He said cars will be cutting through the Applebee’s parking lot. He asked if the drive-through pattern could be “flipped”, so that traffic exiting the pickup window enters the loop road through the shopping center. Mr. Sanderlin said he agreed the traffic pattern is awkward.

Mr. Harris suggested that the hearing be continued until the applicant can return with an improved traffic plan. Mr. Townes said he would like to meet with the Township Engineer and explore options.

Mr. Harp moved to continue the hearing on the conditional use application of Chick-Fil-A to 9/26/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Townes asked if the Supervisors had any other concerns about the application besides the signage and the drive-through traffic. Mr. Jirele asked about the hours of operation. Mr. Anchez said the restaurant will be open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM. Mr. Sanderlin said he did not see any other problems.

Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE - PLATINUM EXECUTIVE SUITES - 12 PENNS TRAIL - TMP# 29-10-87: Attorney Don Marshall and principal Ed Shensky were present to discuss the application for Use D-1 Office for a two story addition to an existing one story building in the Light Industrial District. Mr. Shensky was sworn in.  The applicant is also seeking conditional use approval for 60% impervious surface.

Mr. Marshall stated that Platinum is expanding its operation by 12,940 square feet. Platinum provides furnished and staffed offices to companies needing temporary office space. Only small truck deliveries are expected. It is estimated that there will be an average of 75 and a maximum of 110 employees. The hours of operation are expected to be 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday, with occasional evening and weekend hours. No hazardous materials will be present and no noxious environmental effects will be produced, Mr. Marshall stated that the applicant will comply with all points in the Heritage Conservancy and Carroll Engineering letters.

Mr. Shensky affirmed Mr. Marshall’s statements.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve D-1 Office Use for the addition to Platinum Executive Suites, to be used for short term rental of office suites, and to allow a 60% impervious surface ratio, subject to compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 8/27/01 and the Carroll Engineering letter of 8/30/01, and with an average of 75 and a maximum of 110 employees on site. The hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with occasional evening and weekend work, no hazardous materials on site, and deliveries by small trucks. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS: Mr. Sanderlin asked if the applicant had requested an extension. Mr. Harris suggested that the application be denied for lack of prosecution unless an extension is received by 9/14/01.

Mr. Sanderlin opened the public hearing and noted that no representative of Toll Brothers was present.

Mr. Jirele moved to deny the conditional use application unless an extension is received from the applicant by 9/14/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

MEMBERS COMMENTS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: None.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:

CHAIRMAN:

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS: Mr. Sanderlin said that the Board of Supervisors met in executive session all day 9/8/01 and most of 9/9/01 to interview candidates for the Township Manager position. Another executive session for personnel matters was held on 9/10/01. Before the public meeting tonight the Board met in executive session regarding labor and pending litigation issues.

TOWNSHIP MANAGER CANDIDATE: Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Solicitor to prepare a contract to offer to the top candidate for the Township Manager position, under the terms discussed by the Board in executive session. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

PLANNING COMMISSION VACANCY: Mr. Sanderlin invited residents to apply for the vacancy on the Planning Commission.

NEWTOWN JOINT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: Mr. Sanderlin said that Martin Sutton has applied to fill the vacancy on the Authority left by the resignation of Mr. Hopkins. Mr. Harp said that he knows Mr. Sutton to be a man of integrity and competence.

Mr. Jirele moved to appoint Martin Sutton to finish Mr. Hopkins’ term on the Joint Municipal Authority. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

Mr. Sanderlin asked Mr. Harwood to write a letter to Mr. Sutton.

JOINT ZONING COUNCIL: Mr. Sanderlin said that the Jointure met on 9/6/01. They discussed the codified JMZO and heard a presentation by Toll Brothers about a proposed village development for the McLaughlin and Gray Tracts.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: No further reports.

MANAGER: No further items.

SOLICITOR:

COUNCIL ROCK/PRESTON UPDATE: Mr. Harris asked that the Board approve the plans for the Roberts Ridge/Preston subdivision and the Goodnoe Elementary School land development.

Mr. Harp moved to approve the plans for the Roberts Ridge/Preston subdivision and the Goodnoe Elementary School land development. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

Mr. Harris noted that all administrative functions are complete, and the Township can now go to settlement.

ENGINEER:

WRIGHTS ROAD/DURHAM ROAD TRAFFIC SIGNAL: Mr. Larason stated that a resolution, in the form provided by PennDOT, is needed to apply for a permit to install a traffic signal.

Mr. Jirele moved to adopt a resolution, in the format provided by PennDOT, to erect, operate and maintain a traffic signal at the intersection of Wrights Road and Durham Road. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

NEWTOWN BYPASS CLOSED LOOP SYSTEM: Mr. Larason provided copies of recent correspondence concerning this project.

WALNUT AVENUE/SWAMP ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: Mr. Larason stated the project is nearing completion, but the contractor has not met the 9/7/01 deadline. He recommended that the Township decide later whether to implement the accountability clause in the contract.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT: Discussed earlier.

NEWTOWN TRAIL: Mr. Larason asked that the matter of five additional change orders be tabled to the next meeting. An inspection is scheduled for 9/20/01.

 

LAND USE SECTION

 

NEW BUSINESS:

SKETCH PLAN - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - TOLL BROTHERS: Continued.

OLD BUSINESS:

REVISED PRELIMINARY PLAN - MAJOR SUBDIVISION - WILTSHIRE WALK - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52, 29-10-52-2, 29-10-52.1, 29-10-52.2 AND 29-10-52-10:

Attorney Edward Murphy and Mike Veasey of Orleans Homebuilders were present to discuss the plan for a PRD with 49 village homes and 100 townhouses, located in the R-1 and R-2 Districts.

Mr. Murphy said the applicants have met with the Planning Commission seven times and with the Board of Supervisors three times. He highlighted several features of the plan: a land swap with the Lutheran Church will result in eliminating two accesses onto Route 332; stormwater management measures will address longstanding problems beyond the borders of the property; the intersection of Penns Trail and Route 332 will be re-aligned, and Penns Trail will be extended to Upper Silver Lake Road; there will be sidewalks throughout the development; seven homes on Vera Lane will be connected to sewers. The revised plan under discussion tonight has a new four way intersection in place of a cul-de-sac, and no connection between the development and Vera Lane.

Mr. Murphy described four issues to be addressed:

·        Whether to close Upper Silver Lake Road, as the residents seem to prefer.

·        The plan does not provide the required setbacks in some places.

·        There are conflicting requirements in the ordinance for parking. As a PRD, the development is short one space; under the townhouse ordinance
         the parking is more than adequate.

·        The applicants propose that they be credited $546,000 towards a total of $950,000 in recreation and traffic fees for the improvements they will
         make beyond the scope of the development.

Mr. Murphy said that if the Board grants preliminary approval tonight, the applicants will return with a final plan quickly.

Rob Sutton and Larry Hamer, residents of Vera Avenue, stated that they are in favor of closing Upper Silver Lake Road. Mr. Goodnoe asked if this would affect the intersection of Upper Silver Lake Road and Route 332. Mr. Hamer responded that the traffic light at Penns Trail will improve conditions there.

Tony Passello, a resident of Kirkwood, stated he too is in favor of closing Upper Silver Lake Road.

Mr. Harp said that parking in the townhouse section had been a concern of the Board. Mr. Murphy said that 13 spaces have been added in a cul-de-sac.

Mr. Jirele asked if parking could be permitted on both sides of the internal streets. Mr. Murphy said that was possible. Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe said they preferred two sided parking because enforcement is easier.

Mr. Murphy said that the cul-de-sac streets will be called roads, at the earlier request of Mr. Harp.

Mr. Goodnoe asked if the turn on the newly created loop road could be smoothed out. Mr. Murphy said it will be much less sharp than shown in the sketch.

Mr. Murphy said that the proposed right turn lane on Upper Silver Lake Road will be eliminated, and access to Upper Silver Lake Road will be provided for homes between Penns Trail and Vera Lane. He also stated that the applicants will build a connection to the Township Trail.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the preliminary plan for Wiltshire Walk, subject to compliance with the 8/16/01 Carroll Engineering letter and the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 7/19/01. The final plan will be revised to show option #5 for the village home section, Upper Silver Lake will be closed at Penns Trail except for emergency access. The method for closing the road will be determined at final plan stage, provided that it will comply with liquid fuels requirements. All properties currently having access to Upper Silver Lake Road will continue to have access. The cul-de-sac in the village home section will be eliminated and the radius of the new loop road will be softened; there will be no connection between the development and Vera Lane; the Township will reduce the requirement for a 100’ setback against the PECO right of way and the Swim Club property. The parking requirement is reduced by one space in the townhouse section. Orleans will acquire the right of way necessary for the realignment of the intersection of Penns Trail and Route 332, or the Township will acquire it at Orleans’ cost; all necessary approvals, permits and agreements will be obtained; all costs of review paid; the waivers described in the Carroll Engineering letter are granted. The applicant will be credited $3,000 per unit against the Park and Recreation fees, the traffic impact fee is waived. The applicant will construct a connection between the Newtown Trail and Upper Silver Lake Road. The right turn lane on Upper Silver Lake Road will be eliminated, and inlets will be installed as directed by the Township Engineer. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Sanderlin stated that Orleans has worked diligently with the Township on this plan. He recognized that many problems in the area will be solved by the plan.

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.

MINOR SUBDIVISION - DAVID PLATT - 761 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52-2: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the plan for the minor subdivision, subject to revision in compliance with Carroll Engineering’s 5/2/01 letter and the Heritage Conservancy’s 4/26/01 letter, with the understanding that Mr. Platt will withdraw the approved land development plan for this site, and the Township will withdraw its condemnation action. All costs of review will be paid by the applicant, and all terms of the approval of the Wiltshire Walk PRD will apply. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - LA STALLA RESTAURANT: Frank Cipullo was present to discuss the recommendation of the Historic and Architectural Review Committee, as described in Terrill McLean’s letter of 8/30/01. Mr. Goodnoe said that the previous Certificate of Appropriateness referred to in the letter was never voted on by the Board. There was some confusion about what aspects of La Stalla’s work have been approved, and what paperwork has been presented to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for the gas lanterns described in Mr. McLean’s letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness related to signage presented at HARB’s 7/24/01 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

Mr. Sanderlin asked Mr. Harwood to put the approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness regarding other matters related to the La Stalla restaurant on the agenda for the 9/17/01 work session. Mr. Cipullo said he would like to attend the work session to discuss his liquor license application as well as to answer any questions about HARB issues.

COMMERCE BANK SIGN PLAN: Attorney Douglas Maloney and signage consultant Michael Yuroshuk were present to discuss a revised plan for signage on the proposed bank in the Newtown Shopping Center. At the 8/22/01 meeting the Board of Supervisors had indicated that they would oppose the bank’s application to the Zoning Hearing Board unless the bank met with the Supervisors.

Mr. Maloney distributed drawings of the proposed signs. He described the three signs proposed:

·        A front logo sign, which now complies with the ordinance. The applicant would prefer a 6’ “C” logo.

·        A logo over the drive-through window. This sign complies in size but not height. It is 14’ 2” high, and technically faces the Bypass.

·        A monument sign along Durham Road at the edge of the drive-through entrance. It will be 6’ high and no more than 20’square.

Mr. Jirele said that this proposal is very different from what has been approved for the other pad sites in the Newtown Shopping Center. Mr. Goodnoe said that the monument sign would be the only single user monument sign on the Bypass.

Mr. Jirele suggested the monument sign be changed to a wall sign; Mr. Sanderlin and Mr. Goodnoe concurred with this suggestion. Mr. Yaroshuk said the 6’ logo could be reduced to 5’. Mr. Goodnoe noted that it will not be seen off the site.

Mr. Harris said that the Board should see an elevation showing the signs in place. Mr. Maloney agreed to send a drawing to Mr. Harwood. Mr. Jirele said that the consensus seems to be that the front sign should be reduced, and the monument sign scaled down and changed to a wall mounted sign. Mr. Sanderlin and Mr. Goodnoe agreed.

Jim Bowe, a resident of Tyler Walk, said he and his neighbors have been concerned about these signs. He said he is comfortable with the Board’s recommendations.

OTHER ACTIONS:

ENGINEER:

CORRESPONDENCE: Mr. Larason provided the Board with copies of recent correspondence regarding Goodnoe Elementary School parking improvements, Platinum Executive Suites and the Route 413 Office Center.

ESCROW RELEASE - ALLEN LAND DEVELOPMENT: Mr. Goodnoe moved to release $7,752.50 in escrow funds for the Allen Land Development project, based on Certificate of Completion #5. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

SOLICITOR: No items for this section.

MANAGER: No items for this section.

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Harwood stated that Mr. Kramer has sent an extension to 9/28/01.

 

ROUTINE BUSINESS

 

No items for this section.

ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Harp moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 PM.

 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:

 

 

_____________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

 

Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______

 

 

_____________________________
Stephen D. Sanderlin, Chairman

 

 

_____________________________
Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman

 

 

_____________________________
Scott R. Harp, Secretary/Treasurer

 

 

_____________________________
Raymond Goodnoe, Member

 

 

_____________________________
Richard Weaver, Member