Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

March 12, 2003

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting March 26 , 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 3/12/03:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 3/12/03 regular meeting with one correction: under the Engineer’s report, in the 4th paragraph under the first item, Mr. Smith’s statement should read “…the dip does not seem to be a problem for traffic going 25 MPH, but Pennoni will check…”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, March 12, 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 and Member Raymond Goodnoe.  Also present were:  Acme Visioning Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Bucks County Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Robert White, 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 Pastor Gerry Newswanger of the First Baptist Church of Wycombe.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.


ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Pellegrino said that the Sycamore Street Committee will not report tonight, and there is no need for an executive session.




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.


BILLS LIST:  Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $491,862.80, and to make interfund transfers totaling $3,628.17.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  No items for this section.




NO PLACE FOR HATE - PROCLAMATION:  Mr. Harp read a statement indicating that the Board of Supervisors is committed to fulfilling the criteria to be declared a “No Place for Hate” community as part of a program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and several other organizations.


RED CROSS MONTH - PROCLAMATION:  Mr. Harp read a statement proclaiming March 2003 as Red Cross Month and recognizing the humanitarian efforts of the American Red Cross.


CONDITIONAL USE HEARING - PRYDA, L.L.C.:  Mr. Harp opened the hearing and stated that the applicant has requested a continuance to 3/26/03.


Mr. Weaver moved to continue the hearing on the conditional use application of Pryda, L.L.C., to 3/26/03.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


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




ACME VISIONING COMMITTEE:  Robert White, Executive Director of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, explained the history and role of the Redevelopment Authority.  He said the Authority is often asked by municipalities to become involved with planning for blighted properties.


Vince Lombardi, Chairman of the Acme Visioning Committee, reported on the Committee’s work and findings, illustrated by photographs and sketch plans of the present site and several potential developers’ proposals.  Board members were previously given the Committee’s written report.


Mr. Lombardi introduced the members of the Committee who were present, and described the process followed by the Committee.  Notices were sent to nearby property owners, and posted throughout the community, inviting comments and proposals for the use of the Acme site.  Mr. Lombardi reviewed the list of presenters who spoke at the three public meetings held in October and November 2002, and briefly described their proposals.  Several presenters spoke about a community center on the site, and therefore the Committee met with Allen Fidler, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee which studied the feasibility of developing a community center in the Township.  The Acme Visioning Committee was not in agreement about a recommendation on the community center idea, so the Ad Hoc Committee’s June 2001 report was included as an attachment to their report.


Mr. Lombardi said the Acme Visioning Committee’s conclusions were:


·         The existing building should be demolished.

·         The site should be cleaned up and attention paid to the steep slopes on the rear and side yards of the property.  The steep slopes might be addressed with the walls of a proposed building.

·         The south side of the site should be addressed in such a way that the future development complements the neighboring Presbyterian Church.

·         The future development of the site should be with a mixed use.

·         The commercial, office and residential uses should be accomplished in a blend of architectural styles typical of the late 18th and 19th centuries.

·         The developer should include a signature-type attraction of a commercial, recreational or architectural nature which will bring to the site a unique identity.

·         The Board of Supervisors should encourage the future development of a multilevel structure or structures which may require a minor adjustment of the 30-foot height requirement.

·         The building or buildings should be on the forward edge of the property with parking in the rear to create a streetscape.

·         An effort should be made to construct the site in a pedestrian-friendly manner in keeping with the Sycamore Street corridor improvements.


Mr. Lombardi said it is clear that there are a lot of possibilities for the Acme site.  He recommended that the next step is for the Board of Supervisors to develop a Request for Proposals for development of the site.


Mr. Weaver said that all the materials submitted by the potential developers have been compiled into a book which is available to the public in the Administration office.


Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, spoke in favor of using the Acme site for a community center.


Ron Kezar, a Township resident, suggested the first question to settle is whether the site should be used for public or private purposes.  He said it seems that the Township is leaning towards private use.


Shawn Ward, a Township resident, said he spoke at one of the public meetings of the Acme Visioning Committee.  He praised the Committee for its efforts and vision.


Del Purscell, a resident of Sycamore Street, said he felt the study was done thoughtfully and in harmony with the Sycamore Street project.  He said he would like to see a community center in the Township, but not on the Acme site.


Mr. Harp thanked Mr. Lombardi and the Committee for their work, and said the Board will give careful consideration to the information presented tonight and to the Committee’s written report.


Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Lombardi about the substance of the Committee members’ mixed opinions about the community center concept.  Mr. Lombardi responded that the Committee was divided on whether the Township needs a community center, and whether it should be large or small.  He said the general feeling was that the Acme site, which is under two acres, is too small for a community center.




BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL:  Mr. Weaver said the Council met 3/6/03.  The new brochure developed by the Council was mailed out this week.  Fire Marshal Don Harris discussed emergency lock boxes with the Council, and the idea was well received.  Council members also discussed the Township’s conditional use process.




Nancy Crescenzo complained about time limits on the first session of public comment.  Mr. Harp responded that the Township pays additional money to televise meetings that go beyond 11:30 PM.  He said that five minutes is long enough for someone to state a comment.  He noted that a resident commented at the 2/26/03 meeting that the Gettysburg address took no more than five minutes.


Ms Crescenzo suggested that meetings begin earlier, to avoid the late night charges.  She also asked why Mr. Jirele is not present.  Mr. Harp responded that Mr. Jirele is out of town tonight.


Brandon Wind, a resident of Newtown Grant, asked about the qualifications for members of the Economic Development Committee.  Mr. Harp responded that Mr. Weaver did circulate a memo outlining the qualifications.  The memo is available to the public through the Administration Office.


Mr. Wind asked if the memo will be discussed by the Board at a public meeting.  Mr. Harp responded that it will be discussed in public, although the qualifications of individuals will be discussed in executive session to protect their privacy.


John D’Aprile, a Township resident, suggested that the Board’s public meeting agendas are too full.


Shawn Ward spoke about recent newspaper articles, and said those residents who protest about the Board’s actions are a vocal minority. 


Del Purscell said he disagrees with Mr. Ward.  He feels that a majority of Township residents are embarrassed by the actions of the Board.  He said that recently he requested either the Manager or a member of the Board to contact a particular business owner who was interested in renting space in the Newtown Industrial Commons, but this has not occurred yet.  Mr. Harp responded that he would be happy to meet with the business owner; he asked that Mr. Purscell contact him about similar opportunities in the future.


Ron Kezar said that more than a minority of residents disapprove of the present Board of Supervisors.


Phil Calabro, a Township resident, said the Economic Development Committee and other Township committees should be more diverse in race, gender and ethnicity.  Mr. Harp responded that the Township is focused on finding the best people to serve.






WORK SESSION:  Mr. Harp said there will be a Board work session on 3/17/03 preceded by an executive session.  The agenda will include an update from the Sycamore Street Committee, discussion with the Cable TV Committee, discussion with the Newtown Girls Softball League and discussion of the Economic Development Council.


FIRST FOURTH:  Mr. Harp said the First Fourth celebration will take place this year on 7/5/03.


ANNUAL REPORT:  Mr. Harp said the Township is preparing an annual report, similar to corporate annual reports, which he hopes will be available around the end of this month.


BENEFIT FOR NEWTOWN THEATER:  Mr. Harp announced there will be a “roast” at Chandler Hall on 3/15/03 to benefit the Newtown Theater.


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No items for this section.




PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expirations requiring Board action. 


RATIFICATION OF POLICE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UNIT:  Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of the final version of the Police Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He reviewed his 3/6/03 memo, which explained the significant changes from the prior contract.  He noted that many of the points in the Agreement were negotiated earlier by former Township Managers Cornell Hopkins and Tom Harwood.


Mrs. Goren moved to ratify the Police Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.


Discussion of motion:  Mr. Weaver asked Mr. Pellegrino to explain the match to the Section 457 deferred compensation plan.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township is agreeing to match an employee’s contribution to the plan, up to 3% of the employee’s earnings.  The match was limited to 1% in the prior contract.


Mr. Goodnoe asked if this was a recent development in negotiations; Mr. Pellegrino said it was not.


Nancy Crescenzo asked what effect this agreement will have on the police contract with Wrightstown Township.  Mr. Pellegrino said it will involve some additional costs, but they were anticipated when the contract with Wrightstown was developed.


Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.


SECTION 125 CAFETERIA PLAN RESOLUTIONS (2003-R-9, 2003-R-10, 2003-R-11):  Mr. Pellegrino reviewed his3/7/03 memo, which accompanied copies of three resolutions that authorize and implement the IRS Section 125 Cafeteria Plans for Township employees.  He asked the Board to approve the resolutions.


Mr. Weaver moved to adopt Resolutions 2003-R-9, 2003-R-10 and 2003-R-11, authorizing and implementing the Section 125 Cafeteria Plans for Township employees.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.


Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe asked who is the administrator of the plans.  Mr. Pellegrino responded that Stalker and Associates will administer the program and serve as legal fiduciaries.  The Board will be the trustees.


Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously.


BID AWARD FOR ROAD MATERIALS:  Mr. Pellegrino reviewed a 3/6/03 memo from Mr. Harwood describing the results of the Bucks County Consortium’s bidding for road materials and recommending that the Township award the bids to Better Materials (screenings and quarry grit) and Eureka Stone Quarry (all other materials).


Mr. Weaver moved to award the road materials bids in accordance with Mr. Harwood’s 3/6/03 memo.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.




ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AN INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT OPTION PLAN (IROP) IN THE POLICE PENSION PLAN (2003-O-5):  Mr. Harris explained that this ordinance was advertised for the previous Board meeting and tabled to tonight.


Mrs. Goren moved to adopt 2003-O-5, establishing an Individual Retirement Option Plan in the Police Pension Plan.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.


RESOLUTION APPOINTING ICMA RETIREMENT TRUST AS INVESTMENT MANAGER FOR THE IROP (2003-R-12):  Mr. Weaver moved to adopt 2003-R-12, appointing ICMA Retirement Trust as investment manager for the Individual Retirement Option Plan in the Police Pension Plan.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE DEBT FOR PURCHASE OF STREET SWEEPER (2003-O-6):  Mr. Harris noted that this ordinance and 2003-O-7 were advertised for adoption tonight.


Mr. Weaver moved to adopt 2003-O-6, authorizing the Township to incur $158,500.00 of lease-purchase debt to purchase a street sweeper from the GranTurk Equipment Company.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE DEBT FOR PURCHASE OF LOADER (2003-O-7):  Mrs. Goren moved to adopt 2003-O-7, authorizing the Township to incur $105,843.00 of lease-purchase debt to purchase a loader from the Plasterer Equipment Company.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.


AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH STOP SIGNS IN PENNS PRESERVE:  Mr. Weaver moved to authorize the Solicitor to prepare and advertise an ordinance to establish stop intersections on Millstone Drive in Penns Preserve.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


AUTHORIZATION TO PREPARE AND ADVERTISE ORDINANCES RELATED TO TRAFFIC CONTROL ON DEDICATED STREETS:  Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the Solicitor to prepare and advertise ordinances related to traffic control devices such as stop signs and speed limit signs on dedicated streets, as a routine part of the dedication process.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.


Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe asked if traffic control devices on newly dedicated streets are installed at the developer’s expense; Mr. Harris said they are.


Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.




CHANGE ORDER #3 - TRAFFIC SIGNAL INSTALLATION - LINTON HILL AND WASHINGTON CROSSING ROADS:  Mr. Smith reviewed his 3/5/03 letter recommending payment of $1,159.00 for additional work on this project.


Mrs. Goren moved to pay $1,159.00 to Armour and Sons Electric for additional work on the installation of the traffic signal at Linton Hill and Washington Crossing Roads.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.


Discussion of motion:  Richard DiPaolo, a Township resident, said his property abuts the southbound approach on Washington Crossing Road, where the additional work will be done.  He stated that there is a strip of land there owned by PennDOT.  The area has been dug up before by developers, and he asked that the Engineer make sure it is left in good condition after the work on the traffic signal.


Nancy Crescenzo asked if the dip in the road in this intersection can be fixed.  Mr. Smith said the dip does not seem to be a problem for traffic going the speed limit (25 MPH), but Pennoni will check to see if it is a problem.  Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Smith to check a similar condition at the entrance to the Newtown Shopping Center.


Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.


SUMMARY OF TOWNSHIP ENGINEERING PROJECTS:  Mr. Smith provided a summary of current Township engineering projects and commented that site work at all developments should resume in the next few weeks as the weather improves.  He also said that a Notice of Intent was sent to the DEP regarding the new requirements for stormwater management.  He said that the new requirements encourage developers to have stormwater stay on site as much as possible and infiltrate the ground, rather than be taken off site.




PRELIMINARY PLAN - HOFFA TRACT - EAGLE ROAD - TMP# 29-3-28, 29-3-28-3, 29-4-42 AND 29-4-44:  Michael Palmer of Toll Brothers, attorney Edward Murphy and several representatives of Tri-State Engineering were present to discuss their plan for subdivision and development of a 29.4 acre tract fronting on Eagle and Durham Roads in the R-1 District.  Mr. Murphy stated that the plan originally called for 59 townhouses.  The Planning Commission recommended single family houses, and now 40 single family homes are proposed.  Mr. Murphy referred to the Planning Commission letter of 11/21/02, which recommended approval of the preliminary plan with several conditions.  The developer has revised the plan and has obtained a new Pennoni review letter, dated 3/5/03, regarding the revised plan.  One significant change was to make a single access point on Eagle Road, with an emergency access onto Durham Road.


Mr. Murphy said there are several discussion points remaining:


1.      Improvements on Eagle Road: Mr. Murphy said Toll Brothers proposes to eliminate the existing macadam swale and put stormwater underground.  The Engineer’s review letter asked if the Board wants concrete curb and gutter combinations on Eagle Road and the interior streets, as required by the ordinance.  Mr. Smith recommended that the Board not require the combination concrete curbs and gutters, as they are expensive to install and maintain.  He suggested the Board permit straight-faced curb to be installed. Mr. Goodnoe added that the combination curb and gutter cause drainage problems as well.


2.      Internal Streetlights:  Mr. Murphy said the ordinance requires streetlights every 200 feet.  Board members agreed that lights at the intersections and the end of the cul-de-sac would be sufficient.  Mr. Murphy agreed the lights would be of a type which is in the Township’s inventory.


3.      Perimeter Landscaping:  Mr. Murphy said Toll Brothers will work with the neighbors to develop an acceptable landscaping plan.  Mr. Harris suggested that different types of plants be installed so that they would not all be vulnerable to the same diseases at the same time.


4.      Trail Route:  Mr. Murphy said the Planning Commission discussed this item at length, and recommended that the trail cross Eagle Road from the west side to the east side at Alyssa Drive.  He displayed a sketch of the proposed trail, which can be built in the right of way of Eagle Road except for one area that belongs to PECO and two that belong to the Cliveden development.  He asked that the Township acquire these rights of way. 


5.      Pedestrian Crossing:  Mr. Murphy said the Planning Commission recommended that a painted crossing and flashing lights be installed where the trail crosses Eagle Road.  Mr. Smith said PennDOT seems to be reconsidering pedestrian-activated flashers, and Pennoni has asked for an official ruling on them.  Board members agreed they would prefer pedestrian-activated flashing lights.


6.      Individual Lot Impervious Surface:  Mr. Murphy said a fixed amount of impervious surface will be allocated to each lot, regardless of its size.  Every lot will have room for a deck or a patio, but pools, sheds and other outbuildings will be prohibited in the sales agreements and the Homeowners Association documents.


7.      Requested Waivers:  Mr. Murphy said these are described in Section III B of the 3/5/03 Pennoni letter.  Board members indicated that an aerial photograph will be acceptable to show details of the area (#6).  Mr. Smith said the location of the driveways seems safe, given the 25 MPH speed limit on the internal street (#7), and the driveway grades will be safe provided they will not exceed 10% (#8).  Board members agreed that the requirement for curb gutters should be waived for all streets (#9). 


8.      Setback Along the Trail:  Mr. Murphy said it seems it is not possible to adhere to the required 15-foot setback where there is a deceleration lane (Pennoni letter, III E, #26).  He said the trail has not been engineered yet, and Toll Brothers will try to adhere to this requirement as much as possible.


Mrs. Goren asked why the decision was made against an access on Durham Road.  Mr. Murphy responded that the access would not have lined up with an existing road, thus creating an unsafe intersection.  Also, there were concerns that people would use the development’s streets as a short cut between Eagle Road and Durham Road.


Walter Iwaskiw, a resident of Cliveden, said he does not want to see constantly flashing lights at the pedestrian crossing, although he feels this is a good place for the trail to cross Eagle Road.  He also asked that Toll Brothers finish the section of the trail to the north of the Hoffa Tract.  Mr. Murphy said this will be done.


Nancy Crescenzo said the site of the proposed pedestrian crossing is particularly dangerous when it is raining.  She also said the Township should require the maximum number of trees on the site, and expressed concern about constantly flashing lights and the increase in traffic.


Walter Iwaskiw said the concern about traffic cutting through the development is valid, as there have been problems with traffic cutting through Cliveden between Washington Crossing and Eagle Roads.


Mr. Harp asked Mr. Smith what he recommends regarding safety measures at the pedestrian crossing.  Mr. Smith said the safest plan would be a pedestrian-activated flashing light.  If this is not possible, he recommends signs, a painted crosswalk and good sight distances.


Mr. Harris asked if the plan includes a PRD and a subdivision.  Mr. Murphy explained that all the lots are part of the PRD, but three are for single homes and 37 are for village homes.


Mr. Murphy stated that many of the points in the11/21/02 Planning Commission letter, the 9/4/02 Heritage Conservancy letter, the 10/4/02 Pennoni Associates letter and the 8/26/02 Fire Marshal’s letter have been addressed by the revisions in the plan; those that were not are in the 3/5/03 Pennoni Associates letter.


Mr. Harris said that approval of a PRD requires a fairly lengthy document, and he suggested that he draft an approval letter and circulate it to Board members for their review.  Board members and Mr. Murphy agreed with this suggestion.


Mr. Harp said the Board will consider the approval letter at their 3/26/03 meeting.


NEW BUSINESS:  No items for this section.




Del Purscell questioned the size of the Township’s reserves.  Mr. Harp said Mr. Weaver will discuss this concern with the Financial Planning Committee at their next meeting.


Alisha Shaum, a Township resident, said many people are not happy with the way the Township is being run.


Karen D’Aprile, a Township resident, said she has heard many complaints about the actions of the Board of Supervisors.


Walter Iwaskiw asked if the budget for the Economic Development Committee has been set.  Mr. Pellegrino said it has not been set, but it will probably be a minimal amount that will cover administrative costs such as a recording secretary.  Mr. Iwaskiw suggested the Board approve any expenditures beyond minor administrative costs.  He also expressed concern that drivers will not see the flashing lights on the pedestrian crossing until it is too late.  He also said there is an unattractive wooden wall in front of another development on Eagle Road.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township will be addressing this with the developer, since the wall does not meet the specifications of the plan.


Nancy Crescenzo asked questions about bills for consultation by the Redevelopment Authority, printing, construction change orders, transfers for credit card payments, phone service and a park bench.  She also stated she would like to see the Acme building preserved and a community center developed on the site.




ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 PM.






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