BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
NOVEMBER 28, 2001
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting December 12, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 11/28/01: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 11/28/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, November 28, 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: Planning Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley, Sycamore Street Chairman Vince Lombardi, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township Engineer Bob Larason, Township Manager Robert Pellegrino 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 Paul Kester, a member of Newtown Friends Meeting and Clerk of Bucks Quarter Worship and Ministry Committee. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino announced that a Sycamore Street Committee report will follow the Planning Commission report, and a Certificate of Appropriateness for 123 Sycamore Street will be considered under the HARB report.
PUBLIC SAFETY RECOGNITION:
NEWTOWN AMBULANCE SQUAD: Mr. Sanderlin introduced Colleen Murphy and Joe Swerk of the Newtown Ambulance Squad, and presented a proclamation from the Board of Supervisors honoring the Squad’s services to the Township. Ms Murphy noted that over 85 employees and volunteers work with the Ambulance Squad.
NEWTOWN FIRE ASSOCIATION: Mr. Sanderlin introduced Zach Dunkelberger of the Newtown Fire Association. Mr. Dunkelberger mentioned the Fire Association’s work assisting Willow Grove with the consequences of severe flooding six months ago. Mr. Sanderlin presented a proclamation honoring the Fire Association’s services to the Township.
EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPARTMENT: Mr. Sanderlin introduced Fire Marshal Don Harris, who introduced the other Emergency Services Department staff members. Mr. Harris described the growth of the Township’s Emergency Services Department since he began working as Fire Marshal in 1987. He said the Department has received a grant this year for protective clothing and a wellness and fitness program. Mr. Sanderlin presented a proclamation to Mr. Harris honoring the Emergency Services Department’s services, and noted that the Department has won a Governor’s Award for Excellence.
POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Sanderlin introduced Chief Martin Duffy, who presented commendations to individual police officers honoring specific instances of their work in recent years: Lieutenant Glenn Forsyth, Sergeant Charles A. Patton, Sergeant Robert Matthews, Sergeant Kim Hartman, Sergeant Stephen Meyers, Sergeant Mark Pentz, Detective Christopher Bush, Detective Charles Palko, Officer Timothy Keegan, Officer Robert Lupinetti, Officer Mark Roziewski, Officer Stephen Benz, Officer Danial Bell, Officer Paul Deppi, Officer Frank Ambrose, Officer Shane Dilling, Officer Daniel Clifton, Officer Adam Kolman, Officer Alan Sigafoos, Officer Valerie Vogel, Officer Richard Huff and Officer Shawn Pirog.
Mr. Sanderlin presented a proclamation to Chief Duffy honoring the services provided by the Police Department.
Sergeant Charles Patton thanked Chief Duffy and the Township for their support and recognition.
APPOINTMENT OF POLICE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES CHAPLAIN: Chief Duffy asked the Board of Supervisors to appoint Judy Joseph as Chaplain for Police and Emergency Services, to provide emotional and spiritual support to emergency personnel.
Mr. Jirele moved to appoint Ms Joseph as Chaplain for the Police Department and Emergency Services. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Ms Joseph thanked the Board for their action, and asked that everyone also remember the stress experienced by the families of police officers and other emergency service personnel.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
REGULAR MEETING OF 11/14/01: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 11/14/01 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
BUDGET MEETING OF 10/1/01: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 10/1/01 budget meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
BUDGET MEETING OF 10/15/01: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 10/15/01 budget meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $186,322.92; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
INTERFUND TRANSFERS: Mr. Harp moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $200,425.52; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS:
CABLE TV COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp announced that the next meeting of the Committee will be 11/29/01.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE:
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - 123 SYCAMORE STREET: Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the repainting of signs at 123 Sycamore Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PARK AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp reported that the Committee met on 11/26/01. He said they agreed on a recommendation that the Township keep its open space undeveloped. The Committee also discussed the large berm in Roberts Ridge Park, and heard a report that more trees have been planted and donated.
PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on their 11/20/01 meeting. The Commission had a brief report from the Traffic Engineer. They also reviewed a conditional use application for the McLaughlin Tract, but took no action pending the submission of further documentation. The Commission reviewed a final plan for the Heston Tract and recommended approval with certain conditions.
The Commission also reviewed two applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board and recommended the Board of Supervisors take no action on them. The Commission also raised a concern about the expiration date for the Heston Tract plan. Mr. Pellegrino said the Township has received an extension from the applicant.
Mrs. Doorley also reported that the Commission reviewed correspondence regarding a draft JMZO amendment regarding the projection of sand mounds into yards, and recommended that the Solicitor’s draft be approved.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on the Committee’s 11/13/01 meeting. The Committee discussed traffic problems, the water company’s work, and concerns about PECO’s upcoming work in the light of the onset of winter. Work is now taking place in daylight hours as well, and the street is very chopped up. The Committee also discussed the Acme site, heard some ideas on its use from Mr. Jirele and heard a presentation about the use of decorative concrete.
Mr. Lombardi said he is considering moving St. Andrews’ rectory to his property at 123 Sycamore Street. He said Terry Mc Lean has been very helpful in this process, and it may be possible to obtain some grants to help with the costs.
NEWTOWN AMBULANCE SQUAD: Mr. Harp said the Ambulance Squad is in the midst of their annual fund drive, and he encouraged residents to support the Squad with donations and memberships.
NEWTOWN EXCHANGE CLUB: Mr. Harp announced that the Exchange Club will be collecting stuffed bears for the We Care Bear program on 12/7/01.
PROPOSED 2002 BUDGET: Mr. Goodnoe said that the public should know that the 2002 Township budget proposal includes a $650,000 deficit. He said the funds will come out of a $1 million savings account created following financial problems in the early 1990’s, leaving very little in the account. Mr. Goodnoe said the Township should not spend its savings on the operating budget.
Mr. Sanderlin responded that economic conditions vary from year to year, and the savings account was created for the kind of capital expenditures coming up in 2002. He said the Township is not going into debt, but using its savings appropriately.
Mr. Goodnoe said that the deficit is more than the capital expenditures in the budget. Mr. Sanderlin said that capital expenditures account for most of the deficit.
Mr. Jirele said the Finance Department is analyzing whether there will be sufficient cash reserves at the end of 2002, and there is still time for revisions.
Nancy Crescenzo asked Mr. Harp to explain the Park and Open Space Committee’s recommendation about Township open space. Mr. Harp responded that he was not at the meeting, but he was told that the Committee recommended that no buildings, like a YMCA, be allowed in the Township’s open space. He did not know who proposed this recommendation.
Ms Crescenzo asked Mr. Jirele to give details on his ideas for the use of the Acme building. Mr. Jirele responded that he spoke to the Sycamore Street Committee about some of the ideas other committees had developed. He said he spoke about HARB’s perspective on the site, which includes their preference for an appearance consistent with the historic district in which the building is located. Ms Crescenzo asked what report discussed the asbestos problem at the Acme building. Mr. Larason said that Carroll Engineering did a separate report on this issue.
Ms Crescenzo asked Mr. Sanderlin if the Board of Supervisors received the petition for a skate park, and Mr. Sanderlin said they had. She asked about the cost; Mr. Weaver said that one builder estimated $80,000. The builder estimated it would cost $90,000 to duplicate the skate park in Doylestown. Ms Crescenzo asked about insurance costs, and Mr. Weaver said that different skate parks approach insurance needs in different ways. Some have coverage that supplements the parents’ insurance; this costs about $1100 annually. Ms Crescenzo asked the Board to consider appointing the committee recommended by the Community Center Committee.
Ms Crescenzo asked if the Board is doing anything about the need for better representation on the Council Rock School Board. Mr. Sander responded that the Solicitor’s office is looking into this complicated question. He expects to have some preliminary information at the 12/12/01 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Ms Crescenzo also asked about the status of the contract with RCN. Mr. Harp said it is clear that RCN will not be coming into the Township, but the Township is still committed to bringing in competition.
Sue Beasley expressed her appreciation for the DARE program and for the Police Department response when a relative had an accident. She expressed concern about the berm in Roberts Ridge Park, which she described as huge. Mr. Harp said that he is also concerned, and Mr. Pellegrino is working on this.
Ms Beasely also questioned the deficit in the proposed 2002 budget and said she hoped taxes will not be raised.
Bill MacNamee, president of the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association, said the Association opposes the development of a YMCA on the Library Tract, which is adjacent to Newtown Grant. He said residents do not want the lighted parking lot, the traffic, and the community center uses expected with such a project. He added that the location is directly across from two schools. He said he objects to the idea of the Township donating land to the YMCA or anyone else. Mr. Sanderlin noted that the Community Center Committee suggested this tract as an alternative location for a community center, and he asked if Newtown Grant residents would object to a community center there. Mr. MacNamee said they would.
The manager of the Center Club said that his facility and the Newtown Athletic Club are willing to build a community center if the Township will lease them land on the same terms proposed for the YMCA.
Richard Tonge stated he attended the Bucks County Planning Commission discussion of the Transportation Improvement Program. He asked why the Swamp Road project was listed as costing $23 million. Mr. Larason said the application was submitted jointly with Wrightstown Township, and the Newtown Township portion had an estimated cost of $500,000. Mr. Larason said he will look into this immediately.
Mr. Tonge also asked that the Township do a study supporting the need for the proposed improvements to Stoopville Road. Mr. Jirele said that the Township has been studying traffic problems on area roads, including Stoopville Road, for years. This year’s submission is a resubmission. Mr. Tonge also asked that the Township consider traffic calming strategies.
Ms Crescenzo asked if the proposed improvements to Swamp Road include the culvert repair. Mr. Sanderlin responded that the culvert is in Wrightstown, and Wrightstown agreed with Newtown that all the proposed repairs should be made if the culvert is repaired.
Theodore Derrick, president of the Eagle Glen Homeowners Association, asked about concerns that the Association brought to the Board of Supervisors in June. They have questions about open space and the neighboring property owner. Mr. Derrick said that he has received no response from the Township to date. Mr. Sander said there is a letter to the Association sitting on his desk; it has a full, detailed response to the Association’s concerns.
Mr. Jirele suggested that the Board of Supervisors meet with the Association after the letter is received. Mr. Derrick expressed appreciation for the Township’s response, and for Mr. Jirele’s offer of a meeting, if it is necessary.
John D’Aprile said the Board of Supervisors should observe Roberts Rules of Order and not let speakers ramble without a time limit or speak twice before others have been heard. He also asked that the Township leave the Library Tract as open space, and that the Board not approve a deficit budget. He asked if any investigations like the one that took place this year are planned for 2002. Mr. Sanderlin responded that no investigations are planned. Regarding community comments, he said he has always preferred to be liberal about letting people speak.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS:
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Sanderlin said that the First Night Committee will report at next week’s work session, and the website will have detailed information on the event soon.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: No items for this section.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
NON-UNIFORMED PENSION PLAN AND POLICE PENSION PLAN: Mr. Sander provided copies of three amendments to the pension plans based on recommendations from the Township’s actuary, Mockenhaupt Associates.
ORDINANCE 2001-O-10 - PENSION PLAN ORDINANCE - ELIGIBILITY: Mr. Jirele moved to adopt 2001-O-10. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele noted that these changes will not cost the Township any extra expense.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
ORDINANCE 2001-O-11 - BENEFIT LIMITATIONS - POLICE: Mr. Jirele moved to adopt 2001-O-11. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
ORDINANCE 2001-O-12 - BENEFIT LIMITATIONS - NON-UNIFORMED EMPLOYEES: Mr. Weaver moved to adopt 2001-O-12. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD - 12/6/01: Mr. Sander reviewed the applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board. He noted that Keller Williams did make a new sign proposal at the Board’s work session. They are proposing a 39 square foot sign, which still exceeds the ordinance’s 20 square foot maximum.
Mr. Jirele moved to direct the Solicitor to oppose the application of Keller Williams for a variance to allow a 39 square foot sign. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sanderlin said he was not opposed to a 39 square foot sign. Mr. Goodnoe said the Board of Supervisors has not reached an agreement with this applicant and they are not present at tonight’s meeting; he does not want to send the wrong signal.
Mr. Jirele said he would like to see the bump at the top of the sign eliminated. Mr. Goodnoe said he would prefer not to design a sign for the applicant.
Mr Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
PROJECT STATUS REPORT: Mr. Larason provided a status report on current projects. He highlighted two items:
IMPACT FEE COMMITTEE: Mr. Larason said the Committee will report at the 12/12/01 Board of Supervisors meeting.
WASHINGTON CROSSING/LINTON HILL INTERSECTION: Mr. Larason said the Township should consider doing this work itself, since PennDOT appears to be too busy. He estimated the cost would be $700 to $800. Mr. Sanderlin said he does not want to do a traffic count during the Sycamore Street work. Mr. Harp suggested he and Mr. Larason could discuss the project with PennDOT at their upcoming meeting with PennDOT about other issues.
LAND USE SECTION
NEW BUSINESS: None.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
ESCROW RELEASE - JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the release of $27,166.70 in escrow funds for this project, based on Certificate of Completion #4 (final). The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
DEDICATION OF ROSEFIELD AND EAGLETON FARMS - PULTE HOMES: Mr. Sander provided copies of the Dedication Agreements and Maintenance Bonds for both developments. He said that all items have been completed. Attorney Bill Dean and Mr. McHugh of Pulte Homes were present to answer any questions.
Mr. Jirele moved to accept dedication of the roads in the Rosefield development. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Harp asked if there are any remaining concerns about the Rosefield development. Mr. Sander noted this motion concerns only acceptance of the dedication of the roads. He said that the Homeowners Association has some issues regarding the open space. Mr. Dean said that Pulte Homes will provide documentation that the Homeowners Association agrees with the dedication of open space when that is considered.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Jirele moved to accept dedication of the roads in the Eagleton Farms development. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if the same issue applied to Eagleton Farms. Mr. Dean said that it does, and Pulte Homes will provide the same documentation for this development.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
MANAGER: No items for this section.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: None to be addressed. Mr. Pellegrino noted that the Township has received an extension on the Heston Tract.
ROUTINE BUSINESS SECTION
No items for this section.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Sanderlin said there is no need for an executive session tonight.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Weaver moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:10 PM.
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