Board of Supervisors Minutes
May 28, 2003
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 11 , 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 5/28/03: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 5/28/03 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, May 28, 2003, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Vice Chairman/Assistant Treasurer Anne Goren, Treasurer/Secretary Richard Weaver, Member Thomas Jirele and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Planning Commission Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, Sycamore Street Chairman Vince Lombardi, HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township Engineer Gerald Smith and Township Manager Robert M. Pellegrino.
CALL TO ORDER: Vice-Chairman Anne Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence. She explained that Chairman Scott Harp was absent for a family matter.
INVOCATION: Given by Halleh Asadpour, honors student at Council Rock High School North and member of Baha’i of Bucks Co. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino said there will not be a report from the Cable TV Committee, and he asked that the Board meet in executive session for matters of litigation following the public meeting.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 4/23/03: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 4/23/03 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
MINUTES OF THE WORK SESSION OF 4/14/03: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 4/14/03 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
LIST FOR 5/14/03: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $201,495.83, and to make interfund transfers totaling $400,400.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
LIST FOR 5/28/03: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $426,422.91 and to make interfund transfers totaling $33,090.11. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked if a transfer of funds into the Capital Improvement Fund was reflected in these Bills Lists. Mr. Pellegrino said it was not.
Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously.
2002 AUDIT: Mr. Weaver said the Township received an excellent audit report, with two very minor comments.
PENSION FUND COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver said the Committee met recently and changed the distribution of funds. Mr. Jirele asked if this change should have been authorized by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Pellegrino explained that the Committee increased stocks from 55% to 65%, which is within the Township’s Investment Policy limits previously approved by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Goodnoe asked for a copy of this policy.
Mr. Goodnoe also said the Township should not have gotten two comments on the audit. Mr. Pellegrino said they were very minor; one was just a reminder, and the other was a matter of segregation of duties that has already been corrected.
Mr. Jirele asked that the Board receive a report on the Pension Fund’s performance over the last two or three years, and the distribution of stocks and bonds. Mr. Pellegrino said the Fund issues quarterly reports, and he will make sure the Board receives them.
CONDITIONAL USE - SOIL STRIPPING - FIRST NATIONAL BANK - 773 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52-007: John Parry, President of First National Bank, and attorney Donna Wengiel were present to discuss their request for a conditional use to allow soil stripping at the bank construction site on Newton-Yardley Road in the R-2 District.
Mrs. Goren opened the public hearing; Mr. Sander confirmed that it was properly advertised, and Mr. Parry was sworn in.
Ms. Wengiel gave the Board copies of a 4/9/03 letter from Mr. Harwood and her 5/19/03 letter to Mr. Harwood. She stated that the original conditional use request had been for the removal of approximately 345 cubic yards of clay dirt from the construction site. Subsequently, the contractor encountered a problem with bad dirt in the area of the main drive and the parking lot. Ms. Wengiel said that an estimated 385 additional cubic yards of clay dirt will need to be removed from the site. None of this dirt can be used on the site.
Mr. Parry stated that he agreed with Ms. Wengiel’s statements.
Mr. Jirele said there may be a need for a berm at the Wohl Tract, and he suggested the soil could be used for this purpose. Ms. Wengiel said the applicant will work with Mr. Pellegrino to explore this possibility.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if a conditional use approval is required for removing any kind of soil, or just topsoil. Mr. Sander said it was Mr. Harwood’s determination that it is needed for the removal of any kind of soil.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the First National Bank’s request for conditional use approval to remove soil from the construction site at 773 Newtown-Yardley Road in the area of the building foundation, the parking lot and the driveway. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sander asked the total amount of soil to be removed; Ms Wengiel said the estimated total was 730 cubic yards.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to close the hearing. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe commented that he would like clarification from the Codes Department on its policy on soil removal.
RECOGNIZING PUBLIC WORKS WEEK: Mrs. Goren asked that the Board approve a proclamation declaring 5/18/03 to 5/24/03 Public Works Week to honor the contributions public works officials make to the community’s health, safety, comfort and quality of life.
Mr. Weaver moved to proclaim the week of 5/18/03 to 5/24/03 Public Works Week; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
PLANNING COMMISSION: Allen Fidler, Vice-Chairman of the Commission, reported on their 5/6/03 and 5/20/03 meetings. At the 5/6/03 meeting the Commission reviewed a report from the Traffic Engineer, recommended approval of a PRD Variance request from Mr. and Mrs. Drotar on Churchill Lane, and reviewed a revised proposal for rezoning the Roberts Nursery Tract. The proposal was tabled for further revisions. The Commission also heard the concerns of a resident about the pedestrian crossing at the Hoffa Tract, and reviewed three applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board, making no comments on them.
At the 5/20/03 meeting, the Commission discussed a sketch plan for an addition to Friends Village on Lower Dolington Road and two applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board. The Commission recommended that the Board oppose the application from the Newtown Racquetball Club. The Commission also reviewed and recommended approval of the final plan for the McLaughlin Tract on Stoopville Road, and recommended approval of the preliminary plan for Durham Road Associates on Durham Road, both with certain conditions. Commission members also discussed a revised final plan for the Village at Newtown South on South Eagle Road and tabled the matter to allow further research and discussion on the complex history of the site.
Mr. Jirele noted that the Planning Commission’s 5/22/03 letter on the McLaughlin Tract recommended against a macadam path along the emergency access drive, and he asked why. Mr. Fidler responded that Commission members felt the emergency access drive itself would serve as a walking trail. Mr. Sander added that Commission members were concerned that the drive will be built between two houses and should not be a wide paved area.
Mr. Fidler also commented that during the discussion of the Village at Newtown South it appeared that the last approved plan required the applicant to build a community center.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on their 5/13/03 meeting. The Committee discussed parking, installing a monument at the corner of Sycamore Street and Swamp Road, establishing a civic association, and creating a video showing Sycamore Street before, during and after construction. New business items included the pre-bid and pre-construction meetings, to which the Committee would like to invite all interested parties. Mr. Lombardi thanked Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Shaffer for their excellent work on the Sycamore Street project.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Mark Craig reported for the JDNC. He said the application for the Main Street Manager Program is now ready, and he asked the Board to adopt a resolution authorizing the Township to serve as applicant and Mr. Pellegrino to execute all documents.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to adopt Resolution 2003-R-15, authorizing the Township to serve as applicant, and authorizing Mr. Pellegrino to execute all documents related to implementation of the Main Street Manager Program. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele acknowledged the hard work of Del Purscell and others who put the application together. He also noted the many local business people who supported the project. Mr. Goodnoe also congratulated the JDNC on their accomplishments.
Mrs. Goren asked how the Township will know if the JDNC is meeting their goals. Mr. Craig said there will be regular reports to the Township, and the Township will review the JDNC’s annual application to this program. He also noted that six of the 11 members of the JDNC’s board are appointed by the Township. Mr. Goodnoe added that copies of the JDNC board’s minutes will be shared with the Supervisors, and the meetings are open to the public. Mr. Jirele said he would like the Township to take an active interest in the JDNC.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Craig said that other business dealt with by the JDNC this month included discussion of a website, the possibility of changing the name of the organization to “Downtown Newtown”, and the addition of a new board member from the Borough, Tim Trainer.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): Ethel Hibbs, HARB Secretary, presented two recommendations for Certificates of Appropriateness for signage.
HAMLIN - 117 S. SYCAMORE STREET: Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign at 117 S. Sycamore Street to replace the existing wall-mounted sign. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
CAMPBELL - 76 SYCAMORE STREET: Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign at 76 Sycamore Street at the Newtown Presbyterian Church to replace an existing sign in front of the building. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver provided a written summary of the Committee’s 5/8/03 Key Leader breakfast meeting. He said the meeting was well attended. A sub-committee was formed to study possible zoning changes in the Newtown Industrial Commons, the possibility of changing the name of the Commons to the Newtown “Business” or “Corporate” Commons and that signage is needed to direct motorists from the Bypass to the Commons.
Mr. Jirele asked if the Committee discussed road access to the Commons. Mr. Weaver said this has not come up yet. Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Weaver to bring this up to the Committee at their next meeting.
Mr. Jirele asked about the discussion of impervious surface ratios. Mr. Weaver said that property owners in the Commons have commented that other municipalities allow a greater amount of impervious surface in industrial areas than Newtown does.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL: Mr. Weaver reported that a speaker from the County Department of Weights and Measures made a presentation at the Council’s most recent meeting.
FLASHING LIGHT AT MILL POND AND BUCK ROAD: Mr. Weaver said that someone asked him recently about the traffic signal at this intersection flashing. He said that a malfunctioning timer was causing problems, and the timer was supposed to be replaced today.
MEETING CANCELLATIONS: Mr. Jirele said the Board’s public meeting of 5/14/03 and the work session of 5/19/03 were cancelled with no discussion by the full Board, yet the meetings that are held regularly run late. Mrs. Goren responded that Mr. Harp called her and said there was no pressing business scheduled for the two meetings. Mr. Weaver said Mr. Harp also called him. Mr. Jirele said Mr. Harp should have called all Board members. He said the Board should meet when there is a quorum.
Mr. Goodnoe said meeting cancellations should be discussed in a public meeting so that everyone would know about them. Mrs. Goren suggested that Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Jirele share their concerns with Mr. Harp.
Sue Beasley, a Township resident and former Chairperson of the Park and Recreation Board, said there have been several recent opportunities for the Board of Supervisors to pursue a community center, and it has not done so. She asked Mr. Weaver to take this issue to the Park and Recreation Board.
Paul Salvatore, a Township resident, suggested the Township look at the Newtown Industrial Commons for additional municipal office space. He also protested the use of Community Comments time for political purposes and some comments made at the last public meeting critical of local business people. Mr. Jirele noted that local business people have donated or committed almost $500,000 to the JDNC.
Nancy Crescenzo said she contacted all Board members about the meeting cancellations, but only two responded. She also complained about the new restrictions on the second Community Comments session described on tonight’s agenda (“Limited to 5 minutes per person/total of 30 minutes – No later than 11:00 to 11:30 PM”). Ms. Crescenzo suggested turning off the TV cameras at 11:00 PM, but continuing the meeting, if overtime payments to Video Gold are a concern. She also encouraged the Board to look into opportunities for establishing a community center in the Township.
Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, asked Mrs. Goren to explain the Community Comments restrictions noted on the agenda. Mrs. Goren said the Community Comments segments of the meeting are intended as opportunities for the public to speak to the Board. She added that the Board budgeted this year for televised meetings lasting three to three-and-a-half hours, and will need to look at this item again in next year’s budget. She suggested that the Board might consider starting their meetings earlier, and she is concerned that the Board members come to the executive session with clear minds. Mr. Iapalucci said that the restrictions imposed on tonight’s meeting mean that a maximum of six people can speak at each Community Comment session.
Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said the restriction on the second session was not stated on the character generator. He said he is the Vice-Chairman of the Cable TV Committee, and he knows of no limit in the contract with Video Gold as to how long the meetings run. He criticized the Board for canceling meetings when the ones that are held regularly run later than 11:30 PM.
Brandon Wind, a Township resident, asked about the status of the RCN case and whether there will be more bills from Mr. Polner. Mr. Sander said Mr. Polner is handling federal litigation which is ongoing. Mr. Wind asked about the intersection on Route 413 in front of Applebee’s. Mr. Smith responded that he is preparing a memo about this issue which will be out soon. Mr. Wind asked if the expansion of the Municipal Complex will raise taxes. Mr. Pellegrino said there will be a presentation about the expansion at the 6/9/03 work session, and then at a Board meeting.
Jim Ott, a Township resident, said he also attempted to contact the Supervisors concerning the restrictions on the second Community Comment segment. He said the Board has been disrespectful towards the public. Mrs. Goren said she never received Mr. Ott’s e-mail message.
Phil Calabro, a Township resident, said that the people who elected the Supervisors should be able to speak at the public meetings, and it is the Supervisors’ responsibility to go into executive sessions with clear minds.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
WORK SESSION: Mrs. Goren announced that the Board will hold a work session at 7:30 PM on 6/9/03 at the Fire Hall. Among the agenda items is the Municipal Complex expansion.
FIRST FOURTH: Mrs. Goren announced that the First Fourth celebration will be held on 7/5/03, and details will be on the Township’s website. Mr. Weaver noted that all activities will be at the Newtown Middle (formerly Junior High) School because of construction work at the high school.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver said he asked Mr. Pellegrino to put the Financial Planning Committee report on the agenda for the 6/9/03 work session, as there are several issues to be discussed.
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Mr. Jirele reported that the Board met on 5/7/03 and will soon start discussing active recreation on the Wohl Tract, which is part of implementing the Comprehensive Plan.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no applications requiring Board action tonight except the Szarko application, which is on the agenda.
COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA (CWA) COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT: Mr. Pellegrino reviewed his memo of 4/14/03, which included a draft agreement with CWA. He said it was the result of nearly 12 months of negotiations. He noted that the union has ratified the agreement, and he asked the Board to ratify it as well.
Mr. Weaver moved to ratify the CWA collective bargaining agreement. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe said the contract will be expensive for Township taxpayers. He commented that most employers are cutting benefits, not increasing them. He said he cannot support this contract.
Mr. Pellegrino said the Township studied salaries and benefits in neighboring and comparable municipalities, and found that Newtown Township employees included in this contract were paid less than the average. The additional holiday brings the CWA employees into parity with the Police Department and other municipalities in the area.
Mr. Jirele said he is not enamored by the contract, but he will support it because Township employees deserve to be paid as well as employees in other municipalities. Mr. Weaver said he agrees with Mr. Jirele.
Mr. Goodnoe said no one in the private sector is getting annual 4% raises. Mr. Jirele agreed that 4% is a large increase. Mr. Pellegrino said that the raises are balanced by the higher level of employee contributions for medical insurance.
Brandon Wind asked what the cost of the contract will be. Mr. Pellegrino responded that each year the cost will range from $70,000 to $85,000 for the group of approximately 30 employees, or 7% per year for the four years.
Glenn Beasley, a Township resident, asked that more background information (including spelling out of acronyms) be provided when similar items are discussed in the future.
Nancy Crescenzo asked if the contract fits into this year’s budget. Mr. Pellegrino said the 2003 budget anticipated the cost of this agreement.
Mr. Goodnoe said the negotiators should have given the Board an opportunity to discuss the terms of this contract earlier in the process.
John D’Aprile, a Township resident, said the Consumer Price Index has gone up only 2.1%, and called this contract overly generous. He asked if the contract is retroactive to the beginning of the year; Mr. Pellegrino said it is.
Mr. Weaver’s motion passed 3-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay”.
SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mr. Pellegrino asked that the Board approve three agreements necessary for the contract with PennDOT for the Sycamore Street project by resolution. The first will authorize the Township to have access to PennDOT’s on-line management system. The second and third agreements detail the terms and conditions for payment of costs related to the construction and the enhancements. Mr. Pellegrino also asked the Board to accept a proposal from Pennoni Associates for inspection services on the construction and the enhancements portions of the project for a total cost of $447,483.20, of which the Township share will be about $62,000.
RESOLUTION 2003-R-16 - GRANTING SIGNATURE AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE AGREEMENT FOR ELECTRONIC ACCESS TO THE ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Mr. Weaver moved to adopt Resolution 2003-R-16; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 2003-R-17 - GRANTING SIGNATURE AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE CONSTRUCTION REIMBURSEMENT AND ENHANCEMENT AGREEMENTS: Mr. Pellegrino said the Township will pay only 20% of the construction costs, and can collect PennDOT’s 80% share up front. He said the Township will have to pay invoices within 10 days, so some payments will have to be made between meetings and be approved at subsequent meetings. PennDOT will pay 100% of the enhancements costs.
Mr. Jirele moved to adopt Resolution 2003-R-17; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
ACCEPTANCE OF ENGINEERING INSPECTION SERVICES PROPOSAL FOR SYCAMORE STREET RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the Pennoni Associates proposal for engineering inspection services on the Sycamore Street project. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if there will be an inspector on the site at all times, and if most work will be done at night. Mr. Smith said there will be full time inspector coverage, and Mr. Pellegrino said most work will be done at night.
Mr. Jirele asked if this is a fixed fee contract. Mr. Pellegrino said there is a total amount that is not to be exceeded.
Nancy Crescenzo asked if this contract should go out to bid. Mr. Sander said bidding is not required because this is a contract for professional services.
Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously.
Vince Lombardi, Chairman of the Sycamore Street Committee, thanked the Board for their actions tonight.
Mr. Pellegrino said the contract requires that the project start in October, but he is hopeful that it will start earlier. Mr. Lombardi said expediting the paperwork could help move the start date up.
Mrs. Goren thanked Mr. Lombardi for his work on the Sycamore Street project.
CABLE WIRING - NEWTOWN INDUSTRIAL COMMONS: Mr. Pellegrino said Comcast has notified the Township that they will survey businesses in the Commons, and if there is enough interest they will work on wiring the Commons immediately. If not, they will do it next year.
Mr. Goodnoe commented that Comcast is obligated to do this by their contract with the Township.
213 HIDDEN VALLEY LANE - PROPOSED AGREEMENT FOR DRIVEWAY: Mr. Sander explained that Paul Abraham of 213 Hidden Valley Lane suffers from multiple sclerosis and would like to build an addition to his driveway to accommodate his wheelchair. This would normally require a PRD Variance, but pursuing a PRD Variance would be a hardship for him and his wife. Mr. Sander provided a copy of a draft agreement which would permit the Abrahams to install a temporary addition, but would require them to either remove it or obtain a PRD Variance prior to selling the house.
Mr. Weaver moved to approve the agreement with the Abrahams regarding a temporary addition to the driveway at 213 Hidden Lane. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
HOMEOWNER’S DISCLOSURE ORDINANCE - UPDATE: Mr. Sander reported that the proposed ordinance has been approved by Wrightstown and Upper Makefield Townships, but it is currently in limbo because of some concerns raised by the Newtown Township Planning Commission.
ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING - 6/5/03: Mr. Sander asked the Board if they wished to take a position on any of the five new applications scheduled for the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting. Mrs. Goren said she has concerns about the Newtown Racquetball Club’s application, and noted that the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors oppose it. She questioned whether the entrance on Penns Trail is appropriate, and said this may cause traffic problems. Mr. Goodnoe said the Board of Supervisors will have an opportunity to address these issues during the land development process.
Mrs. Goren also expressed concern about the size and number of parking spaces proposed and the impervious surface ratio. Mr. Jirele said the Zoning Hearing Board can handle these issues; he also noted that the Economic Development Committee has been discussing raising the impervious surface limit in this area.
UPDATE ON WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD AND LINTON HILL ROAD INTERSECTION: Mr. Smith provided a 5/5/03 memo from his colleague Dave Tomko regarding the slope on Washington Crossing Road and the signal timing.
Mr. Tomko found that no vehicle had to wait more than 60 seconds at the intersection. He did find that cars crossing the intersection at the posted speed limit bottom out. He recommended that the Township either post advisory speed signs to slow down approaching traffic, or regrade the intersection.
Mr. Jirele said the advisory signs probably would not do much good, but perhaps signs warning of a bump or a dip would. Mr. Smith said the regrading would probably not be expensive.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Engineer to prepare cost and time estimates for the regrading of the intersection, and to direct the Engineer to post advisory speed signs and a hazard warning (exact wording to be determined by the Engineer and PennDOT). The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
UPDATE - LOWER DOLINGTON ROAD EVALUATION: Mr. Smith provided a 5/7/03 letter from his colleague Chris Walker concerning a study of the grades and drainage capacities of the section of Lower Dolington Road between Upper Silver Lake Road and the Lower Makefield Township boundary. Mr. Smith said the study found that the drainage is totally inadequate. The existing swale on the northern side of Lower Dolington Road is restricted in some locations and cannot handle a one year storm.
Mr. Walker’s letter suggested three alternatives regarding the swales:
1. Enlarge the northerly roadside swales (which may require additional right-of-way and relocation of utility poles).
2. Install storm sewer piping.
3. Enlarge the swale on the southerly side and install piping to direct some of the flow from the northerly swale to the southerly swale.
Mr. Walker also recommended clearing debris from the storm sewer pipes and possibly replacing them with piping of greater capacity. Regarding the road pavement, Mr. Walker stated that with additional repairs the roadway will have an acceptable level of service for the next few years.
Mr. Smith said it is possible that increasing the capacity of the piping will minimize the need to enlarge the swales and make it possible to stay within the existing right-of-way. At Mrs. Goren’s request, he will look into widening the road. Mr. Jirele suggested some enlargement of the swales and clearing the debris from the pipes, which may be sufficient.
Bill Sterling, a Township resident, said he is the property owner along this section of Lower Dolington Road, and he opposes any expansion of the right-of-way.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Engineer to develop plans and estimates for enlarging the swales, clearing the pipes and adding additional piping as described in option #3. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Smith said Mr. Jirele’s proposal is the most economical course of action, and is at least a step towards increasing the stormwater capacity. Mr. Pellegrino recommended option #3, and he will direct the Public Works Department to clear the pipes. Mrs. Goren said there seemed to be a consensus that the right-of-way should not be expanded.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
ESCROW RELEASE - ST. ANDREWS BRIAR: Mr. Jirele moved to approve Escrow Release #7 for St. Andrews Briar in the amount of $31,050.51, as recommended by Mr. Smith’s letter of 5/12/03. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
ESCROW RELEASE - WILTSHIRE WALK: Mr. Weaver moved to approve Escrow Release #3 for Wiltshire Walk in the amount of $571,701.92, as recommended by Mr. Smith’s letter of 5/22/03. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
REVISED FINAL PLAN - MINOR SUBDIVISION - SZARKO - 93 RICHBORO ROAD - TMP #29-11-2: Attorney James McMaster and engineer Heath Dumack were present to discuss the plan to divide a tract of slightly less than two acres in the R-2 District into two lots.
Mr. McMaster stated that the Pennoni Associates letter includes all the comments made in other review letters. He noted that a partial waiver is requested of Section 530(1)(A)(3) to allow existing vegetation along the Bypass instead of street trees. Mr. McMaster said all the waivers are minor, and the applicant has obtained variances to allow an impervious surface ratio of 16.3% on lot 1, an impervious surface ratio of 15.8% on lot 2 and a lot width of 30 feet along the Richboro Road frontage. He said the applicant has or will comply with all other points in the letter, and he is asking for approval of the preliminary plan as final.
Mr. Sander asked if there are any public improvements to be dedicated. Mr. McMaster said only the right-of-way will be dedicated. Mr. Sander said an agreement for the shared driveway should be provided; Mr. McMaster said the applicant will comply with this requirement.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the preliminary plan for the Szarko subdivision as a final plan, conditioned on compliance with the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 4/3/03, the Pennoni Associates letter of 4/18/03, the Boucher and James letter of 5/6/03, items 1 through 4 of the Tom Harwood letter of 4/29/03, the Fire Marshal’s letter of 4/17/03, the provision of water and sewer agreements and an agreement regarding the shared driveway, the payment of all fees, the six waivers listed in Section II of the 4/18/03 Pennoni Associates letter are granted, a waiver of the requirement to install street trees along the Bypass frontage is granted, and the traffic impact fee of $2,323 is paid. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver.
Discussion of motion: Mr. McMaster pointed out that item 5 of Mr. Harwood’s 4/29/03 letter is not applicable. He asked if the traffic impact fee is paid when the permit is issued; Mr. Sander said it is.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
FINAL PLAN - MAJOR SUBDIVISION - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT- STOOPVILLE ROAD - TMP# 29-7-5: Michael Palmer of Toll Brothers and attorney Edward Murphy were present to discuss the plan to build 35 village houses on a 38.39 acre tract in the CM District. Mr. Murphy referred to the Planning Commission’s 5/22/03 recommendation and said there are five items remaining for discussion by the Board:
1. The location of street lights - Mr. Murphy asked if the Board still wants lights at the intersections, curves and cul-de-sacs; the Supervisors indicated they do.
2. The trail - Mr. Murphy said the applicant would prefer to run the trail through the wetlands along Stoopville Road, and a supportive letter from the Township will help to obtain the permit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Mr. Smith suggested porous paving for this section of the trail; Mr. Jirele said he prefers macadam. Mr. Murphy said the applicant will install whatever surface the DEP allows.
3. Stoopville Road improvements - Mr. Murphy said a separate plan for the road improvements has been reviewed by Pennoni Associates and Upper Makefield and submitted to PennDOT. The applicant is currently revising the plan for resubmission. There will be no changes from the preliminary plan approval of 2/12/03; the right-of-way will be 40 feet, the lanes will be 11 feet, and there will be a 50 foot right-of-way at the intersection with Linton Hill Road. Some land is being given to property owners on the south side, and driveways and utilities will be extended. Mr. Smith commented that if the sewer is on the north side the applicant will need to provide lateral connections for the homeowners on the south side; Mr. Murphy said the applicant will comply.
4. Emergency access - Mr. Murphy said the Fire Marshal requested a 20-foot wide macadam driveway. The Planning Commission agreed with the applicant that the driveway does not need to be this wide, and a separate macadam trail is not necessary. Mr. Jirele said he would be comfortable with an emergency driveway seven feet wide, with grass pavers, plus a five-foot macadam trail. He suggested the trail could run down the middle of the driveway.
5. The log house - Mr. Murphy said a consultant recommended that the house can be renovated for a low intensity use, with a lot of work. The applicant is looking for potential users now.
Mr. Murphy also stated that the cost of the Stoopville Road improvements will be greater than anyone estimated earlier in the planning. It is hoped the road work will be done by this winter.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if there will be a signal at the Linton Hill intersection. Mr. Murphy said the intersection will be pre-wired for a signal, but it will not be built as part of this project. Mr. Smith said the intersection will probably meet warrant soon. Mr. Goodnoe said he does not like having left turn lanes without a signal.
Mr. Goodnoe also said the Township should take the ultimate right-of-way, not just the right-of-way specified in the preliminary approval; if additional improvements are required, the Township will have to acquire the additional right-of-way at the taxpayers’ cost later. Mr. Jirele said he agrees with this recommendation.
Mrs. Goren said the decision in the preliminary plan approval was made so that Stoopville Road and Swamp Road would be treated the same. Mr. Jirele said the right-of-way along Swamp Road is 80 feet or more, and most of Stoopville Road has an 80 foot right-of-way. He said the Township should take an 80 foot right-of-way because it may be needed in the future. He said the Board has consistently opposed a northern bypass, so no one should fear that a four-lane highway will be built here.
Mr. Weaver said there is no reason not to support the ordinance, which specifies an 80-foot right-of-way.
Mrs. Goren said there was some discussion of reducing the right-of-way on Swamp Road. Mr. Jirele said the discussion was regarding the historic village in Rushland, which is a different situation from the McLaughlin Tract area.
Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Murphy to send him a copy of the consultant’s report on the log house.
Nancy Crescenzo asked the Board to comment on a November 2002 letter from Upper Makefield concerning the McLaughlin Tract. Mr. Murphy said all points were addressed by the applicant or referred to PennDOT for a determination. He said the Upper Makefield engineer has reviewed the plan since the letter was sent.
Ms. Crescenzo asked why the Board is considering giving a break to Toll Brothers on the right-of-way. Mr. Murphy said the issue has nothing to do with Toll Brothers, as Toll will do whatever the Township asks.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if there are low flow channels in the basin; Mr. Murphy said there are.
Brandon Wind asked if there are acceleration and deceleration lanes planned at the entrance to the development. Mr. Smith said there is only a deceleration lane. He added that PennDOT stated an acceleration lane was not required.
Nancy Crescenzo asked if there had been any discussion of the Gray Tract with Upper Makefield. Mr. Smith said Upper Makefield reviewed the plans, and Mrs. Goren recalled a discussion about the realignment of the intersection. Mr. Jirele said final plan stage is too late for such discussions.
Jim Ott, a Township resident who lives on Stoopville Road, said he does not want a northern bypass, but he feels the right-of-way along the McLaughlin Tract should be consistent with the rest of the road. He does not want the taxpayers to pay for additional right-of-way later.
Mrs. Goren suggested a 60-foot right-of-way as a compromise. Mr. Goodnoe said the ultimate right-of-way should be obtained in case it is needed for utilities, buffering, drainage or other uses.
Mr. Jirele said the current ordinance should be supported, and changes to the ordinance should be considered only after appropriate study and consultation, not on a case-by-case basis. Mrs. Goren said she is concerned because the residents who asked for the 40-foot right-of-way are not present tonight.
Jim Ott said if the ultimate right-of-way is taken now, it will be taken from the north side of the present road. If it is taken after the road is built, it will be measured from the center line and affect the property owners on the south side.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the final plan for the McLaughlin Tract, with the following conditions: compliance with the Boucher and James letter of 4/9/03, the Pennoni Associates letter of 4/29/03, the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of 4/15/03, the Conservation District’s letter of 5/13/03 and the Fire Marshal’s letter of 3/25/03 (except that the emergency access will be 12 feet wide, with grass pavers, a stabilized stone base and a five-foot macadam trail centered on the driveway from the cul-de-sac to Stoopville Road), compliance with all conditions of preliminary plan approval, the Township will write a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection regarding building a macadam trail through the wetlands (if this is not approved, the applicant will build the trail as shown on the plan), streetlights will be installed at intersections, curves and cul-de-sacs, all work performed on neighbors’ properties will subsequently be graded and seeded, if sewer is installed on the north side of Stoopville Road the applicant will provide laterals to serve the south side properties, the applicant will offer an 80 foot right-of-way for dedication on the north side of Stoopville Road, and all fees will be paid.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Murphy asked where the right-of-way will be measured from. There were several suggestions, and agreement that there should be no further impact on the residents on the south side of Stoopville Road. Mr. Murphy asked if this issue can be deferred until consideration of the plans for the road improvements. He will bring a sketch plan to the 6/25/03 meeting so that the Board can see how it will look. He said this will not involve redesigning the road.
Mr. Goodnoe amended his motion to remove the statement about offering an 80-foot right-of-way, and to include a statement that the applicant will return with a plan showing an 80-foot right-of-way measured from the existing right-of-way on the south side. He also amended the motion to remove the statement locating the macadam trail on the center of the driveway. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS: Mrs. Goren said it is too late for additional comments from the public, so the Board will adjourn and go into executive session for matters of litigation. Nancy Crescenzo protested this statement. Mr. Sander said the Board is permitted to mandate that all community comments be in the beginning of the meeting, or to defer comments to the beginning of the next meeting or to a special meeting. These are decisions of the Board, not the Chairman.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to have no more public comments tonight. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said the Board never voted to end public comment by 11:30 PM. Mr. Sander said the Chairman has the authority to prepare the agenda, but the Board can override the Chairman’s agenda.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion failed, with Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Jirele voting “nay”.
Mrs. Goren moved to have a second public comment session.
Mr. Jirele said this is a frivolous motion under Robert’s Rules, as it simply contradicts the previous motion. Mrs. Goren asked if there were any members of the public who wished to speak.
Nancy Crescenzo said the chain across the entrance to the Clark Property was up all weekend, although it is supposed to be taken down during the day.
Mr. Jirele moved to remove the chain from the entrance to the Clark Property. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino said the Police Department was directed to take the chain down each day on weekends; he will find out why it is not happening. Mrs. Goren asked how the Township will provide security at the Clark Property. Mr. Pellegrino said there will be police patrols.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
Nancy Crescenzo asked where the bench for the Clark Property referred to in the bills list is located; Mr. Pellegrino said he will find out.
Brandon Wind thanked the Board of supporting the Newtown Library Association, and he asked if Comcast could wire the Library. Mr. Pellegrino said he will follow up on this. Mr. Wind also said Mr. Stockburger has purchased the McBride property, and he wondered if there has been any change in the Board’s position regarding the Stockburger proposal. Mrs. Goren said this has not been discussed recently.
Phil Calabro asked about the status of the traffic light at North Drive and Route 413. Mr. Smith responded that there has been a construction delay, but it should begin flashing operation in July 2003.
Karen D’Aprile, a Township resident, said residents have a right to make public comments.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mrs. Goren said the Board will meet in executive session for matters of litigation following adjournment of the public meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 12:45 AM.
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