Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

April 28, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 12, 2004. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 4/28/04: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of 4/28/04; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, April 28, 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: Planning Commission Chairman Shawn Ward, Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi, Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine, 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 Father Larry Snyder of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that a report from the Park and Recreation Board be added to the agenda under Reports of Committees, Boards, and Commissions.

SPECIAL ACTIONS: None.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS

MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 4/14/04: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 4/14/04 regular meeting with the following changes: under Members’ Comments, the discussion of Mrs. Goren’s motion should read “Mr. Harris said he prefers not to do this as the editorial writer would always get the last word. However, he felt that the news reporters had reported his and the Board’s remarks accurately;” under Community Comments, the sixth paragraph should end “…a work session agenda in May,” and the second sentence in the ninth paragraph, concerning Mr. Wall’s remarks, should read “Because his group believed there was a defect in the notice given for the election a lawsuit will be filed concerning this,” and the third sentence should be struck. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST FOR 4/28/04: Mrs. Goren said she will abstain from voting on this list because it includes an expense reimbursement for her.

Mr. Harp moved to pay bills totaling $300,416.62. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Mrs. Goren moved to make interfund transfers totaling $30,921.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (EDC): Mr. Weaver reported that the EDC discussed signage, traffic flow, road improvements, grants, and the possibility of a newsletter for the Newtown Business Commons at their most recent meeting. They also reviewed the Planning Commission’s recommendations about zoning changes in the LI and O-LI Districts. EDC members agreed to stay with their original recommendations on impervious surface and parking stall sizes, added the idea of double striping between parking spaces, and adopted several of the Planning Commission’s recommendations on uses.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs presented HARB’s recommendation for approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for Pryda Inc. at 159 N. Sycamore Street. She noted that HARB did not recommend approval of many items in the application because they will be dealt with in the land development process.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for Pryda Inc. as follows:

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Hibbs also reported that Father Picard of St. Andrews Church attended the most recent meeting of HARB and will bring in a plan for using architectural features from the demolished rectory.

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Board Chairman Andrew Levine reported on their 4/7/04 meeting. The Board discussed a resolution to the problem of access to the Woll Tract and a possible change in the name of the Clark Nature Center. They also reviewed plans for the Stroup property and the expansion of the Verizon facility, and recommended fees in lieu of park and recreation space in both cases. Other topics included parking and playground facilities at Roberts Ridge Park, summer camp registration and possible extended hours for the camps, and improvements at Silver Lake Park, Helen Randle Park, and Chandler Field. The next meeting will be 5/5/04.

PLANNING COMMISSION: Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on their 4/20/04 meeting. The Commission reviewed seven Zoning Hearing Board applications and had no comments on any of them. They tabled a JMZO amendment regarding A-6 accessory agricultural uses, as it is being revised. They also recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve a JMZO amendment establishing a riparian corridor buffer, with the condition that all of Newtown Creek and Core Creek within the Township be exempted.

Mr. Lombardi said the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission received a grant to develop a new comprehensive plan for the Jointure; they are working with the Bucks County Planning Commission to create a questionnaire for residents as part of this process.

Mr. Goodnoe asked about the ordinance dealing with accessory agricultural uses. Mr. Harris said that some Jointure members felt that wineries should be regulated under the JMZO; they are currently regulated only under the state code.

REVISED FINAL PLAN – LOT 21, NEWTOWN BUSINESS COMMONS – 111 PHEASANT RUN ROAD – TMP# 29-10-129: Douglas Terry, Jesse Terry, and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss their plan to construct a two-story 24,640 SF office building with a one-story accessory pole barn structure on a 3.91 acre site in the LI District. Mr. Marshall said the most substantial revisions to the plan were the relocation of the pole barn and the request to leave 39 parking spaces in reserve. He said the applicant will comply with all applicable points in the review letters, but the issue of the traffic impact fees and park and recreation fees needs to be discussed. He said the traffic impact fee amount quoted in the Engineer’s letter is correctly calculated, but the park and recreation fee amount should be a total of $19,623.

Mr. Marshall said the revisions will necessitate two additional waivers, to allow some of the reserve parking on the general utility easement and to allow parking less than 20’ from the storage building. He said the applicant agrees to a unilateral declaration incorporating the recommendations in the 3/25/04 letter from Keystone Tree Experts and restricting the use of the pole barn to storage use only.

Mr. Jirele asked if the reserve parking in the rear could be substituted for the spaces to be installed in the front of the building. Douglas Terry said he needs to construct the spaces in the front to serve the users of the building.

Mr. Terry asked the Supervisors to consider waiving the traffic impact and park and recreation fees for this project. He reviewed the history of the Newtown Business Commons, which was developed by his father, Jesse Terry, in 1965. He listed several situations in which the Terry’s made donations of land and facilities to the Township for which they received no compensation. Mr. Terry estimated that his family has donated about $330,000 worth of assets and services to the Township since 1965. He also noted that the Newtown Business Commons generates substantial revenue for the Township.

Mr. Terry said he is also asking the Supervisors to waive the Fire Marshall’s recommendation for a fire hydrant next to the building. He pointed out that there is an existing hydrant directly across the street, an emergency vehicle would probably not park immediately adjacent to the building if there was a fire, and the building has sprinklers.

Mrs. Goren said she agrees with the request to not install the fire hydrant. Mr. Goodnoe said he also agrees, and further agrees with the request to waive the fees in recognition of the Terry’s’ contribution of land for the Bypass. Mr. Weaver said he agrees with Mr. Goodnoe, and noted that there have been precedents for waiving the fees.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the revised final plan for Lot 21 of the Newtown Business Commons, with the following conditions:

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

PRELIMINARY PLAN – MAJOR SUBDIVISION – KOSACCI – WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD – TMP# 29-10-13.2: Attorney Don Marshall and architect Wayne Johnson were present to discuss the plan to divide a 10.84 acre parcel in the R-1 District into four lots. Mr. Marshall said the plan was reviewed extensively at the Board of Supervisors’ 3/24/04 meeting and two issues remained: the nature of the soils under the house on lot 2 and the cul-de-sac; and a decision regarding park and recreation space vs. assessment of fees.

Mr. Marshall said a soil study was done by Del Val Soils, which indicated that there are alluvial soils on lot 2, which is a sign that the area once was a floodplain. Mr. Harris said the ordinance prohibits building in a floodplain or on floodplain soils. Mr. Marshall said the applicant could reconfigure lot 2 so that the house is not on the alluvial soils.

Mr. Marshall said the applicant intends to offer the cul-de-sac for dedication to the Township. Mr. Jirele said that he does not want the Township to accept responsibility for maintaining the underground detention basin located under the cul-de-sac. Mr. Harris said the question of whether the cul-de-sac can be built on floodplain soils needs to be resolved before final plan approval. Mr. Marshall said the applicant received the soils report on 4/27/04 and will forward it to the Township Engineer.

Mr. Jirele said he is still not happy with the long driveway connecting lots 3 and 4 with the cul-de-sac, as it goes through an environmentally sensitive area and seems to be an awkward design. Mr. Johnson said that early in the review process the applicant was asked to not take a second access on Washington Crossing Road because of concerns about sight distances and topography.

Mr. Jirele asked if the houses could be clustered in the southern portion of the parcel. Mr. Johnson said that the presence of wetlands precludes moving them any further south.

Bill Cowan, president of the Lakeview Estates Homeowners Association, said his group owns the land on which the emergency access for lots 3 and 4 is planned. Mr. Marshall said the land is part of the ultimate right-of-way for the old Washington Crossing Road, and it was never vacated. He said that even if it was vacated, his client would have rights to the frontage of his property.

Roger Taylor, a nearby resident, said PennDOT vacated the old road and gave up all legal title. He stated the property now belongs to the landowners. Mr. Harris said he believes the property now belongs to the Township, but he will research this question. He said that if Mr. Taylor and Mr. Cowan are correct, there could be no emergency access for lots 3 and 4; however, this is not a plan approval issue. Mr. Jirele said it is a safety issue and he would have trouble approving the plan without the emergency access.

Mr. Taylor said he questions the waiver of a tree survey and a topographical study. He said the area north of the creek is very wet, and the vegetation in the northern portion of the site indicates there are floodplain soils. He said water overflowed the dam following a storm in 1999, and he would like to see this part of the creek not exempted from the Riparian Buffer ordinance.

Mr. Goodnoe commented that he saw water in the emergency spillway on 1999. Mr. Smith said there was a controlled overflow at that time, and the spillway was built for this purpose.

Nancy Crescenzo suggested asking the Township’s naturalist to evaluate the area near the creek.

Mr. Harris said there are still two issues to be resolved: where the floodplain soils are, and whether the proposed emergency access can be built.

Jody Spector, a resident of Washington Crossing Road, asked why no soil studies were done at the northern end of the property. Mr. Smith said there are no Bowmansville soils at the northern end.

Mr. Jirele asked if the soil map submitted with the plan is correct. Mr. Johnson said the Del Val Soils study indicated the line of wetland should be moved closer to the stream. Mr. Jirele said he would like to see a correct map before approving the plan.

Roberta Taylor, a resident of Washington Crossing Road, said the area near the creek floods frequently, and she provided photographs of the area after a recent rainstorm. She also said she has copies of an emergency evacuation plan that was developed in case the dam failed. She said she does not want to see additional residents in an area that might flood.

Mr. Marshall agreed to provide a 30-day extension on the plan to give the Township an opportunity to study the new delineation of floodplain soils and a redesign of lot 2. Mr. Goodnoe asked if the decision to not offer the cul-de-sac for dedication would result in any design changes; Mr. Harris commented that the driveway and cul-de-sac would still have to meet Township standards.

Roberta Taylor asked if the Riparian Buffer ordinance will affect this project. Mr. Harris said it will not because the plan was filed before the enactment of the ordinance.

JMZO – 2004-10 – TOURIST ORIENTED DIRECTIONAL SIGNS (TODS): Mr. Harris noted that the Planning Commission recommended approval of this ordinance.

Mr. Harp moved to approve JMZO 2004-10. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

JMZO 2004-11 – AGRICULTURAL SOILS AND OPEN SPACE BUFFER: Mr. Harris said the Planning Commission recommended sending this ordinance back to the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission for revision.

Shawn Ward, Chairman of the Planning Commission, confirmed this statement. Mr. Weaver agreed to table consideration of the ordinance.

JMZO 2004-6 – RIPARIAN CORRIDOR BUFFER: Mr. Harris said the Planning Commission recommended approval of this ordinance on the condition that all of Newtown Creek and Core Creek within the Township be exempted from the ordinance requirements, not just the portions in the TC District as the ordinance currently reads.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the ordinance, subject to the deletion of the phrase “within the Town Commercial District” from Article IX, Section 903.B.13 (g), as recommended by the Planning Commission. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

Discussion of motion: Roberta Taylor said there are sections of the Newtown Creek in the Township that are still undeveloped and should be protected. Mr. Jirele responded that the only section, which is not, either public land or developed is the Kosacci parcel.

Roger Taylor said he favors applying the ordinance to the creek outside of the TC District even though as a property owner he would be impacted by it.

Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS

WORK SESSION: Mr. Weaver announced that the next Board work session would be on 5/17/04 at 8:00 PM.

BERNIE BIRES: Mr. Harp announced that Bernie Bires, a longtime Township volunteer on the Park and Recreation Board, is retiring to Florida.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS

Bill Cowan said he received a letter from Mr. Harris in December 2003 regarding the emergency access on the Kosacci parcel. Mr. Harris said the applicant’s plan for the access has changed, and he will forward the revised plan to Mr. Cowan.

Mr. Cowan also asked if the Township will respond to a letter he sent to the Board of Supervisors concerning some defects in the public improvements in Lakeview Estates. Mr. Smith said his office is concerned about the quality of the concrete used, and DeLuca has agreed to repair the defective concrete. Mr. Cowan said their bond expires in April 2005. Mr. Harris said the bond continues if the defects are not corrected. Mr. Smith said he will keep Mr. Cowan informed about DeLuca’s work.

Frank Montemuro, a resident of Lakeview Estates, asked who was responsible for ensuring that the concrete was poured correctly. Mr. Smith said the Township Engineer is responsible, and Carroll Engineering was in that position at the time of the construction of Lakeview Estates.

Shelly Warren, a Township resident, said her interpretation of the vote on the referendum on the government study commission was that many residents feel there is a problem with the present form of government but do not agree on how to address the problem.

Nancy Crescenzo asked that work session dates and times be better publicized, and that the Board of Supervisors have a public discussion of the costs, funding, and size of the proposed Municipal Complex expansion. She also said a recent police study of South Eagle Road found cars traveling at speeds up to 60 MPH. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the Board has authorized the Solicitor to draft an ordinance setting a 25 MPH speed limit on the road.

Glenn Beasley, a Township resident, said the referendum vote was not a vote of confidence for the Board of Supervisors. He said his group appreciated the opportunity to promote discussion of the issues.

Del Purscell, a Township resident, questioned the authorship, cost, and reason for the insert in the Township newsletter regarding the referendum. He stated that the 2004 Township budget is a deficit budget. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the insert was reviewed and approved by the Board of Elections. He stated that the 2004 budget is balanced, and a conscious decision was made to use some of the Township’s capital reserves this year.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN: No report.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS

PENNSYLVANIA STATE ASSOCIATION OF TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS (PSATS) CONVENTION: Mrs. Goren said she recently attended the annual PSATS convention and heard several distinguished speakers. The group exchanged ideas and information, and adopted resolutions on various policy issues.

CODES COMMITTEE: Mrs. Goren reported on the 4/27/04 Codes Committee meeting, at which the Committee granted two requests for relief from double assessment of fees and discussed the BOCA Code ordinance.

REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION MEETING: Mr. Goodnoe said he and Mr. Pellegrino attended a 4/22/04 meeting about regional traffic concerns with PennDOT officials, Representative Steil, Representative Petrie, and other municipal officials. PennDOT told the group the culverts on Swamp Road will be replaced this fall.

MANAGER

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are currently no plan expirations requiring Board action. Mr. Jirele asked if the Township should specifically deny the portions of Pryda’s application for a Certificate of Appropriateness that HARB eliminated; Mr. Harris said this was a good idea.

Mr. Jirele moved to deny the portions of Pryda’s HARB application not specifically granted. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

Nancy Crescenzo said the Pryda property has a “for lease” sign posted. Mr. Pellegrino said the owner’s permit application specifies residential use, and the Codes Office will be taking action on this.

FUEL BIDS: Mr. Pellegrino referred to a 4/22/04 memo from Gary Crossland which recommended that the contract for gasoline, diesel, and heating oil be awarded to the low bidder, Sunoco, through the Bucks County Consortium bidding process.

Mr. Harp moved to award the contract for gasoline, diesel, and heating oil to Sunoco at the following prices:

  • Premium gasoline @ $1.1026/gallon
  • Heating oil @ $1.1793/gallon
  • Low sulpher diesel @ $1.1451/gallon
  • Winterized diesel @ $ .9694/gallon

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

SOLICITOR’S REPORT

2004-O- 6 - SOUTH-CENTRAL BUCKS COUNTY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (SERT) ORDINANCE: Mr. Harris provided a draft ordinance authorizing the Township’s participation in SERT which has been advertised for adoption at this meeting.

Mr. Harp moved to enact Ordinance 2004-O-6 authorizing the Township’s participation in SERT. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

STONEHOUSE BISTRO SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: Mr. Harris provided copies of a revised settlement agreement that has been approved by the Stonehouse, Mr. Pellegrino, Mr. Harwood, Sergeant Matthews, Mr. and Mrs. Keyser, and other concerned residents.

Warren Keyser was present and confirmed that he and his wife have approved the revised agreement.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the settlement agreement regarding the Stonehouse Bistro. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren.

Discussion of motion: Tom Ames, a resident of Gaucks Lane, said two of the 13 events permitted in the agreement have already been held. He also encouraged the Stonehouse Bistro to pursue a permanent structure so that the community will not have to deal with this problem again next year.

Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.

ZONING HEARING BOARD – 5/6/04: Mr. Harris reviewed the new cases scheduled for the 5/6/04 Zoning Hearing Board meeting. Supervisors had the following comments:

LA STALLA: Mr. Jirele noted that the restaurant is in the historic district and will need to get HARB’s approval for any changes. Mr. Harris agreed to remind the owner of this requirement.

FLEMING (ROSE BANK WINERY): Mr. Goodnoe said he feels the request is inappropriate, since the owner is seeking to have a commercial use as accessory to the winery in the CM District. Mr. Goodnoe said he has questions about whether the parking, buffering, access, and other conditions are adequate. Mr. Pellegrino said there have been no complaints about events that have been held on the site.

Mr. Jirele said the request is for permanent permission for a tent for recurring events, and he would prefer that the Township issue only temporary permits to provide some controls on the use. He said the request does not state how large the tent would be, how many people it would accommodate, and other conditions.

Mr. Jirele moved to oppose the variance request of the Rose Bank Winery unless the applicant agrees the tent will be erected and permitted on a year-to-year basis for six months at a time. The Township would have the right to refuse a permit if significant complaints are received or substantial problems occur. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe said it would be a mistake to allow a commercial use in the CM District. The use will not be subject to conditional use or land development approval.

Mr. Jirele and Mr. Harp withdrew their motion.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to send the Solicitor to argue that the use of this property be consistent with the zoning ordinance. If the Zoning Hearing Board approves the use, the Solicitor will advocate the conditions described in Mr. Jirele’s earlier motion. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Harris suggested that the Township request a continuance of the hearing to allow time to negotiate with the applicant.

Shawn Ward asked why the Board did not oppose a similar request by La Stalla. Mr. Jirele responded that La Stalla is not in a residential area, and the objection is to permitting the events permanently.

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said Rose Bank is far from any residential area and there have been no complaints.

Nancy Crescenzo said the Roberts Nursery plan involved the same issues and the Board opposed it. Mrs. Goren said the Roberts Nursery request was for a zoning change.

Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Harp withdrew their previous motion.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to direct the Solicitor to oppose the variance request from Rose Bank Winery unless the applicant is willing to address the concerns raised in this discussion. If the Zoning Hearing Board goes ahead, the Solicitor will ask that a condition be placed on the variance that would require that the permit for the tent be renewed annually. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed 3-2, with Mr. Harp and Mrs. Goren voting “nay”.

VILLAGE AT NEWTOWN SOUTH: Mr. Harris said he received a letter from the developer of the Village at Newtown South asking for permission to install approved improvements with the understanding that the site cannot be occupied until the moratorium on sewer connections is lifted. There was general agreement with this request; Mr. Harris said he will notify the applicant.

ENGINEER

2004 ROADWAY IMPROVEMENTS AWARD Mr. Smith said the bids received for the Wrights Road improvements were considerably lower than the estimated costs, primarily because Pennoni changed the specifications to include closure of the road during construction. In his letter of 4/22/04 Mr. Smith recommended awarding the contract to Miller and Son Paving, which submitted the lowest bid and has successfully completed other projects for the Township.

Mr. Harp moved to award the contract for the 2004 Roadway Improvements program to Miller and Son Paving Inc. for an amount not to exceed $378,295.45, minus $2,500 if the Township chooses a less expensive alternative paving for Wrights Road. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

ESCROW RELEASE #3 – OVERLOOK (AKA HOFFA TRACT): Mrs. Goren moved to release $276,727.00 in escrow funds for the Overlook project in accordance with Mr. Smith’s recommendation in his 4/22/04 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS: None.

NEW BUSINESS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (CONTINUED)

Phil Calabro, a Township resident, thanked the voters and the candidates for getting involved with the referendum. He suggested that the Board of Supervisors establish their own government study commission, perhaps appointing the top nine vote getters in the election.

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, said he attended the regional traffic meeting and regretted that only one Newtown Township Supervisor attended the meeting.

Frank Mendicino said the voters have spoken on the referendum question and were educated in the process.

Nancy Crescenzo thanked Mr. Pellegrino for installing recycling bins. She said she supports Mr. Calabro’s suggestion.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Weaver said there is no need for an executive session.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 12:05 AM.

 

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