Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Minutes

June 9, 2004


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 23, 2004. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 6/9/04: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of 6/9/04; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, June 9, 2004 in the Township meeting Room at 8:00PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman, Richard Weaver; Vice Chairman, Scott R. Harp; Secretary/Treasurer, Anne Goren; and Members, Raymond Goodnoe and Thomas Jirele. Also in attendance were: Andrew Levine, Par and Recreation Board Chairman; Shawn Ward, Planning Commission Chairman; Vince Lombardi, Sycamore Street Committee Chairman; Township Solicitor, Steven Harris; Township Engineer Gerald Smith and Township Manager, Robert Pellegrino.

Call to Order: Mr. Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:10PM, announcing that there had been an Executive Session prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss matters of real estate, and that there would be an additional Executive Session on Thursday, June 10, 2004, to discuss matters of litigation. He then called for a moment of silence.

Invocation: Given by Pastor Harry Whyte of More View Baptist Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Additions and Changes: Mr. Pellegrino informed the Board that there were no additions to the agenda, however the he had a request to continue the Becksted PRD Variance to a later meeting.

Special Actions: Mr. Weaver presented a certificate to Ryan Ohlson for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

Minutes, Bills List and Reports

MINUTES

MINUTES OF WORK SESSION MEETING OF 5/17/04: Mrs. Goren moved to accept the minutes of the May 17, 2004 work session, with the addition of “also present, Frank Fabian, Chairman, Newtown Sewer Authority”. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 5/26/04: Mrs. Goren moved to accept the minutes of May 26, 2004. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Jirele moved to pay bills in the amount of $434,189.56. Mr. Harp seconded.

Mrs. Nancy Crescenzo, a resident, noted that on page 6, there had been a bill for repair of a police vehicle. She asked if the Township carries insurance.

Mr. Pellegrino explained that the Township would be reimbursed by the insurance carrier for the repair, less the $1,000 deductible.

Mrs. Goren moved to make interfund transfers totaling $71,684.94. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Park and Recreation Board Mr. Andrew Levine, Chairman, reported that the Park and Recreation Board had met on May 2, 2004. At that meeting they reviewed a presentation of Boyce Associates for handicapped specific playground equipment for Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Levine said that while the play events were within the amount budgeted, the cost for safety surfacing for the new equipment and for paths through the existing equipment took the project well above the budgeted amount. He said that the Board would like to meet with the Board of Supervisors at a work session to get direction for financing this playground addition. He noted that Boyce had pointed out that the goal of the inclusive playground is to “bring all children to the field of play”.

The Board also heard a presentation by representatives of Pop Warner football to consider bringing football to Newtown in the future.

The Park and Recreation Director reported that there has been an overall increase in revenue this year of 5%.

At the July 7, 2004 meeting, the Board will hold its first public meeting on the Woll Tract. The topic of discussion will be access to the property.

Sycamore Street Committee Mr. Vince Lombardi, Chairman, reported that the Sycamore Street Committee met on June 8, 2004. Their meeting began with a walking tour of the construction along Sycamore Street between Barclay Street and the cemetery next to Olde St. Andrew’s Church, followed by their meeting at Chandler Hall. They heard reports from the engineer on the By-pass left hand turn lane; from East Coast Concrete requesting permission to work in daylight; from Haines and Kibblehouse about sidewalk and curb construction; and from Tri-state Engineering about changes in the height of the Newtown Creek wall.

Mr. Lombardi said that the Committee discussed developing an incident report, using the police department accident report as a guide.

Mrs. Goren asked if the Committee had taken pictures of Sycamore Street to create a before and after comparison, and Mr. Jirele said that it would be of interest to locate pictures of the standing water problems that have existed in the past along Sycamore Street.

Mr. Lombardi noted that there were over 100 pictures as well as four videos of the “before”.

Mr. Shawn Ward, Chairman, reported that the Planning Commission had met of June 1, 2004. They discussed an informal sketch plan from Toll Brothers for a carriage home development on the Roberts Nursery tract. The plan resembles the plans for the Frost Watson tract in Newtown Borough. The Commission discussed the possibility of the need for a new housing designation in the Ordinance, as these plans are built according to the B-17, elderly housing in the R-2 district designation, although Toll Brothers does not intend to market to seniors only. They talked about adding an R-3 Zoning District which would be a residential district to act as a transition from Borough to Township.

The Commission reviewed a PRD Variance application for Becksted. The Commission voted not to support this application to increase the impervious surface ratio to 49% to accommodate a porous paved parking pad for a motor home. They had some questions about the setbacks. They reviewed a conditional use application for Omnipoint at 403 Freedom Drive, and voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this conditional use.

The Commission reviewed the JMZO 2004 – 14, and recommended that it be approved with certain deletions.

Land Development Projects

Conditional Use - Kwik Copy – 121 Friends Lane Ms. Susan Van Wert was sworn in. Ms. Van Wert said that she owns Kwik Copy, a 5,000 square foot unit in the Newtown Business Commons. She stated that the Planning Commission had recommended approval. She noted that all deliveries are made by UPS style trucks, except for three tractor-trailer deliveries annually. She said that she would have 4 to 8 employees on the premises, with hours of operation from 8:30 to 5:30, Monday through Friday open for business, although employees might work from 8:00AM to 8:00PM, with some weekend hours. Her business had been in Middletown Township, where the fire marshal had approved the storage of her copy chemicals in a fireproof storage cabinet. She will work to satisfy the Newtown fire marshal on the chemical storage. Her business will have 11 parking spaces.

Mr. Harp moved to grant conditional use approval to Kwik Copy for a G-5 printing use of 5000 square feet at 121 Friends Lane with the conditions that:

The majority of deliveries are by UPS style vans;

That the hours of operation be 8:00 AM to 8:00PM, Monday through Friday, with occasional weekend operations;

That the Fire Marshal is satisfied that all hazardous materials are stored properly;

That there are no hazardous or noxious materials stored on the premises;

That 11 parking spaces are provided.

Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Request for Waiver of Land Development - Omnipoint – 403 Freedom Drive

Mr. Harris said that he had a copy of a plan and a letter from Christopher Milach of Omnipoint requesting a waiver from land development approval to install a second antenna on an existing antenna at 403 Freedom Drive with a 10 foot by 20-foot cement pad.

Mr. Jirele moved to grant a waiver from the land development approval.

Mr. Goodnoe suggested that the Board ascertain whether the Sewer Authority, who owns the property, approves, and if they have any conditions for restoration of the property if Omnipoint vacates the site.

Mr. Harp suggested that the motion be postponed until Omnipoint has the approval of the Sewer Authority.

Mr. Jirele withdrew his motion.

Revised Preliminary Plan – Major Subdivision – Kosacci – Washington Crossing Road

Mr. Don Marshall represented Mr. Kosacci in the matter. Mr. Marshall said that his client had reviewed the unresolved issues that the Board had discussed at their meeting of April 28, 2004. He said that to avoid building on alluvial soils, the plans had been redesigned to eliminate lot number two. The plans now show only three houses, all outside of the alluvial soil area. Still unresolved is the emergency access to lots three and four. He said that he had discussed the access to Washington Crossing Road with Mr. Harris, and has found that Lakeview Estates has not accepted dedication from DeLuca builders for the property along Washington Crossing Road. Mr. Marshall said that his client is willing to delay until the final plan approval phase the emergency access, if the fire marshal feels it is still necessary.

Regarding the Park and Recreation Board’s recommendation to accept a fee in lieu of open space to this property, Mr. Marshall said that his client would consider offering the 5.902 acres adjoining the creek, which has been made available with the elimination of Lot number two. He said that this could also be decided at the time of the final plan approval.

Mr. Harris said that with the elimination of the house on lot number two, he did not think the cul-de-sac was still necessary.

Mrs. Goren asked if the cul-de-sac would be necessary for a car to turn around on the street.

Mr. Marshall said that the cul-de-sac could be eliminated, as the driveway would be 20 feet wide. There would be ample room for two cars to pass, or for a car to make a “K” turn to exit the drive. Mr. Marshall said that his client would defer to the Board on the matter of dedication of the internal street to the Township.

Mr. Harris said that the flood plain question has been resolved. He said the Township could accept dedication of the street if it wanted, or could accept only the area designated as emergency access.

The Board discussed school bus access and safety. Mr. Goodnoe pointed out that the street aligned with Cliveden Drive, and that school busses stop in the middle of the road to discharge children. All traffic in both directions is stopped for the school busses.

Mr. Jirele commented that he agreed that there is no need for the cul-de-sac for a three home development with a 20-foot wide access driveway. He expressed concern that the proposed drive runs close to the creek.

Mr. Marshall said that the design was such as to minimize environmental impact.

Mr. Wayne Johnson, Engineer on the project, said that a GP Permit would be needed for the driveway to cross the wetland area. He said that the Zoning Hearing Board had already granted a variance to cross the wetlands.

The Board discussed the location of streetlights. Mr. Marshall said that they had planned for three streetlights, and would consider low-intensity lights at the base of each driveway. He said that a guardrail would be placed along the creek side of the driveway.

Mr. Roger Taylor, a resident, said that he had briefly reviewed the new plan and felt it was a big improvement. He said that he has appealed the Zoning Hearing Board decision to allow crossing the floodplain. He noted some clerical errors in the numbering of the enclosures on a letter dated March 16, 2004 to Del-Val Soils from the Army Corp of Engineers. He also asked if there would be further testing of the alluvial soils on the northern end of the property. He said that the applicant is required to provide a setback from the sewer easement that is three times the height of the canopy of trees, and he would recommend that this setback be measured from the south side of the easement, as the sewer company keeps the other side cleared.

In response to Mr. Taylor’s comments, Mr. Smith, said that the Township Soil Scientist is in agreement with the Del-Val soil Scientists on the alluvial soils. He said that the FEMA map will not be changed, and that the measurement of the canopy of trees is a matter to be addressed by Mr. Harris.

Mr. Marshall said that this matter had already been resolved by the Zoning Hearing Board decision.

Mr. Harris said that all of the Township’s issues with this plan had been addressed.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the Preliminary Plan for Kosacci- Washington Crossing Road, as revised on June 3, 2004, with the following conditions:

The final plan will be revised to comply with the Township Engineer’s letters dated July 23, 2003 and March 19, 2004 except as to item 10, width of driveway; item 27, street trees will not be required on Washington Crossing Road; item 38, storm sewers will not be required along Washington Crossing Road;

The final plan will comply with the Township Planning Commission letter dated September 18, 2003;

The final plan will comply with the Township Planner’s letter of July 29, 2003, except that there will be no requirement of a traffic study;

The final plan will comply with the Bucks County Conservation District letter of August 12, 2003;

The final Plan will comply with the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of August 6, 2003; 

Prior to signing of the final plan, all necessary permits and approvals to develop the site as set forth in the Township Engineer’s letter of July 23, 2003, will be received by the Township;

Prior to the signing of the final plan being recorded that all necessary water service and sewer service agreements be received by the Township;

The applicant shall grant conservation easements to the Township in a form acceptable to the Township to protect open areas in the stream corridor; such conservation easement to be recorded simultaneously with the recording of the final plan;

Financial security will be posted for any public improvements that are required on the site;

Final Plan approval will be revised to provide for low intensity lights along driveway in areas to be agreed as part of final plan approval;

The applicant will pay a fee in lieu of dedication of land for Park and Recreation unless the Park and recreation Board decides between now and final plan approval that it wishes to accept dedication of open space shown on the plan;

A note will be added to the final plan showing that there will be no centralized trash pick-up;

The access road will be a private road and will not be dedicated to the Township, and will be reconfigured in a form satisfactory to the Township at time of plan review;

The development of the site will comply with the Zoning Hearing Board decision of November 6, 2003;

The Township shall approve a declaration of planned community and Homeowners Association documents for the site which will provide for maintenance of the private road, storm water management system and street lighting; such declaration to be recorded simultaneously with the recording of the final plan;

An easement will be granted to the Township for future sidewalks and curbing along Washington Crossing Road if it is desired by the Township at some future date;

A cross easement agreement in a form satisfactory to the Township to allow three lots to share a driveway in and out. It will be recorded simultaneously with the filing of the final plan;

The final plan will be revised to provide that reflectors will be placed on barriers along the creek;

All cost of review will be paid in full.

Waivers will be granted as discussed:

To accept an aerial photo in lieu of showing existing features on the plan;

From the Storm Water Management Ordinance – relief from the 1 year, 24 hour storm and 75% release rate requirements;

Relief from the requirement of an additional 25’ setback on all reverse frontage lots;

To allow a 35’ corner curb radius;

Relief from the requirement to buffer different land uses;

Relief from the requirement to keep easements as lawn;

Relief from the requirement to perform a tree count;

Relief from the requirement for sidewalks on both sides of sides of the private road to permit a sidewalk on one side;

Relief from the requirement for sidewalk and curbing on Washington Crossing Road.

Mr. Harp seconded the motion. 

Discussion of Motion: Mr. Goodnoe commented that he had some concerns that with a waiver from the requirement to perform a tree count. He noted that by eliminating the cul-de-sac, lot number one would have a larger setback in the front. It was agreed that the house on lot number one would be located to have the least possible environmental impact, and that it would be placed topographically as it appears in the plan dated June 3, 2004. 

The motion carried 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting nay. 

Member Comments: None 

Public Comments 

Mrs. Nancy Crescenzo commented that she thought that the Board of Supervisors should take a position on the matter of repairs to the culvert on Swamp Road, as this has been discussed in the newspapers recently, and Wrightstown is objecting to the repairs. She asked if speed limit signs would be placed on South Eagle Road, as had been agreed at previous meetings. Mr. Pellegrino responded that speed limit signs had been ordered and would be placed appropriately when they have been delivered. 

Mrs. Crescenzo asked if the Board had been provided with information on accidents on South Eagle Road, as had been requested. Mr. Jirele responded that he had been provided with this information a few weeks ago. 

Mrs. Crescenzo asked why there is dirt all over the area behind Staples, when she had thought it was already graded and seeded as playing fields. Mr. Pellegrino said that the area had not been graded for playing fields, but for environmental requirements had been seeded with rye grass temporarily. It will be graded and reseeded in the future. 

Mrs. Crescenzo said that the area being repaired along Eagle Road still had a steep dip in the walking trail. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the drainage problems at this spot were being addressed, however the final resurfacing had not yet been completed. 

Reports of Officials 

Chairman: None 

Other Board Members 

Mr. Harp reported that the First Fourth Committee was in the process of finalizing plans for the celebration on July 10, 2004. He asked that anyone in the community who would like to volunteer to please contact him, as all additional help would be greatly appreciated. 

Manager 

Plan Expirations: Mr. Pellegrino said that there are no plan expirations requiring Board action. 

Sycamore Street Extension of Contract: Mr. Pellegrino said that he had a change order for the Sycamore Street project. This is not a monetary change, but a request for a delay of 49 days, the result of a water line conflict. Haines and Kibblehouse would like to extend their contract from April 30, 2005 to June 18, 2005 because they had lost time while a sewer line was relocated. He said this had been reviewed by the Sycamore Street Committee and the Township Engineer.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to extend the contract of Haines and Kibblehouse from April 30, 2005 to June 18, 2005, an addition of 49 days. Mr. Jirele seconded. 

Discussion of Motion 

Mr. Goodnoe questioned whether Haines and Kibblehouse had been given correct information about the location of sewer lines, and if the sewer line being relocated was the line only recently installed. Mr. Pellegrino said that this is an old sewer line, and that he did not anticipate any other conflicts. 

The motion passed unanimously. 

Sycamore Street Project/Payment Number one: Mr. Pellegrino requested that the Board make payment on the Sycamore Street Project, in the amount of $230,123.14. He said that the Township Engineer had reviewed and approved this payment. 

Mr. Harp moved to make payment to Haines and Kibblehouse for work performed through May 27, 2004, in the amount of $230,123.14. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals: Mr. Pellegrino reported that he had been in touch with the managers at Wrightstown and Upper Makefield to discuss forming a Joint Building Code Board of Appeals, however they were not interested in pursuing this jointly. He explained that he had prepared a draft resolution for this Board to review and vote on during the next meeting, which would form a Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals. He said that an Appeals Board, consisting of three or five residents with expertise in the construction trades, must be appointed, and that our hired consultants are specifically excluded. He said that he would begin to advertise and collect resumes for the Board’s consideration, as an Appeals Board must be appointed within 30 days of the adoption of the ordinance. 

Sale of Vehicle to Newtown Ambulance Squad: Regarding recent discussion of the sale or donation of a vehicle to the Newtown Ambulance Squad, Mr. Pellegrino had noted that a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria with 100,601 miles on it is available for donation. The Ambulance Squad intends to use this vehicle to transport residents to different locations around Newtown. He recommended that the vehicle be sold to the Ambulance Squad for $1.00 

Mr. Goodnoe moved to allow the sale of a Township owned 2000 Crown Victoria to the Newtown Ambulance Squad for $1.00. Mr. Jirele seconded. 

Discussion of Motion 

Mrs. Crescenzo questioned whether the vehicle chosen is safe and reliable for ambulance use. The Board agreed that, while the vehicle does in fact have over 100,000 mile on it, as a police vehicle, it has been kept in excellent repair. The vehicle might no longer be in the condition required for police work, but it is completely safe for short local trips. The Board agreed that the Ambulance Squad would inspect the vehicle to ascertain that it is appropriate for their purposes.

The motion carried unanimously. 

Codes Department Modular Building Lease: Mr. Pellegrino reported that the lease on the modular building currently being used as the Codes Department office must be renewed. He recommended that the Township enter a lease/purchase agreement, and provided the Board members with a memo detailing this. He noted that the current lease is $700 a month, and the lease purchase would be $615 per month for three years. He said that the value of the building is about $20,000. He was unable to negotiate a price that would take into consideration the money already paid into the current lease. 

Mrs. Goren moved to enter a lease/purchase agreement for the modular building currently being used by the Codes Department. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Solicitor’s Report 

JMZO Amendments: Mr. Harris reported that he had reviewed the proposed amendments to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance dealing with lot width, aquaculture and housekeeping. He said that the lot width amendment would require that lot width be measured between side lot lines at the required building setback line, and extended for the entire depth of the lot until reaching the rear yard setback line. He noted that the Planning Commission had expressed concern that this would render many lots in Newtown non-conforming. He said that he agreed with the Planning Commission’s recommendation to leave that portion of the Ordinance dealing with lot widths to remain unchanged. Another change to the Ordinance would allow cell towers by conditional use in the QA and RI-A zoning districts, neither of which is located in Newtown. Finally, the proposed Ordinance adds a definition of “aquaculture” as a new sub-section under use A-1, Agriculture and Horticulture. The Planning Commission has recommended the removal of subsections (c) and (d) because it viewed these requirements as onerous on the Codes department in determining compliance. 

Mrs. Goren moved to approve the Ordinance with Sections 01 and 02 removed, and subsections (c) and (d) of Section 14 removed. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Zoning Hearing Board Applications: Mr. Harris reviewed the Zoning Hearing Board applications scheduled for the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting. The Supervisors indicated they did not wish to take a position on any of the applications. 

Engineer’s Report 

Mr. Smith reported that the Lower Silver Lake Road pipe culvert is scheduled to begin work shortly. Detour signs have been posted for road closing beginning July 8, to be completed by September 7. Miller Construction will be closing Wrights Road for construction. The signage is up, and he said he would have more information tomorrow.

Community Comment 

Mrs. Crescenzo commented that she was concerned that the Planning Commission Chairman had reported that they were considering a change to the Zoning Ordinance to accommodate 102 village style homes on the Roberts Tract. She said that these homes would place a far greater burden on the Township and School District than the business use that had been proposed by the owners of Roberts Nursery a short while ago. She said that she felt that it was wrong to consider this possible change in zoning, when it had been argued that the Roberts Nursery business proposal had been rejected because it also would have required a change in zoning.

The Board discussed their reasons for upholding the ordinance at the time of discussion of a zoning change to accommodate the business uses proposed for Roberts Nursery. They had felt that the property had been zoned residential, and the current proposal would still be residential, although with a different residential configuration than is currently permitted. Mr. Goodnoe, however, stated that he strongly agreed with Mrs. Crescenzo that the business proposal that had been presented would not have stressed the Township infrastructure as will the addition of 102 new families moving to this location. He said that he disagrees that a residential use is preferable to a business use for this property. 

Executive Session: Mr. Weaver said that there would not be executive session following the meeting. 

Adjournment: Without objection the meeting adjourned at 10:20PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:         _______________________________
                                                Mary Donaldson, 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