Board of Supervisor Minutes
October 27, 2004
INUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting November 17. MINUTES OF 10/27/04 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 10/27/04 regular meeting with the spelling of Mr. Cirucci name corrected in the first Community Comment section. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 27, 2004, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Richard Weaver, Vice-Chairman Scott R. Harp, and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor Stephen 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 Robert Davis of the First Baptist Church of Newtown. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that a resolution opposing the transportation of nerve gas be added under Old Business; two change orders for the Streambank Stabilization project be added under the Manager’s Report; and a request from the Newtown Joint Municipal Authority be added under the Manager’s Report.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF 10/13/04 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 10/13/04 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
BILLS LIST: Mr. Weaver moved to approve bills totaling $687,710.33. The motion was seconded by Mr.Harp and passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $100,000.00. The motion was seconded by Mr.Harp and passed unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: None.
LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
CONDITIONAL USE – SALADWORKS – 2804-2808 S. EAGLE ROAD – TMP# 29-3-24-4: Mr. Weaver opened the hearing. No one was present to discuss the application.
Mr. Harp moved to continue the hearing on the conditional use application for Saladworks to the 11/17/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver closed the hearing.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS
LIBRARY BOARD: Brandon Wind, the president of the Newtown Library Company, reported on the history and current services of the library, which is located in Newtown Borough but serves an increasing number of Township residents. He stated that a majority of users are Township residents. The Library Company is the only community library in the area. Mr. Wind thanked the Board of Supervisors for their past financial support and asked them to continue to support this community resource.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs reported that the Board recommended approval of three Certificates of Appropriateness at their 10/12/04 meeting.
Susan Levy Eisenberg and Associates – 117 S. Sycamore Street: Mr. Harp moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new sign replacing an existing sign at 117 S. Sycamore Street, with conditions as recommended by the HARB at their 10/12/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously./p>
Anna Mae and Pasquale Deon – 211-213 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Harp moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for modifications to railings at 211-213 N. Sycamore Street, with conditions as recommended by the HARB at their 10/12/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
Thomas Crawford – 159 N. Sycamore Street: Mrs. Hibbs said the HARB is comfortable with the six conditions attached to the application. The key conditions are that the owner must remove the historic plaque he installed, and the front doors are to be replaced by two solid wood doors as described in the attachment. If the applicant acquires a new plaque or sign he will have to come before the HARB again.
Mr. Harp moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for modifications to the exterior of 159 N. Sycamore Street, with conditions as recommended by the HARB at their 10/12/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked Mrs. Hibbs to clarify the attachment listing six conditions. Mrs. Hibbs said the applicant made the handwritten notes on the list indicating his agreement with the conditions. She said that it was agreed that item #3 regarding a handicapped parking sign and a rainwater diverter are building code issues and irrelevant to the Certificate of Appropriateness process.
Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, said the applicant has consistently failed to follow procedures, and the plaque and the front doors are still in place. Mrs. Hibbs responded that the approved Certificate of Appropriateness will give the Zoning Officer the authority to enforce the conditions.
Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.
PLANNING COMMISSION: No report. Mr. Weaver noted that the Board received a synopsis of the Commission’s 10/19/04 meeting in their packets.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: Mr. Weaver reported on the Commission’s most recent meeting, at which the main topic of discussion was the formation of a Newtown Business Commons Association. He said this will be a private association, not a Township organization, and much preliminary work has already been done.
PANCAKE DAY: Mr. Harp announced that the Newtown Exchange Club and the American Legion will host their annual Pancake Day on 11/7/04.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)
Mr. Weaver said that there are many residents present who are concerned about a proposed development at Buck Road and the Bypass although it is not on the agenda tonight, and he asked Jim Downey, president of the Newtown Crossing Homeowners Association, to speak first.
Mr. Downey said his community is opposed to the proposed K. Hovnanian Four Seasons development. In recent weeks many residents signed a petition objecting to the development of the wooded area between Newtown Crossing and Eagle Ridge, warning of the traffic problems this could bring to the area, and objecting to the negative environmental impact of the proposed development. He invited the developer to meet with the residents of Newtown Crossing, but said that the residents will never allow access through the part of the wooded area they own.
Jay McGuigan, a resident of Newtown Crossing, presented copies of the residents’ petition to the Supervisors. He said that 356 signatures were on the copies and an additional 102 signatures came in today. He asked if residents can be notified when the proposed development will be reviewed by the Township.
Mr. Pellegrino said the agendas of the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are usually posted on the website and the character generator by the Friday afternoon prior to the meetings. He said that the developer has given the Township an extension on the conditional use application to 12/31/04, and there may be more extensions.
Frank Mendicino, a Township resident and a member of the Planning Commission, asked if the applicant will perform the traffic study requested by the Commission. Mr. Pellegrino said he brought this request up in his discussion with the applicant but received no answer.
Paul Salvatore, a Township resident, announced that the Newtown Rotary Club will be collecting used bicycles on 11/13/04 at Goodnoe’s Restaurant. They will be repaired and sent to countries where they will provide much-needed transportation.
Mr. Salvatore also commented on several traffic problems in the area. He asked if there will be more than one lane for traffic turning right onto the Bypass from Buck Road when the construction is done. Mr. Pellegrino said only one right turn lane is planned. Mr. Weaver said the advisability of two right turn lanes at this intersection was discussed at the last Board of Supervisors meeting and will be addressed with PennDOT.
Mr. Salvatore said he is concerned about the many school children who walk to school in the area of Mill Pond Road and Buck Road. Mr. Goodnoe said several pedestrian crossings have been approved for Mill Pond Road, which should help the situation. Mr. Pellegrino said he will soon recommend a stop sign at the York Road intersection.
Nancy Crescenzo thanked the Supervisors for posting several vacancies on the website, and asked that they consider traffic calming measures on South Eagle Road. She said traffic is very heavy and fast on this road, creating dangerous conditions.
Mario Lionetti, a resident of Newtown Crossing and a member of the Zoning Hearing Board, said the proposed development at Buck Road and the Bypass will aggravate existing traffic problems. He suggested that the entrance to Shir Ami from Newtown-Richboro Road and the entrance to the church from Buck Road be closed, and that a new access on the Bypass be created to serve Shir Ami, the church, and the proposed development.
Larry Fyock, a Township resident, said his property is adjacent to the Brandywine Realty Trust (BRT) development, and the development will add about 2,000 cars to area traffic. He said the Jointure changed the ordinance for the convenience of BRT to allow building in the floodplain, and he asked the Board of Supervisors to reverse their approval of the ordinance.
Rick Serucci, a resident of Wiltshire Walk, complained about the traffic and flooding impact of the BRT development. He predicted that if BRT’s bridge is built there will be much more traffic on Penns Trail, which runs through his development.
Christopher Whelan, a resident of Wiltshire Walk, said Mr. Goodnoe wrote to Wiltshire Walk residents that Penns Trail and the BRT bridge will serve the entire community in many ways. Mr. Whelan said the BRT development is too big for the area and inappropriate for the OR District.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
CHAIRMAN: No items.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: No items.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there were no plan expirations requiring Board action.
PAYMENT #5 – SYCAMORE STREET CONSTRUCTION: Mr. Harp moved to approve a payment of $135,576.19 to Haines and Kibblehouse for work on the Sycamore Street project for the period ending 9/24/04, as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their letter of 10/19/04. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
PAYMENT #6 – SYCAMORE STREET CONSTRUCTION: Mr. Harp moved to approve a payment of $412,534.08 to Haines and Kibblehouse for work on the Sycamore Street project for the period ending 10/16/04, as recommended by Pennoni Associates in their letter of 10/21/04. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
LEASE FOR CLARK HOUSE: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the lease agreement with the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation for the Clark house, as recommended by Mr. Pellegrino in his 10/22/04 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
CHANGE ORDER #1 – STREAMBANK STABILIZATION PROJECT: Mr. Pellegrino said the grant received by the Township will cover several expansions of the project.
Mr. Harp moved to approve Change Order #1 for the Streambank Stabilization project, as recommended by a 10/20/04 letter from Tri-State Engineers and Land Surveyors. The order extends Wall #1 150’ to the south for an estimated cost of $107,328.64. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of motion: Nancy Crescenzo asked if it was necessary to cut down all the trees that were removed. Mr. Pellegrino said some were saved, but it was necessary to remove the rest.
Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.
CHANGE ORDER #2 – STREAMBANK STABILIZATION PROJECT: Mr. Pellegrino commented that this work was removed from the Sycamore Street project because the streambank was not stable at that time.
Mr. Harp moved to approve Change Order #2 for the Streambank Stabilization project, as recommended in a 10/22/04 letter from Tri-State Engineers and Land Surveyors. The order directs the contractor to construct the parking, pull-off, curb, and sidewalk along Sycamore Street in front of the proposed wall for an estimated cost of $52,690.80. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
REQUEST TO WAIVE FEE – JOINT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: Mr. Pellegrino provided copies of a 10/26/04 letter from the Newtown, Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority requesting that the Township waive the $2,500.00 application fee for the Zoning Hearing Board regarding the Linton Hill Pumping Station. Mr. Pellegrino recommended that the fee be waived, but that the Authority pay any incidental costs such as advertising.
Mr. Harp moved to waive the $2,500 Zoning Hearing Board application fee for the Joint Municipal Authority’s Linton Hill Pumping Station, with the understanding that the Authority will pay any incidental costs of the application. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
VACANCIES - BUILDING CODE BOARD OF APPEALS: Mr. Pellegrino appealed to the public for applications for the Building Code Board of Appeals. Information on these vacancies is posted on the website and available from the Administration office.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS FOR 11/4/04: Mr. Harris said the Brandywine Realty Trust’s application for a special exception has been continued, most likely to December. He said his office has been authorized to appear at the hearing for the Flemings’ request for a variance to allow a temporary structure, but the Board must decide if his office should represent them at the 11/4/04 hearing regarding the Flemings’ appeal from the Zoning Officer’s 9/24/04 enforcement notice. Mr. Pellegrino said the Board of Supervisors has already authorized this appearance as well.
Mr. Harris reviewed the three new applications scheduled for the next meeting. The Supervisors indicated they did not wish the Solicitor to represent them at these hearings.
EMERGENCY ACCESS – OVERLOOK: Mr. Smith said a concern was raised about the emergency access to the Overlook development at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. He reported that he found that the chain was down last week; he contacted Toll Brothers and they put it up again. Mr. Smith said his office will continue to monitor this, as well as the tracking of mud onto the road.
SWAMP ROAD OPENING: Mr. Smith reported that the construction on the culvert and bridge on Swamp Road should be completed by 10/29/04.
RESOLUTION RE TRANSPORTATION OF VX NERVE AGENT: Mr. Harp moved to approve a resolution opposing the transportation and treatment of hydrolysate at Dupont Chambers Works in Salem County New Jersey as part of the U. S. Army’s draft “FONSI” proposal. Mr. Weaver seconded the motion for purposes of discussion.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe said the Governor’s office and the U.S. Congress are addressing this concern and Township officials are not well-informed about this issue, so he does not see a reason for this resolution.
Nancy Crescenzo said there is no evidence that this transport is any more dangerous than others. Mr. Harp said the material is being brought from Ohio to New Jersey and the route is likely to be through Pennsylvania. He said the Township should express its concern now, like other municipalities have done.
Mr. Goodnoe said he believes the component being moved is not dangerous unless it is combined with another chemical.
Mr. Harp’s motion failed 2-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay.”
ROAD CLOSURES: Mr. Pellegrino announced that President Bush is visiting the area on 10/28/04 and the Bypass will be closed at 5:00 PM at Penns Trail and at I-95. Information will be posted on the website, the cable channel, and the newspaper.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)
Paul Salvatore suggested that a committee be formed to work with PennDOT and all residents on traffic issues, instead of having small groups of residents bickering with each other. He also encouraged the Township to list the duties and responsibilities of appointments that are advertised.
Nancy Crescenzo read some excerpts from an April 2004 traffic study done on South Eagle Road. The study reported that 662 vehicles used the road in one morning peak period and 994 vehicles used it in one afternoon peak period.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Weaver said there is no reason for an executive session. Mr. Pellegrino said there are no items of business for the 11/3/04 public meeting, and reminded those present that the first budget meeting will take place on 11/10/04 at 6:00 PM in the lower level.
Mr. Weaver said he will make a decision about the 11/3/04 meeting soon. Suggestions were made that the time could be used to meet with Newtown Borough officials or for an executive session regarding personnel matters.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:55 PM.
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