Board of Supervisors Work Session
APRIL 22, 2002
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 8, 2002. WORK SESSION OF 4/22/02: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 4/22/02 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
Members Present: Scott R. Harp, Chairman; Tom Jirele, Vice Chairman; Richard Weaver, Treasurer; Anne Goren, Secretary; Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, Member; Dave Sander, Solicitor; Bob Pellegrino, Township Manager; Gerald Smith, Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Harp called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the Work Session of March 18, 2002, with the following change (underlined):
§ P. 4 -“ Ms. Goren questioned whether removal of residential in the OR would force the Sterlings from their home.”
Ms. Goren seconded the motion. Mr. Harp, Mr. Jirele, Mr. Weaver, Ms. Goren voted for; Mr. Goodnoe voted against. The motion carried.
Sound Wall Update - Madelyn Faust
Madelyn Faust, Jim Manahan and Ted Welsh were present. Ms. Faust said that they had met with Representatives Conti and Steil. Rep. Steil told them that the PennDOT estimate for the cost of the sound wall was $6M. They asked Rep. Steil if Senator Greenwood’s office could be of any assistance, and he said that it was a state funding issue. Ms. Faust said that the project could be a part of the TIP; it was clarified that the sound wall is not part of the Swamp Road corridor project and cost estimates for the wall were not included in the Swamp Road corridor cost estimates.
Mr. Manahan said that there is no guarantee that the Demonstration Project will continue; if it were discontinued, there would be no source for state funds. Mr. Harp cited a letter from Representative Steil to John Barley in support of the Demonstration Project, in which Rep. Steil requested funding for the $6M for the sound barrier from the Demonstration Project. Ms Faust will be in touch with Mr. Pellegrino to inform him of any developments.
Mr. Iwaskiw asked where the sound barrier would go; it would run from Newtown Place to Chandler Hall.
Bucks County TMA Presentation - William Rickett
Bill Rickett and Dan Murphy (Clear Channel) were present. Mr. Rickett said that TMA is trying to market the new 130 bus route service and build ridership, especially to retail areas. They would like to put bus shelters at heavily trafficked stops.
Mr. Murphy explained the program. There would be an agreement between TMA and the township to provide bus shelters at no cost to the township. There would be a 4’ x 6’ advertising panel on each end of the shelter; income from this advertising would operate the program. Clear Channel would handle all of the permits required on local and state roads. Shelters can pose a liability issue; Clear Channel would carry all the insurance costs and maintenance on the shelters. The shelters can be illuminated from within the panels. Advertising is usually for household or consumer services. Any advertising the township objected to would be removed; this would be part of the contract. A sample contract was included in the board packet. Advertising costs would be $100 per panel, or $50 per face. If advertising was not sold the township could use the space to advertise community events.
Mr. Murphy said they usually place the shelters on main roads, and they would suggest six or seven locations for shelters in Newtown. Photos of rural type shelters were included in the board packet. Mr. Murphy said that the shelters would be removed if SEPTA discontinued the bus line.
Mr. Harp suggested that the board take the issue under advisement. Mr. Jirele said he would like to see where the shelters would be placed, and said that there may not be enough setback in residential area for the shelters. Ms. Goren said the homeowners’ associations should be consulted regarding shelter locations.
When questioned about the need for lighting, Mr. Murphy said that lighting affects the economics of the situation and that lighting can reduce crime and discourage unwanted activity in the shelter area. He said he would look into the possibility of turning off the lighting at certain times. Mr. Jirele said he didn’t want to see 24 hour illuminated billboards on the shelters.
Ms. Crescenzo said that she felt it was unfortunate that this issue was not discussed at a televised supervisors meeting, as it would receive wider exposure to the public. She asked what kind of variances would be necessary for installation of the shelters. Mr. Jirele said that presently there was not an ordinance to cover bus shelters, but that one was in process. Mr. Murphy said that other municipalities have created a separate category for bus shelters so that the door would not be open to allow advertising or signs like the ones in a bus shelter. He said he would provide the township with a copy of such resolutions/ordinances.
John D’Aprile said he thought that residents probably wouldn’t like having a bus shelter nearby. Mr. Harp said that HOA’s should be included in the process. Mr. Harp said that the lighting issue needed to be addressed, a map was needed with proposed locations of the shelters, and copies of other bus shelter resolutions would need to be reviewed. Mr. Harp said that the only benefit to the township seemed to be some advertising revenue. Mr. Murphy noted that the construction cost of each shelter without lighting would be about $2000.
Mr. Iwaskiw reminded board members that the requested advertising signs were larger than those allowed for companies or community groups in the township. He said he did not think that residents wanted lighted bus shelters in Newtown.
Hoffa Tract Sketch Plan
Ed Murphy updated the board on the Hoffa Tract plan. He said that the initially submitted sketch plan, which included 55 town houses, had not been well received. The new sketch plan he presented included 38 single homes and included the retention of the farm home. No plots will be burdened by the Ttranscontinental Gas Pipeline Corp. r-o-w. Mr. Murphy said that the Planning Commission regarded this new sketch plan more favorably, and that it did not require any variances as far as he knew. Mr. Murphy said that board approval was needed for deed restricted open space of little over an acre, most of which is in the pipeline, and will remain undeveloped private property.
Mr. Murphy said that the location of the sidewalk had been changed to connect with other sidewalks at the suggestion of the Planning Commission. Concern was expressed that the buffer was too thin, and the suggestion was made to eliminate some of the sidewalk to allow for a wider buffer.
Mr. Murphy said that there would be a cul de sac, as everyone, including the engineer and Planning Commission, did not want to interconnect with Rte. 413; there would be emergency access only to 413. Mr. Murphy said that the existing house would remain, but two additional structures would not; Jeff Marshall has stated that these two additional structures have no historical integrity. It was clarified that the detention basin would be located outside the pipeline.
Mr. Jirele said he needed to be convinced of the benefit of privately owned deed restricted land to satisfy the open space requirement; he said this situation has been problematic in the past.
Mr. Iwaskiw asked how far the detention basin would be from the street. It was estimated that it would be 130 approximately 123 feet. Mr. Iwaskiw felt that if it were too close it would be ugly. He also commented that Eagle Road is extremely busy and that it may be time to consider traffic lights or access to 413. Ms. Goren noted that warrants would be needed for a traffic light on 413. Mr. Iwaskiw said he liked the cul de sac idea; otherwise the road could become a cut through.
Ms. Crescenzo asked if any of the neighbors had been contacted about this plan or this meeting. Mr. Harp said that the township is required to notify neighbors when the plan is submitted; this project is only in the sketch plan phase. Ms. Crescenzo asked about impervious surface on each lot, and was concerned about residents being able to add any additional features, such a patio or pool, later. Mr. Murphy said that the lot size is 6500 square feet; the proposed houses would be 2400-2800 square feet. He said that there should be room for a deck or patio only. Mr. Murphy said that HOA documents would disallow any building outside the building envelope. Mr. Murphy said he would like to propose some sharing of impervious surface, such as splitting the impervious surface allowed between the builder and the owner.
Mr. Smith said that the Mr. Harwood has suggested a slightly different shape for the cul de sac, rather like the letter P, to facilitate road maintenance. Mr. Murphy said they would investigate this.
Mr. Iwaskiw asked about disclosure concerning the restricted land; Mr. Murphy said that full disclosure would occur.
The board preferred the single home plan. Ms. Goren liked Mr. Harwood’s suggested change in the shape of the cul de sac.
Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation Update
Mr. Goodnoe distributed an informational packet and described the background and purpose of the JDNC, which grew out of the Sycamore Street project and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Program. The borough and township then combined to support and form the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation. The borough council and township supervisors appointed a board of directors: five directors from the borough and six from the township. Mr. Goodnoe introduced attending board members Lorraine Sikora, Tony Petsis, Mark Craig, John Parry, and Vince Lombardi.
Mr. Goodnoe explained that under the Main Street Program, a state grant is available that requires matching funds from the participating municipalities. Grant funding would occur if the project met their criteria. In the beginning of 2000, the borough committed $25,000 and the township committed $100,000 over a five-year period. At the end of the five years, the corporation would become self-sustaining and a Main Street Manager would be hired. The corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable corporation.
Mr. Goodnoe described the visioning process, which was part of the grant application process. He said the visioning workshops presented an opportunity to hear resident and business concerns in both the borough and township, and resulted in the development of a visioning statement for Newtown. Mr. Goodnoe listed the four main committees, Organization, Economic Structuring, Design and Promotion, and introduced the committee chairs present.
Chairman Mark Craig described his Economic Structuring Committee’s projects, which included a business assessment and a business inventory of Newtown. He said they are currently looking at incentives and dis-incentives to business in Newtown. Ultimately all of their projects and information will be turned over to a Main Street Manager.
Mr. Petsis described the main goal of the Promotions Committee, which is to create community awareness, and said that the symposium meetings they have held with community groups and businesses has provided a great networking opportunity. The third symposium is scheduled for June. The public is welcome at the symposiums; businesses and community groups have been invited especially. He said that a promotional video is being developed to show the uniqueness of Newtown, which JDNC hopes to have completed by the end of the year and plans to air on Channel 23. Another market for the video would be real estate offices. In addition, a road rally is being planned to help tie together Sycamore Street, State Street and the shopping centers.
Mr. Goodnoe described the JDNC website www.newtowncalendar.com , which has been developed by the Organization Committee as a resource for events going on in Newtown. He said that there will be local advertising being developed at the site as well. The committee has begun to accept events for posting.
Mr. Goodnoe said that the Design Committee has also been very active and has researched 100 Ways for Newtown to be Pedestrian Friendly, 100 Ways to Improve Parking and Transportation, and 100 Ways to Utilize the Creek as a Feature of Newtown.
Mr. Craig reviewed the preliminary budget, which was included in the distributed packet. The budget included short and long-term estimations. Mr. Goodnoe clarified that if the program doesn’t sustain itself, it would be terminated; JDNC does not expect any additional commitment for funding from the township or borough.
Mr. Harp asked what a Main Street Manager would do. Mr. Goodnoe explained that some tasks that he/she would manage events, help market vacancies, coordinate activities, act as a resource for people and businesses interested in coming to Newtown, look at issues of concern to citizens and business owners, and look for grant funding for projects such as the Movie Theatre renovations. Mr. Goodnoe said the board of directors of the JDNC would hire the Main Street Manager. He clarified that money is in the township budget ($20,000 this year) but would not be paid until the grant is received. He thought perhaps they would hear about the grant application decision sometime in July.
Mr. Craig said that in discussions it has been noted that more businesses are needed to meet the needs of residents and that Newtown needs to promote businesses. This would help keep the downtown community vital and help home values and historical renovation; supporting some of the goals established by the visioning meetings. Mr. Petsis said that this also provides investment in the tax base, which would improve with the increase in and success of viable businesses in Newtown.
Mr. Goodnoe said that they have been in close touch with the DCED; the grants come through DCED. Frank Mendicino asked what input DCED had given. Mr. Craig said they have met six to eight times to discuss how the program has worked and succeeded in other communities. The DCED is very excited by the program here, as they have never had an application between two municipalities before; they have contributed much guidance and advice.
Ms. Crescenzo asked about the events to be included on the Newtown Calendar; Mr. Goodnoe explained that criteria for inclusion has been developed and is included on the website.
Bob White - Redevelopment Authority
Mr. Weaver described the township’s involvement with the Redevelopment Authority. He reported that the site has been cleaned up. He said he would like to see the board move ahead with the site development.
Ms. Goren moved to authorize Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Sander to work with the Redevelopment Authority solicitor to frame an agreement between the township and the Authority. Mr. Weaver seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Harp said that when the draft agreement has been completed, it would be brought before a televised meeting. Mr. Lombardi said that public input regarding uses for the property had surfaced during the JDNC visioning sessions.
Newtown Joint Historic Commission Vacancy
Mr. Harp announced that a vacancy for the Newtown Joint Historic Commission will be announced at the next regular Board of Supervisors meeting, and said that anyone interested should send their resume to the township manager’s office.
Proposed Intergovernmental Agreement - Lower Makefield
Mr. Sander looked over the basic duties of each township in the proposed agreement between Newtown, Lower Makefield and Upper Makefield Townships. One of the elements of the agreement required the turning over of Lindenhurst into private ownership. The board agreed that there was nothing of benefit to Newtown Township in the agreement. In addition, Upper Makefield does not agree with the proposal. It was clarified that some projects in progress would not need the agreement to proceed.
Mr. Lombardi asked if Lower Makefield had made any commitment to the clover leaf at Rte 95 and the Bypass; Mr. Smith said he had no information. Mr. Goodnoe said he thought that project was proceeding.
Frank Mendicino said he had spoken with PennDOT officials, and that Lower Makefield has not formally approved the project. Environmental studies have been done. He said that three traffic studies have been done that indicate that there seems to be an equitable distribution of traffic throughout the three townships, which contradicts what Lower Makefield had been saying.
Mr. Jirele moved to direct Mr. Pellegrino to respond to Lower Makefield that the township has no interest in entering such an agreement at this time. Mr. Goodnoe seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Mill Pond Road Trail Connection
Mr. Smith said that he and Mr. Pellegrino met with Tyler Park officials Stanley Peterson, Jean Galfan and Ira Fisher, to see how they felt regarding a trail in the park. They said either of the two proposed trails were acceptable , and said they did not want any pedestrians on park roads. The presented sketches showed a crossing at Mill Pond Road leading to one trail going to Newtown Junior High School and one connecting with a Park trail. Park officials said that if the trails are to be dedicated they would need to be constructed to their specifications and be ADA compliant.
Mr. Smith said that the estimated cost for both trails is $30,000; the west side of the trail connecting to the Park trail would cost about $10,000, and the trail going to the Junior High would cost approximately $21,000. Mr. Smith said that he checked with Carroll Engineering and they have not made application for the West Hanover Street pedestrian crossing. Mr. Pellegrino will check the status of West Hanover. In addition, Mr. Smith has requested Mill Pond status from Carroll Engineering.
Mr. Goodnoe said that he thought that the township was going to apply for ISTEA or T21 for money for the trail. Mr. Pellegrino said that an application to PennDOT can be made at any time and that perhaps they should start the process. Mr. Smith said he would put together a bid to determine costs.
Mr. Smith said that Park officials were not happy with the park entrance and would like to move the entrance at Mill Pond; the board concurred.
Mr. Harp summarized the action items: prepare and submit application for blinking pedestrian light at West Hanover, draft an agreement to dedicate these improvements to the park, and make application for a light at Mill Pond. Mr. Pellegrino said that there is some money in the budget for these projects.
Clark Property Update - Revised parking lot plan
Mr. Smith presented Sketch F, which was submitted to the Planning Commission. He said that a number of concerns were discussed, including entry and exit, deceleration and left turn only lanes. Mr. Smith said that the driveway use would initially be minimal and they would look to PennDOT for advice regarding exit and entrance. Larger signage was suggested, to warn drivers of the upcoming driveway. Mr. Smith said that if the driveway were ever going to exceed minimum use, it would have to be developed in conjunction with the Woll Tract; the road would be widened when the Woll Tract is developed.
Mr. Smith said that the proposed hours of operation of the park area would be dawn to dusk; a chain will be put across the driveway when closed. There will be a sign disallowing parking on the driveway will be posted. Mr. Smith said a sweet gum tree is dying and should be taken down.
Parking was discussed. Mr. Smith said that parking could not be located along the barn in back of the garage because of an embankment there that needs to be preserved. He said that Sketch F did not allow for the ability to drop off, but the revised Sketch H does. Sketch H proposes eight parking spaces. Mr. Smith clarified that parking would not be open to township employees only. Ms. Goren said that Sketch H allowed for expansion.
Ms. Goren moved to adopt plan H for the Clark Property. Mr. Weaver seconded. There was further discussion.
Mr. Goodnoe felt that parking should be behind the buildings, to keep a rural aspect to the entrance to the property. He said he thought the park should be designed around the proposed uses, and that this plan was poorly designed. Mr. Jirele agreed; he said that future expansion of parking would extend southward and divide the grassy area.
Mr. Goodnoe said that if parking were placed in the open space behind the building, trees would not have to be taken down. Mr. Weaver said that this latest parking plan was least invasive. Mr. Goodnoe felt that a professional land designer should look at the property. He said there should be an overall plan for the property, and then small pieces could be built over time.
Ms. Crescenzo asked if rare shrubbery and plants had been tagged yet; Mr. Weaver said it is an ongoing project.
Mr. Goodnoe said he felt that someone who was not going to be involved in the reviewing and inspecting of a facility or park should do the design of that facility or park. He said it should be a two-step process:
1. A land planner should look at the topography and plantings in the park and determine where parking, trails and recreational uses should occur.
2. Approvals should be received from the Planning Commission, BOS, etc., and then the engineer should design sections of the property that the township can afford.
Mr. Harp did not feel that a land designer was necessary. Mr. Goodnoe felt that there should be more public input, that the issue should be discussed at a televised meeting. Mr. Jirele said he would like time to walk the trail and see the park in person. He said he would like to wait to vote on the matter until the Wednesday board meeting.
Nancy Crescenzo questioned the urgency to make a decision about the park. Mr. Iwaskiw suggested the board wait to vote and said that if there was concern about who was planning/doing what that perhaps the ethics committee should be consulted. Ms. Goren said that the ethics committee was not involved in hiring.
Mr. Harp suggested that the matter be tabled until Wednesday’s meeting. Ms. Goren withdrew her motion. Mr. Weaver seconded. The motion was tabled. Mr. Pellegrino will get maps of the Clark Property for the public to view at the meeting.
413 Office Center/Durham Road Association Road System
Mr. Smith said that the Association had come up with a plan that addressed Pennoni’s concerns. There would be only one access to 413. Durham Associates wants its own access; a right-in only access would work for them. This would maintain one access to 413 and provide a second access for safety. The plan will be reworked with more detail. Mr. Goodnoe said he has spoken to Bill McManimon at Newtown Grant concerning the project.
Municipal Complex Expansion
Mr. Pellegrino said the staff had met a second time with the architect. He will be bringing back preliminary site plans that will indicate the location of the expansion. It will take approximately two months to develop these plans; preliminary cost estimates may be available then.
Fee Waiver Request - Joint Municipal Authority
Ms. Goren moved to waive the $200 construction and permit fees from the Joint Municipal Authority. Mr. Jirele seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Fire Association Lease
Mr. Pellegrino said that at their last quarterly meeting the Fire Association had discussed the need for a lease to cover financial arrangements for the use of the property. At the board’s direction, Mr. Pellegrino will work with the solicitor to draft the appropriate agreement documents with the Fire Association.
Mr. Weaver reported that HARB had submitted a budget for total disbursements of $1885. They have funds to cover this in their savings account.
Mr. Weaver proposed that membership to the Business Development Council be opened up to anyone, with one vote per business/organization, instead of members being appointed by the Board. The Council had discussed and supported this membership plan at their last meeting on April 4, 2002. The board supported the change; Ms. Goren asked if there were documents that needed amending. Mr. Weaver and BDC secretary Leslie Dunleavy will work on putting something in writing.
Newtown Township resident Chris Kennedy said she had seen a McLaughlin Tract plan and was alarmed at some of the changes proposed for Stoopville Road. She thought it was going to be on the agenda at this meeting, but was looking forward to discussing the issue at an upcoming meeting.
Wiltshire Walk Agreements
Mr. Sander said that there were agreements that needed to be signed for Wednesday night’s meeting.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize the signing of improvement and financial security agreements for Wiltshire Walk. Mr. Goodnoe seconded. Mr. Harp, Mr. Goodnoe, Mr. Weaver and Mr. Jirele voted for the motion; Ms. Goren abstained. The motion carried.
Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:25 pm. The Board went into executive session to discuss pending litigation.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Leslie. Dunleavy, Recording