Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

February 25, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting March 10, 2004. REGULAR MEETING OF 2/25/04:  Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 2/25/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, February 25, 2004, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Richard Weaver, Vice-Chairman Scott R. Harp, Secretary/Treasurer Anne Goren, Member Thomas Jirele, and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Sycamore Street Chairman Vince Lombardi, Planning Commission Member Frank Mendicino, Park and Recreation Board Member Kathy Kelly, Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation Vice-Chairman Mark Craig, Township Solicitor Stephen B. Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, Township Parks and Recreation Director Bill Wert, and Township Manager Robert M. Pellegrino.

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

INVOCATION: Given by Pastor Gerry Newswanger of the First Baptist Church of Wycombe. >The Pledge of Allegiance followed this.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that two items be added to the Manager’s report: authorization of bids for road materials, and a resolution supporting a Council Rock School District grant request.

SPECIAL ACTIONS: None.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS

REGULAR MEETING OF 2/11/04: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 2/11/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST FOR 2/25/04: Mrs. Goren moved to pay bills totaling $165,276.03. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Goren moved to make interfund transfers totaling $21,300.39. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT: None.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

PRELIMINARY PLAN - SILVER LAKE PARK - CAMPUS DRIVE: Kathy Kelly, a member of the Park and Recreation Board, presented a preliminary plan for Silver Lake Park. Ms. Kelly said the park is located off the Bypass in front of Lockheed-Martin, and access to the park will be from Campus Drive. A 22-space parking lot with two handicapped spaces will be built near the entrance. The parking lot and the driveway are the improvements that are budgeted for in 2004 for a cost of $45,000. Additional improvements proposed for the next three years include: a five foot wide macadam walking trail around the park perimeter which will connect with the Newtown Trail; an informal (upgraded) ballfield with a backstop; a fountain which will aerate Silver Lake; and a picnic area with outdoor furniture and some landscaping.

Ms. Kelly said the Planning Commission discussed this plan at their 2/17/04 meeting and suggested that the plan be discussed with Lockheed-Martin. This was done, and a written response has been requested but not received yet. The Planning Commission also suggested that a guardrail be installed on the first part of the driveway because there is a steep slope; that vehicular access to the walking path be blocked; that the distance of the trail loop be posted; and that a sign be placed on the Bypass indicating the park’s location. The Park and Recreation Board are studying all of these recommendations.

Mr. Goodnoe asked about the phasing of the park improvements. Ms. Kelly said the Supervisors received copies of the relevant section of the Capital Improvement Plan showing the driveway and parking lot planned for 2004; the landscaping, the fountain, and the backstop for 2005; and the trail for 2007.

Mr. Jirele suggested that the trail be built in 2005 and the other improvements in 2007 so that there will be pedestrian access to the improvements when they are built. Ms. Kelly said she would discuss this point with the Park and Recreation Board.

Mr. Jirele asked if any cost estimates for future improvements have been collected; Ms. Kelly responded that they have not.

Mr. Harp moved to approve the preliminary plan for Silver Lake Park. Mrs. Goren seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked for clarification of the motion. Mr. Harp said he intended approval of the land plan only, not the expenditures projected for future years.

Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on their 2/10/04 meeting. Representatives of Haines and Kibblehouse and Pennoni Associates were in attendance. Also, Mr. Pellegrino explained some of the processes involved in the project and announced that the Township received a grant for streambed stabilization. The new website, www.sycamorestreet.org, was discussed.

PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission member Frank Mendicino reported on their 2/17/04 meeting. The Township Planner presented an orientation session on zoning issues, the Commission completed its review of the Economic Development Committee’s recommendations regarding permitted uses, and the plan for Silver Lake Park was reviewed. The Commission reviewed and recommended approval of the conditional use and preliminary plan applications for Tudor Square Phase III with several conditions, reviewed and recommended no opposition to a Zoning Hearing Board application, and tabled several items because of the late hour.

PRELIMINARY PLAN - MINOR SUBDIVISION - DINARDO - 49 STOOPVILLE ROAD - TMP# 29-01-10: No one was present to discuss this application.  The Board agreed to table this application to a future meeting.

FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mrs. Goren reported on the Committee’s 2/17/04 meeting, at which the Committee’s mission statement was discussed and a schedule for meetings with department heads was set.

Mrs. Goren moved to add the following language to the Financial Planning Committee’s mission statement: “The Committee shall review Township operating revenues and expenditures and develop operating budget projections for a five year period, updated annually, to advise the Board of Supervisors on conditions that may affect the future financial position of the Township.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Goren said the Committee approved the following schedule for meetings with department heads:

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (EDC): Mr. Weaver reported that the EDC has been working with the new owner of the Zuener property. The EDC is planning to have an event on this site on 3/25/04 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Local municipal officials, business leaders, and others are being invited to view the plans for the building’s renovation.

JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): JDNC Board Vice-Chairman Mark Craig reported on their 2/19/04 meeting. The Board discussed fundraising for the Chancellor Street school building, implementation of a facade grant program funded by the Main Street program, and a project to encourage people to travel into the downtown area by bicycle. There will be a presentation on 3/2/04 of the results of the surveys recently performed by the JDNC. A featured speaker will be Malcolm Johnstone, the Executive Director of the Main Street program in West Chester. Mr. Craig said that West Chester has experienced increased property values, reduced vacancies, and much favorable publicity in local media. The JDNC also discussed the Elm Street program, which is similar to the Main Street program but focused on areas with residential or mixed residential and commercial uses.

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS

BUCKS COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS (BCATO): Mr. Weaver congratulated Mr. Goodnoe on his recent election to the presidency of BCATO.

FIRST FOURTH: Mr. Harp reminded residents that the First Fourth celebration would be held on 7/10/04. Volunteers are needed to work with the First Fourth Committee.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS: None.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN: None.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:

CODES COMMITTEE: Mrs. Goren reported on the 2/17/04 Codes Committee meeting. The Committee reviewed work on a fire hydrant at 12 Penns Trail, reviewed fees assessed a resident for constructing a fence without a permit, and discussed the new Uniform Statewide Building Code. The Committee will develop recommendations for amending the Township’s building code and present them to the Board of Supervisors. The next meeting will be 3/16/04.

BUCKS COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS (BCATO): Mr. Goodnoe reported on the recent BCATO meeting, which he and Mr. Pellegrino attended. Presentations were made by a representative of the state Ethics Commission and others.

MANAGER

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

CONSORTIUM SIGN MATERIAL AND POST BID: Mr. Pellegrino referred to a 2/20/04 memo from Gary Crossland regarding bids for sign materials and posts received by the Bucks County Consortium, and asked that awards be granted as recommended by Mr. Crossland.

Mrs. Goren moved to grant awards to Garden State Signs, Griffin Sign, and US Municipal Supply as recommended in Mr. Crossland’s 2/20/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

ROAD MATERIALS BIDS: Mr. Pellegrino referred to a 2/24/04 memo from Gary Crossland regarding bids for road materials received by the Bucks County Consortium, and asked that awards be granted as recommended by Mr. Crossland.

Mr. Harp moved to grant awards for road materials to Eureka Stone Quarry, Plumstead Materials, and Better Materials as recommended in Mr. Crossland’s 2/24/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

RESOLUTION 2004-R-8 IN SUPPORT OF COUNCIL ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT APPLICATION: Mr. Pellegrino said that the School District has applied for a grant from the state Growing Greener program to perform a feasibility study to identify techniques to improve the stormwater management in the School District; they have requested a supporting resolution from the Township. Mr. Pellegrino said the resolution commits the Township only to providing some staff time and some documents.

Mr. Harp moved to adopt Resolution 2004-R-8, supporting the Council Rock School District’s grant application to the Growing Greener program. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

UNIFORM CONSTRUCTION CODE: Mr. Pellegrino said staff is reviewing this document and will present recommendations to the Board at a work session. The Township will have 90 days from 4/9/04 to opt into the Code; if the Township does not opt in, the state will perform all building inspections.

SOLICITOR

ZONING HEARING BOARD - 3/4/04: Mr. Harris described the new case scheduled for the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting regarding 23 Birch Court. The Supervisors indicated there was no need for the Solicitor to represent them at the hearing.

AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE - STOP INTERSECTIONS AND NO PARKING ZONES ON HARMONY WAY: Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the Solicitor to advertise an ordinance providing stop intersections and no parking zones on Harmony Way in Lakeview Estates. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

STONEHOUSE BISTRO - UPDATE: Mr. Harris reported that representatives of the Township met with representatives of the Stonehouse Bistro on 2/19/04 and worked out a tentative settlement agreement. Solicitor David Sander is drafting an agreement that will be circulated to all parties, including the concerned neighbors. If the agreement is satisfactory to all the Zoning Hearing Board proceeding scheduled for 3/4/04 will be withdrawn. Mr. Harris said the tentative agreement includes a prohibition of outdoor amplified sound on the patio.

ENGINEER

ESCROW RELEASE #2 - OVERLOOK: Mrs. Goren moved to release $182,282.00 in escrow funds for the Overlook project, as recommended in the Engineer’s 2/6/04 letter. Mr. Harp seconded the motion.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if mud has been tracked onto Eagle or Stoopville Roads; Mr. Smith responded that it has not.

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said she saw a large quantity of mud running onto Eagle Road from this site during a rainstorm, as well as trucks tracking mud onto the road. She said she also heard from neighbors of the site that access to their driveways has been blocked.

Mr. Smith said this is the first complaint he has heard recently, and he will investigate the situation.

Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said he lives across the street from the construction site and has complained about the mud before. He said the builder has set up a wash area at the northern construction entrance, but most of the trucks use the southern entrance.

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

Mr. Goodnoe asked Mr. Smith and Mr. Pellegrino to monitor the situation closely.

OLD BUSINESS: None.

NEW BUSINESS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said he would like the group advocating for a home rule study commission to provide more information to the public. He also said this group is active because it is dissatisfied with the decisions of the majority of the Supervisors, and he discussed some recent letters in the local newspaper.

Nancy Crescenzo said it is inappropriate for a speaker to criticize other citizens during the Community Comments period.

Mr. Mendicino asked Mr. Jirele and Mr. Goodnoe to give their opinion of the Township’s present form of government. Mr. Jirele responded that Mr. Mendicino could call him at home to discuss this issue.

Mr. Jirele also asked why Mr. Mendicino is running for a position on the study commission if he is opposed to it. Mr. Mendicino responded that he is concerned about the motives of the group advocating it and the cost of increasing the size of Township government.

Del Purscell, a Township resident, spoke in favor of studying the government and reforming it. He expressed concerns about the present government’s responsiveness, financial management, appointment process, and attitude towards the business community.

Charles Weiner, a Township resident, said there is a great deal of information about the home rule study issue in the newspapers.

Nancy Crescenzo said some recent decisions by the Board of Supervisors have been friendlier towards the business community. She asked if the Board would discuss the possibility of a community center and an environmental council. Mr. Weaver responded that he has asked Mr. Pellegrino to collect information on environmental councils and community centers from other municipalities.

Glenn Beasley, a Township resident, said residents will be asked on the primary election ballot if they want to study the government and make recommendations. Voters will say yes or no, and elect nine members of a study commission. When the commission’s recommendations are presented, voters will have the opportunity to vote on the recommendations. Mr. Beasley announced that the first in a series of information sessions on this subject would take place on 3/16/04 at a location to be announced. The featured speaker will be Fred Reddig, the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services. Mr. Beasley also said Mr. Reddig has stated the study will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: None.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:____________________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary

 

Minutes Approved as submitted __________ as corrected___________

 

Attest: _____________________________                                           ___________________________
           Robert M. Pellegrino, Manager                                                      Richard Weaver, Chairman

 

                                                                                                                    ___________________________
                                                                                                                    Scott R. Harp, Vice-Chairman

 

                                                                                                                     ___________________________
                                                                                                                    Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer

 

                                                                                                                    __________________________
                                                                                                                    Thomas Jirele, Member

 

                                                                                                                    __________________________
                                                                                                                    Raymond Goodnoe, Member