Newtown Township

Board of Supervisor Minutes

March 23, 2005


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting April 13, 2005. MINUTES OF 3/23/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 3/23/05 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously, with Mr. Harp and Mr. Jirele abstaining.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Richard Weaver, Secretary/Treasurer Anne Goren, and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Chairman of the Telecommunications Advisory Board John Manahan, Secretary of the HARB Ethel Hibbs, Township Solicitor Thomas Smith, Township Engineer Gerald Smith, and Assistant Township Manager John Boyle.

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 Roberta Arrowsmith of the Newtown Presbyterian Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Boyle said there are no changes to the agenda.

SPECIAL ACTIONS: None

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS

MINUTES

MINUTES OF 3/1/05 SPECIAL MEETING: These minutes will be considered at the next meeting, as only two of the Supervisors present tonight were in attendance at the 3/1/05 meeting and three votes are needed for approval.

MINUTES OF 3/9/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 3/9/05 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST: Mr. Goodnoe said he will abstain from voting on this list because it includes a payment to his restaurant. He suggested this item be removed and considered at the next meeting so that the Board can approve the remaining bills tonight.

Mrs. Goren moved to approve bills totaling $264,874.94; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $71,440.82; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT: None.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY BOARD: Chairman James Manahan reported on the Board’s most recent meeting, at which they discussed updates and improvements to Channel 23. The Board is working with local colleges to develop new content for Channel 23.

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): Secretary Ethel Hibbs said the HARB heard a presentation by Main Street Manager Chris Ortwein regarding grant sources for improved commercial signage at their last meeting.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS:Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the Blair Sign Company at 18 Swamp Road (the Lovett barn) for the installation of a wooden wall sign and revisions to two existing monument signs. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

PRD VARIANCE – SUZANNE CONNELLY – 30 ALYSSA DRIVE – TMP# 29-6-223: Ms. Connelly and attorney Don Marshall were present to discuss the request for relief to allow construction of a detached garage which would result in 25.9% impervious surface where 25% is the maximum, and a 28’ rear yard setback where 30’ is the minimum.

Mr. Marshall said when the Overlook development was planned a garage was supposed to be constructed for Ms. Connelly’s home, which was the existing farmhouse on the site. Because of changes to the arrangement of the rooms the driveway required slightly more impervious surface than anticipated, and the garage will intrude slightly into the rear yard setback. Mr. Marshall pointed out that the variance application refers to different measurements because a walkway has been removed since the application was submitted.

Mr. Goodnoe asked if there are any advantages to the applicant if the Board approves a de minimus variance; Mr. Smith said there are none.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the PRD variance request of Suzanne Connelly of 30 Alyssa Drive with the following conditions:

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren. 

Discussion of motion: Mr. (Gerald) Smith said that compliance with the 3/14/05 Pennoni Associates letter should be included in the motion.

Mr. Goodnoe and Mrs. Goren agreed to amend their motion to include compliance with the 3/14/05 Pennoni Associates letter. The motion passed unanimously.

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)

Paul Zotter, a Township resident, said Verizon has damaged roads and curbs in the Devonshire development and several others in the course of recent installation work. He asked if the Township has oversight of Verizon’s work. Mrs. Goren suggested that Mr. Boyle look into this, and she asked other residents with problems to contact him.

Jim McCrane, a Township resident, said his development has experienced similar problems with Verizon. He also thanked the Board for sending the Solicitor to oppose the Zoning Hearing Board application of the Rose Bank Winery and said Mr. Sander did a great job. He said he just received the written decision this week, and he urged the Board to appeal it.

Robert Ciervo, a resident of Newtown Gate, asked if people purchasing homes in the Reserve development were told that the area is in the OR District. Mrs. Goren said they would not have been told unless they contacted the Codes Department.

Mr. Ciervo asked the Board’s opinion of how the OR District should be developed. Mr. Weaver responded that the LaSalle study indicated that it should be developed with office uses. Mr. Ciervo asked the Board to discourage residential development in the OR District because it is more costly to the taxpayers, and residents have to deal with the impact of intense commercial development near them.

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said the Wiltshire Walk site was rezoned from OR to Residential four or five years ago. Mrs. Goren and Mr. Goodnoe said this is incorrect. Mr. Mendicino said there are currently five requests for rezoning pending in the Township. He said “spot zoning” for Stockburger or others would be a bad precedent.

Mr. Mendicino asked what is being done to address the decrease in Township income from the Earned Income Tax. Mr. Weaver said the Financial Planning Committee has discussed this issue with the Tax Collector and will bring recommendations to the Board. Mr. Mendicino asked that information about this and other issues be more widely disseminated to the public.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN:

OTHER MEMBERS

MEETING WITH THE BOROUGH: Mr. Goodnoe said he, Mr. Weaver, and Mr. Pellegrino attended a meeting on 3/21/05 with Borough and PennDOT officials regarding the inclusion of the traffic signals at State and Washington Avenue and State and Centre Street into the Sycamore Street closed loop system. This would benefit both the Borough and the Township. Mr. Goodnoe said PennDOT seemed receptive; the work could be done as part of the Township’s Sycamore Street project, with the Borough paying the local match.

MANAGER

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Boyle said there are no expirations requiring Board action.

EXTENSION OF VARIANCE – JEFFREY JENKINS – 18 SUSANNA WAY: Mr. Boyle referred to Mr. Jenkins’ 3/14/05 letter, which requests the extension of a 4/1/04 variance granted by the Zoning Hearing Board to 5/31/05 due to delays in design work and contracting with a builder.

Mrs. Goren moved to grant an extension of the 4/1/04 variance for Jeffrey Jenkins of 18 Susanna Way to 5/31/05. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

CONSORTIUM ROAD MATERIALS BID:Mrs. Goren moved to grant awards for road materials in accordance with Mr. Crossland’s 3/3/05 memo to Mr. Pellegrino. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

CONSORTIUM SIGN MATERIALS AND POSTS BIDS: Mrs. Goren moved to grant awards for sign materials and posts for a total expenditure of $18,000 as recommended in Mr. Crossland’s 3/8/05 memo to Mr. Pellegrino. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

CHANGE ORDER #11 – SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mrs. Goren moved to authorize Change Order #11 for supplemental engineering services on the Sycamore Street project in the amount of $5,200 as requested by McMahon Associates in their 3/9/05 letter to Mr. Pellegrino. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

PAYMENT #13 – SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mrs. Goren moved to authorize payment of $81,952.33 for work performed through 3/11/05 on the Sycamore Street project. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

SOLICITOR

PUBLIC HEARING – JMZO AMENDMENT – SALES OF GASOLINE: Mrs. Goren moved to adopt JMZO 2004-18 prohibiting the sale of gasoline in retail stores. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING CONDEMNATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY ALONG STOOPVILLE ROAD – BLATSTEIN PROPERTY: Mr. Weaver said this resolution should be tabled because there is some confusion about whether it is necessary.

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: Mr. Smith reviewed the two new cases scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board’s 4/7/05 meeting. Mr. Weaver asked if Appeal #681-05 includes a request for relief regarding impervious surface limits; Mr. Smith said it does not.

Supervisors indicated they do not wish the Solicitor to represent them in either of the two cases.

ENGINEER: No items for Board action.

OLD BUSINESS

ROSE BANK WINERY ZONING HEARING BOARD DECISION: Mr. Goodnoe asked what the time frame is for appealing the Rose Bank Winery decision referred to by Mr. McCrane earlier. Mr. Smith said the Township has 30 days from the mailing of the decision, which appears to have occurred this week.

NEW BUSINESS: No items.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS

Karen Doorley, a resident of Pickering Chase, thanked the Board for hiring an engineering firm to study traffic-calming on Stoopville Road. She suggested the Township should work with other municipalities on calming traffic on other roads, including Lindenhurst and Swamp Roads. Mrs. Doorley also said that Verizon caused damage to the streetlights in her development. Although they did eventually correct the problems it took four months and about $300 worth of electrical work to convince Verizon that the damage was their fault.

Steve Goodman, a resident of Rosefield, also expressed appreciation to the Board for beginning to look at traffic calming on Stoopville Road.

Brandon Wind, a Township resident, said he hoped that as more information is gathered about traffic problems by the Stoopville Road study and others there will be fewer inaccuracies and fear tactics heard. He also expressed appreciation for the Board’s reaching out to the Borough with the Sycamore Street close loop system.

Frank Mendicino asked that the Board enlarge the scope of their traffic-calming study to include other roads with heavy traffic, such as Swamp Road and Route 413. Mr. Weaver said the Township is working with regional groups to look at all traffic problems in the area.

Sue Herman, a resident of Lower Makefield and president of Residents for Regional Traffic Solutions, said that a representative of PennDOT stated at an April 2004 meeting that his goal was for the Swamp Road Improvement project to begin in 2008. Ms. Herman said it seems the timetable is being pushed back. She also said the Stoopville Road Improvement project backed by the Bucks County Planning Commission will not calm traffic but will lead to more speeding, and is the first step towards a northern bypass.

Mr. Weaver responded that the funds are not there to begin the Swamp Road project in 2008, but Ms. Herman again said they are available.

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, said residents’ taxes will go up because of park and recreation projects. He said he favors the Stoopville Road improvements and the widening of the road.

Robert Ciervo said the OR District was created close to I-95 so that office parks would not cause traffic problems and residential areas would have minimal impact. He said that allowing residential development in the OR District has caused the traffic problems about which residents are complaining.

Paul Zotter said he has some questions about the Stockburger proposal. Mr. Weaver said the Solicitor is preparing a presentation on the issue for a Board meeting in the near future, and he asked Mr. Zotter and others to hold their questions until then.

Steve Goodman said Wiltshire Walk, the Reserve, Kirkwood, Norwalk, and other developments are here now, and the Township should be protecting them from the impact of the Brandywine project. He said the Planning Commission recommended approval of the Brandywine project without considering the impact on the nearby residents.

Frank Mendicino said residents should come to Planning Commission meetings to make sure their concerns are heard and considered.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: None

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.

 

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