Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

September 15, 2003


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting October 8, 2003. MINUTES OF THE WORK SESSION OF 9/15/03: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 9/15/03 work session with two changes:  Under Members Present, Richard Weaver should be listed as Treasurer/Secretary; and under Members Absent, Mrs. Goren should be listed as Vice-Chairman/Assistant Treasurer.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining. 


Members Present:     Scott R. Harp, Chairman; Tom Jirele, Member; Richard Weaver, Secretary-Treasurer; Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, 
                                    Member; Dave Sander, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager; Christopher Walker and Al Frederico, 
                                    Pennoni Engineering.

Members Absent:      Anne Goren, Vice-Chairman/Assistant Treasurer

Call to Order:  

Chairman Harp called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.

Roberts Nursery Proposal - Proposed Zoning Amendments

Allen Fidler read his letter to the Board of Supervisors dated September 15, 2003, in which he requested that his proposal be removed from the agenda. He said that he had come to agree with the Planning Commission and its consultant that perhaps the township would not want to co-mingle residential and commercial use. Therefore, he and his wife have chosen to withdraw their proposal. Mr. Fidler thanked the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for their time.

Mr. Goodnoe said he felt that the Fidlers’ proposal should have been given to the BOS with a recommendation by the Planning Commission either way, and said he felt that the proposal was reasonable. He said that the township was going to need to reconsider how to deal with agricultural land use for the future. Mr. Fidler said he felt that the Planning Commission had dealt with his request appropriately, and that he had come to realize that in 5 to 10 years residential use of his property might be better for the township. He noted that the township has struggled with residential use next to intensive commercial use along Durham Road, and urged the township to look at retail zoning, as it is appropriate to the township, when the issue is reviewed next.

Mr. Jirele said he appreciated Mr. Fidler’s appearance to inform the Board of his decision, and clarified that Mr. Fidler’s property is one of only two farms in the township run by the owner. Mr. Fidler said he hoped that the Sterling Farm could continue its agricultural use into the future.

Eagleton Farms Resolution - Traffic Calming on Stoopville Road

Mr. Ronald Thorburn spoke for the group from Eagleton Farms, and said that their goal is to slow down traffic on Stoopville Road through the use of traffic calming techniques.

Traffic Engineer Al Frederico said that a traffic-calming program is being developed now, which will establish a process and a menu of calming measures.  Mr. Frederico said he would meet with township staff and interested parties to evaluate measures that would be acceptable to the township. 

The guidelines for this program will be based on the PA Traffic Calming Handbook, found on the web at: http://www.dot.state.pa.us

Mr. Frederico outlined the process for developing the township’s traffic calming program:

·         Once the process is drafted, they would meet with stakeholders, such as Public Works, Police, Emergency Service, etc., to discuss specific issues and identify elements that impact safety such as school bus stops, schools, playgrounds, etc. 

·         Emergency service routes would be analyzed to prevent any impediment to emergency access, and public service issues, such as water, would be reviewed. 

·         After the plan is formed, it will go through an approval process with all concerned parties, looking for support from interested parties.

·         The program would be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

·         The Board of Supervisors would identify and review potential traffic calming projects

·         The BOS would choose the projects and look for funding.  Mr. Frederico said they would be proposing mitigation on two levels:  low cost, easy to implement methods and long-term solutions requiring capital expenditure. 

Mr. Thorburn asked if a traffic calming study could run concurrently with this process.  Mr. Pellegrino said that a study for potential projects would follow the completion of the program, since engineers would use elements of the program to evaluate potential projects.  Mr. Frederico clarified that the program should be flexible so that elements/solutions could be added or deleted if desired.  Mr. Thorburn asked if traffic calming elements could be put into the state’s TIP program; Mr. Pellegrino said that the process would not need to be on the TIP and that the TIP application would be submitted very soon. 

Mr. Frederico said that the state doesn’t consider traffic calming a state issue; it is concerned only with mobility between areas.  He said that features could be incorporated into the TIP projects in the form of context sensitive design features, designing the road to address quality of life issues with adjacent properties. 

Mr. Frederico said that the process would allow the township to quantitatively and objectively evaluate projects, outline steps to implement traffic calming, and form a legal basis for implementation of traffic calming which ensures proper guidelines have been followed.  He said that the PennDOT process, published in the PA Traffic Calming Handbook, is longer and more involved than most municipalities could manage, and most municipalities have streamlined the process so the development of the process is not more costly than implementation.   Mr. Frederico said Pennoni has assisted Middletown and Radnor with the development of their traffic-calming program, and has reviewed Doylestown’s program as well as programs in other cities around the country.  He noted that community acceptance is a key element to success.  Mr. Iwaskiw suggested speaking with residents now to streamline the process and gather public input. 

Mr. Thorburn was concerned about how the public would be informed about the process.  Mr. Pellegrino said that Pennoni would submit a draft of the program to the BOS, and then the Board would discuss the draft and take public input before voting approval of the program.  After adopting the program, the Board would identify streets in need of traffic calming. 

Ian Galbraith, Newtown Township resident, asked about the timeline for the process, and said it would be helpful for the public to have a written schedule.  He and other Eagleton Farms residents said that the township should be requesting a project schedule plan from Pennoni.  An Eagleton resident said he had heard no commitment to traffic calming on Stoopville Road, and said Stoopville should be a priority.  The consensus of the Board was that Stoopville Road should be a priority.  Mr. Harp noted that the police department does monitor speed on Stoopville, and asked anyone willing to allow police to use their driveway or property to contact the township. 

Mr. Harp said that the Board should depend on the consultants to suggest a timeline for the development and implementation of the program.  Mr. Jirele said it was reasonable for the Board to request a timeline, and suggested that by Thanksgiving the Board should have a document to review and present to the public Mr. Federico agreed to submit the program by that date. 

A township resident requested that speed humps be eliminated from the discussion of traffic calming, saying that they would be impractical on Stoopville Road.  He said that the proposed traffic crosswalk with blinking light at Hemlock was a terrible idea, that it would serve as a bad invitation for children to cross Stoopville.  

Mr. Jirele reported that he had spoken to Andrew Warren and Representative Steil about Swamp Road.  He said that the culverts were due to be done in two years, but that PennDOT is trying to finish the work by the summer of 2004. 

Ms. Crescenzo asked about the Newtown Gate traffic-calming project.  Mr. Pellegrino explained that it was part of a pilot project approved by the Board several months ago.  He said that the Law School Admission Council provided $20,000 for traffic calming in Newtown Gate. The Pennoni proposal approved by the Board for $28,000 included $22,600 for the Newtown Gate study and $6,400 to develop the program for use throughout the township.  Mr. Pellegrino clarified that the Board had approved the proposal from the engineer that included a description of the project.   

Mr. Goodnoe said he felt the process had been approached backwards, and asked why the study hadn’t been done before addressing streets in need of traffic calming.  Mr. Harp said that money had been dedicated for the project on Fountain Farm Lane; Mr. Frederico said that the traffic calming process in Newtown Gate included some elements that will be a part of the township’s eventual program.  He said he expects the implementation stage to mirror what is happening at Fountain Farm Lane.   

Mr. Frederico reiterated that the draft of the township traffic-calming program will be ready in November. 

Engineering Services Proposals - Silver Lake Park Plan

Mr. Pellegrino noted that a determination had been made by the Board to proceed directly to land development phase, based on the scaled down plans.  He said he had received a non-competitive quote for the land development phase from YSM, and recommended that the contract be awarded to Tri-State Engineers for preparation of a land development plan and construction documents in the amount of $16,500.  Mr. Pellegrino said that the preparation of bid documents and contract administration would add $4000 to the cost of their professional services; this figure was not part of the proposal.  This issue will be on the agenda at the next BOS meeting.   

Mr. Pellegrino clarified that the engineering proposal was based on the scaled down master plan, approved in 1999, which would include trail extension, informal ball field, a picnic area, open law area, and water feature in the lake. 

Station 55 Renovations - Request for Additional Funding

Warren Dallas distributed handouts detailing the Newtown Fire Association financial plan and costs for the Station 55 renovation.  Due to the discovery of a water line that was not on the plans, a change order was required that cost $35,000 plus $3000 for engineering fees.  The Fire Association is requesting additional funds to cover this unforeseen cost.  Mr. Dallas said that the total cost for the renovation would be approximately $722,000.   

Mr. Dallas reviewed a capital plan for the associated, and clarified that the income listed is net, including usual expenses. He said that they are working to stay within present funding levels, and that they are recommending holding the fire tax at 3.5 mils.  He said they are looking for about $40,000 in additional funding. 

Mr. Harp suggested that additional funding for $40,000 could be included in next year’s budget and considered a capital expense.  He said Capital Planning could consider the funding; Mr. Dallas said they could cover the expenses at this time.  Mr. Goodnoe noted that when the millage was raised, the $80,000 yearly township contribution had been discontinued.  

The consensus of the Board was to consider the request of the Fire Association for additional funding of $40,000 as part of the budget process. 

Proposed Sale of Surplus Vehicles

Mr. Pellegrino distributed a list of township vehicles and recommended they be sent to auction.  He said that municipalities typically use an auction company, such as Nationwide Auction Systems which charges

4 - 4 ½ %.  Mr. Pellegrino said he thought the township could get a better price.  Mr. Harp noted that the township solicitor had investigated the auction process and felt it was appropriate for the township.  Mr. Goodnoe said that Mr. Pellegrino should get a list from each department as to what vehicles they require; Mr. Pellegrino will address this issue. 

Community Comment

Township resident John D’Aprile said he would be unhappy if the traffic engineer returned with a traffic calming study that was just excerpts from the PA Traffic Calming Handbook. 

Nancy Crescenzo asked when there would be a public meeting to discuss the municipal complex expansion.  Mr. Harp said no dates had been set.  Mr. Pellegrino said he is putting together a comprehensive report that will be made available to the public; he is still gathering data and drafting the report.  Mr. Pellegrino said the report would include the funding, the impact on taxes, and comparisons with other municipal complexes.  He said when the report was complete the Board would set a hearing date.  Mr. Pellegrino said the work on his report could take another month, but that the budget process would need to take precedent.  Mr. Harp said that the project would not take place without public input. 

Mr. Iwaskiw requested that Mr. Pellegrino’s report be made available for at least two weeks before a public meeting to discuss the municipal complex; Mr. Pellegrino said that would be possible.  Mr. Iwaskiw asked for budget v. actual figures; Mr. Pellegrino said those figures are available each month. 

Ms. Crescenzo said it was unfortunate that discussion regarding Stoopville Road did not take place during a televised meeting, and that the public could benefit from hearing that discussion.  She suggested that the manager could educate the public from a layman’s viewpoint rather than an engineer’s perspective.  Mr. Pellegrino said he was not an expert and an engineer would be better equipped to present information to the public on this matter.  Mr. Frederico said that if the Board desired he could make a presentation describing the process and traffic calming options.  He cited PennDOT publication 383, the PA Traffic Calming Handbook, which is available to the public through the PennDOT website:  

Adjournment

On motion by Mr. Weaver and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:16pm.   

 

Respectfully Submitted by: 

 

                                                               
Leslie. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary         
10/14/03