Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

September 24, 2003


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting October 8, 2003. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 9/24/03:Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 9/24/03 regular meeting.The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, September 24, 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, HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, JDNC Member Douglas Terry, Township Solicitor Stephen B. 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 Pastor Whyte of the More View Bible Church. The Pledge of Allegiance followed this.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked the Board to add a report from the Cable TV Advisory Committee to the agenda following the Planning Commission report. He also asked that the review of the Kosacci preliminary plan be removed from the agenda, as the applicant has requested an extension to 11/30/03. He also asked that the Board meet briefly in executive session following the public meeting to discuss matters of personnel.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST AND REPORTS

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.

BILLS LIST: Mr. Weaver moved to pay bills totaling $235,624.28, and to make interfund transfers totaling $400,700.00; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

TREASURERíS REPORT: No items.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): Ethel Hibbs, HARB Secretary, presented three Certificates of Appropriateness which were recommended for approval at the 9/9/03 HARB meeting.

WYNMERE HUNT ASSOCIATES - SISTERZ & COMPANY - 5 CAMBRIDGE LANE: Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign for Sisterz & Company. Mr. Jirele seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if the sign will be in the same location; Mrs. Hibbs confirmed that it will be.

Mrs. Gorenís motion passed unanimously.

KAREN SHENSKY - KNITHAVEN - 247 N. SYCAMORE STREET: Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign for KnitHaven. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

RICK STALLARD - COA - 123 N. SYCAMORE STREET: Mr. Weaver moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new entrance door. Mrs. Goren seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked what color the new door will be. The documentation provided did not specify the color.

Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Goren agreed to amend their motion to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness subject to the use of an approved color. The motion passed unanimously.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: Mr. Weaver said the Commission is currently addressing uses by right in the Newtown Business Commons area. He also said that Martin Kierstead resigned from the Commission because of a scheduling conflict.

Mr. Weaver moved to accept Mr. Kiersteadís resignation. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

Mr. Harp said the Township would send Mr. Kierstead a letter of appreciation for his service.

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, commented that only one of the 11 original appointees is a woman, and she hopes the Township will appoint a second woman to fill this vacancy. She also asked that the whole Board be allowed to participate in this process.

JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Douglas Terry, a member of the JDNC, said the JDNC Board met on 9/18/03. The Board continues to work on the Main Street proposal. Business surveys have been widely distributed; the results will be made available to local businesses and will accompany the Main Street application. The JDNC is also working on revising the Main Street Managerís job description, creating a map showing a 100-year look into Newtownís future, developing a line of local postcards to sell as a fundraiser, and finalizing a promotional video.

PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Chairperson Karen Doorley reported on their 9/16/03 meeting, at which they reviewed the preliminary plan for the Kosacci subdivision and recommended approval with several conditions. They also reviewed a PRD Variance application from the Four Seasons Sun and Shade Company and stated they have no objections. he Commission reviewed three Zoning Hearing Board applications and recommended that the Board of Supervisors oppose applications from Tudor Square and from Pryda LLC. Several JMZO amendments were reviewed; two were tabled for further information, and JMZO 2003-01 was recommended for approval.

CABLE TV ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Report deferred until Mr. Bowe can be present (see later).

MEMBERS COMMENTS

STONEHOUSE BISTRO: Mr. Weaver asked for an update of the Stonehouse Bistro situation. Mr. Harris said that the Township would be asking all the Jointure municipalities to have their solicitors develop a revised noise ordinance. Mr. Sander and Mr. Harwood are working on a temporary structures ordinance, and the Liquor Control Board is continuing their investigation.

Mr. Harp commented that he received a telephone call from a resident of Gaucks Lane on Sunday evening, and he could hear the music clearly over the phone. Mr. Harp said he called the police and asked them to intervene. He said that he had talked with the owners of the Bistro earlier, and they told him they would try to reduce the noise.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS

Nancy Crescenzo said she attended the 9/15/03 work session and was dismayed at the treatment given to Mr. Fidlerís proposal to rezone the Roberts Nursery Tract. She also asked that the issue of traffic calming be discussed with more residents than just the Eagleton Farms representatives. She asked where the funds are coming from for the traffic calming study in Newtown Gate. Mr. Harp responded that the Law School Admission Council has contributed $20,000 under an agreement made at the time their plan was approved, and $8,000 comes from Traffic Impact Fees. Mr. Pellegrino added that meetings with Newtown Gate residents were scheduled through the Newtown gate Homeowners Association.

Ron Thorburn, a resident of Eagleton Farms, thanked the Board for giving him and his neighborís time at the work session. He said he understands that a general study of traffic calming in the Township will be done, and the Township will focus on particular areas next. Mr. Pellegrino confirmed this statement.

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said he attended several Planning Commission meetings at which the Roberts Nursery proposal was discussed before he became a Commission member. He said the Commission worked with Mr. Fidler to try to create a plan that would meet everyoneís needs. He said that the needs of taxpaying residents should not be overlooked.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN

WORK SESSION OF 9/15/03: Mr. Harp reported that Mr. Fidler withdrew his rezoning proposal following the discussion at the work session. In addition, the Board had a good dialogue with Eagleton Farms residents, discussed the engineering services proposal, which is on tonightís agenda, discussed the Station 55 renovations, and authorized Mr. Pellegrino to proceed with the sale of surplus vehicles.

INTERNATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION: Mr. Harp announced that this event would take place at the Middletown Grange Fairgrounds on 9/28/03.

NEWTOWN SYMPHONY CONCERT: Mr. Harp announced that this event would take place at Bucks County Community College on 9/28/03.

BEAR PICNIC: Mr. Harp announced that this event would take place at Goodnoe Elementary School on 10/2/03.

MILESTONES: Mr. Harp said he and Mr. Goodnoe attended Booker Dingleís 100th birthday recently, and he asked residents to let the Township know of other residents who reach similar milestone birthdays or anniversaries.

TIP MEETING: Mr. Harp said the first meeting related to the Bucks County Transportation Improvement Program would take place on 9/26/03 at the Adamís Mark Hotel.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES: Mr. Harp said that two recent newspaper columns spoke of the residents and the police departments of suburban towns in a disparaging way, and he objected to these articles.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS

BANK OPENING: Mr. Weaver said he attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new First National Bank branch on Newtown-Yardley Road and was impressed by the building.

MANAGER

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

SILVER LAKE PARK DEVELOPMENT PLAN - ENGINEERING SERVICES: Mr. Pellegrino referred to his 9/9/03 memo, which included two proposals for the preparation of land development and construction plans for the proposed facilities at Silver Lake Park. He explained that the improvements planned consist of a parking lot, a trail extension, a picnic grove, and an open lawn area for informal ball games. Mr. Pellegrino recommended that the Board authorize a contract with Tri-State Engineers for this work in the amount of $16,500. The preparation of bid documents and contract administration will add $4,000 to the cost for Tri-Stateís professional services. Mr. Pellegrino said that, if this proposal is approved, the plan should be completed this year, including a review by the Planning Commission. The Board would approve the plan early in 2004, with construction to begin in the spring.

Mr. Weaver moved to authorize a contract with Tri-State Engineers for the preparation of land development and construction plans for Silver Lake Park in accordance with their 5/21/03 proposal for a total amount not to exceed $20,500. Mrs. Goren seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren asked the source of the funds for this project. Mr. Pellegrino said the Township budgeted $20,000 for this project in 2003, but some costs will be paid in 2004. He said the funds come from the Recreation Impact Fund.

Nancy Crescenzo commented that nearby traffic on the Bypass and the presence of many geese make this a less than ideal place for a park. She questioned whether the parking lot, planned for 15 to 20 cars, is big enough.

Mr. Weaverís motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Harp said this park is on the route of the Newtown Trail. He introduced Kathy Kelly, Chairperson of the Silver Lake Park Subcommittee of the Park and Recreation Board. He said the Planning Commission will review the plan and residents will have an opportunity to comment on it.

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM APPLICATION (2003-R-22): Mr. Pellegrino referred to his 9/18/03 memo, which provided background information about recent CDBG grants and the status of the funds. He also provided a draft resolution authorizing an application to the Bucks County Community Development Block Grant Program this year for $20,000 to update the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and to use $36,720 in unspent funds from earlier grants for a study of safety issues at the intersection of Swamp and Eagle Roads, for a total request of $56,720.

Mrs. Goren moved to approve Resolution 2003-R-22, authorizing the application for a total of $56,720 in Community Development Block Grant funds as described in Mr. Pellegrinoís 9/18/03 memo. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if a public hearing is necessary. Mr. Pellegrino said the application for $20,000 for the updating of the Ordinance was approved at a public hearing in 2002, and it is not necessary to hold a public hearing to redirect the use of previously received grant funds. Mr. Pellegrino noted that the Township is not eligible for as much CDBG money since the Township no longer has census tracts meeting low and moderate income criteria as a result of the 2000 census. Mr. Harp read the entire resolution for the benefit of the public.

Mrs. Gorenís motion passed unanimously.

SOLICITOR

JMZO 2003-01 - AMENDMENTS TO USE TABLE, DEFINITION OF LOT WIDTH, AND SEVERAL CORRECTIONS: Mr. Harris asked the Board for authorization to forward JMZO 2003-01 to the Jointure and to request that it be advertised by the municipalities.

Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Solicitor to forward JMZO-01 to the Jointure with a request that the ordinance be advertised for enactment by the municipalities. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Harris to clarify the change in the definition of lot width. Mr. Harris said the ordinance would prohibit lots from tapering to a width below the minimum. It could have the effect of reducing the number of lots a developer can put on a cul-de-sac.

Mr. Jirele asked what the minimum lot width is; Mr. Harris said he would get that information to Mr. Jirele. Mr. Harris commented that this ordinance would not affect existing lots or plans.

Mr. Jireleís motion passed unanimously.

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: Mr. Harris reviewed the three new applications scheduled for the 10/2/03 Zoning Hearing Board meeting. The Board discussed the two applications, which the Planning Commission recommended opposing.

PRYDA LLC: Mr. Harris explained that the applicant has not obtained conditional use approval for office use, but he is obtaining the variances he would need for offices. He said Mr. Sander attended the meeting at which the Planning Commission discussed this application, and Mr. Sander reported to Mr. Harris that the Commission felt strongly about opposing this application. The Commission was also concerned about the effects of allowing a one-third reduction in parking.

Frank Mendicino, a member of the Planning Commission, said there has been a work stoppage order on this property. He asked the Board to take the Commissionís recommendation seriously, as Commission members feel the applicant is following an incorrect process.

Board members indicated they do not want the Solicitor to attend this hearing.

TUDOR SQUARE: Mr. Harris said the Planning Commission objected to this application because of the increased impervious surface requested. Mr. Weaver said the Economic Development Commission has discussed recommending that the maximum impervious surface ratio be raised in the O-LI District, but that recommendation has not been made yet.

Board members indicated they do not want the Solicitor to attend this hearing.

Mr. Harp asked Mr. Harris to explain the process to be followed if the Board of Supervisors disagrees with a Zoning Hearing Board decision. Mr. Harris said the Board of Supervisors could appeal within 30 days of the issuance of a written and signed decision. The appeal must be based on what was presented at the hearing.

ENGINEER

AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS FOR OVERLOOK - HOFFA TRACT: Mr. Smith said he recommends signing the mylars for the Hoffa Tract, pending the receipt of several documents.

Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the signing of the mylars and improvement agreements for the Hoffa Tract, and to hold the mylars until the Township receives the following:

  • An NPDES permit
  • Signed agreements with the Newtown Joint Sewer and Water Authority
  • A PennDOT permit
  • A check for the developerís savings vs. expenses relative to sidewalks, in an amount to be approved by the Township Engineer

Mr. Jirele seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Ethel Hibbs asked if a demolition permit was required before the mylars are signed. Mr. Harris said it is not necessary at this point.

Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, commented that the Hoffa Tract development has pie-shaped lots, which JMZO 2003-01 intends to prohibit. Mr. Harris explained that the ordinance has not been approved tonight, just forwarded to the Jointure with a recommendation that it be advertised. Also, no existing approved plan would be affected by the ordinance.

Del Purscell, a Township resident, commented that the ordinance might encourage grid-like street design. Mr. Harp said that is a point that should be considered when the Board discusses the ordinance.

Mrs. Gorenís motion passed unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS: None.

NEW BUSINESS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED)

John DíAprile, a Township resident, said he hopes Pennoni Associatesí traffic-calming study will be more than just excerpts from the PennDOT manuals. He questioned whether traffic calming is appropriate for Stoopville Road, and suggested that traffic lights and police patrols would be more effective. He said it is clear that Route 413 is the most direct route to the Bypass for the trucks.

Nancy Crescenzo said she attended a meeting of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council on 9/22/03 and learned that Wrightstown and Upper Makefield are using their open space creatively. She gave Mr. Harp a list of resources she obtained at the meeting, and asked the Board to consider re-establishing an Open Space Committee in the Township.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS (CONTINUED)

CABLE TV ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Jim Bowe reported on the Committeeís 9/17/03 meeting. He said the two major topics were changing the name and the makeup of the Committee, and how to encourage competition among providers of telecommunications services in the Township.

Mr. Harp thanked Mr. Bowe and Committee Vice-Chairman Walt Iwaskiw for advocating for residents when there are problems with Comcast. Mr. Bowe invited members of the public to attend Committee meetings, which are held the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 PM at Newtown Borough Council Chambers.

Mr. Harp commented that Comcast will be installing cable service in the Newtown Business Commons in the next few weeks.

Mr. Bowe reminded residents that the Newtown Chamber Orchestra will be performing at Bucks County Community College on the evening of 9/28/03.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Harp said the Board will meet in a brief executive session for matters of personnel following adjournment of the public meeting.

ADJOURNMENT: Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM.

 

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