Board of Supervisors Minutes
September 10, 2003
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting September 24, 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 9/10/03: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 9/10/03 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, September 10, 2003, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Scott R. Harp, Treasurer/Secretary Richard Weaver, Vice Chairman/Assistant Treasurer Anne Goren, Member Thomas Jirele and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Planning Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley, Park and Recreation Board Member Joel Grosso, Township Solicitor Stephen B. Harris, Township Engineers
Gerald Smith and Philip Wursta, 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 Reverend Klein of the Addisville Reformed Church. The Pledge of Allegiance followed this.
ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino said there is a need for a brief executive session following the public meeting. Mr. Harp said the preliminary plans for the D’Arcangelo subdivision and for Friends Village will be discussed immediately following the Planning Commission report.
CERTIFICATES OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: Mr. Harp presented Certificates of Accomplishment to three Township residents currently serving in the armed forces: Specialist Matthew Connor (U.S. Army), Lance Corporal Joshua Smith (U.S. Marine Corps), and Corporal Stefan Plescha (U.S. Marine Corps).
Mr. Harp thanked all three for their service to the country, and said the Board would like to honor more residents serving in the armed forces at future public meetings.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 8/27/03: Mr. Weaver moved to approve the minutes of the 8/27/03 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
BILLS LIST: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $156,452.31, and to make interfund transfers totaling $35,754.72; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: No items.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on their 9/2/03
meeting, at which the preliminary plan for Friends Village on Lower Dolington Road was reviewed. The Commission recommended approval and the granting of several waivers, subject to compliance with review letters. The Commission also prioritized and clarified their recommendations for the Regional TIP list; Mr. Wursta will discuss this item in detail during the Engineer’s report later tonight. The
Commission is also maintaining a local project list to keep in mind for the future.
The Commission discussed the Township Planner’s analysis of the Lower Makefield Comprehensive Plan Update and the Economic Development Committee’s recommendations regarding zoning changes in the LI and O-LI Districts.
PRELIMINARY PLAN - MINOR SUBDIVISION - D’ARCANGELO - WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD - TMP# 29-10-13.1: Michael D’Arcangelo and engineer Robert Pelke were present to discuss their plan to subdivide an 11.4 acre parcel in the CM District into two residential lots. The proposal was discussed at the 8/27/03 Board of Supervisors meeting and was continued to tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Pelke said two issues remain from the previous meeting: the driveway access, and connection with a water line. He said the applicant has agreed to build a shared driveway for the two lots exiting onto Linton Hill Road. He provided a sketch of the new design. Mr. Pelke said the applicant will now need another easement across lot 2, and therefore he will need a waiver of the definition of “minor subdivision” in the ordinance. Supervisors generally expressed their approval of the design.
Mr. Smith suggested that the 12’ wide driveway be increased to 16’ or 18’, to allow for parking or two-way traffic. The applicant agreed to make it 16’ wide.
Regarding the water line, Mr. Pelke said that the new design makes it preferable to connect with the water main on Linton Hill.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant preliminary plan approval for the D’Arcangelo minor subdivision, as shown on the plan revised on 9/10/03, with the following conditions:
1. Compliance with the 7/23/03 Pennoni Associates letter, the 7/8/03 Boucher & James letter, the 7/9/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, and the 8/7/03 Bucks County Conservation District letter.
2. The two lots will have a 16’ shared access driveway exiting on Linton Hill Road, with no access to Washington Crossing Road.
3. Financial security agreements will be provided.
4. All permits and approvals will be obtained.
5. Agreements with the Newtown Artesian Water Company will be provided, with access to the main on Linton Hill Road.
6. All costs of review will be paid in full.
7. The following waivers are granted:
· Section 504.17 - Road improvements on Washington Crossing and Linton Hill Roads
· Section 516 - Curbs on both roads
· Section 525.2 - To allow on-site septic systems instead of connecting with an existing sewer line within 1,000 feet of the site
· Section 517 - Sidewalks along street frontages
· Section 402 b & c - To allow an aerial photo in place of existing features on the plan
· Section 508.5 - Relief from the requirement that all lots abutting collector streets have frontage on a marginal access street
· Section 519.4 - To allow lot lines not at right angles to the street line
The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
PRELIMINARY PLAN - FRIENDS VILLAGE - LOWER DOLINGTON ROAD - TMP# 29-10-69-5-1: Kurt Norris, attorney Don Marshall, engineer Moonlight Tong, and architect Constance Lezenby were present to discuss the plan to build a 3,200 SF three-unit multi-family building for elderly housing on a 7.02 acre parcel in the R-1 District. There are four existing buildings on the site.
Mr. Marshall said the applicant has obtained a variance to allow 69 parking spaces instead of the required 79 spaces, and a special exception to expand a nonconforming use. He also said that the Park and Recreation Board recommended a waiver of park and recreation fees, which he estimated to be about $15,000, if the perimeter trail is accessible to the public.
Mr. Jirele said the Newtown Trail ends at the corner of Stanford Drive and Lower Dolington Road, and he asked that a curb cut and a walkway be installed to connect the Village’s perimeter walkway with the Trail. Mr. Marshall said it did not make sense to add a curb cut and walkway at the other end of the Lower Dolington Road frontage, since there is nothing to connect with at that corner. He said the applicant will give the Township an easement to build a connection there in the future if the Trail is extended.
Mr. Smith asked about the surface of the perimeter trail. Ms. Tong said the surface will be cinders, and the trail will be 5’ wide. Mr. Marshall said the applicant will give the Township the right to pave this section if it becomes part of the Township Trail system.
Mr. Harris said the 8/13/03 Conservation District letter found inadequacies in the plan. Mr. Marshall said those will be corrected, and a satisfactory letter will be obtained.
Mr. Jirele moved to grant preliminary approval to the plan for Friends Village, with the following conditions:
1. Compliance with the 7/30/03 Pennoni Associates letter, the 7/29/03 Boucher & James letter, the 8/6/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, and the 8/4/03 Fire Marshal letter.
2. The applicant will secure a letter from the Bucks County Conservation District stating that the plan is adequate. The applicant will comply with any changes recommended by the Conservation District.
3. Financial security agreements will be provided.
4. All necessary permits and approvals will be obtained.
5. The applicant will provide water and sewer service agreements.
6. A traffic impact fee will be paid.
7. The applicant will provide a walkway and curb cut connecting the perimeter walkway with the
Newtown Trail at the corner of Stanford Drive and Lower Dolington Road.
8. The applicant will grant easements for public use of the perimeter walkway, to extend the walkway at the other end in the future if the Trail is extended, and to allow the Township to pave the section of the trail along Lower Dolington Road.
9. The applicant will comply with the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision.
10. The applicant will pay all costs of review in full.
11. Six waivers are granted as recommended in the 9/4/03 Planning Commission letter.
The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Board member Joel Grosso presented a painting of the Clark Nature Center by Craig Hackett to the Township. He also reported on the Board’s 9/3/03 meeting, at which they considered options for using the land to be leased from PECO adjacent to the Clark Nature Center. Topics also included reactivating the Trail Committee, the planning process for the Woll Tract, communications with the Planning Commission, and the results of an archeological dig at the Clark Nature Center. The Board also accepted with regret the resignation of Chairman Bernard Bires.
GOALS AND PRIORITIES FOR 2004: Mr. Jirele suggested that the Board of Supervisors develop a list of goals and priorities for 2004 this fall, before the 2004 budget is finalized. Mr. Harp suggested this discussion be part of the work session on 10/20/03 (date changed from 10/27/03).
Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Pellegrino to provide the Supervisors with a list of all large projects currently being discussed in the Township, along with estimated costs, before the work session.
Charlie McDevitt, a resident of Gaucks Lane, asked what the Township is doing to address the noise problem he brought to the Supervisors’ attention on 8/13/03. Mr. Harris said he would discuss this in his report.
John D’Aprile, a Township resident, noted the recent passing of Henry R. Schickling Jr., a neighbor and a friend.
Del Purscell, a Township resident, thanked the Board for acting to change the ordinance regarding the Brandywine bridge. He also asked the Board to appoint a citizens’ committee to oversee the Municipal Complex Expansion project, and noted that, in his opinion the projected expansion has increased greatly since discussions began in 1998.
Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked the Board to follow a good process in filling the new vacancy on the Park and Recreation Board. She asked when there will be a public hearing on the Municipal Complex Expansion project, and she asked for discussion of the budgetary impact of the cancellation of the public works contract with Newtown Borough.
Mr. Pellegrino said he wrote a memo discussing the impact of the cancellation. He said the budget shortfall can be made up within the Public Works Department only by cutting staff, which would be unwise in the face of increasing demands on the Department. The total contract was for $98,000; the $49,000 loss this year will be balanced by increases in revenue, and the impact in 2004 will be considered when the budget is being developed. He said it is expected that budget items change throughout the year.
Ms. Crescenzo said that the Township had to buy the dump truck from the Borough because the contract was cancelled. Mr. Goodnoe advised that the Township chose to by the truck.
James Bowe, a Township resident, said he was disappointed that the Zoning Hearing Board recently granted Newtown-Yardley Associates a variance to allow 65% impervious surface in the LI District, where the ordinance allows only 50%. He said this decision sets a precedent for other property owners in the LI District, and the impact on the Township and neighboring municipalities of such a large increase in impervious surface should be studied.
Mr. Harris said the Township could appeal a Zoning Hearing Board decision up to 30 days after the letter has been issued. He said he has not seen the written decision.
Warren Keyser, a Township resident, asked if the public could comment on items in the Solicitor’s report. Mr. Harp said the public would be able to comment.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
9/11 COMMEMORATION: Mr. Harp described the events scheduled for tomorrow in Newtown Borough to commemorate the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks.
WORK SESSION - 9/15/03: Mr. Harp said the agenda for the work session includes the Roberts Nursery Tract, the Eagleton Farms resolution, Silver Lake Park plans, Station 55 renovations, and the sale of surplus vehicles.
HONORING SERVICEPERSONS: Mr. Harp asked that residents continue to give the administrative office names of other residents serving in the armed forces.
PENNDOT DETOUR SIGNS: Mr. Harp said he contacted Representative Steil, who agreed to coordinate a regional discussion of traffic issues related to the detour signs.
MARKET DAY: Mr. Harp said 9/13/03 is Market Day in Newtown Borough; he encouraged residents to attend the event.
MUNICIPAL COMPLEX EXPANSION: Mr. Harp said Mr. Pellegrino is preparing a timeline for the project, including at least one public hearing to discuss the plans.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Mr. Goodnoe said the JDNC has issued a Request for Proposals for the expansion and maintenance of their website. The application deadline is 10/6/03.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expirations needing the Board’s attention tonight; the Kosacci subdivision plan, which expires on 9/29/03, will need to be acted on at the next meeting.
MINIMUM MUNICIPAL OBLIGATION: Mr. Pellegrino read the following statement:
Mockenhaupt Associates has provided the 2004 Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) reports for both the Police Pension Plan and Non-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan. It is required by the State Auditor General that the report be submitted to and read into the minutes of the Board of Supervisors by September 30, 2003.
Financial requirement and the 2004 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Newtown Township Police Pension Plan will be $189,846.
Financial requirements and the 2004 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Newtown Township Non-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan is $157,205.
General Fund money will be used to fund the balance due in the approximate amount of $22,000.00; therefore, funding the Police Pension and Non-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan in full. The deposits into the Plans will take place by October 31, 2004.
REQUEST- JOINT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 9/4/03 letter from Warren Gormley, Manager of the Joint Municipal Authority, in which Mr. Gormley requested that the permit fees ($2,092) be waived for work to be done at the Bucks County Community College.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to waive the permit fees for the Joint Municipal Authority relative to the pump station upgrade and generator installation at the Bucks County Community College. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren asked if she should abstain, since she is a member of the Joint Municipal Authority. Mr. Harris said there is no conflict, since this decision will not financially impact Mrs. Goren.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
RECYCLING AWARD: Mr. Pellegrino said the Township recently received just under $74,000 in the 2002 -recycling grant. In previous years the grant has been only about $29,000. Mr. Pellegrino attributed this increase to the work of Hough Associates, whom the Township hired earlier this year for $4,000 to help with the grant application. Mr. Pellegrino said the Township is among the top third of Pennsylvania municipalities in the amount of the award per resident.
REVISION TO NOISE ORDINANCE: Mr. Harris provided a copy of a letter he sent to the solicitors of Wrightstown and Upper Makefield Townships suggesting a comprehensive revision of the noise provisions of the JMZO. He suggested that the Township ask all Jointure members to authorize their solicitors to prepare an ordinance for their review. He also provided a copy of the Solebury Township noise ordinance, which could be a model for an amended ordinance. Mr. Harris said his office is researching whether ordinance provisions relating to temporary structures also need revision. Mr. Harp asked Mr. Weaver, who is the Township’s representative at Jointure meetings, to make this suggestion at the next meeting.
Warren Keyser asked what changes are being proposed. Mr. Harris suggested he obtain a copy of the materials described above from Mr. Pellegrino. Mr. Keyser asked if the Planning Commission will be involved in the review of a proposed ordinance; Mr. Harp said the Commission will review it.
Charlie McDevitt asked what actions the Liquor Control Board and Police Department are taking. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the Township couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.
Mr. Jirele said the maximum fine for noncompliance in the Solebury ordinance is $1,000, and he asked if it could be higher. Mr. Harris said this is the maximum the state will allow. However, the municipality has the right to seek an injunction under the Solebury ordinance.
BRANDYWINE REALTY APPEAL: Mr. Harris said he has informed the parties in this case that the Township will be filing a brief in support of the ordinance. He said he would provide copies of Brandywine’s brief to the Board as soon as it is filed.
2003 BUCKS COUNTY TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (BCTIP): Township Traffic Engineer Philip Wursta was present to discuss the Planning Commission’s recommendations for the Township’s 2003 BCTIP submission.
Mr. Wursta explained the BCTIP process. He said there is less funding available at the state level than in previous years, so this year’s process will be very competitive. The Bucks County Planning Commission recommended that the Township submit only two or three projects.
Mr. Wursta reviewed the four projects recommended by the Planning Commission:
1. Stoopville Road Rehabilitation - The scope of this project includes safety improvements along the length of Stoopville Road, and the realignment of the intersection of Stoopville Road and Route 532. Safety improvements might be upgrading the shoulders, improving drainage, correcting the horizontal alignment, and installation of traffic signals. Regarding traffic calming, Mr. Wursta said these measures are usually for slowing traffic, and PennDOT is not interested in slowing traffic on Stoopville Road. Some safety improvements, such as lane delineation, can have a traffic-calming effect and can be included in this work. He noted that the Township should offer 20% matching funds to make the project more competitive.
Mrs. Goren asked if a rumble strip down the centerline of Stoopville Road could be part of this project. Mr. Wursta said the Township could recommend this to PennDOT at the meetings, once the funds are awarded.
Mr. Jirele suggested taking this project off the BCTIP list because a developer is doing major work on one section of the road, and many residents are opposed to what is being proposed.
2. Newtown-Yardley Road Corridor Improvement - Includes widening Newtown-Yardley Road to a five-lane cross-section to provide better access to and from the Newtown Business Commons. Mr. Wursta said the Planning Commission felt this project had great economic development benefits as well as improving traffic in the area.
Mrs. Goren questioned whether traffic from a highway the same size as the Bypass should be directed onto the small roads of the Newtown Business Commons. Mr. Wursta said the Commission envisioned a gateway or boulevard design, with many access points into and out of the Commons. There will be time to study whether the roads in the Commons should be widened.
Mr. Jirele said five lanes seem excessive for the section of Newtown-Yardley Road between Penns Trail and Lower Dolington Road. Mr. Wursta said that can be worked out at the meetings if the project is funded.
3. TEA21 Recreational Trail #2 - Mr. Wursta said TIP funds do not often go to trails, but the Planning Commission felt this was important. The Township can also seek a Transportation Enhancement Grant for this project. Mr. Goodnoe said the Community College was prepared to work cooperatively with the Township the last time this trail was proposed, and he hopes they will again.
3. Newtown Rail Line Reactivation - Mr. Wursta said this project has been on the BCTIP for a long time. The Bucks County Transportation Management Association is also working on this. He said the Commission wanted to keep this on the PennDOT “radar screen” in case it becomes possible. Previous cost estimates were very high because they assumed full electrification. The Planning Commission is contemplating a light rail system, which would cost much less.
Shawn Ward, a member of the Planning Commission and the subcommittee that developed these recommendations, said Projects #1 and #2 are also important to keep on the list. He said it takes from 8 to 12 years for a TIP project to be implemented, and the Commission is trying to plan for the future.
Frank Mendicino, also a member of the Planning Commission and the subcommittee, said it was helpful to meet with a representative of the Bucks County Planning Committee and learn more about the review process. He also said that the Township is not committed to doing a project, even when it is funded.
Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Wursta to explain the concept of keeping a project “on the radar screen”. Mr. Wursta said putting a project on the TIP list and discussing it at hearings keeps it in the minds of involved in state funding and planning. He noted that the Township will be lucky to have even one project on the County TIP, and the County will be lucky to have 2 or 3 projects recommended for funding by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC).
Nancy Crescenzo asked if the Trail Committee will be reactivated. She also spoke in favor of Projects #2 and #4, but suggested taking Project #1 off the list.
Ed Tate, a resident of Eagleton Farms, also suggested taking Project #1 off the list. He said the work being proposed will encourage speeding and more traffic. He said the DVRPC’s 1988 description of a northern bypass looks just like Project #1.
Mr. Wursta said safety measures that will tend to slow traffic on Stoopville Road can be proposed, but the term “traffic-calming” is not a good one to use in the proposal. He stated, the TIP proposals need to be somewhat vague until they are funded. He said Project #1 has nothing to do with a northern bypass.
Mr. Weaver moved to submit the TIP list to the Bucks County Planning Commission as recommended by the Township Planning Commission. Mrs. Goren seconded the motion.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe suggested that Project #2 specify that Newtown-Yardley Road will be five lanes from the Bypass to Penns Trail, and three lanes from Penns Trail to Lower Dolington Road. Mr. Jirele suggested that Project #2 be moved to the top of the list.
Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Goren agreed to amend their motion to include Mr. Goodnoe’s and Mr. Jirele’s suggestions.
Mr. Jirele asked if specific language about traffic calming could be added to Project #1. Mr. Wursta said he would prefer to include references to measures such as traffic signals, land delineation, shoulders of differently colored pavement. Mr. Jirele said that is acceptable to him.
Sue Herman, president of Residents for Regional Traffic Solutions and a resident of Lower Makefield, asked Mr. Wursta to obtain information on the wording of Lower Makefield’s traffic-calming recommendations for Lindenhurst Road.
Frank Mendicino said the Planning Commission’s subcommittee never talked about a northern bypass.
Mrs. Goren asked if a raised pedestrian crossing on Stoopville Road could be considered. Mr. Wursta said this would not be a good idea on a road that is posted 45 MPH.
Mr. Weaver’s motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe asked about the status of the Spring Garden Mill Bridge project, which has been funded. Mr. Wursta said he will get that information to Mr. Goodnoe.
Mr. Harp said the Planning Commission also recommended a specific delegation of representatives to local, regional and state meetings regarding the TIP. He invited all members of the Commission and the Board of Supervisors to attend. Supervisors received copies of Mr. Pellegrino’s 9/3/03 memo, which included a schedule of these meetings and some background information on the TIP process. Mr. Harp said Mr. Pellegrino’s memo indicates that the State Transportation Committee will hold a public meeting on 9/26/03, the Bucks County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting on 10/9/03 and the DVRPC will probably hold its public meetings beginning in May 2004.
Shawn Ward said the entire Planning Commission subcommittee is willing to attend the meetings.
Mr. Goodnoe asked that all the projects on the regional and local TIP lists be included on the list Mr. Pellegrino is preparing for the Supervisors’ discussion of goals and priorities for 2004.
DRAFT LETTER TO PENNDOT - DETOUR SIGNS: Mr. Harp read the letter drafted by Mr. Pellegrino to be sent to Andrew Warren, District Administrator for PennDOT. Mrs. Goren asked if it is premature to ask PennDOT to remove the signs before they have given the Township their reasons for putting them up. Mr. Jirele said Mr. Warren already gave the Township the reasons at the 8/27/03 meeting. After discussion it was decided to amend the draft so that the penultimate paragraph reads:
The Board of Supervisors requests that the Department provide a written explanation of its purpose for the installation of the detour signs and advise as to the specific criteria used. In the absence of appropriate engineering studies to justify their installation, the Board further requests that the signs be removed immediately.
Mr. Pellegrino suggested he ask Representative Steil to look at the draft, and Mr. Goodnoe suggested adding Gary Hoffman to the list of those to receive a copy. Both suggestions were agreeable to the Supervisors.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED)
Nancy Crescenzo asked about reactivating the Trail Committee. Mr. Harp said the Park and Recreation Board is discussing this and will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Jirele said the unfunded proposals for trails could be discussed in the Board’s upcoming goal-setting session.
Ms. Crescenzo spoke against having a trail on the PECO property near the Clark Nature Center, and asked if Roberts Ridge Park is for passive recreation. Mr. Harp said the park is mostly open space, but sections of it are for active, but not organized, recreation. Mr. Jirele suggested the term “low activity” to describe the purpose of the park.
Warren Keyser thanked the Board for advocating for improvements on Stoopville Road.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Harp said the Board would meet in executive session following the adjournment of the public meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objection, the meeting was adjourned at 11:20 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