Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

August 13, 2003


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting August 27, 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 8/13/03:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 8/13/03 regular meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, August 13, 2003, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Scott R. Harp, 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, Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith and Township Manager Robert M. Pellegrino. 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman Scott R. Harp called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence. 

INVOCATION:  Given by Paul Kester of Newtown Friends Meeting.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Pellegrino asked that two items be added to the Manager’s report:  the purchase of a dump truck, and the acquisition of video cameras.  He also said there is no need for an executive session tonight. 

SPECIAL ACTIONS 

EAGLE SCOUT PROCLAMATION - JOSHUA REASS:  Mr. Harp presented a plaque to Joshua Reass, a member of Boy Scout Troop 380, in honor of his earning the rank of Eagle Scout on 8/2/03.  Joshua’s project was to research, develop and implement “Project S.A.F.E.”, a firearm safety training program. 

BOY SCOUT SERVICE PROJECTS - CLARK NATURE CENTER:  Mr. Harp presented plaques to two Boy Scouts in appreciation of their work at the Clark Nature Center:  Dan Horowitz, who helped to install an outdoor classroom; and John Kaiser, who helped to install an 800-foot circular handicapped trail. 

CONDITIONAL USE - NEWTOWN BUSINESS COMMONS LOT 21 - 111 PHEASANT RUN - TMP# 29-10-129:  Douglas Terry, Jesse Terry and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss their request for D-1 Office Use, H-5 Accessory Building Use and an increase in the maximum impervious surface ratio from 50% to 60% at a 3.91 acre site in the LI District.  

Mr. Harp opened the hearing and Douglas and Jesse Terry were sworn in.  Mr. Marshall stated that the applicant intends to build a new two-story 24,640 SF office building and a one-story pole barn for storage.  The applicant also plans to build parking areas, drop-off areas and a stormwater management area.  Several existing buildings will remain, and two will be removed.  The total D-1 Office Use will be 29,660 SF, and the H-5 Accessory Building Use will be 2,880 SF.  

Mr. Marshall said the required 148 parking spaces are provided, no offensive environmental effects are anticipated, normal business hours of operation are expected, and no large truck deliveries are expected.  He proposed that individual tenants apply for conditional use approval as they come in.  He also noted that the applicant is proposing that 19 parking spaces be in reserve. 

Mr. Smith said that the stormwater management plans are adequate to handle the requested 60% impervious surface. 

Mr. Marshall asked Douglas Terry if his comments had been accurate; Mr. Terry said they were. 

Mr. Weaver moved to approve the request for approval of D-1 Office Use, H-5 Accessory Building Use, and a 60% maximum impervious surface ratio for Newtown Business Commons Lot 21, with the condition that each tenant will obtain conditional use approval as they come in, and all legal, engineering and administrative costs will be paid by the applicant.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Weaver moved to close the conditional use hearing; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

PRELIMINARY PLAN - NEWTOWN BUSINESS COMMONS LOT 21 - 111 PHEASANT RUN - TMP# 29-10-129:  Douglas Terry, Jesse Terry and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss the preliminary plan for Newtown Business Commons Lot 21.  Mr. Marshall reviewed the conditions for approval recommended by the Planning Commission in their 7/17/03 letter and said the applicant is willing to comply with them, with the exception of payment of a fee in lieu of park and recreation space.  In addition to the waivers listed in the Planning Commission letter, the applicant is seeking a waiver to allow a larger scale on the plan than is required. 

Mr. Marshall provided copies of an 8/12/03 letter from Jesse Terry requesting waivers of traffic impact fees and park and recreation fees.  After some discussion, Mr. Marshall and the Board agreed that this issue will be determined at final plan stage, since the Board did not see Mr. Terry’s letter until tonight. 

In response to several questions from Mr. Jirele, Mr. Marshall stated that the side yard setback is an existing nonconformity, the front yard setback problem has been corrected, and the applicant is willing to install a sidewalk in the front yard.  Mr. Smith noted the sidewalk will be four feet from the curb line. 

Mr. Smith said he recommends granting the requested waiver of the traffic study because the one done for the Law School Admission Council a year ago covered the same area.  Mr. Marshall said the Wiltshire Walk study also covered the same area.  He said that the applicant will be doing a traffic study for another project about 1/8 mile away from this one which could cover all the same intersections. 

In response to further questions, Mr. Marshall said the post and rail fence will extend the length of the border with the Goddard property; the two buildings to be removed are of no historic value; and a landscaping plan will be submitted at final plan stage.  Ethel Hibbs, a member of the Joint Historic Commission, was present and stated that the Commission reported to Mr. Harwood that the two buildings to be removed are not historically significant. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant preliminary approval to the plan for Newtown Business Commons Lot 21, subject to compliance with the following conditions: 

1.      The plan will be revised to comply with the 6/4/03 Pennoni Associates letter, the 5/30/03 Boucher and James letter, the 7/17/03 Planning Commission letter, the 6/17/03 Conservation District letter, the 5/2/03 Emergency Services letter and the 6/2/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter.

2.      Appropriate financial security agreements will be posted.

3.      All required permits and approvals will be secured.

4.      Appropriate water and sewer agreements will be provided.

5.      The issue of the traffic impact fees and the park and recreation fees is deferred to the final plan review.

6.      A guard rail will be added on top of the retaining wall between the detention basin and the parking lot.

7.      All costs of review will be paid by the applicant.

8.      Waivers are granted to allow an aerial photo in lieu of showing existing features on the plan, to allow a 3:1 slope on the berm, to allow the landscape plan to be prepared by someone who is not a landscape architect, and to allow a larger plan scale than is specified in the ordinance.

9.      A waiver of the required traffic study is granted, provided that the traffic study to be done for a nearby project include all the intersections that a study for Lot 21 would include. 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

PROPOSED MUNICIPAL COMPLEX EXPANSION PRESENTATION:  Joe Phillips and Jim Linsky of George Donovan Associates presented information and displayed sketches of a proposed plan for a major expansion of the Municipal Complex.  Mr. Harp noted that this will be the first major expansion of the Complex since the 1980’s.  The plan consists of four elements: 

1.      A new Public Works building

2.      A new Administration building

3.      Renovations and additions to the present Administration building to convert it to a Police building

4.      Renovations and additions to existing Public Works buildings to convert them to a Park and Recreation Activity building 

Mr. Linsky said that the estimated cost of all four elements is $6.819 million, plus a 15% design contingency and a 6% annual escalation factor.  He explained that cost estimates will be refined as details of the plan are worked out.  Mr. Phillips suggested that the Board include a construction contingency, since complications may arise as construction gets under way.  He estimated that the cost of furnishing the buildings would be around $300,000. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked how the space per employee included in this plan compares with similar projects.  Mr. Phillips said he has this data in his office and will fax it to the Township tomorrow.  Mr. Goodnoe asked if Mr. Phillips could provide comparative information on how many employees are needed to serve other communities of this size; Mr. Phillips said he does not have this kind of data. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked about the process used to develop this plan.  Mr. Phillips said Donovan Associates met several times with Township staff.  Mr. Pellegrino added that department heads were asked to describe the facilities they need to do their jobs.  Mr. Phillips said these discussions included consideration of future needs. 

Mr. Goodnoe said he cannot evaluate the plan until he knows what the standards are for numbers of employees and space for similar communities.  He also suggested that keeping the Police Department and the Administration together in one building would be more convenient for both the staff and the public.  Mr. Phillips said his company considered this option, but they determined that it would cost substantially more to do this because of conditions on the site.  He added that police departments generally want to limit access to their facilities for security reasons. 

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said the Township should have held public hearings so that residents could have had input.  She also expressed disappointment that there is no community center in the plan. 

Mr. Harp said the Board will make no decisions tonight, except perhaps to request more information. 

Joe Valenti, a Township resident, said there is a lot of rock on the Municipal Complex site, and the Township should proceed with caution. 

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, called this the “Cadillac” plan, and asked if a more modest plan is feasible. 

Ron Thornburg, a Township resident, asked what kind of facilities do similar communities have. 

Warren Keiser, a Township resident, said he is also interested in knowing the standards for municipal offices for similar communities.  He said the public should have more information on the design and the costs, perhaps in handouts. 

Paul Kester, a former Township resident, said he participated in the planning for the present facility.  He felt the Township did not do enough strategic planning or visioning at that time, and he suggested that for this project the Township should take the time to plan the expansion well. 

Mr. Harp suggested that the Board obtain more information on the issue of separate buildings for the Police and Administration, and on the issue of options for financing the expansion.  Mr. Pellegrino said this kind of project is most frequently financed through a municipal bond issue, but there are other possible sources of funds.  He said he provided the Board with a proposal recently that included paying some existing debt for the Wiggins property purchase. 

Mrs. Goren moved to authorize Mr. Pellegrino to research and report to the Board on options for financing the expansion project, and to authorize the architects to get more details on the issue of having the Police and Administration in one building or in separate buildings. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Goodnoe said he does not want the architects to do any further work until the Board has the information he requested.  Mr. Pellegrino said he can provide figures on current and projected employees in the Township.  He also commented that the staff’s input concerned what they need to do their jobs, not what they want. 

Mr. Jirele said the Board’s next step should be to determine what process will be used to plan the expansion project.  He said he would like to see a public hearing before the architect does any more work.  Mr. Pellegrino suggested that the first decision to be made is whether the Police and Administration will be in one building or separate buildings. 

Mr. Goodnoe said the Township belongs to several associations that should be able to provide the kind of comparative data he is seeking.  He objected to the motion to authorize the architect to research these issues. 

After extended discussion, Mrs. Goren agreed to amend her motion, which now reads as follows: to authorize the Manager to obtain and report on information regarding financing options, and to authorize the Manager to obtain and report on information regarding the numbers of employees, their space needs, and the projected growth rates of comparable communities.  Mr. Weaver amended his second. 

Nancy Crescenzo stated she supports Mr. Kester’s suggestion of strategic planning.  She also said a motion is not needed to ask the Manager to obtain information. 

Del Purscell, a Township resident, said the plan presented tonight was designed in a vacuum.  He suggested hiring a facilities planner to guide the Township through the process. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously. 

Mr. Jirele said he would like to discuss the Board’s process now.  He would like to see an outline of decision points, a determination of the ways in which the public will be involved, and a prioritization of the elements of the proposed plan.  He said each meeting should have a goal. 

Mrs. Goren said any public hearing should be scheduled after Labor Day to maximize participation, and should include informational handouts.  

Mr. Harp asked Mr. Pellegrino to develop a timeline for the project for the Board’s review. 

MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 7/23/03:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 7/9/03 regular meeting with two corrections: Mr. Jirele should be listed as present in the first paragraph; and the second sentence of the last paragraph under the second Community Comment section should read “The Manager will provide the Board with information on how the Township will make up the shortfall.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

BILLS LIST:  Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $294,128.88, and to make interfund transfers totaling $34,957.59; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER’S REPORT:  No items. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Commission Vice-Chairman Allen Fidler reported on their 8/5/03 meeting.  The Commission received the Bucks County Transportation Improvement Program proposal and appointed a subcommittee to review it and report at their 8/19/03 meeting.  Mr. Fidler said the subcommittee met on 8/8/03 and will meet again on 8/14/03. 

The Commission also reviewed a conditional use application for Newtown Business Commons Lot 21 and recommended approval.  The Commission also discussed the detour signs recently posted by PennDOT for quarry trucks, and the need for Commission members making comments at public meetings to clarify whether they are speaking as individuals or as representatives of the Commission. 

Mr. Jirele said he was surprised to see the Commission commenting on every Zoning Hearing Board application.  Mr. Fidler said the Commission’s intention was to have a chance to discuss and comment on any major planning issues that might be involved in the applications, since there have been occasions when the Commission was surprised by an applicant who had obtained relief from important ordinance requirements before appearing before the Commission.  Mr. Jirele suggested that the Commission comment only on the applications they feel involve major issues. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked if there are any requirements concerning in what order an applicant should go to the Zoning Hearing Board and the Planning Commission.  Mr. Harris said there are no requirements, and applicants sometimes go to the Zoning Hearing Board first as a guide in designing their plans. 

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS 

GRANGE FAIR:  Mr. Goodnoe reminded Township residents that the Grange Fair opens on 8/14/03 and continues through 8/17/03. 

LIAISON TO PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Goodnoe said the Chairperson of the Planning Commission requested a liaison from the Board of Supervisors at a recent Board meeting.  Mr. Goodnoe stated he supports this idea.  Mr. Jirele said he also supports the idea, and feels that Mr. Goodnoe is well qualified for this appointment. 

Mr. Jirele moved to appoint Mr. Goodnoe as the Board’s liaison to the Planning Commission.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe. 

Discussion of motion:  Mrs. Goren said that some members of the Planning Commission are not in favor of having a Supervisor at Commission meetings because it might have a dampening effect on discussions.  Mr. Harp said this was his understanding also. 

Mr. Jirele said the Board has liaisons to other boards and commissions, including two Supervisors serving as liaisons with the Park and Recreation Board.  He felt the Board of Supervisors should have a liaison with the Planning Commission as well.  Mr. Goodnoe added that the liaison would facilitate communication, not exert control.  Mr. Weaver said it seems appropriate to appoint a liaison to the Commission. 

Mrs. Goren said the Planning Commission can communicate with any member of the Board any time information is needed. 

Warren Keiser said the Board is not obligated to act on the Commission Chairperson’s request, but should decide what is appropriate. 

Joe Valenti said he agrees with Mr. Keiser. 

James Bowe, a Township resident and a former member of the Planning Commission, said he agrees with Mr. Jirele that the Board should have a liaison with the Commission, and that Mr. Goodnoe is the best qualified member for the appointment.  He also said he does not feel the Commission members will be intimidated by the presence of a Supervisor. 

Ron Thornburg asked who made the request for a liaison.  Mr. Harp said Mrs. Doorley, the Commission Chairperson, made the request at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors. 

Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, said he agrees with Mr. Bowe. 

Nancy Crescenzo said she is sure Mr. Goodnoe will not overstep his role.  She also said she attended the Planning Commission meeting at which the issue of a Board liaison was discussed, and only three Commission members objected to the presence of a Supervisor at Commission meetings. 

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

COMMUNITY COMMENTS 

Charlie McDevitt, a resident of Gaucks Lane, said he complained at the last Board meeting about the noise emanating from the Stone House restaurant.  He said he spoke with Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Harris and learned that the Township’s noise ordinance does not apply in the CM District.  He provided the Supervisors with copies of the relevant section of the JMZO.  The noise from concerts in a tent on the grounds of the restaurant continues to impact all the residents of Gaucks Lane. 

Mr. Harris said the restaurant owner obtained a permit for the tent, and he is permitted to have music outdoors as accessory to weddings and other special events, but he is not permitted to have outdoor concerts.  The owner has agreed to cancel all concerts scheduled for the rest of the season.  Mr. Harris also said the Township is continuing to measure the noise levels.  He recommended that the Township look into amending the noise ordinance to include the CM District, and that Mr. McDevitt contact the Liquor Control Board.  Mr. McDevitt said he did so. 

Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the Solicitor to work with the Solicitors in the other municipalities in the Jointure to draft an amendment to the noise ordinance.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

Tom Ames, a resident of Gaucks Lane, said he also hears very loud music coming from the Stone House. 

Holly Ames, Tom Ames’ wife, said they can hear not only music but also all the announcements on the loudspeaker.  She said they cannot use their deck because of the noise. 

Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Harris to find out how long the tent permit is valid and to discuss the issue with Mr. Harwood.  He asked what can be done now to bring some relief to the residents.  Mr. Harris said he will work with the Liquor Control Board, which can take action quickly. 

Joe Valenti asked why Mr. Ward was appointed to the Planning Commission when he did not perform well as Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor. 

Warren Keiser said he supports letting the Planning Commission choose which Zoning Hearing Board applications to review, and he supports finding long-term solutions to the noise problem at the Stone House, such as looking at the tent permit process.  He also asked about the status of the Solicitor’s investigation of the fate of the Heston barn. 

Mr. Harris said his office has learned that the timbers were stored, not sold, and the Friends of the Farm are still planning to restore the Peter Taylor barn with the timbers and the funds donated by Toll Brothers.  Mr. Keiser asked that the Township monitor this situation to make sure the timbers and funds are used as intended. 

Mrs. Goren moved to direct the Solicitor to recommend changes in the requirements for tent permits.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Keiser noted that the tent permit requirements do not have to be more restrictive, but perhaps more specific regarding the long term use of tents. 

Mike Iapalucci asked why PennDOT posted the blue and green detour signs in the Township.  Mr. Harp said he contacted Andrew Warren, who agreed to come to the next Board meeting to explain the signs.  Mr. Harp said the signs are on state roads, so the Township cannot remove them. 

Ron Thornburg asked about a response to the Eagleton Farms request regarding traffic calming measures.  Mr. Harp said this is on the agenda for the next Board work session. 

Mike Shiller, a Township resident, said he is worried about the increased traffic the detour signs are bringing to Route 413, with the Community College and two other schools on the road set to reopen in a few weeks.  

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS 

CHAIRMAN 

HONORING RESIDENTS IN THE ARMED FORCES:  Mr. Harp said the Board is planning to honor Township residents serving in the armed forces at their public meeting on 8/27/03.  He asked that names of such residents be sent in to the Administration office. 

FOCUS ON NEWTOWN:  Mr. Harp thanked “Focus on Newtown” for a recent article on Township parks. 

NEXT WORK SESSION:  Mr. Harp said the next Board work session is scheduled for 8/18/03, but two Board members will be out of town on that date.  He suggested that the session be canceled, and the two items on the agenda be postponed to the work session on 9/15/03.  Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Jirele said they would like the 8/18/03 session to take place, since a quorum will be present.  Mr. Weaver said he did not have a strong preference.  Mr. Harp said he prefers to cancel the session and move the two items to the 9/15/03 agenda. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS 

MEETING AT CLARK NATURE CENTER:  Mr. Jirele said he attended the most recent meeting of the Park and Recreation Board, which was held at the Clark Nature Center.  He said it was an inconvenient and unsafe location for a public meeting; some attendees could not hear, and there was insufficient seating and lighting. 

Mr. Jirele moved to have no further public meetings at the Clark Nature Center.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe. 

Discussion of motion:  Mrs. Goren said she did not want to make this a permanent policy.  She suggested the motion be broadened to prohibit public meetings in locations not designed for meetings.  Mr. Goodnoe said the concern is how the Clark Nature Center is used, so he would like to see the motion be specific. 

Nancy Crescenzo said she attended the Park and Recreation meeting and felt the choice of location was ill-advised.  She said the Clark Nature Center was never intended for activities like a public meeting. 

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

MANAGER 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expiration dates requiring Board action tonight. 

ACQUISITION OF DUMP TRUCK FROM NEWTOWN BOROUGH:  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township initially had a tentative agreement to buy the dump truck, used for the services the Township formerly provided to the Borough, for $9,900, but the Borough has received a bid for $12,500 and has asked the Township to match it.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Blue Book value of the truck is $18,000, so it is still a good price. 

Mr. Jirele asked if this purchase is included in the capital expenditures budget.  Mr. Pellegrino said it is not, but the Township needs the truck; it was being used for more than just the work for the Borough. 

Mrs. Goren moved to buy the dump truck from Newtown Borough for $12,500.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe. 

Discussion of motion:  Nancy Crescenzo said that the Board still has not explained how they plan to make up the income lost when the Borough canceled its contract for road services.  She asked how the truck will be paid for.   Mr. Pellegrino said the purchase will be made using Liquid Fuels funds. 

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting “nay”. 

PURCHASE OF VIDEO CAMERAS:  Mr. Pellegrino said two of the three video cameras in the Township meeting room are not functioning and cannot be repaired; the third camera also cannot be repaired if it stops functioning.  He referred to a 8/8/03 memo from Ron Weaver, Township Technology Manager, which reported that three new video cameras can be purchased from a local vendor for a total of $37,521.  Video Gold has estimated the cost of rewiring and installing the new equipment at $4,200.  Mr. Pellegrino recommended that the Township purchase two cameras and have Video Gold wire the room for three cameras. 

Mr. Jirele moved to purchase two new video cameras, as described in Mr. Ron Weaver’s 8/8/03 memo, and to authorize Video Gold to wire the Township meeting room for three new cameras, for a total cost not to exceed $29,214.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

STOOPVILLE ROAD CLOSING:  Mr. Pellegrino announced that the Township has been notified by PennDOT that two sections of Stoopville Road will be closed for repairs from 8/19/03 to 8/28/03.  The first section is from Route 413 to Route 532, and the second section is from 532 to Old Dolington Road. 

SOLICITOR 

RESOLUTION OPPOSING NORTHERN BYPASS (2003-R-21):  Mr. Harris provided a draft resolution opposing the use of Stoopville Road and Lindenhurst Road as a “Northern Bypass”, and copies of Mr. Pellegrino’s 7/28/03 memo discussing the Township’s past use of the term “Northern Bypass”.  Mr. Harris suggested dropping the capital letters, since the reference is a generic one. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve Resolution 2003-R-21 , without capitalization of the term “northern bypass”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele. 

Discussion of motion:  Sue Herman, a resident of Lower Makefield, asked why the term “northern bypass” was not repeated in the last paragraph of the resolution.  Mr. Harris said the intent of the resolution is to oppose Stoopville Road being more than one lane in each direction.  Ms. Herman said the resolution does not protect residents. 

Mike Iapalucci asked what prompted the resolution.  Mr. Harris said it grew out of discussion of the McLaughlin Tract development.  Mr. Iapalucci said the resolution seemed to be a waste of time. 

Phil Calabro, a Township resident, asked if the resolution will prevent PennDOT from changing the road.  Mr. Harp said it will not. 

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously. 

BRANDYWINE REALTY TRUST - NOTICE OF APPEAL FOR ZONING HEARING BOARD:  Mr. Harris provided copies of Brandywine Realty Trust’s notice of appeal to Commonwealth Court from Judge Rubenstein’s decision reversing the decision of the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Harris said that he has monitored the case but did not take an active role, as instructed by the Board of Supervisors.  He asked the Board if they wished him to take an active role now.  Mr. Harris said the Board has three options:  do nothing, defend the ordinance, or support the Zoning Hearing Board and Brandywine. 

In response to questions from Mr. Jirele, Mr. Harris said the decision should be made within a week or so, and it does not need to be discussed in executive session because it is not a matter of strategy.  

Mrs. Goren moved to send the Solicitor to defend the ordinance.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele questioned sending the Township Solicitor to oppose the Township Zoning Hearing Board.  Mrs. Goren said the Township should defend the ordinance, or all floodplain areas will be vulnerable.  Mr. Goodnoe said the Board should support the Zoning Hearing Board and Brandywine, since it is in the Township’s interest for Brandywine to build their project as proposed.  Mrs. Goren said the Township Solicitor should not argue against the Township’s ordinance. 

Mr. Harris said that if Brandywine wins, the ordinance will not be overturned.  Brandywine is claiming that the ordinance is ambiguous, the Zoning Hearing Board agreed, and Judge Rubenstein disagreed.  Mrs. Goren said the ordinance should be changed later if necessary, but it should be defended now. 

Mr. Jirele said the Board asked Brandywine to seek this variance.  He said the bridge which the variance makes possible is a way to move traffic out of residential areas, and will not make any other floodplain area vulnerable.  He said that many officials involved in the Jointure feel the ordinance is ambiguous.  

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

ENGINEER 

FINAL PAYMENT RELEASE - TRAFFIC SIGNAL INSTALLATION - DURHAM AND WRIGHTS ROADS:  Mr. Weaver moved to approve a final payment of $6,647.30 for the above mentioned project, as recommended by Mr. Smith’s letter of 8/7/03.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

2003 BUCKS COUNTY TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (BCTIP):  Mr. Smith said the subcommittee of the Planning Commission that is reviewing the BCTIP met with Mr. Wursta on 8/8/03 and will meet again on 8/15/03.  The Planning Commission is expected to make a recommendation at their 8/19/03 meeting.  Mr. Harp said the Board will discuss the BCTIP in detail at their next meeting. 

Mr. Goodnoe asked that the Engineer give the Planning Commission more notice the next time the BCTIP is reviewed, and to ensure that a Traffic Engineer attends the Planning Commission meeting when the BCTIP is discussed. 

PROGRESS PAYMENT #2 - TRAFFIC SIGNAL INSTALLATION - DURHAM ROAD AND NORTH DRIVE:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve progress payment #2 in the amount of $17,966.00 for the above mentioned project, as recommended by Mr. Smith’s letter of 8/8/03.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

CHANGE ORDER - TRAFFIC SIGNAL INSTALLATION - DURHAM ROAD AND NORTH DRIVE:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve Change Order #1 in the amount of $4,252.82 on the above mentioned project, as recommended by Mr. Smith’s letter of 8/8/03.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

SIGNING OF MYLARS - #20 CHURCHILL LANE (NEWTOWN CROSSING) - PRD VARIANCE:  Mr. Weaver moved to sign the mylars for the above mentioned project.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

SUMMARY OF ENGINEERING PROJECTS:  Mr. Smith reviewed his August 2003 summary of Township engineering projects, highlighting progress made on a few major projects. 

WETLANDS CROSSING - MCLAUGHLIN TRACT:  Mr. Pellegrino reported that the Department of Environmental Protection denied Toll Brothers’ request to build a trail across the wetlands.  The trail will be routed around the wetlands. 

NEW BUSINESS 

PENNDOT DETOUR SIGNS:  Mr. Harp reminded those present that Andrew Warren will be present at the next Board of Supervisors meeting to answer questions about the detour signs recently posted in the Township by PennDOT. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS 

Mike Shiller said the PennDOT detour signs are an example of what can happen to Stoopville Road, regardless of the Board’s resolution. 

Phil Calabro said the detour signs do not address safety concerns, they simply shift the traffic onto other roads. 

Warren Keiser said he is a resident of Linton Hill Estates, and heard that a new development being built by Toll Brothers will have the same name.  Mr. Pellegrino said he has told Toll Brothers that they must rename their development.  Mr. Keiser also asked how he can find out if his development is getting sewers.  Mr. Goodnoe suggested he talk with the Sewer Authority; Mrs. Goren added that he should talk with Warren Gormley at the Authority. 

Nancy Crescenzo said that she comments during Township meetings because she was disappointed that Mr. Harp has not followed through on his campaign promise to advocate for a community center, a skate park and School Board reapportionment.  Mr. Harp disagreed with Mrs. Crescenzo’s list of his campaign issues.  Mrs. Crescenzo said the Park and Recreation Board agreed to put the concept of a community center on the agenda for their next meeting.  She also said she was disappointed that no Township officials attended the recent Newtown Athletic Club run. 

Mr. Harp said the issues he ran on in the last election were:  fiscal responsibility, cable TV competition, opening parks and School Board reapportionment. 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Goren moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 AM, 8/14/03.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

  

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Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

Minutes Approved as submitted _______ as corrected _______

 

 

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Scott R. Harp, Chairman

 

 

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Anne Goren, Vice Chairman/Assistant Treasurer

 

 

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Richard Weaver, Treasurer/Secretary

 

 

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Thomas Jirele, Member

 

 

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Raymond Goodnoe, Member