Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

April 10, 2002 


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 24, 2001. REGULAR MEETING OF 4/10/02:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 4/10/02 regular meeting with two corrections: on page three, the first sentence of the fourth paragraph should read “Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked if the playground will be handicapped accessible.”; and on page five, the motion in the last paragraph should include the condition that the applicant will escrow funds for a possible future traffic signal at Municipal Drive.  The motion was seconded by Mr Jirele and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, March 27, 2002, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors:  Chairman Scott Harp, Vice Chairman Tom Jirele, Treasurer Richard Weaver and Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Anne Goren.  Also present were:  Police Chief Martin Duffy, Planning Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley, Park and Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires and Vice Chairman Andy Levine, Cable TV Committee Chairman Jim Bowe, Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, HARB Vice Chairperson Elinor Campbell, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, Township Manager Bob Pellegrino, Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs and Park and Recreation Department Director Bill Wert. 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman Harp called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.  He announced that Mr. Goodnoe is home recovering from eye surgery. 

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

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Harp announced that the Board will meet in executive session for matters of land acquisition following the regular meeting, the conditional use hearings will be held following item #8, and the Solicitor will have an additional item regarding the mylars for Wiltshire Walk. 

MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS: 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: 

REGULAR MEETING OF 3/27/02:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 3/27/02 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

WORK SESSION OF 3/18/02:  Mr. Jirele said that the first sentence under “OR District Zoning Provisions” on page 4 should read, “Mr. Goodnoe said that residential should be removed from the OR District, and Mr. Jirele said it is something the Board should consider.”  Mr. Pellegrino said that the numbers in the first paragraph on page 6 are incorrect, but he did not have the correct figures with him tonight. 

Mr. Harp said the approval of these minutes will be tabled to the 4/22/02 work session so that the correct figures can be added. 

BILLS LIST AND INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $121,358.58 and interfund transfers totaling $315,234.40; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER’S REPORT:  No items. 

SPECIAL ACTIONS: 

PARK AND RECREATION AWARDS:  Mr. Harp congratulated Russell Strover, a member of the Park and Recreation Board who was given an award recently by the Pennsylvania Society of Park Departments for his volunteer work for the Township.  Mr. Harp also congratulated Bill Wert, Director of the Park and Recreation Department, who was given an award by the same organization for the design of the Department’s program brochure.

RODGER TAYLOR - ASSISTANCE TO POLICE:  Mr. Harp presented a proclamation to Rodger Taylor, a Township resident who assisted police officers at the scene of a car accident and fire on 2/28/02. 

COUNCIL ROCK SYMPHONIC CHOIR AND ROCK ENSEMBLE:  Mr. Harp presented a proclamation to Carrie Grace and other members of the Ensemble, which will be going to the West Coast for a performance and instructional tour. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on their 4/2/02 meeting.  The Commission heard an update on Township traffic projects from Phil Wursta.  Members were concerned to hear that the proposed traffic signal at Municipal Drive and Durham Road will probably not meet warrant, as they have reviewed several plans that included this signal. 

Mrs. Goren said that the previous engineer was including right turns out of the office developments in his traffic count, but PennDOT does not include them.  She added that Pennoni recommends a light at North Drive, and a light at Wrights Road has already been approved. 

Mrs. Doorley reported that the Commission also reviewed a plan for a playground at Roberts Ridge Park and recommended approval.  They also reviewed a revised sketch plan of the Newtown Commons Expansion and heard several local residents express concerns about traffic and drainage.  The Kirkwood residents oppose the closure of Upper Silver Lake Road, which was part of the approval of the Wiltshire Walk plan.  Mrs. Doorley said the developer has offered to meet with residents, but no one had contacted him as of this morning.  

The Commission also reviewed a proposed JMZO amendment regarding a cell tower in Upper Makefield, and recommended approval.  They reviewed a Lower Makefield ordinance which reserves some impervious surface allocation for the homeowner in a new development, and forwarded the ordinance to the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission for consideration.  The Commission will discuss the zoning of the remaining undeveloped areas in the OR District at their next meeting on 4/16/02. 

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD:  Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the Board’s 4/3/02 meeting.  The Board will participate in a Newtown area Arbor Day celebration and plant a tree donated by Mr. Harp.  At their meeting, the Board began a discussion of the future development of Township parks, and Mr. Weaver spoke about the parking and access for the Clark property.  The new brochure is almost ready.  The Board is considering summer concerts in Roberts Ridge Park.  Mr. Bires introduced Andy Levine, Vice Chairman of the Park and Recreation Board, and asked him to present the plan for the playground at Roberts Ridge Park. 

Mr. Levine displayed sketches of the park and the proposed playground equipment.  He said the equipment is earth toned, and is similar to Doylestown Township’s Kids’ Castle.  The playground is planned for ages five to 12; there will be a separate area for younger children.  A special cushioning surface will be installed under the younger children’s equipment as a test.  Mr. Levine pointed out that the Township Trail crosses the park near the playground. 

Mr. Weaver moved to approve the plan for the Roberts Ridge playground; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele asked if the vendor was chosen in a bidding process.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township can obtain the equipment by contract, but the installation will have to be bid.  Mr. Jirele also asked if the motion includes approving only the playground equipment, or also the plan for the whole park. 

Mr. Weaver withdrew his previous motion and moved to accept the concept plan as presented tonight, with the trail and playground as shown, with the playground equipment to be obtained from Little Tykes, and the installation of the equipment and site preparation to be bid.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren. 

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked if the playground will be accessible.  Mr. Levine responded that the entire playground will be ADA compliant.  Ms Crescenzo asked if parking will be adequate.  Mr. Harp responded that the parking area at Goodnoe School will be available during nonschool hours. 

Melanie Bracey said she lives across the street from the Roberts Ridge Park.  She asked if a large mound of dirt could be removed from the site.  Mr. Pellegrino said the dirt was left by the School District at the Township’s request, to be used on the development of the park.  Ms Bracey also asked if the trail will be continued beyond the park.  Mr. Jirele said the Township will discuss the possibility of extending the trail with the School District.  She also asked that lines be painted on the parking lot to show the location of the handicapped parking, and suggested that signs be erected to direct people to the parking area at the Alternative School. 

Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously. 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL:  Mr. Weaver reported on the Council’s recent meeting, at which they discussed a promotional piece to send to local realtors regarding office space in the Township.  They also heard a presentation by Doug Terry regarding the O-LI District and medical uses.  

JOINTURE:  Mr. Weaver reported that the JMZO will be on the Township website.  There was a discussion about changing conditional uses to special exceptions.  The Jointure also discussed several bills pending in the House which affect local governments. 

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE:  Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on the Committee’s 4/9/02 meeting.   They are developing the schedule for the final year of the project.  The Committee and HARB will do a final tour of the street to plan the enhancements, including items such as  lighting and benches.  The Committee also discussed a recent automobile accident at Sycamore Street and Silo Drive which could have endangered pedestrians and patrons of a sidewalk café. 

FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE:  Mr. Weaver said the Committee is meeting with departments one or two at a time to discuss present and future capital needs.  They met with the Police and Emergency Services Departments at their last meeting. 

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD:  Vice Chairperson Elinor Campbell reported on HARB’s 4/9/02 meeting.  Most of the meeting was devoted to reviewing recent work on Tyrol’s Sycamore Street property, which was done without HARB’s knowledge or approval.  Ms Campbell described the changes requested by HARB, which she said will result in a more authentic Bucks County appearance.  Ms Campbell also said that HARB is now using a stamp to indicate whether it has reviewed a plan. 

CONDITIONAL USE HEARINGS:

DURHAM ROAD ASSOCIATES - DURHAM ROAD - TMP# 29-13-36-2 AND 29-3-35:  Mr. Harp opened the hearing.  David Pinchuk, attorney John VanLuvanee and architect Maryellen Saylor were present to discuss their request for approval of 80,750 square feet of D-1 Office Use in three buildings to be constructed on a 13.64 parcel in the PS-2 District.  Mr. VanLuvanee said that an earlier conditional use was approved in 1999, but it has expired.  He said the applicant has filed a preliminary plan which is on hold until the conditional use is resolved.  Mr. VanLuvanee said the applicant is willing to escrow their fair share of the cost of a future traffic light at Municipal Drive.  He also confirmed that the application is for D-1 Office Use only, and tenants will apply for conditional use approval as they come in. 

Mr. Harris asked about the dimensions of the proposed buildings.  Mr. VanLuvanee said that they are two story buildings, although one has a partial basement.  They are all in compliance with the ordinance. 

Mr. Jirele said he is concerned about the access driveway onto Durham Road shown on the sketch plan displayed by the applicant.  He said he understood there would be a shared driveway through the 413 Office Center property to the south, and the traffic study also assumes this.  Mr. VanLuvanee said that the applicant has a right to have access to his property, and since the 413 Office Center is not yet a reality, Durham Road Associates is showing an access driveway on their property.  He further stated that the access driveway shown on the sketch is a right in, right out access, which will not affect the Township’s efforts to get a traffic light at Municipal Drive since PennDOT does not count right turns anyway.  Mr. Smith confirmed this statement. 

Mr. Pellegrino said he is meeting with the developer of the 413 Office Center next week and will invite Durham Road Associates to join the meeting.  Mr. Pellegrino asked if the applicant would remove the driveway if it is certain that the 413 Office Center will be built as shown on the plan.  Mr. VanLuvanee said there are still problems; making the Durham Road Associates’ employees and vistors use the access at Municipal Drive is a major inconvenience. 

Mr. Harris stated that this is a conditional use hearing, and suggested that the Board consider granting approval of the concept plan with the understanding that the access issue will be resolved during the land development process. 

William McMenamin, president of the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association, said he and other residents of Newtown Grant met with Durham Road Associates on 4/4/02.  Mr. Harp and Mr. Jirele were also present.  Mr. McMenamin said that traffic, sight lines, noise and other issues were discussed.  He said that Newtown Grant residents are prepared to defer most of these issues until the land development process, but would like to raise concerns about the lack of communication from the Township to the residents about the development of the PS-2 District.  He has asked Mr. Pellegrino to research how residents were notified regarding the change from CM to PS-2 zoning, and regarding the 413 Office Center.  The Homeowners Association has also asked the developer of the 413 Office Center to meet with them.  Mr. McMenamin also asked how the residents can obtain traffic studies concerning these developments.  Mr. Harp suggested he meet with Mr. Pellegrino. 

John D’Aprile, a Newtown Grant resident, said there will be traffic problems even if there is a signal at Municipal Drive. 

Fred Voytovitch, a Newtown Grant resident, said he is concerned about the safety of school children being transported on Durham Road, and about access to Newtown Grant.  He is also concerned about the environmental impact. 

Phil Colaverro, a Society Place resident, questioned whether the Township needs all the office space being developed.  Mr. Jirele said that the developer studied the needs of the area and decided that office space is a viable investment on this site.  He stated that the Township can not tell a property owner how to use his property beyond the ordinance, safety measures, and other legal requirements.  Mrs. Goren said perhaps the Supervisors should look at the question of whether there is a balance of uses in the Township. 

Mr. Jirele said he is still concerned about the access driveway, and he encouraged the applicant to work with the 413 Office Center developer on a shared driveway and delete the second access. 

Mr. McMenamin asked about buffering requirements between different uses.  Mrs. Goren said this is a  proposed change and would not apply to this plan.  Mr. Harp said that some progress was made at last week’s meeting regarding buffering and lighting issues. 

Ray Fritchie, a Newtown Grant resident, asked how the residents can participate in the review process in the future.  Mr. Harp explained the land development process, and noted that the agendas for the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors are posted on the Township website. 

Nancy Crescenzo, a Newtown Grant resident, said that economic impacts of zoning in the OR District were discussed at the 3/18/02 work session.  Mrs. Goren said there are concerns about other zoning districts as well. 

Matt Bane, a Newtown Grant resident, said there needs to be better communication from the Township before decisions are made.  Mr. Pellegrino said he will review these questions with the Codes Department.  Mr. Harp said that the Disclosure Ordinance will help with this concern. 

Lou Sabatini, a resident of Newtown Grant, said he saw his previous community destroyed by development.  He asked the Board of Supervisors to protect the citizens. 

Peg Pearson, a longtime Township resident, said that everything affects everything else; when Newtown Grant was built it had an impact on existing residents too.  She asked the Supervisors to address appropriate issues like safety. 

Mrs. Goren moved to approve the conditional use application from Durham Road Associates for D-1 office use in three buildings to be constructed on TMP# 29-13-36-2 and #29-3-35, with the following conditions: there will be no D-2 medical office use; each occupant will come in for conditional use approval; reciprocal easements for a connecting road with the two properties to the south are provided; the buildings are no higher than 35 feet;  the access issue is deferred to the land development review process; the applicant will comply with all provisions of the 1/3/02 Zoning Hearing Board decision, including the provision that there are no deliveries by 18 wheel trucks; the applicant will comply with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 2/6/02, referring to the conditional use application; and the applicant will comply with the Pennoni letter of 3/15/02.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of the motion:  Mr. Harp said that the Supervisors are uncomfortable about the proposed plan, but they intend to address all concerns during the land development process.  Mrs. Goren said there is a need to look at zoning throughout the Township. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed 3-1, with Mr. Jirele voting “nay”. 

Mr. Harris noted that this approval is for the conditional use only, and other issues will be addressed in the land development process. 

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the preliminary plan for this development is already filed, and will probably be scheduled for review by the Planning Commission on 5/7/02 or 5/21/02.  He encouraged the Newtown Grant residents to attend the Planning Commission meeting in which it is discussed. 

Mr. Jirele moved to close the conditional use hearing for Durham Road Associates.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

MCLAUGHLIN TRACT (REVISED) - STOOPVILLE ROAD - TMP# 29-7-5:  Attorney Ed Murphy asked the Board of Supervisors to continue the hearing on this application to the 5/24/02 meeting.   He agreed to a 60 day extension on the application.  

Mr. Jirele moved to continue the conditional use hearing for the McLaughlin Tract to the 5/24/02 meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Murphy said that a conditional use application for this property was discussed by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors about a year ago.  This proposal is for the same number of lots, but they are larger.  The applicant is also agreeing to do substantial improvements to Stoopville Road, as the Supervisors requested.  The concept plan still shows 60% open space and 10% impervious.  Mr. Murphy said that the applicant will need relief from the Zoning Hearing Board regarding preservation of class I and II soils and density requirements.  Mr. Harris said that the applicant’s calculations regarding the soils is appropriately conservative. 

Mr. Jirele asked if there is any impervious surface allocation reserved for the homeowners to use for pools, decks, etc.  Mr. Murphy said he will look into that possibility.  Mr. Murphy also said the trees on the Bowman property will be saved. 

Mr. Murphy agreed to send the traffic study for the Gray Tract, which is also being developed by Toll Brothers, to the Township.  Mrs. Goren asked that the Township Engineer consider what traffic calming measures might be installed on Stoopville Road.  Mr. Jirele suggested that the Traffic Engineer come to the next work session and discuss traffic calming techniques in detail. 

Mr. Murphy suggested that the issue of the improvements to Stoopville Road be deferred to the land development phase.  He said that the other question to be resolved is the disposition of the historic farmhouse, which is now on its own deed restricted lot.  Mr. Jirele said he has some ideas for its use, and for sources of grants to help with its preservation. 

Mr. Murphy asked if the conditional use application is ready for Planning Commission review; Mr. Harp said it is. 

MEMBERS COMMENTS:

POLICE OFFICER AT COUNCIL ROCK HIGH SCHOOL:  Mr. Jirele said the $50,000 annual cost of having a police officer at the high school is supposed to be split evenly by the Township and the School District.  He said that the School District is considering cutting their contribution, and the Township will need to decide what to do if this happens. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: 

Allen Rogers, a Township resident, read a statement which he gave to Mr. Pellegrino regarding the proposal for School Board reapportionment which he and two other residents submitted for consideration by the courts.  He referred to a flyer being distributed tonight which he said contains inaccurate statements.  Mrs. Goren asked that Mr. Rogers find a way to get information about his proposal to the public.  Mr. Jirele said this is not a matter in which the Township can take any action.

John Hitchner, a resident of Upper Silver Lake Road, said he and other residents met with a representative of Orleans on 4/8/02 regarding the Wiltshire Walk development.  He said they agreed on a number of issues, but he felt the final plan as approved did not reflect all of them.

Marilyn Scarpa spoke in opposition to the reapportionment proposal submitted by Mr. Rogers and two other residents. 

Chris Kennedy, a resident of Newtown Grant, said she would like to see what improvements are proposed for Stoopville Road.  Mr. Harp suggested she meet with Mr. Pellegrino and attend the Planning Commission meeting when the plan is reviewed. 

Allen Rogers spoke in support of his proposal, and Ms Scarpa spoke in opposition to it.  

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS: 

CHAIRMAN:   

FIRST FOURTH:  Mr. Harp said the First Fourth celebration is set for 7/6/02.

NEWTOWN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA:  Mr. Harp said the Orchestra will perform at Bucks County Community College on 4/21/02.

PANCAKE DAY:  Mr. Harp announced that the Exchange Club will hold its annual Pancake Day on 4/21/02. 

WORK SESSION:  Mr. Harp announced that the next work session will be on 4/22/02. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No items. 

MANAGER: 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Pellegrino said there are no expirations that must be addressed.

SOLICITOR:   

PLATINUM EXECUTIVE SUITES - MYLARS:  Mr. Harris asked the Board to table this item, as some documentation has not been received.

JMZO - O-LI DISTRICT CORRECTION:  Mr. Harris said the ordinance correcting an oversight in the creation of the O-LI District has been advertised for adoption. 

Mr. Jirele moved to adopt JMZO Ordinance 2002-4.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

AUTOCAD REQUIREMENT ORDINANCE:  Mr. Harris said this item has already been dealt with. 

WILTSHIRE WALK MYLARS:  Mr. Harris said the mylars for the final plan for Wiltshire Walk are ready for signature.  He recommended they been be signed and held until stormwater easements for Upper Silver Lake Road are received.  He noted there is also a separate agreement with the neighbors regarding buffering, dated 4/9/02, which should also be received. 

Mr. Weaver moved to sign the mylars and hold them pending receipt of the stormwater easements and the 4/9/02 agreement with the neighbors.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. 

Mrs. Goren said she will abstain on this vote because she had no involvement in the review of this plan.

Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining. 

ENGINEER:  Mr. Smith provided his monthly update on Township engineering projects.  Mrs. Goren thanked him for the helpful format of his report. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS CONTINUED: 

Paul Sterling asked if the Township is keeping the official records of the roads in the Township.  Mr. Pellegrino said they are kept on the Township’s GIS.  Mr. Sterling asked who controls escrow accounts; Mr. Pellegrino said the Township’s Finance Department performs this function.

Nancy Crescenzo gave each Supervisor a copy of the flyer that was distributed during the meeting.  She said that the proposal creates the possibility of the Township having anywhere from 0 to six seats on the School Board.  She said that Mr. Harp campaigned for his seat on the Board of Supervisors on this issue.  Mr. Harp said he subsequently received legal advice not to address this issue as a Supervisor.

John D’Aprile said the Board should not let anyone speak twice on the same subject until others have spoken.  He said he signed the petition for the School Board proposal, but he did not really know what he was signing. 

Marilyn Scarpa spoke again about the School Board proposal.  She said that Upper Makefield residents pay the most in school taxes.  She suggested that each municipality have a designated seat, and the other four be at large.

Barry Hertzberg, Vice President of the Kirkwood Homeowners Association, said the residents he represents do not want Upper Silver Lake closed as shown on the Wiltshire Walk plan.  Mr. Harris noted that there will be access for emergency vehicles through the closed portion.  He also said that the closure was discussed at several public meetings with the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors over a period of months, and there were public notices as well as expensive newspaper coverage.  Mr. Harp suggested Mr. Hertzberg attend the next Planning Commission meeting.

Oscar Stavisky, a resident of Kirkwood, said the Township should ensure that important stakeholders are present when crucial issues are discussed.

Walter Scott, a resident of Upper Silver Lake Road, said he has attended many meetings and did not need a personal letter to know about them.  He said the cutoff will improve the quality of life for residents of Upper Silver Lake Road.  Linda Scott said residences along this road were there before Kirkwood was built. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Harp said the Board will meet in executive session for matters of land acquisition following adjournment of the public meeting. 

ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, Mr. Harp adjourned the meeting at 12:20 AM, 4/11/02. 

 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:

 

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Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______

 

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Scott R. Harp, Chairman

 

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Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman

 

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Anne Goren, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer

  

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Richard Weaver, Treasurer

 

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Raymond Goodnoe, Member