Board of Supervisors Minutes
February 26, 2003
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting March 12 , 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 2/26/03: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 2/26/03 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, February 26, 2003, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Scott Harp, Vice Chairman/Assistant Treasurer Anne Goren, Treasurer/Secretary Richard Weaver, Member Thomas Jirele and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Planning Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley, Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Recreation Board Chairman Bernard Bires, Cable TV Committee Member Walter Iwaskiw, HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor Steven Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith and Township Manager Robert M. Pellegrino.
CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Harp called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.
INVOCATION: Given by Reverend Blake Blakesley of the Newtown Presbyterian Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that a proclamation honoring Captain Moorehead and a presentation by the First Night Committee be added to Special Actions; and that item 1A under the Solicitor’s report be tabled. Mr. Harp said that the Board will meet in executive session for matters of personnel following the public meeting.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 2/12/03: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 2/12/03 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
BILLS LIST: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $163,179.83, and to make interfund transfers totaling $384,489.76. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Mr. Weaver reported that the December financial report indicates that $408,974.49 was added to the reserves in 2002.
EAGLE SCOUT AWARDS: Mr. Harp presented plaques to Matt Mangiaracina of Troop 280 and Mark Schaub of Troop 10 in honor of their attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
CAPTAIN NORMAN MOOREHEAD - 35 YEARS OF SERVICE: Mr. Harp presented a plaque to Captain Norman Moorehead in recognition of his 35 years of service in the Township Police Department.
FIRST NIGHT PRESENTATION: Shannon Wilson and Karen Doorley of the First Night Committee presented a framed copy of the First Night 2003 poster to the Board. They thanked the Township for sponsoring the annual fireworks display at the First Night event.
CONDITIONAL USE HEARING - PRYDA LLC - 159 SYCAMORE STREET - TMP# 29-12-15: Mr. Harp stated that the applicant has asked for a further continuance of the hearing.
Mr. Weaver moved to open the conditional use hearing for Pryda LLC; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to continue the conditional use hearing for Pryda LLC to 3/12/03; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to close the conditional use hearing for Pryda LLC; the motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on their 2/18/03 meeting. The Commission reviewed a sketch plan for a minor subdivision on Washington Crossing Road in the CM District, and advised the applicant to consider sidewalks and two separate driveways instead of a shared driveway, primarily for safety concerns. The Commission also had an informal discussion of a proposal from the Newtown Athletic Club for a multipurpose athletic field complex on Blacksmith Road that would be covered by an air-supported structure six months a year. The Commission reviewed two Zoning Hearing Board applications and recommended that the Board not oppose them.
The Commission discussed a proposal to create a new zoning district, TC-3, for three parcels on Newtown-Yardley Road. The purpose of the change would be to allow an agriculturally-based retail center, which is prohibited by the current R-2 zoning. The Township Planner suggested the possibility of adding a use to the R-2 District rather than creating a new district, and the property owners will examine this option.
CABLE TV COMMITTEE: Committee member Walt Iwaskiw reported on the Committee’s recent meeting. The Committee heard an update on Comcast’s channels and rate increases, and discussed installation in the Ridings of Newtown. They also discussed the use of a volunteer video group, the Council Rock School District, an Emergency Broadcast service and the Committee’s membership and scope. The Committee is seeking two Borough residents to fill two vacant slots.
Mr. Iwaskiw said the Committee would like to meet with the Board of Supervisors at a work session to discuss several of these topics. Mr. Harp said this will be scheduled for March or April.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, and members Shawn Ward and Joe Merjeski, spoke about the discussion at the 2/12/03 Board of Supervisors meeting regarding removing the responsibility for oversight of the Sycamore Street project from the Committee. Mr. Ward said the Committee has not met since then; its next meeting will be 3/11/03.
Mr. Lombardi said there were questions about financial and project oversight raised on 2/12/03. He said the Committee’s earlier financial oversight of the project resulted in some savings in maintenance costs, and in the award of a substantial T-21 grant from the state. When additional work was needed, Mr. Lombardi brought the request to the Board, which authorized the additional expenditures. He suggested that the Township go back to the previous practice of authorizing expenditures at public meetings.
Mr. Merjeski reviewed the accomplishments of the Sycamore Street Committee, and noted that the Committee has saved money, overseen a complicated project with little disturbance to residents and business owners, and conducted all their meetings in public. He said the members have the background and the skills to oversee the construction phase as well, and he asked the Supervisors to allow the Committee to finish its work.
Mr. Harp said he agrees that the Committee has done a great job. He asked Mr. Lombardi to put his recommendations regarding financial oversight into a memo.
Mr. Jirele said he does not hold the Committee responsible for cost overruns, but he sees a need to integrate the Township Manager into the oversight function. He would like to see the Manager have financial oversight of the project rather than a committee.
Mr. Lombardi noted that the Township will have to choose an Inspecting Engineer for the project soon, and this will be the key person during the construction phase. He would be comfortable with the Manager doing the bookkeeping for the project. He recommended that the Board choose Pennoni Associates. Mr. Lombardi also said that the recently completed phase involving installation of utilities was actually more intense than the upcoming construction phase, and the Committee monitored that process more closely than the Manager could have. He said the Committee would not oversee the engineering work, but would maintain the good relationships they have with the residents, business people and contractors.
Mr. Jirele suggested the Committee come to a work session and discuss what everyone’s role should be with the Sycamore Street project.
Mr. Goodnoe said he feels the Committee has done a great job, and it is important the Committee continue to be the liaison with the community. He said he is comfortable with Pennoni being the Inspecting Engineers; he feels that the Committee, the Manager, and Pennoni together can bring the project to a successful conclusion.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs reported that HARB recommends that the Board of Supervisors approve Certificates of Appropriateness for two projects.
LOMBARDI - 123 N. SYCAMORE STREET: Mr. Weaver moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for repairs to the roof of Vincent Lombardi’s property at 123 N. Sycamore Street. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe asked why the applicant had to go through the Certificate of Appropriateness process for repairs to a roof that was previously approved. Mr. Lombardi said he will be installing a complete new roof, although the shingles will be the same type and color as the old one. Mr. Harp said he agreed that the process should be expedited in this kind of situation.
THOMAS - 221 N. SYCAMORE STREET: Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign at Sandi Thomas’ property at 221 N. Sycamore Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver said that the Committee will be drafting a capitalization policy for the Board’s review.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Lisa Kruse reported on the 2/20/03 meeting of the JDNC Board. The Promotion Committee is finishing a video on the Newtown area; the Design Committee is preparing a booklet about design resources in Newtown; the Economic Structuring Committee is working on an inventory of commercial properties; the Organization Committee is developing a community calendar on the Internet. The JDNC is also sponsoring a coloring contest about “My Favorite Newtown Event”.
Ms. Kruse also said that the application for the Main Street Manager grant is in progress. The process includes a meeting on 4/9/03 with state officials, who will be interviewing community stakeholders, including the Supervisors. Ms. Kruse said the JDNC has raised about $70,000 for the renovation of the Chancellor Street School.
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Board Chairman Bernard Bires reported on the Board’s 2/5/03 meeting. The Board reviewed the plan for Lot 21 of the Newtown Industrial Commons and the Kosacci subdivision, and recommended accepting a fee in lieu in both cases. The Board heard a presentation from the Girls’ Softball Association regarding the acquisition and use of equipment. They also heard presentations from the Little League and the Rotary Club.
Mr. Bires asked Patrick Cawley, President of the Girls’ Softball Association, and Joe Garvey to explain their requests in detail. Mr. Cawley said the Association is asking for two job boxes in which to store maintenance equipment, a batting cage to improve instruction, permission to make an agreement with the Coca Cola company that will result in a free scoreboard, and permission to put advertising signs up on the fence. The only request for Township funds is the one for the job boxes.
Mr. Harris said the Township’s regulations require that advertising signs be taken down after each game, and the batting cage would be considered a structure and would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Harp asked Mr. Pellegrino to work with Mr. Wert on a proposal for the Board to consider, and to schedule the issue for a meeting in March. He also asked that a copy of the ordinance regulating signs be provided to the Supervisors. Mr. Jirele asked that the proposal be specific about the appearance, size and location of the scoreboard.
MEMBERS COMMENTS: None.
Del Purscell, a resident of Sycamore Street, said the large amount of reserve funds in the Township’s budget is a temptation to overspend.
Walt Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said he supports the Girls’ Softball Association’s requests. He asked if the Board has made any changes in financial management policies to prevent more oversights like the one that occurred with the Sycamore Street project, and suggested the Board ask the auditors for advice.
Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said Mr. McGeary is not qualified to serve as auditor. She also asked that the Township website be linked to that of the JDNC. Mr. Pellegrino said he understood they are linked. Ms. Crescenzo asked why the Economic Development Committee is not on the agenda tonight; Mr. Harp responded that resumes are still coming in, and appointments will probably be made on 3/12/03, with the first meeting tentatively scheduled for 3/21/03. Ms. Crescenzo asked when the Acme Site Visioning Committee will report; Mr. Harp said he expects the Committee to report on 3/12/03.
Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, said the Public Works Department did a great job cleaning up after the Presidents’ Day storm.
Mark Joseph, a Township resident, said he sent in a resume for the Economic Development Committee and has received no response. He asked what is the appointment process, and what are the qualifications for appointment to this committee. Mr. Harp said that resumes are kept on file in the Township office, and when vacancies occur the Board reviews them. He asked Mr. Weaver to discuss the qualifications for the members.
Mr. Weaver said he is looking for a mix of legal, business and real estate backgrounds. He said nominees include members of the JDNC, the Planning Commission and other related groups. He said he will respond to every resume submitted.
Mr. Jirele said the whole Board should have discussed what qualifications are desirable. He asked that the Board discuss this now.
Mrs. Goren asked Mr. Jirele to put his concerns in writing and she will comment. She noted that this part of the agenda is for Community Comment. Mr. Jirele said he will bring the issue up later under Reports from Other Board Members.
Lisa Kruse, webmaster for the JDNC, said she does not think the Township’s site has a link to the JDNC site. She asked if the JDNC’s minutes can be posted on the Township’s site. Mr. Harp said this would be investigated.
Ms. Kruse also said diversity is a good goal for appointing members of the Economic Development Committee.
Warren Kaiser, a Township resident, commented that five minutes should be sufficient time for people to make community comments and commented that the Supervisors do not seem to be working well together.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
SNOW CLEARANCE: Mr. Harp thanked the Public Works Department for their hard work in clearing the roads last week.
SWAMP ROAD MEETING: Mr. Harp said that the meeting to discuss the Swamp Road study was held on 2/13/03. Many public officials attended, as well as about 170 members of the public. Participants heard that improvements are planned for the intersection of Route 232 and Swamp Road, and the deteriorating culvert is scheduled to be replaced in April 2004.
REASSIGNMENT - WINSLOW MASON: Mr. Harp noted that this is the last meeting Mr. Mason will attend as a reporter for the Courier Times.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
CODES COMMITTEE: Mrs. Goren reported on the 2/13/03 Codes Committee meeting, at which the Committee decided to refund a penalty assessed when a resident received incorrect advice on ordinance requirements regarding pavers for a patio.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE: Mr. Jirele asked what process the Board should use to establish a new committee, and to determine the qualifications for appointees.
Mr. Harp said the Board passed a resolution which outlined the goals and established the Economic Development Committee, and Mr. Weaver described the qualifications earlier.
Mrs. Goren suggested the Board discuss this at a work session, and asked Mr. Jirele to put his thoughts on paper.
Mr. Goodnoe said the process the Board used to appoint the JDNC was a good one. He said he has no objections to the establishment of the Acme Site Visioning Committee or the Economic Development Committee, but he feels the purposes and qualifications for a new committee should be discussed before the committee is established.
Mr. Harp said the discussion will be on a future agenda.
Mr. Jirele asked that the qualifications for members of the Economic Development Committee be discussed tonight, before he reviews the resumes that have been submitted.
Mr. Jirele moved to continue the discussion of the qualifications for the Economic Development Committee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of motion: Nancy Crescenzo expressed her disapproval of the way decisions are being made by the Board.
Mr. Jirele’s motion failed 2-3, with Mrs. Goren, Mr. Harp and Mr. Weaver voting “nay”.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expirations requiring Board action.
STREET SWEEPER BID AND LOADER PURCHASE: Supervisors received copies of Mr. Pellegrino’s 2/21/03 memo regarding the acquisition of a street sweeper and a loader, and the process required by the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Mr. Pellegrino said he is recommending that the bid for purchase of a street sweeper be awarded to GranTurk Equipment Company for a net price of $158,500 that includes a trade-in allowance for the Township’s old machine. The monthly payments would be $2,972.25 for 60 months and come from the Highway Aid Fund. The annual cost will be very close to the amount budgeted. Mr. Harris said a resolution is required for the Township to incur this debt; a draft resolution is part of his Solicitor’s Report.
Mrs. Goren moved to award the bid for the street sweeper purchase to GranTurk Equipment Company for $158,500, as recommended in Mr. Pellegrino’s 2/21/03 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AN INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT OPTION PLAN (IROP) IN THE POLICE PENSION PLAN (2002-O-15): Mr. Harris asked the Board to table the advertisement of this ordinance so that it can be considered at the same time as the Police contract.
Mrs. Goren moved to table 2002-O-15 regarding an IROP in the Police Pension Plan to 3/12/03; the motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
REPEAL STREET LIGHT ASSESSMENT (2003-O-5): Mr. Harris said the Township no longer collects a street light assessment. An ordinance repealing the assessment was advertised for adoption tonight.
Mrs. Goren moved to adopt 2003-O-5 repealing the street light assessment. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
PICKERING CHASE DEDICATION: Mr. Harris said all of the required documents have been submitted, the punch list has been completed, and as-built plans have been submitted.
Mrs. Goren moved to accept dedication of Pickering Drive and to return the financial security now held by the Township. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if the Homeowners Association has any remaining concerns. Mr. Harris said a representative of the Association participated in the final inspection and was satisfied.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Harris asked Mr. Pellegrino to alert Mr. Harwood to the action taken tonight regarding Pickering Drive.
ZONING HEARING BOARD - 3/6/03: Mr. Harris reviewed the two requests scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Hearing Board. The Supervisors indicated no desire to take a position on either request.
AUTHORIZATION TO INCUR LEASE-PURCHASE DEBT FOR PURCHASE OF A STREET SWEEPER (2003-R-8): Mr. Harris said a resolution is required authorizing the Township to incur the debt discussed earlier in the Manager’s Report. The next step will be to advertise adoption of an ordinance incurring the debt at the 3/12/03 meeting.
Mr. Weaver moved to adopt 2003-R-8 to authorize the Township to incur a debt of $158,500.00 for the lease-purchase of a street sweeper from GranTurk Equipment Company. The debt will bear interest at the rate of 4.74% per annum over a period of 60 months. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said the Township has weighed the benefits of renting vs. purchasing this equipment, and found that the lease-purchase arrangement is more cost-effective.
Nancy Crescenzo asked if the lack of this equipment caused the Township to violate their contract for road services with Newtown Borough. Mr. Pellegrino said there was some contracted work that was not done, and a credit arrangement is being worked out with the Borough.
Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO INCUR LEASE-PURCHASE DEBT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A LOADER (2003-R-7): Mr. Harris said the same process as the one he described regarding the street sweeper must be followed to lease-purchase the loader. He noted that Mr. Pellegrino recommends the five-year payment period.
Mrs. Goren moved to adopt 2003-R-7 to authorize the Township to incur a debt of $105,843.00 for the lease-purchase of a loader from the Plasterer Equipment Company. The debt will bear interest at the rate of 3.9% per annum over a period of 60 months. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Weaver asked why this debt carried a lower interest rate. Mr. Pellegrino said that this is a different leasing company, and it is also a state contract.
Nancy Crescenzo asked why the Township is incurring debt when there is so much in the reserves. Mr. Pellegrino said there are cash flow issues involved. Funding of these purchases comes from the Highway Aid Fund, not the General Fund.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
TRAFFIC SIGNAL BID - NORTH DRIVE AND DURHAM ROAD: Mrs. Goren moved to award the contract for the installation of the a traffic light at North Drive and Durham Road, in accordance with the recommendation of Mr. Smith in his letter of 2/20/03, to Techna-Pro Electric for a sum not to exceed $65,314.70. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if Mr. Smith knows this company. Mr. Smith responded that their references reported satisfaction with their work. Mr. Goodnoe said the conduit may already be installed at this site. Mr. Smith said he will investigate this.
HIGHWAY OCCUPANCY PERMIT - STOOPVILLE ROAD - (MCLAUGHLIN TRACT): Mr. Smith provided copies of a 2/21/03 letter from Philip Wursta, Township Traffic Engineer, explaining the reasons why Toll Brothers indicated the Township should be the applicant for the Highway Occupancy Permit. Mr. Wursta’s letter said that the project will be viewed more favorably and expeditiously by PennDOT if it is presented as a regional improvement, and the project will result in cost savings for the Township. Mr. Smith added that all fees will be paid by Toll Brothers.
Mrs. Goren moved that the Township apply for the Highway Occupancy Permit for the Stoopville Road Realignment project, with the understanding that the Township will not pay any fees associated with the application. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
INTERSECTION AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS - LOWER DOLINGTON ROAD AND FROST LANE: Mr. Smith provided copies of a 2/11/03 memo from Dave Tomko of Pennoni Associates regarding traffic and pedestrian safety in the vicinity of Roberts Ridge Park. According to the memo, it has been reported that some residents are parking along the western side of Lower Dolington Road, reducing the sight distance at the intersection with Frost Lane. Also, some residents do not feel safe walking to the park along the southbound approach of Lower Dolington Road and crossing at Frost Lane.
Mr. Tomko’s memo proposes three options to the Township:
1. Restrict parking on both sides of Lower Dolington Road from Frost Lane to Stanford Drive.
2. Install stop signs on Lower Dolington Road at Frost Lane.
3. Install stop signs and pedestrian crosswalks on Lower Dolington Road at Frost Lane.
Mr. Tomko’s memo recommended implementing Option 1 and conducting engineering studies to determine if Option 2 or 3 is warranted.
Mrs. Goren moved to implement Option 1 and to conduct engineering studies to determine whether option 2 or 3 is warranted. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Harris said that to implement Option 1 the Board will need to draft, advertise and adopt an ordinance.
Mr. Jirele asked if there are accident statistics available for the intersection of Lower Dolington Road and Frost Lane; Mr. Smith said this will be part of the proposed study. Mr. Jirele said it would be good if the engineering studies could also make some recommendations about increasing parking in the area.
Mr. Goodnoe said he is uncomfortable with the piecemeal planning for Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Jirele suggested having the Park and Recreation Board review the overall plan and parking needs for Roberts Ridge Park, and Mrs. Goren suggested involving the Planning Commission as well.
Mrs. Goren and Mr. Weaver amended their motion to include referring the question of whether to implement Option 2 or Option 3 to the Park and Recreation Board and the Planning Commission in addition to the engineering studies.
Mr. Goodnoe said he would like the Township Planner’s comments on this question, since she created the original master plan for the park before her appointment as Township Planner. Mr. Harp noted she will comment as part of the Planning Commission review.
Nancy Crescenzo suggested that the signs for the park’s parking lot should be larger and more easily understood, that the Township should ask homeowners in the area how they feel about parking restrictions, and that there should be more parking for the handicapped.
Warren Kaiser said children are being dropped off from cars on Lower Dolington Road, a practice which he views as dangerous. He said more parking is needed in the area.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay”.
FARMHOUSE PRESERVATION PROPOSAL - NEWTOWN RENTAL CENTER: Shannon Wilson of the Newtown Rental Center was present to discuss his 11/11/02 memo, which proposes the transfer of an historic farmhouse on his property with certain conditions. Mr. Wilson explained that he would like to donate the house to Brad McGowan, who is willing to renovate the house into a residence after it is moved to land also being donated by Mr. Wilson. In return, Mr. Wilson is asking that the Township waive the fees for subdivision and for a permit to move the house. Mr. Wilson is also asking that the Township waive filing fees for the Zoning Hearing Board and the Planning Commission, park and recreation fees, and a traffic impact study and fees for his next improvement. He is also asking for some zoning changes.
Mrs. Goren said she would like to separate the farmhouse issue from Mr. Wilson’s expansion plan. She stated that Mr. Wilson’s original improvement agreement for the farmhouse property requires that the farmhouse be preserved. She said she is not inclined to waive the land development process for the expansion.
Mr. Wilson said the Board of Supervisors suggested that he combine the two projects in November 2002. He also said that he is asking only for a waiver of the fees, not the land development process.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if there is a minimum size property below which a traffic study is not required. Mr. Pellegrino said he will research this question.
After discussing each point on Mr. Wilson’s proposal, the Board agreed on the following responses.
New owner’s responsibilities:
· #1 through #8 are acceptable.
· A #9 should be added to require a facade easement on the farmhouse.
· #1, #2 (except for the cost of inspection) and the first half of #3 are acceptable.
· The Board will agree to not oppose #4, which is a Zoning Hearing Board issue.
The Wilsons’ responsibilities:
· #1 and #2 are acceptable.
The Existing Property
· The Board will not oppose #1 and #2. Mr. Wilson agrees to limit the E-1 Use to 5,000 square feet.
· #3 and #4 are acceptable.
New Property When Obtained
· #1 is acceptable, provided the sign conforms to the ordinance.
· #2, #3, #4 are acceptable, provided the utility easements are preserved.
· Regarding #5, Mr. Harris recommended getting an estimate for this work from Pennoni Associates. It is unclear who will pay for this.
Mr. Harris said he will draft an agreement for the Board’s consideration. By that time the cost of #5 will be known and the Board can decide if this item is acceptable.
REVISED FINAL PLAN - 413 OFFICE CENTER - DURHAM ROAD - TMP# 29-3-34: Paul Allen, attorney Tom Hecker and engineer Maryellen Saylor were present to discuss their plan to construct two office buildings on an 11.3 acre parcel in the PS-2 District. Mr. Hecker reviewed the history of the plan and displayed versions A, B and C. The applicant received conditional use approval and preliminary plan approval in 2001 for Plan A, which included a connector road along the front of the property. The final plan was submitted in December 2001, but early in 2002 the Township asked the applicant to work with the adjacent property owner to minimize the number of accesses onto Route 413. The applicant developed Plan B, but the Planning Commission did not give a favorable recommendation on this version because the buildings were too close to the road, an additional 12,000 square feet of office space was proposed, and some reduced standards for parking were needed. Plan C was developed recently as a compromise between Plan A and Plan B.
Mr. Hecker said that on Plan C, the buildings have been pushed back to a 60-foot setback instead of a 20-foot setback (Plan B), which is still less than the required 100-foot setback. The additional office space was eliminated. Plan C would require relief on the setbacks and parking; the applicant already obtained relief on stormwater management requirements.
Bill McMenamin, a resident of Newtown Grant, said he has no problems with either Plan A or Plan C, but he is concerned about setting a precedent regarding the front yard setbacks.
Mr. Harris commented that variances are not precedent-setting like court decisions, but they are sometimes used as part of an argument. He noted that this parcel presents a problem because of wetlands.
Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said he would like to see more discussion of parking concerns, as all three parcels in the PS-2 District are being developed for office uses. He fears that visitors or employees of these offices will be parking on streets in Newtown Grant.
Nancy Crescenzo said she prefers Plan C.
Phil Calabro, a Township resident, said he prefers Plan C but shares Mr. McMenamin’s concern about precedents. His primary concern about the Durham Road Associates project is buffering between the site and Newtown Grant.
Mrs. Goren asked about the parking and the square footage of the buildings on Plan C. Mr. Hecker said the square footage is the same as on Plan A; the number of parking spaces meets the ordinance, but the spaces are shorter than the ordinance requires, and two-thirds of them are narrower than the ordinance requires. Ms. Saylor said relief is needed because the buildings are being squeezed between the wetlands and the setback requirements.
Mrs. Goren asked about the uses planned for the offices. Mr. Hecker said the applicant agreed to limit the medical office use to 8,000 square feet, all of which will be in the larger building. Mr. Harris asked if the wider parking spaces can be put near the medical uses; Ms. Saylor said she will work on this. She also said the plan will comply with the Fire Marshal’s recommendations. Mr. Jirele asked that the spaces closest to the building be reserved for non-employees.
Ms. Saylor said the Planning Commission questioned the location of the stub road to the south, but it is located as shown on the plan so that there will be minimum disturbance of the neighboring parcel’s wetlands if and when a connector road is built.
Mr. Hecker said the applicant will re-engineer Plan C and submit it to the Planning Commission. He added that he will be seeking some credit to make up for the extra expenses associated with working with the Township on traffic issues.
FINAL PLAN FOR MINOR SUBDIVISION - LAKEVIEW ESTATES - WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD - TMP# 29-23-209: Jeffrey Marshall and attorney Edward Murphy were present to discuss the proposal to transfer three small parcels of open space between Lot 59 and Open Space areas B and C in Lakeview Estates.
Mr. Murphy explained that the purpose of the transfer is to keep Mr. Marshall’s property, Lot 59, above the 10-acre minimum. All the changes will happen within existing conservation easements. The applicant will comply with all points in the review letters. Mr. Marshall affirmed these statements.
Mr. Harris said a letter from Gannett-Flemming was just provided to him by Mr. Smith. Mr. Murphy said the applicant will comply with the comments in the letter.
Mrs. Goren moved to approve the Final Plan for a Minor Subdivision of Lakeview Estates, subject to the following conditions:
· Compliance with the 1/21/03 Pennoni Associates review letter, the 2/5/03 Judy Goldstein review letter and the Gannett-Fleming letter of 2/13/03.
· The plan will be revised to show no building setback lines in deed restricted open space.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Murphy said all conditions are acceptable to the applicant.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
ROOFTOP SCREENING - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER: Mr. Pellegrino explained that the ordinance requires that rooftop HVAC equipment be screened, but the Newtown Shopping Center’s architect has stated that it cannot be screened. A 2/4/03 letter from Mr. Harwood which included correspondence regarding this issue, was provided to Supervisors. The Shopping Center is proposing to paint the equipment “Philly Gray”. A paint chip of this color is on file at the Township office.
Mr. Harp suggested that Supervisors view the site and make a decision at a future meeting.
Walter Iwaskiw said the equipment is quite visible, and he encouraged the Supervisors to see it for themselves.
Mr. Smith questioned the architect’s claim that the equipment could not be screened as required and will investigate the matter.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED)
Del Purscell suggested that the reserves be maintained at approximately 10% of the annual budget. Mr. Harp asked Mr. Weaver to discuss the amount of the reserves with the Financial Planning Committee.
Mike Shiller, a Township resident, asked the Board to insist on a 100-foot setback for the 413 Office Center.
Nancy Crescenzo commented on an article in the Courier Times; suggested consideration of reforesting of open space; asked about the “Making a Difference” seminar; suggested some reserve funds should be returned to the taxpayers; and requested that the video of the Swamp Road meeting be broadcast on the cable station.
Mr. Jirele said that the “Making a Difference” seminar is scheduled for 3/22/03 at the ICT Building, and registrations are coming in.
Walter Iwaskiw asked that the Township website be linked with the JDNC’s website, and that the Board discuss the outcome of their retreat at a public meeting.
Frank Mendicino said he agrees with Mr. Iwaskiw. He praised Mr. Lombardi’s work on the Sycamore Street project, and said leadership issues on the Board of Supervisors are putting the Township at financial risk. He said that neither the Board nor the public is following Robert’s Rules.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Harp said the Board will meet in executive session for matters of personnel following the adjournment of the public meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections, Mr. Harp adjourned the meeting at 1:00 AM, 2/27/03.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary
Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______
Scott R. Harp, Chairman
Anne Goren, Vice Chairman/Assistant Treasurer
Richard Weaver, Treasurer/Secretary
Thomas Jirele, Member
Raymond Goodnoe, Member