Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

June 26, 2002


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting July 10, 2002. REGULAR MEETING OF 6/26/02:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 6/26/02 regular meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, June 26, 2002, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors:  Chairman Scott Harp, Vice Chairman Tom Jirele, Treasurer Richard Weaver, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Anne Goren and Member Raymond Goodnoe.  Also present were:  Planning Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, Park and Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires, Cable TV Board Chairman Jim Bowe, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, Police Chief Martin Duffy, Township Manager Bob Pellegrino and Township Finance Director Elaine Gibbs. 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman Harp called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.  Mr. Harp welcomed several Boy Scouts who were attending the meeting to fulfill the requirements of a merit badge. 

INVOCATION:  Given by Reverend Harry Pearson of the Newtown Assembly of God.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.  

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Pellegrino announced that bids for the installation of playground equipment at Roberts Ridge Park will be discussed in his Manager’s report, and the escrow release item under the Engineer’s report is withdrawn.  Mr. Harp added that there will be an executive session for matters of pending litigation and personnel following the adjournment of the public meeting. 

MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES 

REGULAR MEETING OF 6/12/02:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 6/12/02 regular meeting with one change.  The last sentence of the Sycamore Street Committee report should read: “Mr. Lombardi said that he would like to see…”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

BILLS LIST:   Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $165,341.18; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $302,403.25; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER’S REPORT:  No items. 

SPECIAL ACTIONS

CONDITIONAL USE - GARDEN TEA INC. - VILLAGE OF NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - 2852 SOUTH EAGLE ROAD - TMP# 29-3-24-6:  Maryanne C. Staubach was present to discuss her request for Use E-1 Retail Shop and Use E-5 Eating Place in a space of 1800 square feet, currently vacant, in the PC District.  Mr. Harp opened the hearing and Ms Staubach was sworn in. 

Ms Staubach stated that the tea room will be a limited restaurant.  She will also have retail sales of tea and tea-related products.  

Mr. Jirele asked if the restaurant will provide take-out service.  Ms Staubach said there will be some take-out business, but the restaurant will not be set up to encourage it.  Mr. Jirele said that there have been some problems in area shopping centers with take-out customers parking in fire lanes.  He asked if Ms Staubach would agree to a condition that she will get the shopping center to set aside a few parking spaces for take-out customers if this becomes a problem.  Ms Staubach said she will agree to this condition. 

Mr. Harp asked if there were further questions from the Board or the public; there were none. 

Mrs. Goren moved to approve the conditional use application of Garden Tea, Inc, for Use E-1 Retail Shop and Use E-5 Eating Place, subject to compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 5/16/02, with the application amended to show a maximum of 15 employees and hours of operation from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily, with deliveries by small UPS trucks only, with no hazardous materials on site and no noxious environmental effects, and with the condition that the applicant will arrange for designated parking spaces for take-out customers if necessary.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Weaver moved to close the hearing; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

RESOLUTION 2002-18 - RENAMING SWAMP ROAD PARK TO HELEN RANDLE PARK:  Mr. Harp invited Helen Randle to the podium and read a resolution renaming Swamp Road Park in honor of Ms Randle, who served the Township for many years on the School Board, in community organizations and on Township boards and commissions.  The park will be officially renamed at a ceremony on 6/29/02. 

RECOGNITION - RESUSCITATION OF WILLIAM RITZHEIMER:  Mr. Harp presented Certificates of Accomplishment to John Gundy, Russ Davis and Mike Bean of the Emergency Services Department; Tim Keegan, Robert Lupinetti and Shane Dilling of the Police Department; and Joe Swerk (accepting for Brian Rose, Sean Lough and Howie Range) of the Ambulance Squad.  The presentation was in honor of their actions on 6/5/02 when they administered first aid and CPR to William Ritzheimer, a victim of cardiac arrest. 

Police Chief Martin Duffy said this incident was a good example of cooperation among various emergency services groups.  Joe Swerk said he received word today that Mr. Ritzheimer is doing well in the hospital. 

FIRST FOURTH CELEBRATION:  Park and Recreation Board Chairman Bernie Bires, Jane Crumlish and Andy Levin presented information about the First Fourth Celebration scheduled for 7/6/02.  The all day event will include activities, entertainment, food and a softball game.  Mr. Harp thanked all members of the First Fourth Committee for their hard work on this event. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Allen Fidler, Vice Chairperson of the Commission, reported on their 6/18/02 meeting.  The Commission reviewed a conditional use application from the Newtown Veterinary Hospital, which is seeking an H-5 Accessory Use to permit a fenced enclosure for exercising dogs staying at the hospital.  The Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the application with several conditions. 

The Commission also reviewed seven applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board meeting of 7/11/02.  They recommended that the Board of Supervisors take no position on four applications, recommended that the relief sought on one be expressed differently, and recommended that the Board of Supervisors oppose two applications for five foot fences because there seemed to be no legal hardship. 

Mr. Fidler also reported that the Commission will be meeting with Pat Scully on 7/2/02 to discuss several proposed JMZO amendments. 

CABLE TV ADVISORY COMMITTEE:  Committee Chairman Jim Bowe reported on their 6/19/02 meeting.  He said that the Committee continues to meet at LaSalle University although Dr. Ugras is no longer a member.  Mr. Bowe thanked the Board of Supervisors for their prompt appointment of a new member to the Committee.  

Mr. Bowe said that the Committee was asked to look into the wiring of Newtown Industrial Commons.  He has learned that according to the franchise agreement with Comcast, the Commons meets the criteria and should be wired if the Township requests it. 

Mr. Weaver moved to direct Mr. Pellegrino to formally request Comcast to wire Newtown Industrial Commons for cable service.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Bowe asked if the Board supports the idea of volunteers videotaping some Township events, as is done in some other municipalities.  There was general support for this idea. 

Mr. Bowe said he looked into Mr. Goodnoe’s concern about the need to have boxes sitting on one’s television in order to receive cable service.  He said that he learned from Comcast that a box is necessary for basic service with a television that is not cable ready.  If you do have a cable ready television you still need a box to receive certain special services.  If you have HDTV service you need a digital box and an HDTV box.  Mr. Goodnoe asked if other companies have better technology; Mr. Bowe said he understands that this is the state of the art.  Mr. Bowe said he is concerned about what equipment will be needed when the Township succeeds in bringing in a competing cable provider. 

Mr. Goodnoe said that he and other business owners have had some difficulty getting Comcast to provide service to commercial areas of the Township.  Mr. Jirele suggested that Mr. Pellegrino’s letter to Comcast include a request that cable service be made available to commercial areas. 

MEMBERS COMMENTS 

FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE:  Mr. Weaver announced that the Park and Recreation Department is setting up a co-ed Flag Football league and is seeking coaches and players.  More information is available from the Department. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS 

Mr. Harp asked that speakers refrain from personal attacks on Township officials, employees or fellow residents. 

Linda Mitchell, an employee of  the Newtown Athletic Club (NAC), announced that the NAC will sponsor a five K fun run and a one mile walk on 8/14/02.  The proceeds will benefit the Township Park and Recreation Department.  Ms Mitchell also read a statement criticizing remarks made about her by another resident at a previous meeting. 

Nancy Cresenczo, a Township resident, asked about the status of the Council Rock reapportionment issue.  Mr. Harris said that Dave Sander represented the Township at the conference on 6/13/02 with Judge McAndrews.  Mr. Harris said that the judge asked those parties advocating various nine region plans to meet and develop a single proposal for a nine region plan, which is to be submitted to the court by 7/31/02.  The judge will discuss this plan, and the three region plan advocated by the Township, at a conference on 8/13/02. 

Mr. Goodnoe said it appears that the Township will not be able to participate in the initial discussions of the other parties because of its advocacy of the three region plan. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to drop the Township’s endorsement of the three region plan.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and failed 2-3, with Mr. Harp, Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Goren voting “nay”. 

Nancy Cresenczo stated that Dr. Rogers, one of the authors of the three region plan, should have invited the School Board to discuss his ideas before taking legal action. 

Joe Poserina, store manager for Frost-Watson, asked if his company could possibly use the old Acme building.  Mr. Harp said there are problems with the site, but suggested that Mr. Poserina meet with Mr. Pellegrino about other possible sites in the Township. 

Linda Mitchell requested that the Board of Supervisors review and respond to the letter from the Business Development Council that she provided to them at the last meeting. 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS 

CHAIRMAN 

INTERIM REPORT:  Mr. Harp said that the Interim Report, distributed a few weeks ago, is intended to be a progress report on the goals for the year.  He intends to produce another report at the end of the year. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No items. 

MANAGER 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  None to be addressed. 

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER:  Mr. Pellegrino said that the Council Rock School Board has decided to fund 50% of a fourth year of the School Resource Officer program.  He said there was an informal understanding in 1999 that the School Board and the Township would share the cost of the fourth year. 

Mrs. Goren said she supports the program.  Mr. Jirele asked if the officer serves both high schools; Mr. Pellegrino said only Council Rock North is served by this officer. 

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize funding half the cost of a School Resource Officer for academic year 2002-03, with the understanding that if other municipalities wish to contribute towards the cost their contributions would be welcome.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

PEDESTRIAN TRAIL CHANGE ORDER:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 6/5/02 letter from Carroll Engineering concerning a request for change order for a pedestrian bridge built by DePaul and Son in connection with the Newtown Pedestrian Trail.  Carroll Engineering recommended that the change order request be rejected. 

Mr. Weaver moved to reject the request for a change order from DePaul and Son as recommended in Carroll Engineering’s letter of 6/5/02 .  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

AWARD TRAFFIC LINE PAINTING QUOTE:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 6/20/02 memo from Mr. Harwood reporting the results of bidding for traffic line painting.   Mr. Harwood recommended that the low bid, from Ross Industries, be accepted.  

Mrs. Goren moved to accept the bid of Ross Industries, at $ 0.029 per linear foot, for 338,734 linear feet of traffic line painting, as described in Mr. Harwood’s 6/20/02 memo.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.  

AMEND USED EQUIPMENT AWARD:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 6/19/02 memo from Mr. Harwood requesting that the Board’s decision of 10/1/01 regarding the disposition of used equipment be amended because two of the successful bidders withdrew.  Mr. Harwood recommended that the items be awarded to the next lowest bidders. 

Mr. Weaver moved to amend the 10/1/01 award of used equipment in accordance with Mr. Harwood’s memo of 6/19/02.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.  

BIDS FOR INSTALLING PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AT ROBERTS RIDGE PARK:  Mr. Pellegrino reported that the Township received two bids for the installation of playground equipment at Roberts Ridge Park.  The low bid was disqualified because it was not submitted correctly.  Mr. Pellegrino asked that the other bid be rejected and the project be re-advertised. 

Mr. Weaver moved to reject the bids received for the installation of playground equipment at Roberts Ridge Park and rebid the project.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked if the bids will be higher because of a change in the surface material specifications.  Mr. Pellegrino said they should probably be lower, since the original materials were more expensive.  Mr. Goodnoe also questioned if Mr. Weaver’s motion included authorization for re-advertising the project. 

Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Goren agreed to amend their previous motion to include authorization to re-advertise the project.  The motion passed unanimously. 

SOLICITOR 

LOCKHEED-MARTIN MAINTENANCE BOND:  Mr. Harris reported that Mr. Barbaz of Carroll Engineering has certified that all punch list items have been completed. 

Mrs. Goren moved to release the maintenance bond posted by Lockheed-Martin for Campus Drive.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD - 7/11/02:  Mr. Harris reviewed the applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board meeting of 7/11/02.  The Board discussed taking a position on the following applications: 

TOLL BROTHERS APPLICATION - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT - STOOPVILLE ROAD:  Mr. Harris noted that the Planning Commission was concerned about how the relief sought was calculated by the Codes Office with respect to the disturbance of soils.  

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Solicitor to attend the Zoning Hearing Board hearing for Toll Brothers on 7/11/02 unless the Township Engineer confirms that the soil disturbance does not exceed 50%.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.  

HABERKERN AND PHAYRE APPLICATIONS:  Mr. Harris said both applications concerned a request to erect a five foot fence where a three foot fence is the maximum allowed.  Mr. Jirele said he supports the Phayre application, as the house is very close to a busy road, Eagle Road.  He said that he did not see the hardship in the Haberkern application, where there is a large lot and the house is approximately 200 feet from the road. 

Mr. Jirele moved to direct the Solicitor to oppose the Haberkern application.  Mr. Harp seconded the motion. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe questioned the Planning Commission’s comment regarding “legal hardship”, and asked that those in attendance at the Commission’s meetings be listed on future synopses.  Mr. Harris said that the Planning Commission’s letter is only a recommendation, as the Commission has no legal role in these applications. 

Mr. Harris read Mr. Haberkern’s description of his reasons for requesting this variance.  Mrs. Goren said he appeared to have legitimate reasons.  Mr. Jirele said the relief sought is excessive, and he does not want to see a five foot vinyl fence 28 feet from the road.  Mr. Goodnoe said the Township should reserve sending the Solicitor to a hearing for cases where there are serious concerns. 

Mr. Jirele’s motion failed 2-3, with Mr. Weaver, Mr. Goodnoe and Mrs. Goren voting “nay”. 

LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS COUNCIL - SETTLEMENT OPTION:  Mr. Harris provided copies of a letter he received from the attorney for the Law School Admissions Council, and said he attended a “Rule 27” conference with Judge Scott on 6/20/02.  Mr. Harris said he will discuss the situation in detail with the Board in executive session, since it involves pending litigation. 

ENGINEER 

TRAFFIC CIRCULATION PLAN - DURHAM ROAD ASSOCIATES:  Mr. Smith provided copies of a 6/21/02 memo from Township Traffic Engineer Philip Wursta reviewing a combined revised plan for traffic circulation for two projects on Durham Road: Durham Road Associates (DRA) and the 413 Office Center.  The plan proposes that DRA have a right turn in, right turn out access to Durham Road.  Mr. Wursta recommended that escrow, a letter of credit, or some other means be established to provide for the future installation of a traffic light at Municipal Drive (if warranted).  He also recommended that a right turn deceleration lane be installed on northbound 413 at the main access, and that Road “A” be rerouted so it is not so circuitous. 

Mr. Jirele said he continues to oppose a second exit to Durham Road, and would prefer to see that the DRA access be right turn in only.  He said it is likely that traffic will turn right and then make a U turn at North Drive to go south on Route 413 rather than wait to make a left turn at the main access.  Mr. Goodnoe said he shares Mr. Jirele’s concerns. 

Mr. Pellegrino said that 413 Office Center has a preliminary plan approval which does not include any of the proposed revisions.  He said that DRA has a right to a full access to Route 413, which would be worse than the proposed right in/right out access.  He added that Mr. Wursta felt the frontage road originally proposed was not a good idea. 

Mr. Smith displayed the plan of the proposed revision.  Mr. Jirele said he would support DRA’s requests for waivers and variances if they will change their access to right in only. 

Phil Calabro, a resident of Newtown Grant, said he also feared that DRA traffic will make U turns in North Drive.  He said that if a traffic light is installed at North Drive it would discourage U turns, as well as help Newtown Grant residents exit their development. 

Mrs. Goren said she supports a light at North Drive.  Mr. Goodnoe said he supports lights at North Drive and at Wrights Road but not at Municipal Drive.  Mr. Jirele suggested that the escrowed funds from the two projects could be earmarked for a light at North Drive rather than for a light at Municipal Drive.  Mr. Smith said that Mr. Wursta felt that left turns out of the Municipal Drive access would not be such a problem if there were lights at North Drive and at Wrights Road.  Mr. Harris noted that the Township can not require that the developers escrow funds for a light at North Drive since it is off site. 

John D’Aprile, a resident of Newtown Grant, asked why the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association was not notified about the revised plan.  He said that when the Association met with the developer they asked for a right turn in only at the DRA access. 

Nancy Cresenczo, a resident of Newtown Grant, also complained that Newtown Grant’s Homeowners Association was not included in the development of this revised plan.  She asked that the Township take a regional approach to traffic problems. 

John D’Aprile said that the agenda for tonight’s meeting was not posted on the Township website as of this afternoon. 

Mr. Pellegrino said he understood that the points the Board wanted him to take up with the developers are as follows:

·       The Township wants a traffic light at North Drive.

·       If there is a light there, the right turn in/right turn out access is satisfactory to most members of the Board.

·       It should be determined if DRA’s waiver requests are caused by the Township’s request for a revised plan.

·       The Newtown Grant Homeowners Association should be advised of all meetings and proposals. 

OLD BUSINESS 

OR DISTRICT ZONING:  Mr. Goodnoe said that some time ago the Board asked the Planning Commission to discuss rezoning the remaining parcels in the OR District and make a recommendation by June.  Mr. Harp said he will follow up on this with the Chairperson of the Planning Commission. 

NEW BUSINESS 

PENNS TERRACE OFFICE PARK - SIGNING MYLARS:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 3/19/02 letter from Carroll Engineering reporting that they find the mylars acceptable for execution pending receipt of several documents and fees.  Mr. Pellegrino said all items have now been submitted, and he asked for a motion authorizing signature of the mylars. 

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize signature and release of the mylars for Penns Terrace Office Park.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mrs. Goren said she thought the Board had passed this motion before and was holding the mylars pending receipt of the missing items.  She said she will abstain from the vote because the plan was approved before she began her term on the Board.

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

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION UNDERWRITERS OFFICE PARK - CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION #3:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 6/18/02 letter from Carroll Engineering recommending approval of Certificate of Completion #3, the extension of the letter of credit, and the adjustment of its amount to equal the $21,900.37 required for financial security during the maintenance period. 

Mr. Weaver moved to approve the Certificate of Completion #3 in accordance with the recommendations in the 6/18/02 letter from Carroll Engineering.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED) 

John D’Aprile said this was the third meeting in which the Board voted not to have a discussion with neighboring municipalities. 

Marilyn Scarpa, a Newtown resident, thanked Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe for their desire to be open and cooperative.  She urged the Board to explore their options on issues before making decisions. 

Nancy Cresenczo read a section of the Interim Report that states the Township’s interest in improving relationships with other municipalities.  She said she does not understand why Mr. Weaver opposes the appointment of a liaison to the Business and Professional Alliance when he serves as liaison to the Business Development Council. 

Linda Mitchell said she hopes the Board will reconsider the appointment of a liaison when they respond to the letter she provided at the previous meeting.  She noted that the Interim Report said there was some discussion of including a community center as part of the expansion of the Municipal Complex.  She also invited the Supervisors to the 7/23/02 meeting of the Newtown Business and Professional Alliance, or perhaps to the February 2003 meeting to discuss the Township’s goals for the year.  Mr. Harp responded that he would try to attend one of the meetings.  He said that the Township is researching options for creating a community center, particularly how one can be funded without raising taxes. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  Mr. Harp said the Board will meet in executive session for matters of personnel and pending litigation, and is not expected to reconvene the public meeting. 

ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, Mr. Harp adjourned the meeting at 10:50 PM. 

 

Respectfully Submitted: 

 

_____________________________
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

 

 _____________________________
Richard Weaver, Treasurer

 

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Raymond Goodnoe, Member