Board of Supervisor Minutes
August 11, 2004
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 25, 2004. REGULAR MEETING OF 8/11/04: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of 8/11/04; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, August 11, 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: Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine, Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Township Solicitor David Sander, 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 Reverend Chris Gibbs of the Newtown Assembly of God. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that the signing of mylars for 43 Meridian Circle be added to the Engineer’s report.
CERTIFICATE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: Mr. Harp presented a Certificate of Accomplishment to Christopher M. Gulbrandsen, who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
CERTIFICATE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT: Mr. Harp presented a Certificate of Accomplishment to James J. Richerts, who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 7/28/04: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of 7/28/04; the motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
BILLS LIST: Mrs. Goren moved to pay bills totaling $193,527.20. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to make interfund transfers totaling $58,243.65. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS
PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD: Board Chairman Andrew Levine reported that the Board will hold public hearings on the Woll Tract on 9/1/04 and 9/29/04 at 7:30 PM. The first hearing will focus on equipment and activities, and the second will focus on lighting at the park. The Board will then develop a recommended plan and budget to present to the Board of Supervisors.
At their 8/4/04 meeting the Board discussed the condition of the Clark property and the possibility of changing the name. Mr. Wert reported that the camp program was very successful, and that the Department had increased revenues and participation this year. The Board also discussed the special needs playground at Roberts Ridge Park, construction of the parking lot at Silver Lake Park, the Boy Scouts’ work at the Clark Nature Center, and the formation of a Four-H Club, which will meet at the Clark Center. The Board will hear presentations from several sports leagues at their October meeting; they will not meet in November or December 2004. Members will be meeting with the Board of Supervisors at the next work session to discuss Roberts Ridge Park.
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on the Committee’s 8/10/04 meeting, which was preceded by a walking tour of the construction site. The Committee discussed some minor design problems, heard reports about various parts of the construction work, and discussed some changes requested by contractors. Several members will meet with Haines and Kibblehouse on 8/12/04. This contractor is asking to perform a major part of their work in a continuous 38-hour period to take advantage of the next period of dry weather. Mr. Lombardi noted that recent heavy rains have caused some delays in the work.
The Committee discussed responsibility for repair and maintenance of Sycamore Street during the project. Mr. Pellegrino said that contractors are responsible for maintenance of areas in which they are working, and the Township maintains the other areas.
Mr. Goodnoe asked what the projected completion date is. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the project is still on track for April 2005, the completion date specified in the contract, but it will be necessary to make up some time lost because of bad weather. He noted that Haines and Kibblehouse’s proposal will help this goal.
LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
REVISED PRD VARIANCE – BECKSTED – 35 HIGH STREET – TMP# 29-5-11: Howard Becksted and attorney Wayne Cordes were present to discuss their request for a PRD Variance to allow construction of a 616 SF stone driveway extension with a retaining wall, an approximately 24’ by 11’ patio, and an approximately 10’ by 8’ shed. According to a 7/16/04 memo from Tom Harwood, all of these structures exceed the maximum allowable impervious surface ratio of the final plan for Newtown Crossing. The driveway extension also exceeds the minimum side yard setback of the final plan, and the shed exceeds the minimum side and rear yard setback requirements of the JMZO.
Mr. Weaver opened the hearing and Mr. Becksted was sworn in. Mr. Becksted read a statement saying that he installed the crushed stone driveway extension in 1997 when he was told by the Codes Department that it was not considered impervious surface. It is used to park his RV three or four months a year. In 1997 he accommodated a new RV by moving a fence and trimming a tree, since the Homeowners Association allows residents to park RVs at the side of their home as long as the RV does not extend past the front of the house. He also repaired the retaining wall in April 2003. The shed and the patio were already present when he purchased the house in 1995. Mr. Becksted stated that his adjacent neighbor Mr. Sensibaugh, 43 Bucks Meadow Lane, is the only neighbor ever to object to these structures.
In response to questions from Mr. Cordes Mr. Becksted said Mr. Sensibaugh did not object to the parking pad until recently, when Mr. Becksted applied for a permit. He provided the Supervisors with a petition signed by 76 other neighbors to the Supervisors supporting his request for a variance and a letter from the contractor who repaired the retaining wall in 2003 stating that the wall and the pad were not enlarged. Mr. Becksted also provided photographs of his house with the RV, and the view from Mr. Sensibaugh’s property. He also stated that many of his neighbors have sheds and RVs on their properties. Mr. Becksted provided photographs of Mr. Sensibaugh’s house, which he said demonstrated poor maintenance.
Mr. Cordes also provided summaries of six PRD Variances granted by the Board of Supervisors in the last two years, and a 6/8/04 letter from the president of the Newtown Crossing Homeowners Association stating that the Association is taking no position on the variance request.
Jay Sensibaugh asked to speak and was sworn in. He said that this was the first time he and Mr. Becksted had been in conflict. He said the parking pad affects his ability to use his back yard in the summer, and realtors have advised him that the sight of the RV brings down the resale value of his property. Mr. Sensibaugh said he is also objecting to the precedent set if relief for the impervious surface, the setbacks, and the use is granted.
John Broadnix, the adjacent neighbor on the other side of Mr. Becksted, asked to speak and was sworn in. He stated that Mr. Becksted’s home is well maintained, and that there are many sheds in Newtown Crossing.
Brian Brill, a neighbor who lived adjacent to Mr. Becksted’s back yard for six years, asked to speak and was sworn in. He said he supports Mr. Becksted’s request and could see the entire RV from his home at that time. He agreed that the Homeowners Association rules allow residents to park RVs on the side of their houses.
Mrs. Goren asked Mr. Becksted the height of the RV. He responded that it is about 12’ high. He said he would be willing to install buffering between the RV and Mr. Sensibaugh’s house, although it would probably have to be on Mr. Sensibaugh’s property.
Mr. Sander asked Mr. Sensibaugh to summarize his objections to the variance request. Mr. Sensibaugh said he objects to the excessive impervious surface on Mr. Becksted’s property and to the sight of the large RV immediately adjacent to his property line. He said the shed is not a problem and the property is well maintained in general.
Mrs. Goren asked Mr. Sensibaugh if his objections would be addressed if Mr. Becksted installed buffering between the RV and his home. Mr. Sensibaugh responded that it might address the visibility problem but not the impervious surface problem; however, he is willing to talk about it.
Mr. Harp suggested continuing the hearing to give Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Becksted an opportunity to negotiate and possibly return with a proposal, at which time the Board of Supervisors would make a decision about the variance request. Mr. Cordes conferred with Mr. Becksted and said his client is willing to negotiate with Mr. Sensibaugh. He asked that the issue be placed on the 8/25/04 agenda and that the record be closed to further evidence. Mr. Sander suggested that a court reporter be in attendance at 8/25/04 as well. The Supervisors agreed to these suggestions.
FINAL PLAN – NEWTOWN OFFICE PARK – NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AND FRIENDS LANE – TMP# 29-10-99: Attorney Don Marshall and engineer Curt Rittler were present to discuss their plan to construct four buildings totaling 80,560 SF of Office Use on an approximately nine acre site in the O-LI District.
Mr. Marshall reviewed the history of the project. He said the only significant changes made since the Board of Supervisors granted preliminary plan approval earlier this year relate to recommendations for road improvements made by the Township Engineer. They involved the acquisition of additional right-of-way, bermings and plantings, and moving the reserve parking. The applicant will comply with the Planning Commission’s 7/22/04 recommendation and the most recent review letters from the Emergency Services Department, the Bucks County Planning Commission, Boucher and James (except for two items), and Pennoni Associates (except for two items). Mr. Marshall discussed the four items to be excluded in detail, and noted that the Township will need to assist in the acquisition of right-of-way.
Boucher and James letter of 6/23/04:
- Item A5c states that accessways cannot exceed 35’ in width. Mr. Marshall said that the proposed accessway is a divided roadway with two lanes in and two lanes out. Each half of the roadway is 35’ wide.
- Item C2a states that the conditional use approval specifies 493 parking spaces but the plan proposes only 484 spaces. Mr. Marshall said the applicant is requesting an amended conditional use approval, since some spaces were removed because of the Township’s requests regarding roadway improvements; 484 spaces is still more than what is required.
Pennoni Associates letter of 7/8/04:
- Item V13 specifies that a full-width pavement overlay be performed on Newtown-Yardley Road in the area of the road improvements. Mr. Marshall said this will require the acquisition of some right-of-way and the movement of a utility pole and a trail. He also requested that the applicant receive credit for the cost of this overlay against the traffic impact fees, which are approximately $303,000.
- Item VI25 suggests an additional guardrail around the retention pond. Mr. Marshall said the guardrail is not required and the applicant is reluctant to install it for aesthetic reasons.
Mr. Marshall also said the applicant is willing to pass on to the Township the savings in interest that he will realize if he can pay the traffic impact fees for the four buildings as they are built instead of in a lump sum up front. Mr. Marshall said the fees are $76,000 per building, and the proposed savings will be about $10,600.
Mrs. Goren said all roadway improvements should be done when the first building is constructed. Mr. Marshall indicated this is acceptable to the applicant.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant final approval to the plan for the Newtown Office Park with the following conditions with which the applicant agrees:
- Compliance with the 4/26/04 preliminary plan approval, the conditional use approval and the Zoning Hearing Board decisions.
- Compliance with the 6/22/04 Emergency Services letter, the 7/13/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, the 6/23/04 Boucher and James letter, and the submission of a favorable Bucks County Conservation District letter.
- Compliance with the 7/8/04 Pennoni Associates letter with the following notes: the applicant is not required to install a vehicular guardrail around the pond; the applicant will install a full overlay of Newtown/Yardley Road, including curb work, storm drainage, trail work and moving a utility pole. If right-of-way must be acquired by condemnation to do this work the cost of the acquisition will be borne by the Township.
- The developer and the Engineer will agree on the cost of off-site improvements, and this amount will be credited against the developer’s traffic impact fees.
- The developer agrees to pay the Township $10,654.24 representing the interest saved if the traffic impact fees for the four buildings can be paid as the building permits are issued rather than in a one lump sum up front.
- All roadway improvements will be done when the first building is built.
- All costs of review will be paid by the developer.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp moved to amend the conditional use approval for the Newtown Office Park to change the requirement for 493 parking spaces to 484 spaces. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
MEMBERS’ COMMENTS None.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)
Jim McCrane, a Township resident, asked the Board of Supervisors to oppose any agreement with the Rose Bank Winery that would allow the winery to hold events in a tent. He said this is a business that does not belong in a residential area. He said that there are eight other homes between his home and the tent, and some of these residents have also commented on this issue.
Mr. Sander said the winery is seeking relief from the Zoning Hearing Board, not from the Board of Supervisors. He said the winery has agreed to use a noise monitor. The use is not an issue in this variance request, which relates to relief to allow the use of a temporary structure for recurring events.
Mrs. Goren said the Jointure is now considering a much more restrictive noise ordinance for wineries.
Mr. Sander said that the Board might want to discuss this in executive session because it relates to possible litigation. Mr. Goodnoe responded that the Board should discuss broad issues like the use in public.
Warren Keyser, a Township resident, said permanent businesses expanding in residential areas without land development review has been a persistent problem in the Township and the Board should take a stand against this kind of request.
Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said he feels the use is the primary issue regarding the winery. He is concerned about traffic and safety issues.
Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, complained that the agenda for the most recent Zoning Hearing Board meeting was not posted until the afternoon of the meeting, and then two major cases scheduled for the meeting were canceled at the last minute.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
REGIONAL TRAFFIC PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mr. Weaver said this group would meet in the Township on 8/19/04.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
SOUTHEAST BUCKS LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES: Mr. Harp reported that the newly named League met on 7/29/04. They discussed organizing subcommittees, the proposed transportation of hazardous materials through the area, and common stormwater management issues. There are now approximately 18 municipalities participating in the League.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no plan expirations needing to be addressed by the Board.
BIDS FOR STREAM BANK RESTORATION PROJECT: Mrs. Goren moved to award the contract for the Stream Bank Restoration Project to Intergeo Services, Inc., for $185,586.00 as recommended by Tri-State Engineers in their 8/3/04 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Nancy Crescenzo asked for the difference between the lowest and the next lowest bid. Mr. Pellegrino responded that it was about $80,000.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
PAYMENT #2 – SYCAMORE STREET CONSTRUCTION: Mrs. Goren moved to make payment #2 in the amount of $101,993.85 to Haines and Kibblehouse for the Sycamore Street project, as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their 8/6/04 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
SYCAMORE STREET CHANGE ORDER – MODIFICATIONS TO TEMPORARY SIGNAL CONSTRUCTION: Mrs. Goren moved to approve payment of $3,349.95 for extra work on the Sycamore Street project related to temporary traffic signals at Sycamore Street and Swamp Road/Washington Avenue as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their 8/6/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mr. Pellegrino said the cost might be reduced if some equipment in the Township’s inventory can be used for this purpose.
SYCAMORE STREET CHANGE ORDER – BATTERY BACKUP AND GENERATOR HOOKUP: Mrs. Goren moved to approve payment of $18,060.48 for adding battery backup systems and backup generator hookups for the traffic signals at four intersections on Sycamore Street as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their 8/6/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
SYCAMORE STREET CHANGE ORDER – LUMINAIRE EXTENSIONS: Mrs. Goren moved to approve payment of $10,747.12 for traffic signal extensions for luminaries and upgrades to match decorative ornamental poles on traffic signals on Sycamore Street, as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their 8/6/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
AUDIT: Mr. Pellegrino noted that the Auditor General has reviewed the Non-uniformed Pension Plan, the Police Pension Plan, and the Liquid Fuels Fund and has reported no findings.
ANNOUNCEMENT AT 7/28/04 MEETING: Mr. Pellegrino clarified that Mr. Boyle’s father passed away the afternoon of the 7/28/04 meeting. He said that Mr. Boyle was appreciative of expressions of sympathy received since the announcement.
PUBLIC HEARING - ORDINANCE 2004-O-16- ESTABLISHING A 25 MPH SPEED LIMIT ON MILLSTONE DRIVE: Mr. Harp moved to enact 2004-O-16 to establish a 25 MPH speed limit on Millstone Drive. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING – JMZO 2004-9 – NOISE: Mrs. Goren moved to support JMZO 2004-9 removing noise regulations in the JMZO and substituting a cross-reference to each municipality’s stand-alone noise ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Keyser asked if the Township’s noise ordinance is more restrictive than the JMZO ordinance is. Mr. Weaver responded that it is.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING – JMZO 2004-14 – HOUSEKEEPING: Mrs. Goren moved to support JMZO-14 correcting clerical errors, permitting communications towers in certain districts, establishing standards for aquaculture use, and changing the title of Use A-6. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
DEDICATION OF PHEASANT POINTE: Mr. Sander said all required paperwork has been submitted for dedication, and all work has been done except for some that cannot be done until the fall, for which the developer has posted $4,000 security. The Homeowners Association has approved the dedication.
Mrs. Goren moved to accept dedication of the public improvements in Pheasant Pointe. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino asked if the developer has committed to the completion of the access points on Eagle Road. Mr. Smith responded that this work is not on the punch list and should be added to the motion.
Nancy Crescenzo asked why a fence was installed on both sides of the trail at this development. Mr. Jirele responded that the purpose is to prevent trail users from falling into the drainage culvert from the road.
Mrs. Goren and Mr. Harp amended their motion to include the requirement that the developer will apply a wearing course to all access points. The motion passed unanimously.
ADVERTISEMENT OF ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH STOP INTERSECTIONS IN PHEASANT POINTE: Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the Solicitor to advertise an ordinance establishing stop intersections in Pheasant Pointe. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS – COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION UNDERWRITERS (CAU) PHASE II: Mrs. Goren moved to sign the mylars for CAU Phase II. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS – 43 MERIDIAN CIRCLE – VIVAQUA PRD VARIANCE: Mrs. Goren moved to sign the mylars for 43 Meridian Circle. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ENGINEER’S MONTHLY REPORT: Supervisors received copies of the Engineer’s August 2004 report on current engineering projects in the Township. Mr. Smith noted recent status updates on the Lower Silver Lake culvert, the Richboro Road Trail, and Linton Hill Chase.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
NEW BUSINESS: None.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)
Nancy Crescenzo complained about the way the Township repaired a drainage problem on Eagle Road; said that Mr. Harp did not return her calls and e-mails; suggested that the Township interview candidates for appointments and advertise every opening on the cable channel and the website; and asked residents to support the idea of a veterans’ cemetery in the area.
John D’Aprile, a Township resident, commented on the cost of the stream bank stabilization project.
Warren Keyser said that individuals pay more for permit fees, inspections, and other tasks than businesses do in the Township.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Weaver announced that the Board of Supervisors would meet in executive session to discuss litigation and personnel following adjournment of the public meeting.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 AM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary
Minutes Approved as submitted __________ as corrected___________
Robert M. Pellegrino, Manager Richard Weaver, Chairman
Scott R. Harp, Vice-Chairman
Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer
Thomas Jirele, Member
Raymond Goodnoe, Member