Board of Supervisors Minutes
October 9, 2002
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting October 23, 2002. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 10/9/02: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 10/9/02 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 9, 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 (late). Also present were: Park and Recreation Chairman Bernie Bires, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, 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.
INVOCATION: Given by Ethel Gibson of St. Mark’s AME Zion Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino announced that an escrow release will be considered under the Engineer’s report, and there will be no report from HARB. Mr. Harp announced that the Board of Supervisors will meet in executive session for matters of personnel following the public meeting, and a presentation is added under Special Actions.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 9/25/02: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 9/25/02 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
BILLS AND INTERFUND TRANSFERS
LIST OF 9/11/02 (TABLED FROM 9/25/02): Mrs. Goren moved to pay bills on the 9/11/02 list totaling $367,391.03, and to make interfund transfers on the 9/11/02 list totaling $300,750.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Nancy Cresenzco, a Township resident, asked for an explanation of the charges for general engineering services and complaints on page 5 of the bills list. Mr. Jirele said he and Mr. Weaver will work with the administration to develop an itemized list of those charges, and they will get that information to Ms Cresenzco.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
LIST OF 10/9/02: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills on the 10/9/02 list totaling $635,071.44, and to make interfund transfers on the 10/9/02 list totaling $700.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT - TURNBACK FUNDS: Mr. Weaver announced that the Turnback Funds Certificate of Deposit has been rolled over with Commerce Bank for one year at 3% interest with no penalty for withdrawal. Because this had to be done before 10/8/02, the Finance Director took action with his and Mrs. Goren’s approval. According to the Finance Director’s 10/4/02 memo, the total value of the certificate, with earned interest, is $294,748.22.
2003 BUDGET: Mr. Weaver reported that work continues on the development of the 2003 budget.
ICMA RECOGNITION: Mr. Harp said he recently attended the International City Managers Association (ICMA) meeting in Philadelphia and was present when Township Manager Bob Pellegrino was recognized for 25 years of public service as a professional city manager. Mr. Harp presented a plaque in honor of this achievement to Mr. Pellegrino.
CONDITIONAL USE - APPLEBEE’S NEIGHBORHOOD BAR AND GRILL - 2 WEST ROAD - TMP# 29-3-24: Mr. Harp opened the public hearing and announced that the applicant has requested a continuance to 10/23/02.
Mrs. Goren moved to continue the hearing to 10/23/02. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to close the hearing. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Chairman Bernie Bires reported on the Board’s 10/2/02 meeting. They reviewed a sketch plan for a subdivision on Hidden Valley Way, and a preliminary plan for the McLaughlin Tract, and recommended a fee in lieu of open space in both cases. The Board also discussed plans for tree planting and concerns about parking at Roberts Ridge Park.
Mr. Bires reported that the Board would like to develop a master site plan for the development of Silver Lake Park in cooperation with other municipalities and corporations. He requested that the Board of Supervisors consider including this in the Park and Recreation budget for 2003.
Mr. Bires reported that there has been a 9% increase in revenue and a 15% increase in participation in Township recreation programs.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL: Mr. Weaver reported that the Council met on 10/3/02, and Mr. Harwood attended in his place. Mr. Weaver said that it was reported that the JDNC is sponsoring a visioning meeting to provide a forum for discussion on the Stockburger proposal. The JDNC is sponsoring a coloring contest focused on Newtown community events. Revisions of the membership handbook and the handbook for new businesses are also in process by the Council.
FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver reported on the Committee’s 10/8/02 meeting. He said that the Committee made five recommendations regarding reserve funds:
1. Maintain a minimum of 15% General Fund appropriations as a reserve fund from year to year.
2. Transfer any reserve funds in excess of 20% of General Fund appropriations to the Capital Improvement Fund to fund capital projects beginning with the 2003 budget.
3. Reserve funds between 15% and 20% could be appropriated to balance the annual budget.
4. Appropriations from the 15% reserve fund should be authorized only by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors and should be for emergency or for expenditures of a non-recurring nature.
5. The policy should be re-evaluated every two years.
Mr. Harp said the Financial Planning Committee’s discussion and recommendations are very helpful. He noted that the budget will be discussed on 11/12/02, and on 11/18/02 if necessary.
OLD BUSINESS: Mr. Harp announced the Board will address the two items listed under Old Business at this time.
RESOLUTION 02-R-22 - SWAMP ROAD IMPROVEMENTS: Mr. Harp read Resolution 02-R-22, and Mr. Pellegrino distributed copies of the resolution to the public. Mr. Harp asked for comments from the Board.
Mr. Jirele said that the Swamp Road Study’s Citizen Advisory Committee spent a lot of time on their recommendations for the improvements to Swamp Road, and their primary concern was safety. He said he supports the resolution, provided that the date is corrected and the penultimate paragraph is changed to read “Be it further resolved that Newtown Township strongly urges PennDOT to fund and complete all of the improvements…”.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve Resolution 02-R-22, with the changes described above. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Weaver said that his primary concern is also safety. Mr. Harp noted that the resolution incorporates the recommendations of Urban Engineers and the Citizen Advisory Committee. He said the Township is tentatively planning a joint meeting of the Newtown and Wrightstown Boards of Supervisors and state officials to discuss implementation of the Swamp Road Study report on 12/5/02. He said if the officials cannot attend, the meeting will not be held.
Mr. Harp asked if anyone from the public wanted to comment on the resolution.
Bob Murphy, a resident of Rosefield, stated he is strongly opposed to the resolution.
Joanne Richie, a resident of Eagleton Farms, asked the purpose of the resolution. Mr. Harp said the Board wants to get all needed improvements done immediately. Ms Richie said the resolution should say that instead of referring to 2002-2006. Mr. Jirele explained that the resolution refers to the four year PennDOT funding cycle.
Richard Tonge, a Township resident, said the Board should gather more information before approving this resolution. He said that Congressman Greenwood intends to advocate for the allocation of $9 million in funding for the culvert replacement, and this resolution may interfere with this allocation. He warned that the Board will be liable for the consequences of any delays caused by their actions.
Grace Godshalk, Vice Chairperson of the Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors, said there have been many discussions about this issue at their meetings. She said that four years ago the Newtown and Lower Makefield Boards met to discuss traffic issues, but the Newtown Board refused to meet again. Ms Godshalk said she feels the resolution will not hurt, and may help. She suggested another joint meeting, and urged everyone to advocate for safer roads.
Frank Mendicino, a resident of Tyler Walk, said those who support this resolution are also interested in safety. He said that the Lower Makefield Township Engineer studied the issue of truck traffic on area roads and reported that Lindenhurst and Stoopville Roads have the lightest traffic. He said he supports this resolution because he wants every road to be safe, and he thanked the Board of Supervisors for the resolution.
John Cowley, a resident of Silverwood Drive, asked why supporters of the resolution did not attend the Bucks County Planning Commission’s hearings. He said that with the addition of the other Swamp Road improvements the cost of the project went from $8.9 million to $23.5 million, making it much less likely that the culvert would be replaced. He stated that Swamp Road is the safest road in the area for truck traffic.
Mark Shablin, a resident of Swamp Road in Wrightstown Township, said that Swamp Road is dangerous. He read a 1971 Courier-Times article to demonstrate that the road has been considered dangerous for a long time. He said that fixing the culvert without fixing other problems does not make sense. Mr. Shablin showed the Supervisors some photographs of the culvert and said it is not in as bad shape as some have said.
Nancy Cresenzco, a Township resident, asked why the resolution is being considered before the public has a chance to discuss the Swamp Road report. She suggested that the Township hold the meeting whether or not the state officials can attend.
Mr. Harp asked for further Board discussion of the resolution. He asked if the Board wanted to change the wording to ask for action “at the earliest possible date”. Mr. Harris suggested adding this phrase at the end of the paragraph beginning “Newtown Township hereby requests that PennDOT replace the culvert…”. Mr. Jirele said he would also like to put it in the next paragraph, so that the first sentence of that paragraph reads “Be it further resolved that Newtown Township strongly urges PennDOT to fund and complete at the earliest possible date all of the improvements…”.
Mr. Jirele agreed to amend his motion to incorporate the two additional changes described above, and Mrs. Goren agreed to amend her second. The motion passed unanimously.
STOOPVILLE ROAD (MCLAUGHLIN TRACT) - PROPOSAL FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES: Mr. Pellegrino said that Toll Brothers has withdrawn their request to have Pennoni Associates design the improvements to Stoopville Road. He read an excerpt from a 9/6/02 letter from attorney Ed Murphy which described the following design parameters that were agreed on by PennDOT and Toll Brothers in a meeting with Mr. Pellegrino on 9/4/02:
1. A 40 foot ultimate right-of-way would be sufficient for the straightaway portion of Stoopville Road adjacent to the McLaughlin Tract;
2. each of the two travel lanes on Stoopville Road would be 11 feet in width with four foot shoulders on each side; and
3. a 50 foot wide ultimate right-of-way would be sufficient in the area of the intersection of Stoopville Road, Linton Hill Road and Creamery Road. At that same intersection, left-hand turn lanes which might be provided at each approach would be no wider than 10 feet.
Mr. Goodnoe arrived at the meeting at this time.
Mrs. Goren moved to direct Toll Brothers to comply with the three points described above. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if the other Supervisors realized that passing this motion will constitute granting a waiver on the required right-of-way to Toll Brothers. He asked if Pennoni had presented the information on rights-of-way that he requested at the last meeting. Mr. Pellegrino said the information was provided in written form to the Board tonight.
Chris Kennedy, a Township resident who lives near Stoopville Road, asked that the motion include a requirement that the lanes and shoulders be different colors, and that the curves have a design speed of no more than 40 MPH. She stated that she does not want to see a right-of-way greater than 40 feet. Ms Kennedy distributed an information sheet about rights-of-way to the Supervisors which stated that developers of several communities in the Township along Stoopville Road, Eagle Road, Upper Silver Lake Road and Lindenhurst Road were required to provide only a 33 foot right-of-way. Mr. Smith said the information was erroneous, and all of the developments listed had at least rights-of-way of at least 80 feet. He offered to go over the plans for these developments with Ms Kennedy. Ms Kennedy said that she and her neighbors are afraid that Stoopville Road will become a four lane highway.
Mr. Pellegrino said that a 40 foot right-of-way would not allow a path to be constructed. Mrs. Goren said that the Township could require a builder to construct the path on their land.
Walter Iwaskiw, a resident of Cliveden, asked if a Homeowners Association could refuse to build the path. Mr. Harris said that Township requirement would supersede a Homeowners Association ruling.
Mr. Iwaskiw said his street, which is a small neighborhood street, has a right-of-way of 50 feet. He wondered why Stoopville Road, which is a larger road, would be limited to a 40 foot right-of-way.
Nancy Cresenzco suggested that the question of the right-of-way should be referred to the Planning Commission. Mr. Harp said the Board is giving guidance to the developer, who will then design a plan and submit it for Planning Commission review and Board approval.
Mr. Goodnoe said that the motion is a waiver, not guidance. Mr. Jirele said the motion is not a waiver, but is telling Toll Brothers to design a 40 foot right-of-way for the plan they will submit.
Albert Selini, a resident of Penns Preserve, said he would like the Board of Supervisors to require all developments to limit their right-of-way to 40 feet.
Dave Rotell, a resident of Rosefield, said he is concerned that Stoopville Road will be widened. If this happens, he feels that property values will go down and the road will become more dangerous.
Mr. Jirele said that the issue of parity among developments is a valid point. He suggested that the Board focus on the width of the road, and let the Planning Commission make a recommendation on the right-of-way.
Mrs. Goren said she prefers the motion as originally stated. Mr. Goodnoe said he agrees with Mr. Jirele’s suggestion. He said that people are misinformed about rights-of-way, and parity would mean an 80 foot right-of-way for everyone.
Mr. Jirele said he would like to get the Planning Commission’s input on not observing the ordinance. Mrs. Goren said Stoopville Road is a state road, and both PennDOT and the residents want a 40 foot right-of-way.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed 3-2, with Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay”.
MEMBERS COMMENTS: None.
John D’Aprile, a resident of Newtown Grant, asked why there was no Making a Difference program for Homeowners Associations this year. Mr. Jirele said he is now the Board’s liaison to Homeowner Associations and has heard from some residents that they would prefer to have a program every other year. Mr. D’Aprile asked the Board not to cut programs for Homeowners Associations in order to spend more for parks.
Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, thanked the Township for their prompt action on the maintenance problems he described at the last meeting. Mr. Pellegrino said the area near the Newtown Shopping Center is the responsibility of PennDOT, and they did the mowing.
Mr. Iapalucci also said that he has heard there are 14,000 building permits outstanding in Buckingham Township, which will generate more traffic coming down through Newtown.
Walter Iwaskiw asked Mr. Weaver to read the Financial Planning Committee’s recommendations again. He asked how the Township will fund the expansion of the Municipal Complex. Mr. Weaver responded that alternatives are being discussed.
Karen D’Aprile, a Township resident, asked how the clergypersons who give the invocations are chosen. Mr. Harp said the Township’s Executive Secretary has a list and makes the arrangements. Ms D’Aprile asked if any rabbis are ever invited; Mr. Harp said that several rabbis have given the invocation.
Nancy Cresenzco asked if the Board intends to discuss Mr. Goodnoe’s resolution further. Mr. Harp said the Supervisors will have the opportunity to do so under Reports of Other Board Members.
Ms Cresenzco asked if the Park and Recreation Fund is empty. Mr. Harp responded that approximately $250,000 is in the Recreation Impact Fund. Ms Cresenzco said she is concerned that the Board approves bills for which they do not know the specifics, such as “general engineering services”.
Frank Mendicino said he wanted to clarify his earlier statements about traffic. The report he referred to stated that quarry truck traffic on Stoopville and Lindenhurst Roads is lighter than on other roads, but is still high. He also said he is glad the Township is using a new budget process, thanks to Mr. Pellegrino.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
CLARK PROPERTY: Mr. Harp said that the Clark property will be opened on 10/26/02.
REFERENDUM: Mr. Harp encouraged voters to support a referendum for a one mill tax increase to benefit the Fire Association.
ROBERTS RIDGE PARK: Mr. Harp said many residents have expressed appreciation for the new Roberts Ridge Park. He thanked all who were involved in developing the park.
TEDDY BEAR PROGRAM: Mr. Harp announced that there will be a “teddy bear party” at Goodnoe Elementary School on 10/10/02, and that residents can donate bears by bringing them to the Municipal Building. The bears are used by the Police Department when they deal with children involved in accidents or crimes.
ECUMENICAL SERVICE: Mr. Harp announced there will be an ecumenical service on 11/26/02 at St. Andrew’s Church at 7:30 PM.
ACME SITE VISIONING COMMITTEE: Mr. Harp announced that the Acme Site Visioning Committee will hold a meeting for public input on 10/10/02 at 8:00 PM in the lower level meeting room.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
BUDGET RESOLUTION: Mr. Goodnoe noted that the Board wanted to discuss his proposed resolution after the Financial Planning Committee made its recommendations. He asked if any members had comments.
Mr. Jirele said the discussion at the last meeting was fairly extensive. He said that Mr. Pellegrino will be separating capital and operating expenses and developing a balanced budget. Mr. Jirele said he feels he has expressed his views.
Mr. Weaver said he sees no need for Mr. Goodnoe’s resolution.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said the Township has received an extension from Applebee’s to 10/30/02, and there are no other expirations to be addressed.
REQUEST FROM DURHAM ROAD ASSOCIATES: Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 9/17/02 letter from John VanLuvanee, the attorney for Durham Road Associates, which requests a waiver of the filing fee for a Zoning Hearing Board application. The letter states that the application is necessary only because the Township requested a realignment of the internal road on the site. Mr. Harp said that the Board discussed this in a work session and favored granting the request.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant a waiver of the Zoning Hearing Board filing fee for Durham Road Associates. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if both the $2,500 filing fee and the $1,500 continuance fee will be waived. Mr. Pellegrino said that is what Mr. VanLuvanee requested.
Mr. Weaver amended his motion to include both fees. Mrs. Goren amended her second, and the motion passed unanimously.
PROPOSALS FOR 2002-04 AUDITS: Mr. Pellegrino’s 10/3/02 memo reports on proposals received to conduct the 2002-04 audits, including costs for the federally required single audit and any GASB 34 implementation services. Mr. Pellegrino recommended that the contract be awarded to the lowest bidder, Stanley N. Booz & Company. He said that the company is qualified and has good references.
Mr. Pellegrino also noted that Ms Gibbs was able to reduce auditing and accounting expenses for the next three year period by an estimated $17,500.
Mr. Weaver moved to approve a contract with Stanley N. Booz and Company to conduct the 2002-04 Township audit for a cost not to exceed $12,000 each year, to perform single audits as necessary for a cost not to exceed $1,500, and to assist with implementation of GASB 34 requirements for a cost not to exceed $3,000. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino explained that the three year total of this contract would be $40,500. Mrs. Goren asked if the Township has any experience with the Booz Company. Mr. Pellegrino said they had good references, and Mr. Harris said he knows of other townships that are satisfied with their services.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if this contract was advertised. Mr. Pellegrino said the request for bids was advertised, but he could not say if the awarding of the contract was advertised. Mr. Harris said the Board does not need to act tonight, and he recommended tabling the motion until this question is answered.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to table Mr. Weaver’s motion until it can be ascertained if this action was duly advertised. Mr. Goodnoe’s motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
JMZO AMENDMENT - USE E-16 - COMMERCIAL CONVERSION IN THE TC DISTRICT: Mr. Harris provided a copy of a proposed amendment to allow a Commercial Conversion in the TC District as a conditional use. He said it is being reviewed by the Planning Commission and the Sycamore Street Committee, and will come back to the Board of Supervisors.
KRAMER SUBDIVISION: Mr. Harris reported that Judge Biester upheld the Township’s position in approving this subdivision. He provided a copy of the Judge’s opinion.
ESCROW RELEASE: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the release of $312,103.69 in escrow funds for the Reserve (aka the Heston Tract) on Mr. Smith’s recommendation. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ENGINEER’S REPORT: Mr. Smith provided a detailed written report of every project Pennoni is working on for the Township. He highlighted several items:
· The Comcast HUB building behind the Newtown Shopping Center needs more planting, and Comcast is willing to do this.
· The traffic signal investigations at Durham Road and North Drive and Durham Road and Municipal Drive are moving along. The approximate bid date is 11/15/02.
· The traffic signal at Durham Road and Wrights Road is waiting for a pole to be delivered. Estimated completion date is 12/20/02.
· A revised permit plan for the left turn signal off Buck Road at Crowne Pointe will be submitted in a few days. Mr. Smith said it is warranted.
· A revised permit plan for the Durham Road and Newtown Shopping Center left turns has been submitted.
· Pennoni is still investigating the proposed overlay of the Durham Road and Newtown Shopping Center intersection.
OLD BUSINESS: See items addressed earlier following the Financial Planning Committee report.
NEWTOWN OFFICE COMMONS - FINAL PLAN AMENDMENT (GENERATOR PAD): A 9/30/02 letter from Colette Gerstenberg of Boucher and James, written on behalf of Brandywine Realty Trust (BRT), requested an amendment to the final plan for Newtown Office Commons to allow the use of a planted screen around the pad instead of a brick enclosure. The letter noted that this change was suggested by Carroll Engineering in their letter of 8/23/02. Joe McCawley of BRT and Kevin Kushansky of Boucher and James were present to discuss the request.
Mrs. Goren moved to approve the final plan amendment for Newtown Office Commons as requested in the 9/30/02 letter from Boucher and James. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED)
Frank Mendicino complained that cars stack up at the traffic light at Wrights Road, and asked that the Township consider a left turn arrow or light. He also said his understanding was that PennDOT said they will not overlay the intersection at the entrance to the Newtown Shopping Center. Mr. Jirele responded that he thought they were going to do it. Mr. Smith said that minutes from a 7/31/01 field meeting indicated that PennDOT wanted the intersection diamond ground or overlayed. Mr. Smith said apparently the contractor chose to make it diamond ground, and perhaps it has worn off. He will make the minutes available to the Township and will follow up on this. Mr. Jirele said everyone seems to want it overlayed.
Walter Iwaskiw said the lights at the same intersection are very confusing. Mr. Smith said that Pennoni is revising the signal timing, which should alleviate the situation. Mr. Iwaskiw added that the double lights are confusing also. Mr. Smith said he will look at this.
Nancy Cresenzco said the Township’s letter to the School Board should have addressed the completion of Council Rock High School South and renovations to CRHS North. She also said the Township should have contacted the Township’s School Board representative Rick Abramson, who is very responsive, or the School Board president. Mr. Harp said he met with the School Board president after sending the letter.
Ms Cresenzco said the Township has spent $16,000 on the Clark property without having a budget for it. Mr. Harp said $12,500 has been spent on this project, and the funds came from the Recreation Impact Fund.
Ms Cresenzco noted that tonight’s bills list included the rental of earth moving equipment for the Clark property, and asked how this will be funded. Mr. Harp said this also comes from the Recreation Impact Fund. He said the administration has done a great job monitoring these expenses, but there is no specific budget for the Clark property.
Frank Mendicino said the Board of Supervisors can make decisions on items not specifically in the budget, and there have been other examples. He said the Board does not have to know every detail, and all the information is available to anyone from the administration.
Ms Cresenzco asked that everyone be required to follow correct procedures.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Harp stated that the Board will meet in executive session for matters of personnel following the adjournment of the public meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:05 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary
Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______
Scott R. Harp, Chairman
Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman
Anne Goren, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer
Richard Weaver, Treasurer
Raymond Goodnoe, Member