Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

October 23, 2002

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting November 6, 2002. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 10/23/02:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 10/23/02 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 23, 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, 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 Howard Cell, a member of Yardley Friends Meeting. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Harp announced that there will be a report from HARB under item #8, and there will be no executive session tonight. 


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. 

Mrs. Goren asked if the Joint Downtown Newtown Committee visioning meeting mentioned in the Business Development Council report is open to the public.  Mr. Goodnoe said it is; it will be held at 7:30 PM on 11/12/02 at Chandler Hall. 

BILLS AND INTERFUND TRANSFERS:  Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $139,613.84, and to make interfund transfers totaling $324,831.28.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 


CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT:  Mr. Weaver moved to roll over three CDs with Commerce Bank at 3%.  They consist of $563,312.41 in the General Fund, $213,630.71 in the Street Light Capital Fund and $594,318.69 in the Highway Aid Fund.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

CURRENT YEAR BUDGET:  Mr. Weaver announced that, as of 9/30/02, the Township’s revenues are ahead of expenses by $160,689.64. 

Mr.  Goodnoe said this is just luck, since the budget anticipated spending almost $700,000 of the reserves. 

BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR 2003:  Mr. Pellegrino said the Supervisors will receive copies of the 2003 budget proposal in their packets on 11/8/02.  The budget will be discussed at the 11/12/02 budget meeting, and at the 11/18/02 work session if necessary.  Both meetings will be televised.  

Mr. Goodnoe said that is not much time to discuss a budget of approximately $7 million, since the Board will be asked to vote on it on 11/20/02.  Mr. Harp said that the Board will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget at their regular meeting on 11/20/02 before voting on it. 



APPLEBEE’S RESTAURANT:  Mr. Harp opened the hearing.  Henry Lieberman and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss their request for E-6 Take Out Restaurant Use, supplemental to the approved E-5 Restaurant Use.  Mr. Lieberman was sworn in.  

Mr. Marshall said that four parking spaces are designated for “to go” service, in which restaurant staff deliver take out orders to customers parked in these spaces.   Mr. Marshall said the signs on the parking spaces do not face the Bypass, there is no drive through service, and no alcohol will be sold “to go”.  He stated that the application complies with every relevant requirement of the ordinance.  Mr. Lieberman confirmed Mr. Marshall’s statements. 

Mrs. Goren asked if there will be directional signs as well, and Mr. Marshall said there will not be. 

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, asked if the applicant will agree to not challenge the ordinance by seeking relief from the Zoning Hearing Board after the use is approved.  Mr. Lieberman said he will agree to this.  He explained that Applebee’s did originally install two sided signs and an awning with lettering which were visible from the Bypass, but removed them when they realized they were in violation of the ordinance. 

Mrs. Goren moved to approve limited E-6 Take Out Restaurant Use for Applebee’s, in which customers’ orders are brought to their car, four parking spaces are designated with signs for this use, the signs do not face the Bypass, no additional signs will be erected, and the use is supplemental to the existing E-5 Restaurant Use.  All conditions of the E-5 Use approval still apply.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

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

CONDITIONAL USE - ASTATECH, INC. - 47 FRIENDS LANE - TMP #29-10-92:  Paul Guo, president of Astatech, and Jerry Blienbury, Realtor, were present to discuss their request for G-2 Research Use and D-1 Office Use in approximately 4,000 square feet of an existing building in the LI District.  Mr. Harp opened the hearing.  Mr. Blienbury said the applicant wishes to continue the same uses that were in this space previously.  Mr. Guo said Astatech provides drug research and development services for major pharmaceutical companies.  

Mrs. Goren asked about the EPA action earlier in the month referred to in the 10/17/02 Planning Commission letter.  Mr. Guo said that the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections Department inspected their rented quarters and had concerns about an inoperative sprinkler system.  Mr. Blienbury said this was primarily a landlord/tenant problem. 

Mrs. Goren asked if Mr. Guo has met with the Fire Marshal.  Mr. Guo said he has submitted all the required information to the Fire Marshal, but has not met with him yet.  Mrs. Goren suggested the hearing be tabled until the Fire Marshal and the Township Engineer can review the materials and make a recommendation.  

Mr. Harp said he is also concerned about the safety of this use.  Mr. Jirele said Mr. Guo should specifically discuss how odors and fumes will be handled with the Fire Marshal. 

Mr. Harris said to Mr. Guo that the Township is looking for reports from the Fire Marshal and from the Engineer.  Mr. Guo said Astatech will comply with all applicable regulations.  He added that he uses a qualified waste disposal company. 

Mrs. Goren moved to table the conditional use hearing to 11/6/02; the motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mrs. Goren said she would like the requested reports to be submitted to the Board before the 11/6/02 meeting. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.  

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


PLANNING COMMISSION:  Allen Fidler, Vice Chairman of the Commission, reported on their 10/15/02 meeting.  Traffic Engineer, Phil Wursta, reviewed all Township traffic-related projects.  The Commission recommended that the Township consider putting signs up at pedestrian crosswalks informing motorists that they must yield to pedestrians. 

The Commission reviewed the conditional use application from Astatech, heard tonight; they recommended approval but expressed similar concerns about safety and noxious odors.  They also reviewed a conditional use application from Wide Band Systems and recommended approval.  The Commission reviewed the final plan for the Law School Admissions Council and recommended approval with several conditions and waivers.  

Mr. Goodnoe asked what the recommended waiver on parking lot paving materials would allow.  Mr. Smith explained that LSAC was proposing an improvement over the ordinance requirement, and that Pennoni agreed with the waiver request. 

Mr. Fidler said that the Commission discussed several proposed ordinances and recommended approval of those on Forestry, Lighting and permitting E-16 Uses in the TC District, with minor changes suggested by the Township Planner.  The discussion on the Riparian Buffer ordinance was tabled to the next meeting.  Mr. Harris explained that the proposed ordinance as drafted exempts the Newtown Creek in the TC District from a required 100-foot buffer.  Mr. Fidler said several Commission members felt that there should be some protection for the Creek, but that each municipality should be able to set their own requirements. 

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD - TREE PLANTING PROGRAM:  Board member Russ Strover displayed a plan for tree planting at Roberts Ridge Park.  He said that the Township received a grant last year for tree planting, and some further contributions, making it possible to plant about 30 trees.  He said that the drought has delayed some planting, and has taken a toll on trees previously planted at the park.  The grower will replace the trees lost.  The Park and Recreation Board hopes to plant the trees in late November, with volunteer help. 

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB):  Vice Chairperson Elinor Campbell reported that HARB is recommending approval of five applications for Certificates of Appropriateness.  She said the materials were submitted to the Township office, but Mr. Pellegrino said he has not seen them and they were not included in the Supervisors’ packets.  Mr. Harp asked Mrs. Campbell to return to the 11/6/02 meeting.  She said she will, although she could be delayed because of an earlier meeting.  She asked the Supervisors to remember that Codes determine the number and sizes of signs, and that HARB has jurisdiction only over colors and design. 


ACME SITE VISIONING COMMITTEE:  Mr. Jirele said that the second public input meeting for the Acme Site Visioning Committee will be held on 10/28/02 at 8:00 PM. 

QUAKER HERITAGE:  Mr. Goodnoe noted that there are five Friends’ meetinghouses in the 18940 zip code, more than in any other zip code in the U.S.  He said that Newtown has a unique Quaker heritage. 


Frank Mendicino wondered why the issue of a deficit budget is being raised this year, when the Township was able to add to its reserves for seven out of the last nine years.  He also spoke about safety concerns about Swamp Road, and criticized other residents who have said he is raising these concerns too late. 

Richard Tonge, a Township resident, asked who directed Pennoni Associates to look into PennDOT inspection reports on the culvert.  Mr. Jirele said the Board of Supervisors did, because it is of great interest to our residents.  Mr. Tonge said this will only delay and jeopardize funding for replacement of the culvert. 

George Van Der Horn, a Township resident, said the Swamp Road Citizens Advisory Committee was not a politicized group, and they recommended that many unsafe conditions on Swamp Road be fixed along with the culvert.  He asked if there has been any response on the Board’s resolution on this subject.  Mr. Harp said there has been none so far, but the resolution was signed very recently. 

Sue Hermann, a Lower Makefield resident and president of Residents for Regional Traffic Solutions, said Swamp Road was built for commercial traffic, and the only restriction is the culvert that needs replacement. 

Frank Mentrikoski, a resident of Newtown Gate, said the residents of his development are pursuing their appeal of the Board of Supervisors’ approval of the LSAC project.  He said his group is not anti-business, but the proposed LSAC building affects the neighbors in unique ways. 

Alan Harvison, a resident of Newtown Gate, said the LSAC building is too big and too close to the neighbors’ homes.  He said the Board of Supervisors made concessions on ordinance provisions in exchange for money, and have not scrutinized the plan carefully. 

Mr. Harp noted that the final plan for the LSAC project is on the agenda, and the Board will take further comments on this subject at that time. 

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said that the Planning Commission asked the Park and Recreation Department to bring a final plan back for the Clark property, but this never happened.  She also asked if the Clarks wanted the property to be called “the Lyman and Mary Clark Nature Center”.  Mr. Goodnoe said he recalled that the executors preferred that name.  Mr. Harris said he does not remember anything about this issue in the agreement.  

Shirley Milnor, a close friend of the Clarks, said she does not remember them expressing a preference for the use of their full names.

Mr. Jirele suggested that a sign be placed near the house with some biographical information about the Clarks.  Mr. Goodnoe suggested that Mr. Pellegrino check the agreement of sale, rather than having Mr. Harris research this question. 



WORK SESSION:  Mr. Harp reported on the Board work session of 10/21/02, at which they discussed an open records policy resolution, a revised intergovernmental agreement, a report from Mr. Lombardi about the Acme Site Visioning Committee, and an ordinance for the police pension plan.  The Board also met in executive session for matters of litigation and personnel. 

CLARK NATURE CENTER:  Mr. Harp announced that the formal dedication of the Center will be on 10/26/02 at 10:00 AM.  He thanked all the scout troops that have worked on the Center.  He also thanked Shirley and Taylor Milnor, who were good friends of the Clarks. 

ELECTION DAY:  Mr. Harp noted that 11/5/02 is Election Day.  He encouraged voters to support the referendum for a one-mill tax increase to benefit the Fire Association. 

SWAMP ROAD MEETING:  Mr. Harp announced that there will be a public meeting on 12/5/02 at 7:00 PM in the Anchor Presbyterian Church at Routes 413 and 232 to discuss the results of the Swamp Road study.  State leaders, the Wrightstown Board of Supervisors, and the Newtown Board of Supervisors will be present, and the public is encouraged to attend. 

HALLOWEEN PARADE:  Mr. Harp reminded residents of the Halloween parade which will begin at 11:00 AM on 10/26/02. 

VACANCIES:  Mr. Harp encouraged residents to volunteer for vacancies on Township boards, committees and commissions. 

ECUMENICAL SERVICE:  Mr. Harp said he announced an upcoming ecumenical service previously without mentioning that it is a Thanksgiving service.  The event will take place on 11/26/02 at 7:00 PM at St. Andrews Church, and will involve leaders of many denominations in the community. 


CODES COMMITTEE:  Mrs. Goren reported on the 10/10/02 Codes Committee meeting, at which they discussed a request regarding the stability of a stairway footing, and another regarding interior work being done by Pryda Inc. at 159 North Sycamore Street. The next meeting will be 11/14/02. 


PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Pellegrino said there were no expirations to be addressed, but hearings are scheduled for the Newtown Corporate Center and Tudor Square at the 11/6/02 meeting. 

Mrs. Goren said that exterior renovations for Pryda Inc. were scheduled for review at tonight’s meeting, and the application will expire in a few days.   

Mr. Jirele moved to deny approval of the exterior renovations proposed by Pryda, Inc., unless an extension is received.  Mrs. Goren seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. 

SALT BIDS:  Mr. Pellegrino provided a 9/30/02 memo from Mr. Harwood which described the results of the Consortium’s bidding process for road salt.  Mr. Harwood’s memo recommends that the bid of Oceanport Industries be accepted. 

Mrs. Goren moved to accept the bid of Oceanport Industries, Inc., for road salt at $33.04 per ton delivered, in accordance with Mr. Harwood’s 9/30/02 letter.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele noted that Mr. Harwood’s memo estimates that the Township will need 800 tons of salt for this winter, and he asked if the Township is committed to buying this amount of salt.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township buys only what it needs to replenish its stockpile. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously. 


ZONING HEARING BOARD:  Mr. Harris reviewed the seven applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board for 11/7/02.  The Board of Supervisors took the following action: 

NEWTOWN CENTER ASSOCIATES - #575-02:  The applicant is requesting a variance to allow 72% impervious surface ratio where 50% is permitted and 68% is existing.  

Mr. Jirele asked if a variance was granted to allow the existing 68% impervious.  Mr. Harris said the plan for the Shopping Center was approved with 68% impervious. 

Mr. Jirele moved to send the Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board meeting to oppose the request from Newtown Center Associates.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

COLONIAL COMMONS - DEVONSHIRE MEADOWS AND NOB HILL HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS:  Mr. Harris said his office has been working with these groups to complete the creation of three separate associations.  Mr. Harris said he hopes to have a draft agreement ready for the Board’s review at the next meeting. 

POLICE PENSION PLAN:  Mr. Harris said he will provide a copy of a proposed amendment to the Township’s Police Pension Plan at the next meeting.  The amendment was prepared by Mockenhaupt Associates, the Township’s pension consultant, and incorporates changes made necessary by Act 30 of 2002. 

Mrs. Goren said she would like to get a copy of the Mockenhaupt report. 

LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS COUNCIL:  Mr. Harris reported that Commonwealth Court denied the Law School Admissions Council’s Motion to quash the neighbors’ appeal.  The appeal will therefore continue. 

NEWTOWN CORPORATE CENTER UPDATE:  Mr. Harris provided copies of Brandywine Realty’s Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion to Quash Land Use Appeal and Petition to Require Posting of a Bond as a Condition of Proceeding with Appeal.  Mr. Harris said he expects a decision within a month. 

Mr. Harris also provided copies of a 9/27/02 draft letter of approval for the Newtown Corporate Center which outlines the issues brought up during the Board’s last review of the plan.  The revised preliminary plan is expected to be submitted in November 2002. 


NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - SIGNING OF MYLARS:  Mr. Smith said the mylars for the shopping center are ready for the Supervisors’ signature.  

Mr. Weaver moved to sign the mylars for the Newtown Shopping Center.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Smith explained that the developer is asking for a revision to a pad site.  He said this matter has nothing to do with road improvements. 

Mrs. Goren said she will be abstaining on this vote, since she did not participate in the original approval. 

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

NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - ROADWAY IMPROVEMENTS:  Mr. Smith provided copies of a 8/1/01 memo from Louis Belmonte, PennDOT District Traffic Engineer, which expresses concern about the “rideability” of the roadways and pavement joints at the intersection of Durham Road and the Bypass.  The memo recommends that the intersection be either diamond ground or completely overlayed.  Mr. Smith said this is the only reference to overlaying that he has found in PennDOT correspondence on this project.  He said that the reference in point #1 to overlaying refers to Route 413 going north, and point #2 has been resolved.  He said that PennDOT has now signed off on the project, but Pennoni will discuss it with them again and keep the Board informed. 

Frank Mendicino commented that the Township needs to be clear about what they want in future contacts with PennDOT. 

PRD VARIANCE - GOURLEY - COUNTRY BEND - 120 EVERETT DRIVE:  Mrs. Goren moved to sign the mylars for this PRD Variance upon the recommendation of Mr. Smith in his 10/18/02 letter.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.  

PAYMENT REQUEST #1 FOR HENKELS AND MCCOY FOR SIGNAL AT WRIGHTS AND DURHAM ROADS:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve payment of $13,348.96 to Henkels and McCoy for work done on the traffic signal at Wrights and Durham Roads, as recommended by Mr. Smith in his 10/18/02 letter.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 


FINAL PLAN - LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS COUNCIL (LSAC):   Steve Shriber of LSAC, attorney Don Marshall and engineer Maryellen Saylor were present to discuss the final plan for an 85,000 square foot office building on a 7.09 acre site in the LI District.  Mr. Marshall reviewed the changes that have been made in the plan since the Board last discussed it: 

·       The parking lot has been redesigned in accordance with the Zoning Hearing Board decision.

·       The applicant agrees that the Traffic Impact fees can be used for any purpose, with no limitations as to time or location, and acknowledges that traffic-calming measures in Newtown Gate are specifically included in the possible uses.

·       The berm adjacent to the neighbors’ property line will be five feet high.

·       There will be six-foot high plantings on the Osborn side of the property.

·       The plantings are guaranteed for 18 months.

·       Stormwater measures have been added along the berm.

·       The applicant agrees that the parking lot lights will be off by 8:00 PM, and the light fixtures will be no higher than 12 feet.

·       The applicant agrees to restrict construction traffic from neighborhood streets. 

Mr. Marshall said there are several issues on the review letters that remain to be discussed tonight.  The 9/23/02 Heritage Conservancy letter states that the driveways to and from the underground parking are five feet narrower than required.  Mr. Marshall said that the requirement applies to two-way drives, and these are one-way drives.  The letter also questions the number of street trees, but this was already approved in the preliminary plan. 

Ms Saylor explained that the waiver of the requirements for the parking lot materials is requested because the applicant proposes to improve on the ordinance requirements.  Mr. Harris said that in this case, the ordinance specifies a particular cross section of materials instead of setting a minimum standard, which is why a waiver is needed. 

Mr. Smith asked if the neighbors’ back yards will be flooded if the drains next to the berm are blocked.  Ms Saylor responded that the water would go into a swale that will drain into the basin by gravity. 

Mrs. Goren asked about the requested waiver of the traffic study.  Mr. Marshall said that this is covered by the Stipulation Agreement.  He said that the Township Engineer felt the traffic study that LSAC did was satisfactory, but the Board of Supervisors wanted it to include Newtown Gate.  Mr. Smith said there was some discussion about LSAC donating the cost difference between the study they did and a study extending for a mile around the site, and he did not feel a second study would make much difference.   Mr. Marshall said LSAC will do whatever the Board wants regarding a traffic study or a donation. 

Mr. Jirele said he would prefer to take a donation in lieu of a traffic study, to be used for traffic calming in the Newtown Gate area. 

Frank Mentrikoski asked if it is possible to designate LSAC’s donation for this specific purpose.  Mr. Harris said this can be done as part of granting the waiver. 

Mr. Mentrikoski asked the applicant to describe the southern boundary of the property.  Ms Saylor said, because of the Zoning Hearing Board decision, that the parking lot was moved another ten feet further away from the property line.  A five-foot berm and plantings will screen the neighbors’ view of the building.  She said the distance from the property line to the parking lot is now 40 feet. 

Frank Mendicino suggested that office traffic be restricted from traveling on local roads, in a manner similar to how commercial traffic was kept off Upper Silver Lake Road. 

JoAnne Osborn, a resident of Penn Street, asked if there can be a berm on the west side of the site.  Mr. Marshall said that it can be built.  Ms Osborn expressed concern that it seemed the Board was taking money instead of enforcing the ordinance. 

In answer to several questions from Mr. Jirele, Ms Saylor said the sidewalk will connect with the Newtown Gate sidewalk and the signage will comply with the ordinance.  Mr. Shriber said he was willing to make it a condition of approval that LSAC will not seek variances on signage. 

Mrs. Goren asked what the neighbors felt about the traffic study issue.  Mr. Mentrikoski said he could not speak for the Homeowners Association, but using a donation for traffic calming in Newtown Gate sounded good to him.  Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe expressed their agreement with this proposal.  Mr. Smith commented that traffic calming requires the participation of the residents. 

Alan Harvison, a resident of Newtown Gate, expressed a concern that the Board is selling the protection of the residents for this donation. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the final plan for the Law School Admissions Council with the following conditions:  

·       Compliance with the 10/9/02 Pennoni letter, the 9/23/02 Heritage Conservancy letter, the 10/9/02 Bucks County Planning Commission letter and the 10/11/02 Conservation District letter, except for waivers granted.

·       The applicant will obtain all required approvals, permits and financial security agreements

·       The applicant will pay the Traffic Impact and Park and Recreation fees in accordance with the ordinance.  The applicant waives the requirement that the Traffic Impact fees be spent in their TSA, and the time limitations for both fees, with the understanding that the traffic impact fees may be spent for traffic calming measures in Newtown Gate.

·       The applicant will comply with the conditional use approval of 1/23/02 and the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 5/2/02.

·       The applicant will obtain the necessary water and sewer agreements.

·       The applicant will pay a fee of $20,000 in lieu of an expanded traffic study.

·       The applicant will comply with the sign ordinance and agrees not to seek variances from the sign ordinance.

·       41 parking spaces can be in reserve at the east end of the property, but the applicant will build them if the Township requires this.

·       There will be no construction access through Newtown Gate or on the portion of Penn Street in the Borough.

·       All fees will be paid in full.

·       Waivers are granted on the scale of the plan, showing existing features, to allow underground parking, to allow the edges of the slopes to be 5 feet from the property line, to allow the slope of the berm on the south side to be 1.5 to 1, to allow parking spaces in reserve, and to allow an increased cross section for the parking area.

·       There will be a berm on the Osborn side of the property and arborvitae planted.  The dimensions of the berm will be agreed upon by LSAC and the Township Engineer. 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. 

Discussion of motion:  Ms Osborn asked what will happen if LSAC decides to sell the portion of the property on her side.  Mr. Harris said the improvements mentioned in the motion are part of the approval and cannot be changed unless the Board of Supervisors allows it. 

Mrs. Goren said she still feels this building is too big, and she will vote against approval.  Mr. Harp said he will also vote against approval because of concerns about traffic, stormwater runoff and the underground parking. 

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed 3-2, with Mrs. Goren and Mr. Harp voting “nay”. 


Frank Mendicino read excerpts from several documents that he said indicated that Bucks County Planning Commission decisions about replacing the Swamp Road culvert were not made properly.  He asked that the Township hire an out of state engineer to evaluate the culvert’s condition. 

Mr. Harp said he would like to get a copy of PennDOT’s studies of the culvert first.  Mr. Mendicino said he was told that PennDOT does not have to share their reports with anyone, but Mr. Harris said there is no reason that the Township is not entitled to a copy. 

Mrs. Goren said it is possible that an independent engineer will say the culvert is fine.  If PennDOT agrees, the road could be opened to trucks with no improvements made.  Mr. Mendicino said that even a 15-ton restriction will help. 

Mr. Pellegrino said he has already asked for the PennDOT reports, and he was told that the Township Engineer could review them at the PennDOT offices.  Mr. Smith said he has done so and is preparing a summary for review by Mr. Wursta and PennDOT. 

Mr. Jirele said he feels he should have access to the report as a taxpayer, and questioned why PennDOT needs to review a summary Mr. Smith is preparing for the Board.  Mr. Harris said he will look into this. 

George Van Der Horn said the Swamp Road Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) supported putting the culvert and the other improvements together on the TIP, and he asked if the Township can seek an injunction so that the two projects can be put back together. 

Mr. Harp responded that this is probably not possible.  He added that the resolution approved by the Board at the last meeting was just signed two days ago, so there has not been time for any response.  Mr. Harp said the 12/5/02 meeting will be an opportunity for citizens to let state leaders know how they feel.  He said that the CAC recommended a meeting like the one scheduled for 12/5/02. 

Mr. Van Der Horn suggested that a closed door meeting, with just the state officials and the two boards of supervisors, would be more productive.  Mr. Jirele said perhaps such a meeting could take place before the 12/5/02 meeting.  Mr. Harp said he will work with Mr. Jirele to set this up. 

Richard Tonge said decisions about the Swamp Road improvements were made in open meetings.  He said he and his group did not advocate specifically for separating the culvert replacement from the other improvements; they just spoke in favor of fixing the culvert as soon as possible. 

Sue Herman said that Mr. Mendicino stated that trucks are now being diverted onto at least six miles of local streets because of the defective culvert, but the correct figure is 9.7 miles.  She also said that Wrightstown has not made the improvements they said they would make to Swamp Road, and has recently approved another quarry on Swamp Road without a traffic study. 

Nancy Crescenzo thanked Mr. Jirele for answering the questions she asked at the last meeting.  She asked some additional questions about the bills list and the budget, and Mr. Harp asked her to meet with administrative staff to get the detailed answers she is seeking.  Ms Crescenzo said she is entitled to ask questions.  She also complained that others have been permitted to make personal attacks during Community Comments.  She expressed disappointment that some trails at the Clark Nature Center will not be ADA compliant, and said she has concerns about the safety of the site.  She also questioned the amount the Township is spending on telephones.  Mr. Harp said all the expenses she was questioning are legitimate. 

Mr. Mendicino said that Wrightstown Township sent a letter to PennDOT in 1993 saying that Swamp Road needs many improvements. 


ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, Mr. Harp adjourned the meeting at 11:55 PM. 


Respectfully Submitted:


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