Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

March 24, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 14, 2004.  REGULAR MEETING OF 3/24/04: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 3/24/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously, with Mr. Harp abstaining.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, March 24, 2004, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Richard Weaver, Secretary/Treasurer Anne Goren, Member Thomas Jirele, and Member Raymond Goodnoe.  Also present were:  Planning Commission Chairman Shawn Ward, HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor Stephen B. Harris, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, 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 Judy Joseph, Township Chaplain.  This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.   

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA:  Mr. Pellegrino asked that the items regarding the dedication of improvements in St. Andrews Briar and Pheasant Pointe be deleted from the Solicitor’s Report.    

SPECIAL ACTIONS 

RECOGNITION – BRANDON WOLFE:  Deferred - follows the HARB Report. 

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS 

MINUTES 

REGULAR MEETING OF 3/10/04:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 3/10/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mr. Jirele abstaining. 

BILLS LIST FOR 3/10/04: Mrs. Goren moved to pay bills totaling $202,723.92.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

Mrs. Goren moved to make interfund transfers totaling $500,337.50.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

TREASURER’S REPORT:  None. 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION 

Mr. Weaver moved to request that the Jointure advertise the proposed ordinance amending LI and O-LI District Zoning Provisions.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB):  HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs presented four HARB recommendations for Certificates of Appropriateness: 

RITA’S WATER ICE – 14 SWAMP ROAD – ROOF REPLACEMENT:  Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for this project, in accordance with HARB’s recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

THE QUAKER GROUP – 41 CAMBRIDGE LANE – SIGN:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for this project, in accordance with HARB’s recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously. 

WYNMERE HUNT ASSOCIATES – 2-14 CAMBRIDGE LANE – ROOF REPLACEMENTS:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for this project, in accordance with HARB’s recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

WYNMERE HUNT ASSOCIATES – 31 CAMBRIDGE LANE – ROOF REPLACEMENT:  Mr. Jirele moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for this project, in accordance with HARB’s recommendation.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously. 

SPECIAL ACTION 

RECOGNITION OF BRANDON WOLFE:  Mr. Weaver presented a proclamation to Brandon Wolfe and his mother establishing 3/27/04 as Brandon Wolfe Day in honor of Brandon’s selection as one of two top volunteers in Pennsylvania by the Prudential Spirit of Community program.      

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS (CONTINUED) 

PLANNING COMMISSION:  Commission Chairman Shawn Ward reported on their 3/16/04 meeting.  The Traffic Engineer discussed imminent construction projects on several major roads in the Township and the need for coordination of closings and detours.  The Commission reviewed the conditional use and preliminary plan applications for the Newtown Office Park and recommended approval of both, with several conditions.  Members stated they had no objections to the Zoning Hearing Board application scheduled for 4/1/04. 

The Commission decided to invite representatives of the Sewer Authority to their next meeting to discuss the Act 537 Plan Revision, and tabled three JMZO amendments due to the late hour. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (EDC) RECOMMENDATIONS:  Mr. Ward presented the Commission’s report on their study of the EDC’s recommendations regarding zoning changes in the LI and O-LI Districts.  The Commission discussed the recommendations at every meeting, and at several special sessions during the last four months.  They examined the potential impact of increased impervious surface ratios on traffic and stormwater management, ways to encourage adaptive re-use of existing buildings, and other factors that might contribute to the revitalization of this area.  The Commission’s conclusions were: 

1.      An overlay district should be created to facilitate and encourage adaptive re-use of distressed or vacant buildings.

2.      The impervious surface maximum in the LI and O-LI Districts should be increased to 60%.

3.      Some reduction in the size of the parking stalls should be permitted, perhaps within the overlay district.

4.      Most proposed use changes were supported; a table of uses indicating the Commission’s recommendations was 
    provided to the Supervisors.

5.      The Commission recommends that D-2 Medical and Dental Use be limited to 50% of any building or site to help 
    minimize traffic impact.
 

CONDITIONAL USE – PRYDA LLC – 159 N. SYCAMORE STREET:  Mr. Weaver opened the hearing.  Mr. Harris reported that the applicant has asked for a continuance to 4/28/04. 

Mrs. Goren moved to continue the hearing on the conditional use application of Pryda LLC to 4/28/04.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

CONDITIONAL USE – YAMAMOTO TRACT – 551 WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD:  Mr. Weaver opened the hearing.  Mr. Harris reported that the applicant has asked for a continuance to 5/26/04.  

Mr. Goodnoe moved to continue the hearing on the conditional use application for the Yamamoto Tract to 5/26/04.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously. 

CONDITIONAL USE – TUDOR SQUARE PHASE III – 660 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD – TMP# 29-10-119 AND 29-10-119-1:  Douglas Terry and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss their request for 45,456 SF of D-1 General Office Use in a three-story building to be constructed on a 9.27-acre parcel in the O-LI District.  Mr. Terry was sworn in. 

Mr. Marshall said there are two existing buildings on the site with D-1 General Office and D-2 Medical-Dental Uses.  He said the applicant would comply with the 2/19/04 Planning Commission letter recommending that the two tax map parcels be merged. 

Mr. Terry affirmed Mr. Marshall’s statements. 

Mr. Jirele moved to grant conditional use approval for 45,456 SF of D-1 General Office Use for Tudor Square Phase III, subject to the following conditions: 

·         Deliveries will be by small trucks only

·         An average of 250 and a maximum of 420 employees will be on the site

·         Hours of operation will be 6:00 AM to midnight, Monday through Saturday

·         No hazardous materials will be used or stored on the site

·         There will be no noxious environmental effects

·         There will be no D-2 Medical-Dental Use in the new building

·         The two tax map parcels will be merged by a deed satisfactory to the Township

·         217 new parking spaces will be provided, for a total of 446 spaces 

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

PRELIMINARY PLAN – TUDOR SQUARE – PHASE III – TMP #29-10-119 AND 29-10-119-1:  Douglas Terry, attorney Don Marshall, architect Curt Rittler, and engineer Mary Ellen Saylor were present to discuss their plan to construct a three-story office building on a 9.27-acre site in the O-LI District.   

Mr. Marshall said the applicant will comply with the 2/19/04 Planning Commission recommendation.  He noted that two points, A5 and A10, on the 10/16/03 Pennoni Associates letter are not applicable.  

Mr. Marshall said the applicant is seeking the waivers listed in the Planning Commission letter.  He noted that the Newtown Trail runs along the frontage of the site, making the requirements for sidewalks redundant. 

Mr. Marshall said the applicant will discuss the possibility of an emergency access with the owner of the adjacent cemetery.  Mr. Goodnoe asked if access might be possible through the old Law School property; Mr. Marshall responded that there is a significant elevation difference in that direction.  Mr. Marshall also noted that the applicant has agreed to provide a deed of merger for the two tax map parcels.  He said the applicant prefers not to fence the wet basin, and he pointed out that there are no residential areas nearby. 

Mr. Jirele asked if the parking lot lights could be on a timer.  Mr. Marshall agreed that the lights will be on a timer so that only safety lights will be on after 10:00 PM.       

Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant preliminary approval to the plan for Tudor Square Phase II with the following conditions: 

·         The applicant will comply with the 10/16/03 Pennoni Associates letter, the 3/10/04 Pennoni Associates Traffic letter, the 10/14/03 Boucher and James letter, the 9/18/03 Emergency Services letter, and the 10/14/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter

·         All necessary permits and approvals will be obtained

·         Financial security will be posted

·         All park and recreation fees and traffic impact fees will be paid

·         Water and sewer agreements, or a letter stating they are not necessary, will be provided

·         The applicant will discuss emergency access with the cemetery owner

·         All lighting except safety lights will be turned off in the parking lot after 10:00 PM

·         The right-of-way of Newtown-Yardley Road will be dedicated to the Township with the understanding that the area of the ultimate right-of-way will not be deducted in the calculation of the impervious surface area

·         The applicant will pay all costs of review 

In addition, the following waivers will be granted: 

·         Section 508.2 - To allow an access driveway wider than 35’

·         Section 402.3.B and C - To allow an aerial photograph in lieu of showing existing features on the plan

·         Section 402.4.M - Relief from the requirement that a landscape architect prepare the plan

·         Section 513 - Relief from the requirement for street lights along Newtown-Yardley Road; the applicant will provide a street light at the entrance

·         Section 517 - Relief from the requirement for sidewalks along Newtown-Yardley Road

·         Section 520.5 - To allow parking on the general utility easements

·         Section 516.2 - Relief from the requirement for curbing on the road frontage 

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

PRELIMINARY PLAN – MINOR SUBDIVISION - DINARDO – 49 STOOPVILLE ROAD – TMP# 29-01-10:  Michael and Jennifer DiNardo and engineer Frank Ernst were present to discuss the plan to divide a 6.65-acre lot in the CM District into two lots.  An existing single-family dwelling will remain on lot 1; another single-family dwelling is planned for lot 2 but is not proposed in this plan.  Mr. Ernst described the property and reviewed the waiver requests listed in the 2/5/04 Planning Commission letter.  

Mr. Weaver asked if the applicant will comply with the Planning Commission letter and the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 11/17/02; Mr. Ernst said he will. 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant approval to the subdivision plan with the following conditions: 

·         The applicant will comply with the 1/29/04 Pennoni Associates letter and the 1/7/04 Boucher and James letter

·         All required permits and approvals will be obtained, with the understanding that the permits and approvals for lot 2 will be presented as a condition of issuance of a building permit for that lot

·         Financial security will be posted

·         The applicant will comply with the Zoning Hearing Board decision of 12/4/02

·         Water and sewer agreements, or a letter stating they are not needed, will be provided for lot 2 as a condition of its development

·         A plan demonstrating compliance with the stormwater management ordinance will be provided as a condition of the development of lot 2, and a note will be added to the record plan noting this condition

·         The applicant will provide a drainage easement to the Township along the creek and provide access to it

·         All outstanding costs of review will be paid

·         Waivers listed in the 2/5/04 Planning Commission letter will be granted 

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Jirele asked if the ultimate right-of-way is 40’ from the centerline except near the existing house.  Mr. Ernst confirmed that as long as the house is there the right-of-way of that part of the road will be 25’; if the house is torn down, the right-of-way will become 40’ from the centerline.   

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously. 

PRELIMINARY PLAN – MAJOR SUBDIVISION – KOSACCI – WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD – TMP# 29-10-13.2:  Attorney Don Marshall and engineer Mary Ellen Saylor were present to discuss the plan for a four-lot subdivision for single family dwelling units on a 10.84-acre tract in the R-1 District.  All four lots will have access from a cul-de-sac connected with Washington Crossing Road. 

Mr. Marshall explained that Zoning Hearing Board relief was obtained to allow the driveway to cross a small area of floodplain and wetlands, and to permit a tree area to be smaller than the ordinance requires.  He said there is an appeal of this decision pending, and he commented that the relief granted was made necessary by the redesigning of the subdivision to limit access to Washington Crossing Road.

He said the applicant would comply with the review letters of Pennoni Associates, Boucher and James, and the Bucks County Planning Commission.  He noted that item 2e in the Boucher and James letter and item 10 in the Pennoni Associates letter does not apply to the plan. 

Mr. Marshall said the applicant will comply with the 9/18/03 Planning Commission recommendation and has requested the 11 waivers listed in the letter.  Mr. Marshall said the name of the cul-de-sac has been changed to Longshore Lane, the applicant will provide four low-intensity streetlights on the cul-de-sac, agrees to a fee in lieu of park and recreation space, agrees that there will be no centralized garbage collection, agrees to dedicate the ultimate right-of-way on Washington Crossing Road to the Township, and agrees to provide a cross easement for the driveway to be approved by the Township Solicitor. 

Mr. Smith said he does not oppose the request for a waiver of Sections 302 and 303.02 of the Stormwater Management Ordinance because the post-development flow will be less than the pre-development flow.  He asked if the stormwater management system still includes the best practices included in the original system; Ms. Saylor said it does. 

Mr. Marshall said the applicant intends to offer the cul-de-sac for dedication to the Township.  Mr. Smith said the detention basin is under the bulb, which may affect the Township’s decision to accept dedication.  Mr. Marshall said the applicant is willing to establish a Homeowners Association to take responsibility for maintenance of the cul-de-sac. 

Mr. Jirele asked if a second access to Washington Crossing Road would eliminate the long driveway from the cul-de-sac and cause less woodland disturbance.  Mr. Smith said the original plan had a second access, but there were problems with the sight distances.

Roger Taylor, a neighboring property owner, said the tract is an environmentally sensitive area.  He asked if the applicant has obtained DEP approval and an easement from the Sewer Authority to build on the sewer easement, as discussed at the Planning Commission meeting in September 2003.  Mr. Marshall said they have not been obtained.  

Mr. Taylor said the plan does not show that the driveway is in the 100-year floodplain, and he displayed his own plan of the area.  He said a 1999 hurricane damaged the dam and spillway on the Newtown Creek, and the Kosacci plan creates a dangerous situation.  He also expressed concern about the detention basin being located in alluvial soils, the pending appeal of the Zoning Hearing Board decision regarding crossing wetlands, the apparent need for the emergency access to cross deed-restricted Township open space, the ownership of the ultimate right-of-way, and his preference that the Township not accept a fee in lieu of park and recreation space. 

Mr. Marshall said the plan was acceptable to the Hidden Lake Homeowners Association.  He also said that the driveway is not in the 100-year floodplain. 

Roberta Taylor, a neighboring property owner, said the sewer easement extends to Washington Crossing Road at the north end of the site and she does not want people to use it as a road.  She also protested the Township’s acceptance of a fee in lieu of park and recreation space.  Mr. Marshall said the requirement would be about a quarter of an acre, and the applicant is willing to provide this as park and recreation space instead of paying a fee. 

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said this plan will cause problems similar to those on Wrights Road near the Kramer development.  She said an environmental council would be useful for addressing these concerns.  Mr. Smith said this is different from the Wrights Road situation.  He said the rate of runoff into the creek post-development will be lower because water will be detained. 

Mrs. Goren asked if the driveway from the cul-de-sac is in the floodplain.  Mr. Smith said the applicant has had the site remapped, which provides more accurate data than the FEMA maps to which Mr. Taylor is referring. 

Mr. Marshall said a soil study is being done so that the detention basin will not be located in Bowmansville soils.  Mr. Harris said that the site of the cul-de-sac will be fixed if preliminary plan approval is granted, so the soil study should be done before approval, as the results will affect where the basin and one of the houses can be placed.   

Mr. Harris said the ownership of the right-of-way on Washington Crossing Road at the emergency access driveway is in question.  Mr. Marshall said the emergency access is on the plan only at the request of the Fire Marshal, and the Township could approve the plan without the access. 

Mr. Jirele asked if there is adequate sight distance at the driveway; Mr. Smith responded that there is.  Jeff Marshall, a neighboring property owner, said the driveway could not be located further north because there are sight distance problems in both directions.  

Mr. Harris said the two unresolved issues are the nature of the soils in the area of the proposed basin and one of the houses, and whether the Township wishes to accept the required park and recreation space or a fee in lieu of the space. 

Mr. Marshall provided a letter granting an extension to 4/30/04, and said the applicant would agree to provide a conservation easement on a portion of the site for park and recreation space. 

MEMBERS COMMENTS 

MAIN STREET MANAGER:  Mr. Goodnoe said the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation (JDNC) hopes to hire a Main Street Manager by 8/1/04.  The application will be posted on the JDNC website. 

Mrs. Goren asked if the person to be hired will be approved by the Township.  Mr. Goodnoe said the JDNC’s board has the authority to make hiring decisions under its charter. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS 

Ethel Hibbs, a Township resident, said voter registration and absentee ballot forms are available in the Administrative Office.  She also said the District 8 polling place will be in the newly reconstructed firehouse. 

Paul Salvatore, a Township resident, said he hopes the vacancy on the Economic Development Commission and the two vacant alternate positions on the Zoning Hearing Board will be filled soon.  He asked if the Board of Supervisors has developed a process for filling vacancies; Mr. Weaver said he has begun drafting a procedure. 

Nancy Crescenzo suggested the Township should have a nominating committee and an environmental committee.  She also urged the Board to have a public discussion of the Municipal Complex expansion project, and said that last year Mr. Harp missed at least 50% of the meetings of the Park and Recreation Board and the Cable TV Committee. 

Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, thanked Mr. Pellegrino for his assistance with a Township form.  He also expressed concern about the appearance of the new Comcast building and the destruction of vegetation on the site.  Mr. Pellegrino said the Township Engineer is reviewing the plans for an access road that will eliminate the need for trucks to enter the Comcast site from the Bypass.  The site will eventually be landscaped and possibly fenced. 

Nancy Steigerwalt, a Township resident, said she is a candidate for the government study commission and supports doing the study because it is good business practice. 

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident and also a candidate, said he attended the 3/16/04 meeting about the proposed study and raised some questions about the cost of changing forms of government.  He said alternate forms of government come with costs and risks. 

Del Purscell, a Township resident, said the Board’s discussion of the Economic Development Commission’s recommendations should include consideration of the impact of the proposed changes on Township revenues.  He also asked about expenditures for the Newtown Gate traffic calming study.  Mr. Pellegrino responded that expenditures are $2,800 under budget. 

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS 

CHAIRMAN: No report. 

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:  No report. 

MANAGER 

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

SOLICITOR 

ORDINANCE 2004-O-5   - SPEED LIMIT ON PENNS TRAIL NORTH:  Mr. Jirele moved to enact Ordinance 2004-O-5   establishing a 25 MPH speed limit on Penns Trail North.  Mr. Goodnoe seconded the motion. 

Discussion of motion:  Nancy Crescenzo asked why this ordinance was proposed.  Mr. Pellegrino explained that this road has not yet been dedicated, and there is currently no speed limit on the street.  Since it is a residential street the Township can establish a limit of 25 MPH.  Ms. Crescenzo asked if the Township could establish a similar limit on South Eagle Road; Mr. Pellegrino said South Eagle Road is not a residential street. 

Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD:  Mr. Harris reviewed the one new application scheduled for the 4/1/04 meeting; the Supervisors indicated they did not wish to take a position regarding this application. 

ENGINEER:  No items. 

OLD BUSINESS:  No items. 

NEW BUSINESS:  No items. 

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED): 

Paul Meechan, a Township resident and candidate for the government study commission, said the speaker at the 3/16/04 meeting estimated the cost of the study to be $20,000 or less.  He said the study is a good business practice. 

Mr. Jirele suggested the tape of the 3/16/04 meeting be broadcast on Channel 23; Mr. Pellegrino agreed to obtain a copy of the tape. 

Phil Calabro, a Township resident, said there are no reasons to undertake the study.  He said the present form of Township government is the most common form in the state. 

Del Purscell said 600 people signed the petitions to put this question on the ballot, and the voters can make their own decisions about the study. 

Cathy Fink, a Newtown Borough resident, said drivers are speeding on South Eagle Road, and asked that a speed limit be posted on the road so that it can be enforced.  Mr. Pellegrino responded that he has asked the Police Department to study the road and make a recommendation for a speed limit.  Ms. Fink also suggested that Township committees could make a rule whereby the membership of anyone who misses three meetings is terminated. 

Nancy Crescenzo said she was dismayed at the sale of the Roberts Nursery property.  She said she calculated that the residential development of this property will add about 200 students to the Council Rock School District which will lead to higher school taxes and more traffic problems. 

Frank Mendicino said the challenge to Bill Wall’s candidacy for the study commission was thrown out.  He also said that the people who signed the petitions for the study were not aware of all the issues involved. 

Karen D’Aprile, a Township resident, said she signed the petition, understood it, and still supports the study. 

Paul Salvatore asked about traffic on Mill Pond Road; Mr. Pellegrino responded that the Township will be installing some traffic calming measures on the road.  Mr. Salvatore also encouraged residents to decide for themselves about the study and to get out and vote.  He asked that candidates for positions talk about their own qualifications instead of criticizing their opponents. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  None. 

ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 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