Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

FEBRUARY 18, 2002


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting February 27, 2002. WORK SESSION OF 2/18/02: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the work session of 2/18/02 with one correction. Mr. Goodnoe should be listed under “Members Present”. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


Members Present: Scott R. Harp, Chairman; Tom Jirele, Vice Chairman; Richard Weaver, Treasurer; Anne Goren, Secretary; Steve Harris, Solicitor; Bob Pellegrino, Township Manager; Gerald Smith, Engineer.

Call to Order: Chairman Harp called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

Item 9b was moved after item #1 on the agenda, to facilitate the participation of Bill Wert. Mr. Harp announced that after each item on the agenda there would be an opportunity for questions from the public.

Upper Makefield – Newtown Soccer Association Agreement – Bill Wert

Bill Wert said he first came to the Board of Supervisors with a proposed agreement in October 2001. He said that the association has been able to procure the usage of fields at the schools, and now is only looking for the township to assist with player registration. He explained that the association would send the township any registrations received, to be put into the township database system. This would allow the generation of lists by age, team and in other forms, which the association now does by hand. A fee of $1.50 per registration entered into the database will be billed to the association. The association had 1000 participants last year; this level of registrations would generate $1500 in fees for the township.

Mr. Wert said that Mr. Sander drew up the agreement, which was included in the board packet. Mr. Goodnoe suggested that a section be added to allow the township to utilize the database and to assure the association that the database would not be sold by the township. The board agreed.

Ms. Goren moved to approve the Upper Makefield-Newtown Soccer Association Agreement, with addition of a section allowing the township to utilize the database and assuring the association that the database would not be sold by the township. Mr. Weaver seconded; the motion passed unanimously.

Recreation Facilities Improvements

Mr. Pellegrino reported that data about park and open space areas is being gathered. He has been working with Mr. Smith. Data, such as deed restriction, plan clarification, easements, and topography, is being collected for Mill Pond Road Trail, Hidden Lake, Silver Lake, the Clark property, and the area next to the shopping center. Mr. Pellegrino said that Mr. Smith is developing existing features plans; this issue will stay on the board’s agendas.

Mr. Jirele said he was interested in Mr. Wert working on ideas for the area near the shopping center. Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Smith will check on the status of the Mill Pond/Richboro Trail project. Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe recalled that there were verbal agreements.

Ms. Crescenzo asked about the pile of dirt at the alternative school next to Goodnoe School. It was explained that the township asked that the topsoil, left over from the parking lot project, be left on the site by the school for possible use at the park.

OR District Zoning Provisions

Mr. Jirele reviewed the OR: sketch plans, land to be developed, what is happening there. He speculated that the OR would be built out in three to five years. He noted that the board has decided to evaluate what to do with the OR Zone. Mr. Jirele suggested that the township look at the availability of OR land in the jointure. He said that since the Heston tract is planned residential, that the township should consider what to do with the undeveloped northern parcel, which is approximately 30-40 acres. He said it wouldn’t make any sense to have the OR surrounded by residential. He asked the board to consider this issue and to get feedback from the Planning Commission.

Ms. Goren said that her biggest concern was traffic, and that the township should not do anything that would increase traffic through Silver Lake, Penns Trail and out to the Bypass. There was discussion regarding various parcels and traffic impacts. Ms. Goren asked Mr. Smith to get a cost estimate for an intersection at the ICT building, and to check the maintenance responsibilities of the township for intersections. Mr. Harris and Mr. Pellegrino said they thought that the township is responsible for lights and marking, but that the township does not own the intersections.

Ms. Crescenzo asked the board to consider the impact of the development of the OR on the tax base, township services and school taxes.

DCED Technical Assistance – Fire Services

The board decided to discuss this item in executive session, as personnel issues were involved.

Rt. 413 Office Center - Traffic Issues

Mr. Pellegrino said that a traffic signal had been planned for Municipal Drive in the office center’s plans. Durham Road Associates analyzed the traffic issue, and Phil Wursta felt that a traffic signal should be installed at Durham Road and North Road instead. He felt that the proposed intersection at Municipal Drive would not meet the warrants for a traffic signal; there would be a better chance of approval at the Durham Road-North Drive intersection. Mr. Smith said that there is enough traffic at North Drive & Durham Road to warrant a signal now.

Mr. Harris said that Mr. Wursta felt that each tract should have two egresses/entrances for safety. Mr. Jirele said that two entrances would result in a traffic nightmare; Mr. Harris noted that each property owner has a right to his/her own driveway. Mr. Jirele said that if there were only one entrance off Rte. 413, and that if both parcels are developed, a traffic light at Municipal Drive would probably be warranted. He suggested asking the office center to fund the signal at North Drive, and possibly at Municipal Drive as well.

Mr. Harris said that he thought that Mr. Wursta would be talking to the developers regarding entrance/egress plans and ideas. Mr. Smith said that the stacking depth at the entrance would be difficult, and that a second entrance would improve the situation. Mr. Smith said that Mr. Wursta would like to see the parking lots in the two properties connected for safety purposes. Mr. Goodnoe said that shifting the parking plans to connect would work better: there would be less impervious surface cover, parking would be closer to the offices and buildings, and there would be more stacking depth. It was suggested that parking changes would enable entrance to the south parcel to be accomplished through one entrance from Rte 413.

Mr. Jirele suggested speaking with Paul Allen about the suggested plan changes; Mr. Pellegrino will meet with Mr. Allen.

Business Development Council Mission Statement

Mr. Weaver presented the suggested addition from the Business Development Council for consideration by the board. Ms. Goren asked why they had requested the change, and if the Business Development council would be telling the Board of Supervisors how to govern. She said she did not understand the phrase. There was discussion of the BDC’s history of involvement with township issues and of possible interpretations of the suggested phrase. Mr. Jirele said he would take a further look at the statement and make some suggestions.

Financial Planning Committee Mission Statement

Mr. Weaver presented a draft of the statement, which was edited by Mr. Harris to read:

“The Financial Planning Committee, in cooperation with the Board of Supervisors and Township Manager, shall assist in the development and financing of capital projects and significant long range expenditures within Newtown Township.”

The board liked the resulting statement.

Residential Development Disclosure Ordinance

Mr. Harris presented a draft, which he said was similar to others in surrounding townships. He said that there were two recent issues that might have been affected by such an ordinance: the Law Admissions project and the fence at Lesser’s property. Mr. Harp said this ordinance might be beneficial for new developments, but questioned what it could do for existing homeowners. Mr. Harris said that the township would need to require occupancy permits at each change of occupancy to enforce the ordinance, but it could be used with new sales. He noted that since this ordinance would be part of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, it would need to be reviewed by the Bucks County Planning Commission and the township’s Planning Commission.

Mr. Goodnoe said he saw no compelling reason to do this, that people will still complain. He felt that the township would not take the authority to enforce this ordinance. Mr. Harris said that he saw the ordinance as not saying something affirmative, but acting as a notice of easement, adjacent development, or other limitations. He questioned whether residents would understand the ordinance. Mr. Harris said that, in his experience, he had not seen any pressure to initiate occupancy permit as a result of a disclosure ordinance.

Ms. Goren said she felt the ordinance would make it harder for developers to lie to initial owners, and would be valuable for first time buyers.

Ms. Goren moved to send the draft ordinance to the Bucks County Planning Commission and the Newtown Township Planning Commission for review. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion. Ms. Goren, Mr. Weaver and Mr. Harp voted in favor; Mr. Goodnoe voted against. The motion carried.

Executive Session: to discuss matters of land acquisition and personnel

Administrative Issues

Municipal Project Expansion

Mr. Pellegrino said that a day has been set aside for each township department to discuss municipal building expansion plans with the architect Joe Phillips. After these meetings, Mr. Phillips will modify plans for review by the board. Mr. Harp suggested that a separate meeting would need to be scheduled to discuss this issue, including financing, in the future. Mr. Pellegrino agreed. Mr. Smith is re-doing site conditions.

Diversity & Sensitivity Training

Mr. Pellegrino said that training for all township employees will cost $1000 - $3000, and would include sexual harassment. The training would be a half-day, three-hour session. Ms. Crescenzo asked about the importance of such training; Mr. Harp noted that this kind of training is standard business practice.

Proposed Ordinance – Requiring Final Development Plans in Electronic Format

Mr. Pellegrino said that Mr. Smith and Mr. Weaver are reviewing a draft of the ordinance.

Voice Mail Changes

Mr. Pellegrino reported that the township voice mail message would be re-recorded in the near future to be more user friendly.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:27 pm.

Respectfully Submitted by:___________________________________________
                                             Leslie. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary        02/22/02