Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

November 6, 2002

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting November 20, 2002. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 11/6/02:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the 11/6/02 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, November 6, 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 Chairperson Karen Doorley, HARB Co-Chairperson Elinor Campbell, Park and Recreation Board Member Russ Strover, 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 Reverend Jones of the Newtown Church at 206 Buck Road. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Pellegrino announced that there will be no Cable TV report under #8; the signing of the Lesser mylars is removed from the Engineer’s report; and the preliminary plan for the Newtown Corporate Center is removed from New Business.  Mr. Harp added that there will be no executive session tonight. 



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. 

MINUTES OF WORK SESSION OF 10/21/02:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the work session of 10/21/02; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

BILLS:  Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $133,804.35.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 



PRESENTATION OF CHECK - NEWTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB:  No one was present for this item. 

RECOGNITION - BOY SCOUT VOLUNTEERS AT CLARK NATURE CENTER:  Mr. Harp and Russ Strover, a member of the Park and Recreation Board, presented plaques to Boy Scouts Chris Gilbranson and Dan Foley in recognition of their volunteer efforts at the Clark Nature Center.  

CONDITIONAL USE HEARING - WIDE BAND SYSTEMS - 107 PENNS TRAIL - TMP# 29-10-95:  Howard Gilson and Fred Ilsemann of Wide Band, and Douglas Terry of the Newtown Industrial Commons, were present to discuss their request for D-1 Office Use, G-1 Manufacturing Use and G-3 Warehouse Use for approximately 10,000 square feet of space in an existing building in the LI District.

Mr. Harp opened the hearing, and all three representatives were sworn in.  Mr. Ilsemann explained that his company integrates defense systems with computer components.  This involves some assembly and software development.  Hours of operation and numbers of employees are as described in the 10/17/02 Planning Commission letter.  Mr. Terry said there are 25 parking spaces available for this unit, and only 10 employees on site. 

Mr. Harp noted that compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter means identifying any hazardous materials or noxious environmental effects. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked who the previous tenant of this unit was; Mr. Terry said it was Advance Computers. 

Mr. Jirele asked about anticipated visitors.  Mr. Ilsemann responded that he anticipates approximately two visits a month by three or four people at a time. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the conditional use request of Wide Band Systems for D-1 Office Use, G-1 Manufacturing Use and G-3 Warehouse Use, with the following conditions: 

·       Compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 10/2/02.

·       Hours of operation will be 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday, with occasional evening hours.

·       There will be an average of 10 and a maximum of 20 employees on site.

·       Twenty five parking spaces are provided.

·       The plan will be revised to show the uses, as required by the Planning Commission. 

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. 


HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB):  Elinor Campbell, Co-Chairperson of HARB, reviewed five applications for Certificates of Appropriateness recommended by HARB. 

LESSER - 117 S. SYCAMORE STREET:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

DEON - 211-213 N. SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a wall sign; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

QUAKER GROUP - MARKET AT NEWTOWN - 31 CAMBRIDGE LANE:  Mrs. Campbell said HARB’s recommendation covers only the colors and design of the four proposed signs; the Codes Department needs to look at the number of signs.  Mr. Jirele suggested waiting until there is a decision from the Codes Department.  Mr. Harp agreed to table this item. 

GRANITE - 7 S. SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for improvements to the roof and exterior; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

PRYDA - 159 N. SYCAMORE STREET:  Mrs. Campbell noted that the applicant proposes an open outdoor stairway.  She said that HARB questioned this, but the applicant stated that Licenses and Inspections approved it. 

Mrs. Goren asked if HARB is satisfied with the materials to be used, and Mrs. Campbell said they are.  The windows will be all wood, no aluminum, and the colors are authentically Victorian. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked why it appeared that shutters will be on only one side of the building.  Mrs. Campbell said the applicant assured HARB that there will be shutters on all sides.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior improvements and additions; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Karen Doorley, Chairperson of the Commission, reported on their 11/5/02 meeting.  The Law School Admissions Council requested conditional use approval for stripping up to 4500 cubic yards of soil. The Commission recommended approval and asked the applicant to try to keep the soil in the Township.  The Commission also recommended approval of a conditional use application from Subway, in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center.  A sketch plan for a subdivision on Hidden Valley Lane in Newtown Crossing was discussed. 

Joseph Szarko presented a plan for a subdivision at 93 Richboro Road.  He was advised to obtain several variances and come back to the Commission.  A minor subdivision on Mr. Lombardi’s property on Sycamore Street was reviewed, and the Commission recommended approval. 

Preliminary plans for the McLaughlin Tract and for the Hoffa Tract, both Toll Brothers developments, were reviewed.  The Commission recommended approval of the plan for the McLaughlin Tract, subject to several conditions.  Toll Brothers is proposing to allocate 5% of each lot’s impervious surface to the homeowner.  No vote was taken on the Hoffa Tract because the applicant will return with specific proposals about allocation of impervious surface and the routing of the trail along Eagle Road. 

Mr. Harp said he agreed with the idea of putting the trail on the east side of Eagle Road.  Mrs. Doorley said the sight distances are better for crossing at the Hoffa Tract access road, which lines up with the entrance to Cliveden.  Mr. Goodnoe said Toll Brothers should talk to Cliveden before doing this.  Mr. Pellegrino said he will contact Cliveden. 

Mrs. Doorley said the Commission discussed the draft ordinance on E-16 Use in the TC District; Mr. Sander will redraft and recirculate the ordinance.  The Commission also discussed the Riparian Corridor ordinance, and agreed that they opposed a generalized, Jointure-wide ordinance on this subject.  Instead, they prefer to see each municipality set standards for each waterway. 

Mr. Goodnoe commented that this could be done if each municipality amended their Subdivision and Land Development ordinance instead of trying to work through the JMZO.  Mr. Weaver said he will discuss this at the Jointure meeting on 11/7/02. 



Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said she saw many freshly cut stumps at the Clark Nature Center.  Mr. Weaver assured her that they were not freshly cut, and they were placed along the trails to guide people.  Ms Crescenzo said she is concerned about security on the Clark property.  She also said she would like to see Lyman and Mary Clark honored as individuals in the name of the Nature Center. 

Richard Tonge, a Township resident, asked about a recent newspaper story that indicated that the Township will be patrolling Wrightstown Township.  Mr. Harp said the Township has made a proposal and will bring it to a public meeting when a response is received. 

Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said he attended the Planning Commission meeting on 11/5/02.  He said he would like to see the trail cross Eagle Road at the Hoffa Tract access road and run south along the road, not wandering through the houses as it does presently.  He also asked what happened to the Fire Association tax referendum. 

Mr. Harp said the referendum won by a 2-1 margin.  Mr. Harris said the Board of Supervisors is authorized to raise the tax by up to one mill when they approve the budget for 2003.  The authorization does not expire.  Mr. Iwaskiw asked if the Township can use its budget surplus rather than raise taxes.  Mr. Pellegrino said the dedicated tax is the best way to assure adequate funding for the Fire Association, year after year. 

Mr. Jirele noted that the Township already augments the funds produced by the fire tax millage.  Mr. Goodnoe suggested the Township could implement the increased fire tax but lower the general fund millage. 

Ms Crescenzo asked about a bill for advertising for a police officer.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township is building an eligibility list.  Advertisements were placed in several newspapers. 

Warren Keiser, a Township resident, thanked the Supervisors for spending a lot of time and effort on traffic issues.  He encouraged the Board to make safety their first priority in reviewing development plans. 

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, asked if the Boy Scouts will be permitted to camp in the Clark Nature Center.  Mr. Harp said that questions about insurance coverage need to be investigated first. 



FIRE TAX:  Mr. Harp said the referendum on the fire tax passed.  It will ensure long term funding for the Fire Company. 

ECUMENICAL THANKSGIVING SERVICE:  Mr. Harp reminded residents of the ecumenical service scheduled for 7:30 PM on 11/26/02 at St. Andrew’s Church. 

BUDGET HEARING:  Mr. Harp announced there will be a budget hearing on 11/12/02 at 6:00 PM. 

VACANCIES:  Mr. Harp asked residents interested in serving on boards and commissions to send their resumes to the Manager. 

ACME SITE VISIONING COMMITTEE:  Mr. Harp announced that the Committee will be having a workshop at 7:30 AM on 11/14/02, and a meeting for public input on 11/21/02. 

BUCKS COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Harp said he attended the Commission’s meeting earlier today, and participated in a discussion of the Swamp Road TIP projects.  Mr. Harp reminded residents that there will be a public meeting on 12/5/02 (at the Anchor Church in Wrightstown Twp. at 7PM) to discuss the Swamp Road Study and the recommended improvements. 


JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION:  Mr. Goodnoe said the JDNC will discuss the Stockburger proposal at their next meeting, which has been postponed.  He will let the Board know when the meeting is rescheduled. 


PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Pellegrino said there are no expirations to be addressed.  He announced that the AstaTech conditional use application has been withdrawn. 

POLICE PENSION PLAN:  Mr. Pellegrino said the Solicitor will report on this item. 

LETTER TO REPRESENTATIVE STIEL:  Mr. Goodnoe said that Mr. Pellegrino was asked to draft a letter to Representative Steil regarding the proposed intergovernmental agreement, for discussion at tonight’s meeting.  Mr. Pellegrino said he will follow up on this as soon as possible, and will contact Mr. Steil to let him know the letter is in process. 


OPEN RECORDS POLICY RESOLUTION:  Mr. Harris provided a copy of a resolution reflecting the requirements of the State’s Open Records Law.  Mr. Harris said there is no need to advertise the resolution. 

Mrs. Goren moved to adopt the Open Records Policy Resolution as attached to Mr. Harris’ letter of 9/26/02.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe said the resolution should be advertised so that the public has time to read it and comment on it before it is adopted.  Mr. Harris said it basically states what the law requires.  The only real change from present practice is to mandate a response from the Township within five days. 

Warren Keiser asked Mr. Harris to explain what the resolution is all about.  Mr. Harris said the law describes how citizens can request access to public records, and how the Township must respond, including how to determine what records are appropriate, and the appeal process if a request is denied. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked who determines what is available to the public; Mr. Harris responded that the Township Manager ultimately decides. 

Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, asked if the resolution imposes more restrictions on public records.  Mr. Harris said it just sets forth procedures, and will not change anything except for specifying the five day response time. 

Nancy Crescenzo asked if the request has to be by certified mail; Mr. Harris responded that it does not. 

Elinor Campbell said the Township’s records are not easy to research, and she asked if they can be put on microfiche.  Mr. Harp said the Township has been looking at ways to deal with the storage and retrieval of records.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township has long term plans for a document imaging system. 

Mrs. Goren noted that the resolution does not include requests by e-mail.  Mr. Pellegrino said such a request is easily misdirected or overlooked; he prefers not to include requests by e-mail. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously. 

POLICE PENSION ORDINANCE:  Mr. Harris provided copies of the proposed amendment to the Police Pension Plan.  He asked for authorization to submit the amendment to the PBA for their review before adoption, since it is a subject of mandatory bargaining.

Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the Solicitor to submit the proposed amendment of the Police Pension Plan to the PBA prior to adoption.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mrs. Goren noted that Mockenhaupt recommended getting outside insurance to cover the killing of an officer on duty.

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously. 

COLONIAL COMMONS, DEVONSHIRE MEADOWS AND NOB HILL HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS:  Mr. Harris said he has been working with representatives of these three groups to complete their separation into three associations.  He provided a copy of the resolution that was signed by the officers of the three associations at a meeting earlier tonight, and asked that the Board of Supervisors approve this amendment to the Colonial Commons Homeowners Association Bylaws. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the amendment creating three separate Homeowners Associations.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 


UPDATE ON ENGINEERING PROJECTS:  Mr. Smith provided an update on all engineering projects being overseen by Pennoni Associates for the Township.  He highlighted several projects as follows: 

·       Wiltshire Walk:  Construction is proceeding well, and the basins are complete.

·       Penns Preserve:  The final paving is complete.

·       St. Andrews Briar:  Punch list work has begun.  The weather has interfered with construction recently.

·       Lakeview Estates:  Final inspection for dedication is scheduled for the end of November.  Mr. Jirele commented that the developer seems to have planted trees within two feet of the Trail.  Mr. Smith said he will follow up on this concern.

·       Heston Development:  Installation of underground utilities is complete.  In response to questions, Mr. Smith said a detention basin is being constructed, and he will look into whether there will be low flow channels.

·       Wrights Road and Durham Road Traffic Signal:  Pennoni is evaluating traffic data to see if a left turn signal is warranted.

·       Hemlock Drive and Stoopville Road Pedestrian Crossing: This project is running a little behind schedule.

·       Richboro Road Trail Pedestrian Crossing Signal - Mill Pond Road and West Hanover Street:  Also running a little behind schedule.

·       Washington Crossing and Linton Hill Road Traffic Signal:  The contract is signed and materials have been ordered. 


Nancy Crescenzo asked several questions about how the Township advertises for police officers.  She also asked if the naming of the Clark Nature Center had been clarified.  Mr. Pellegrino said there was nothing in the agreement of sale regarding the name of the Center. 

Ms Crescenzo asked how decisions are made about sending Supervisors to conferences.  Mr. Harp said the entire Board decides how to spend the line item in the budget for continuing education for the Board. 

Ms Crescenzo asked why Township employees don’t mow the grass on the Woll Tract.  Mr. Harp said it is a very large parcel, which is why an outside contractor mows it. 

Ms Crescenzo asked what is happening regarding the Council Rock School Board reapportionment issue.  Mr. Harris said the parties met recently and agreed on a stipulation of facts.  He expects the judge’s decision in about 60 to 90 days.


ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Goren moved to adjourn at 10:10 PM.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 


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