Board of Supervisor Minutes
January 26, 2005
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting February 9, 2005. MINUTES OF 1/26/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 1/26/05 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 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: Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine, Sycamore Street Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi, Planning Commission member Frank Mendicino, 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 Reverend Paul Chreiman of the Newtown Methodist Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: None.
RETIREMENT – OFFICER ALAN SIGAFOOS: Mr. Weaver presented a plaque to Officer Alan Sigafoos on the occasion of his retirement from the Township Police Department after 25 years of outstanding service. Officer Sigafoos thanked the Board of Supervisors for supporting him by continuing his benefits when he was called to serve in the military after the 9/11/01 terrorist attack.
RECOGNITION – NEWTOWN EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPARTMENT: Mr. Weaver presented a plaque to Fire Marshal Don Harris and the staff of the Emergency Services Department in recognition of the employees’ achievements in acquiring several levels of certifications. Mr. Harris praised the staff for their dedication to service and professionalism.
PRESENTATION OF PROPOSALS – REDEVELOPMENT OF FORMER ACME PROPERTY: Mr. Weaver invited three firms to present their proposals for redevelopment of the Acme property on Sycamore Street.
ALLAN SMITH: Allan Smith of Allan H. Smith Real Estate reviewed some of his past redevelopment projects in the area: the Brick Hotel, the Stocking Works, Barclay Court, and Sycamore Center. He proposed a building reflecting the varied streetscape of the rest of Sycamore Street, with parking in the rear and underground. The first floor would include retail and restaurant uses, as well as an ice rink, which could be used for outdoor restaurant seating in warm weather. The upper floors would be owner-occupied residential units.
THE OMNIA GROUP: Architect Brian Mann of Cologne and Associates described the Omnia Group’s proposal. Two buildings are proposed; the one fronting on Sycamore Street would have retail uses on the first floor and owner-occupied residential units on the second and third floors. The other building, with frontage on an extension of Jefferson Street, would have owner-occupied townhouses with an attached “signature” commercial building on Sycamore Street. This would contain a retail or restaurant use on the first floor and perhaps a mezzanine on the second floor. Parking in the rear would exceed ordinance minimums.
THE GOLDENBERG GROUP: Steve Palmer of the Goldenberg Group and architect Hans Stein presented their proposal for an approximately 40,000 SF Barnes and Noble bookstore on the site. Access would be from Eagle Road and Sycamore Street. A three-story parking garage would be at the rear of the property, and grading would make the garage inconspicuous from Sycamore Street. The bookstore would front on Sycamore Street. Mr. Palmer noted that this proposal addresses the Newtown area’s needs for a bookstore as well as parking, and does not include residential uses that would increase demand on schools and services. The bookstore would include a café and offer events like author signings and readings. The bookstore façade could be designed to harmonize with the rest of Sycamore Street.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS
MINUTES OF 12/20/04 WORK SESSION: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 12/20/04 work session; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
MINUTES OF 1/12/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the 1/12/05 regular meeting with two changes under Minutes:
- The date of the Organization Meeting was 1/3/05
- The following paragraph should be added to this section:
MINUTES OF 12/15/04 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 12/15/04 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
JANUARY 2005 BILLS: Mrs. Goren moved to approve January 2005 bills totaling $157,364.61; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $95.16; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
DECEMBER 2004 BILLS: Mrs. Goren said the Transportation Service Area II Fund total on the December bills list should be corrected from $34,098.00 to $1,598.00, making the total bills list $118,192.40. She explained that a portion of the engineering work on Route 332 included in a Pennoni Associates bill has been deferred to a later date.
Mrs. Goren moved to approve December 2004 bills totaling $118,192.40; the motion was seconded by Mr.Harp and passed unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: None.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS
SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Committee Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on their 1/11/05 meeting. The Committee discussed the Streambank Stabilization project and heard a report from the Community Relations Committee about a building, which has developed a crack as a result of construction work. The Committee was updated on proposals for the Acme site and discussed the need to repair a major sewer line under Sycamore Street, which may require that the street be closed for a period. There is a possibility of obtaining state matching funds for this work.
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Board Chairman Andrew Levine reported on their 1/5/05 meeting, at which he was re-elected Chairman and Joel Grosso was re-elected Vice Chairman. The final proposal for the development of the Woll Tract was presented; the public is invited to comment at the Board’s next meeting on 2/2/05. After the 2/2/05 meeting the Board will make final modifications and present it to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. All soccer leagues have been invited to meet with the Board at their 3/2/05 meeting, and other sports organizations are invited to meet with the Board as well.
Mr. Harp asked if the final proposal for the Woll Tract could be reviewed informally by the Board of Supervisors before it is presented to the Planning Commission, and Mr. Levine agreed to this. Mr. Pellegrino said the proposal could be put on the agenda for the March work session.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: Mr. Weaver reported that the Commission is working on creating a Board of Directors, bylaws, and other structures for a Newtown Business Commons Association. The purpose of the Association will be to create solidarity among the businesses in the Commons, facilitate planning and group action, and develop leadership.
PLANNING COMMISSION: Member Frank Mendicino reported on their 1/18/05 meeting. Shawn Ward was elected Chairman, Vince Lombardi is Vice Chairman, and Allen Fidler is Secretary. The following liaison appointments were made: Shawn Ward to the Board of Supervisors; Jay Sensibaugh to the Environmental Committee; Shannon Wilson and Vince Lombardi to the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission; Shawn Ward to the Joint Zoning Council; Shawn Ward and Mike Piazza to the Sycamore Street Committee; Vince Lombardi to the HARB; and Frank Mendicino and Allen Fidler to the Park and Recreation Board.
The Commission also heard a report from the Traffic Engineer and informally reviewed a plan for the Flowers/Madany Tract (which is largely in Lower Makefield). They reviewed and recommended approval for a conditional use application from Pier One Imports, a preliminary plan for Lots 81 and 82 on Blacksmith Drive, and a preliminary as final plan for an expansion on the LaSalle University campus. Three Zoning Hearing Board applications were reviewed with no comment, and approval was recommended for the Stormwater Management ordinance amendments and for a JMZO ordinance, which rezones two parcels in Wrightstown Township.
LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
CONDITIONAL USE – PIER ONE IMPORTS – SOUTH EAGLE ROAD – TMP# 29-3-24-006: Michael Malia of Craymont Realty Trust was present to discuss the request for approval of E-2 Retail Use in approximately 11,048 SF of an existing building in the PC District. No external improvements are proposed.
Mr. Weaver opened the hearing and Mr. Malia was sworn in. The 1/20/05 Planning Commission letter was reviewed and Mr. Malia stated the recommendations were acceptable to him. He said a variance was previously obtained to allow two signs on the building, and they will be similar to those of the previous occupant, Zany Brainy.
Mr. Harris noted that the hours of operation stated in the Planning Commission letter are different from those stated in the Boucher and James letter. Mr. Malia confirmed that the hours will be 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the conditional use application of Pier One Imports, subject to the following conditions:
- Compliance with the 1/12/05 Boucher and James letter except for hours of operation
- There will be a maximum of 20 employees on site
- The hours of operation will be from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week
- Any deliveries after 10:00 AM will be to the rear of the store
- All tractor-trailer deliveries will be to the rear of the store
- Tractor-trailers cannot serve as storage
- The applicant will file a flammable materials list with the Fire Marshal and obtain his approval
- There will be no adverse environmental effects
- The applicant will comply with the Zoning Hearing Board decision regarding signage
- The applicant will pay all costs of the review
The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver closed the hearing.
CONDITIONAL USE – ORLEANS – YAMAMOTO TRACT – WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD: The Township has received an extension from the applicant and the hearing will be continued to the 2/23/05 meeting.
CONDITIONAL USE – K. HOVNANIAN –BUCK ROAD AND THE BYPASS: The Township has received an extension from the applicant and the hearing will be continued to the 2/23/05 meeting.
CONDITIONAL USE – TELETRONICS TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION – 15 TERRY DRIVE: The Township has received an extension from the applicant and the hearing will be continued to the 2/23/05 meeting.
PRD VARIANCE – TOLL – OVERLOOK AT NEWTOWN: The Township has received an extension from the applicant and the hearing will be continued to the 2/9/05 meeting.
PRELIMINARY AS FINAL PLAN – LASALLE UNIVERISTY EXPANSION – 33 UNIVERSITY DRIVE – TMP# 29-10-43-1: Attorney Tom Hecker was present to discuss the plan to build a two-story addition with a 12,228 SF footprint to a building housing classrooms and offices on the LaSalle campus in the OR District.
Mr. Hecker said LaSalle has been using about 6,000 SF of a building on the site which is owned by Pitcairn, and those classrooms will be moved to the proposed addition. He said he discussed the traffic impact fees with the Engineer and the amount stated in the Engineer’s review letter is acceptable. The other conditions and waivers recommended in the 1/20/05 Planning Commission letter are also acceptable to the applicant.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the preliminary plan for the LaSalle addition as final subject to the following conditions:
- Compliance with the Zoning Hearing Board decisions of 1997 and 1998
- Compliance with the 12/22/04 Boucher and James letter
- Compliance with the 12/29/04 Pennoni Associates letter
- Compliance with the 12/29/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter
- All necessary permits and approvals are acquired.
- Financial securities are provided.
- Compliance with the Zoning Hearing Board decisions of 1997 and 1998.
- Payment of traffic impact and park and recreation fees in accordance with the Pennoni Associates letter.
- Provision of water and sewer agreements or letters from the appropriate authorities stating that agreements are not necessary.
- The applicant will pay all costs of review.
- The following waivers are granted:
- Section 402.4.M – relief from the requirement to have a registered landscape architect seal the plan, and from the requirement to show which plantings will be removed and which will remain
- Section 402.5 – relief from the requirement for a traffic study
- Section 516 – relief from the requirement to install curbs on Lower Silver Lake Road
- Section 517.1 – relief from the requirement to install sidewalks on Lower Silver Lake Road
- Section 521.3.B – to allow 12” ductile iron stormpipe
The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if there is sufficient right-of-way available to install a trail along Lower Silver Lake Road in the future. Mr. Hecker responded that he believed the right-of-way was provided in 1997; if not, he is agreeable to adding this condition.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if the applicant will agree that the traffic impact fees can be used anywhere in the Township. Mr. Hecker agreed to this.
Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Harp amended their motion to include two additional conditions: the provision of a right-of-way along Lower Silver Lake Road to the Township, and permission to use the applicant’s traffic impact fees anywhere in the Township. The motion passed unanimously.
MEMBERS COMMENTS: None.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)
Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said he attended the 1/19/05 work session and was concerned about the discussion about the allocation of the RCN settlement money. Since these funds are not enough to complete the Woll Tract development or the Municipal Complex expansion project, either one would require new taxes. He said the Township must justify the need for the Municipal Complex expansion to the public and find new ways of funding large projects like these. Mr. Mendicino said he saw the need to give the Codes Department more space in a permanent building, the need to give the Public Works Department more indoor space, and more record storage, but questioned the need for other elements of the proposed expansion.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
CHAIRMAN: No items.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: No items.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no expiration dates requiring the Board’s action. Mrs. Goren asked about the Blacksmith 161 plan, which requires action by 1/31/05. Mr. Pellegrino said he believed an extension has been received, but it would be advisable for the Board to act on it anyway.
PRELIMINARY PLAN - BLACKSMITH 161: Mrs. Goren moved to deny the Blacksmith 161 preliminary plan unless an extension has been or will be received by 1/31/05. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
EXTENSION OF VARIANCE – JOHN KRAFT – 810 LINTON HILL ROAD: Mrs. Goren moved to extend a variance granted by the Zoning Hearing Board on 6/3/04 to John Kraft at 810 Linton Hill Road to 6/3/05, as recommended in a 1/18/05 memo from Tom Harwood. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 2005-R-6 UPDATING TOWNSHIP FEE SCHEDULE: Members received a proposed update of the Township Fee Schedule in their packets. Mr. Pellegrino’s 1/21/05 memo summarized the proposed changes:
- Some fee increases are proposed
- An escrow deposit is required for street opening permits
- The compliance escrow deposit for building permits is eliminated
- Language is included to comply with new provisions in the Municipalities Planning Code
- A surcharge of $2.00 is proposed for each construction permit
Mr. Jirele moved to adopt Resolution 2005-R-6 updating the Township’s fee schedule as proposed in the draft attached to Mr. Pellegrino’s 1/21/05 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren said she did not feel prepared to approve these revisions because the Board has not had time to review this lengthy document or compare it with the current fee schedule. She noted two examples of questionable provisions:
- Part 3 #4 – Plumbing Permits: A fee of $70.00 would be assessed for the first seven new or replacement fixtures.
- Part 6 – Zoning Hearing Board Applications: Continuance fees would be assessed when there are multiple hearings on an application. Mrs. Goren said she has been told the Township cannot assess these fees.
Mr. Pellegrino said the plumbing permits provision applies when there is construction or renovation, not when a homeowner replaces a leaky faucet. He also said the Township can assess continuance fees and other municipalities are already doing it.
Mr. Weaver suggested the Board approve the resolution now and amend it later if necessary. Mr. Harris supported Mr. Weaver’s suggestion and said he is concerned that the Township be in compliance with the Municipalities Planning Code.
Frank Mendicino said the Township should not try to generate revenue by increasing fees that residents pay. Fees should be charged to cover costs of services, not to generate revenue.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed 3-2, with Mrs. Goren and Mr. Harp voting “nay.”
CHANGE ORDERS #4 AND #5 – STREAM BANK STABLILIZATION PROJECT: Mr. Harp moved to approve Change Orders #4 (for $3,720.00) and #5 (for $1,895.00) for the Stream Bank Stabilization Project, as requested in a 1/7/05 letter from Tri-State Engineers. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren asked how the project is being funded. Mr. Pellegrino said the costs are almost completely covered by a state grant.
Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.
PAYMENT #11 – SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mrs. Goren moved to approve Payment #11 in the amount of $79,615.75 for work done during the period ending 1/17/05, as recommended in a 1/20/05 memo from Pennoni Associates. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO ADVERTISE – STORMWATER MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE: Members received a copy of a proposed Stormwater Management Ordinance that would replace the existing Township stand-alone ordinance. Mr. Harris explained that 99% of the Township is in the Neshaminy watershed. He said this ordinance must be enacted by 3/10/05 to comply with the new federal stormwater requirements and the Township’s NPDES General Discharge Permit. He stated that the additional minor changes referred to in the Planning Commission’s 1/20/05 recommendation have been incorporated in the document circulated to the Board. The ordinance should be advertised for adoption at the 2/23/05 meeting.
Mrs. Goren moved to authorize the advertisement of the Stormwater Management Ordinance for adoption at the 2/23/05 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARING - ORDINANCE 2005-O-2 - REMOVING FEES FOR ROAD OPENING AND DRIVEWAY PERMITS FROM THE CODE OF ORDINANCES: Mr. Harris said this ordinance, advertised for adoption tonight, removes certain fees from the Code of Ordinances and cross-references the Township’s new fee schedule which includes them.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to enact Ordinance 2005-O-2 removing fees for road openings and driveway permits from the Code of Ordinances. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
JMZO AMENDMENT 2004-16 – REZONING OF CHIPPEWA FARMS IN WRIGHTSTOWN TOWNSHIP: Mrs. Goren moved to advise the Joint Zoning Council that JMZO 2004-16 is satisfactory. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: Mr. Harris reviewed the applications scheduled for the 2/3/05 Zoning Hearing Board meeting. He noted that the Brandywine Realty Trust appeal is being withdrawn.
Mr. Jirele asked if the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins application will also need conditional use approval. He said he is concerned about adequate parking. Mr. Harris said the applicant will have to demonstrate that there is adequate parking when applying for a building permit.
The Supervisors indicated they did not require representation at any of the scheduled hearings.
AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS – COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION REALTY OFFICE PARK - BUILDING D: Mr. Harp moved to authorize the signing of the mylars for Building D of the Community Association Realty Office Park as recommended in a 1/19/05 memo from Pennoni Associates. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
ESCROW RELEASE #1 (REVISED) – LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS COUNCIL: Mrs. Goren asked if the remaining escrow funds would cover the correction of reported flooding problems and the replacement of the sodium lights if necessary. Mr. Smith said these changes would be covered. Mr. Harp said the Law School Admissions Council is working with neighboring residents to resolve lighting issues.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve Escrow Release #1 for the Law School Admissions Council in the amount of $1,120,932.40 as recommended by a 1/7/05 letter from Pennoni Associates. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
ESCROW RELEASE #8 – WILTSHIRE WALK: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve Escrow Release #8 for Wiltshire Walk in the amount of $75,453.93 as recommended by a 1/21/05 letter from Pennoni Associates. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren said she has received complaints about a dip in the intersection of Penns Trail and Newtown-Yardley Road; she asked if remaining escrow funds would cover a repair of this problem. Mr. Smith said they would cover this work.
Mr. Goodnoe asked if the work has been inspected and approved. Mr. Smith said it was inspected and his office is negotiating about the approval. The dip has been discussed with the contractor. The work may be incorporated into the nearby Penns Trail Road Improvements project. Mrs. Goren said the developer should be billed for this work if it is made part of this project.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.
APPOINTMENT TO FILL VACANCY ON PLANNING COMMISSION: Mrs. Goren moved to appoint James Bowe to the Planning Commission. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed 3-2, with Mr. Goodnoe and Mr. Jirele voting “nay.”
NEW BUSINESS: None.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)
John D’Aprile, a Township resident, said he opposes any increase in taxes and would favor a change in the structure of municipal government.
Steve Goodman, a Township resident, asked if grants are being sought for the Woll Tract and other recreation projects. Mr. Weaver said some grants have been received for recreation projects, and there is a possibility of obtaining grants for soccer and football programs.
Frank Mendicino said the Woll Tract will cost about $2-3 million and the Municipal Complex Expansion will cost much more. He asked that funding sources for these projects be discussed publicly. Mr. Weaver responded that the designs need to be finalized before funding sources can be investigated.
Phil Calabro, a Township resident, said residents can change the government with their votes, as two incumbents are up for re-election.
John D’Aprile reiterated his opposition to additional taxes. He said grants do not cover ongoing maintenance costs. He suggested that volunteers could do a lot of the maintenance work in parks. He also said residents don’t need expensive recreation facilities like lighted fields and public address systems.
Mr. Weaver asked that residents come to the podium only once on the same topic during Community Comments.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Mr. Weaver said there is no need for an executive session.
ADJOURNMENT: Without objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 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