Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

April 25, 2005


DRAFT - SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS UNTIL APPROVED.


Members Present: Richard Weaver, Chairman; Scott R. Harp, Vice Chairman; Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer; Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, Member; Tom Jirele, Member; Dave Sanders, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager; Gerald Smith, Engineer.

Also Present: Zack Dunkelberger, Newtown Fire Association Chief 45; Bill Wert, Recreation Director; Various members of the Park & Recreation Committee including Andrew Levine, President; Michael Clancy and Joel Grosso; Pat Cawley and Joseph Garvey representing NGSA; David Felker, CRNLL President; Renate Siekman, Advance; Various Newtown Township and Newtown Borough residents including Jim McCrane, Ethel Hibbs, Nancy Crescenzo, John D’Aprile, Sherri Hammer and Bill Sterling.

Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:08 P.M. This was followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Presentation by Newtown Fire Association

Mr. Dunkelberger made a power point presentation to the Supervisors. He advised on the future plans of the Newtown Fire Association and gave a brief history on the fire department in Newtown. Mr. Dunkelberger discussed the goals of the NFA. He commented with regards to benefits that the NFA brings to the Township and the Borough. He discussed the growth of the Township and the Borough. He advised that the NFA depends on volunteers and the costsavings to the Township and the Borough. He advised that the NFA responds to approximately 600 calls per year. Mr. Dunkelberger also discussed the challenges the NFA faces. He commented with regards to the training requirements and the role of today’s firefighters. He discussed the future of the NFA. He advised that the NFA plans to improve on the structure and discipline of the organization, build on the service and obligation to the community, expand to a “platoon” operation, and transition to a paid on-call fire department. He advised that the NFA are working on their budget, reviewing cost and looking for donations to supplement a paid fire department. He advised members would be compensated approximately $1,000.00 per year. He advised that the NFA has established a core team and has been working to develop a plan since October 2004.

Mr. Dunkelberger also advised the Supervisors that the NFA is currently working on their museum in Newtown Borough. He advised that the NFA has established a Scholarship Fund for 2005. He also discussed the NFA with regards to capital planning; he advised that they are less than three (3) years away from replacing ladder truck 45. He discussed the cost to replace the ladder truck and the price the existing ladder truck will be sold for.

Mr. Dunkelberger thanked the Supervisors for their time.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Dunkelberger for his presentation.

Woll Tract Master Plan Presentation

Mr. Levine updated the Supervisors. The Supervisors were provided a packet for their review. Mr. Levine discussed the 1997 comprehensive plan and the current conceptual plan for the Woll Tract. He advised that the new plan have three (3) baseball/softball fields, three (3) soccer fields, a tennis area, and a basketball area. He discussed the size of the recreational building on the site and advised that the playground area has been expanded. He advised that the number of parking spaces is in compliance with the Township ordinance. He advised that the lighted facilities have been moved closer to Rt. 413 so that should have less of an impact to surrounding residents. He advised on the P&R Committee meeting with a lighting consultant. He advised that the lighting used at the Woll Tract would not be like the lights used at Northampton Park. He advised that the light spillage would be minimal to local residents. He discussed the lights that would be used and the cost. He discussed the funds budgeted for the project. He advised that the total budget is approximately four million dollars and that the lighting would be paid for by the local sports organizations. He discussed access to the site from Wrights Road and from Rt. 413, he advised that access from Wrights Road was more costly than from Rt. 413. He discussed the need to have the site graded and advised that was not accounted for in the 1997 comprehensive plan. He advised that the site needs to have an archeology study done to be eligible for DCED Grants or any other state grants. He discussed the grants that are available to the Township and the sports organizations. He discussed areas were money can be saved such as the buffering and landscaping and downscaling the facility building. He commented with regards to the community feedback the P&R Committee has received and advised that most residents are comfortable with the plans for a park but some residents did have concerns regarding the lighting.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to fencing near the residential properties. Mr. Levine advised on the participation from the residents.

Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the CRSD sharing the driveway. Mr. Levine advised that the P&R Committee has had no discussions with the CRSD regarding sharing the driveway. Mr. Jirele commented with regards to prior discussions regarding sharing the driveway with the CRSD.

Mr. Jirele questioned the numbers of entrances to the park. Mr. Levine advised that he felt one (1) entrance would not be enough.

Mr. Weaver questioned if the Woll Tract is the same size as Mackels Field. Mr. Levine advised that the Woll Tract is a little larger than Mackels Field is and that the park would be similar to the park currently under construction in Upper Makefield.

Mr. Harp advised that he appreciates the effort of the P&R Committee. He also commented with regards to storm water management and traffic. He suggested that the P&R Committee meet with the Planning Commission. He also advised that this is the most significant comprehensive recreational facility the Township has ever done.

Mr. Harp commented with regards to apply for grants. Mr. Levine advised that project will not qualify for DCED Grants but can qualify for DCNR Grants. He also advised that grants are available to sport organizations for items (site improvements, portable soccer nets), but the sport organizations would have to apply for the grants. Mr. Levine advised that the BOS need to approve the master plan before any grants can be applied for.

Mr. Jirele questioned if there has been any discussion requiring the sports organizations to contribute money. Mr. Levine advised there have been discussion with the sports organizations with regards to the lighting and grants. He advised that there could be issues with regards to contributions for the lighting and ownership of fields. He offered possible alternatives.

Mr. McCrane, a resident from St. Andrew’s Briar commented with regards to the availability of grants. Mr. Felker commented with regards to the available grants. Mr. Levine discussed the different types of grants that are available and advised that there is no guarantee that a grant will be awarded.

Mr. Wert advised that there would be grant money available for the tennis courts.

Ms. Crescenzo questioned how the plans for the Woll Tract would address the seniors and the handicap. Mr. Levine advised on the status of the handicap playground at Roberts Ridge Park and that the master plan for the Woll Tract will be accessible to the handicap.

Mr. Pellegrino questioned the proposed budget numbers with regards to site access. Mr. Levine advised that the current proposal would be for one (1) entrance to the site.

Mr. Garvey commented with regards to the needs of the youth and the seniors.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the community responsibilities.

Representatives from the P&R Committee advised that the matter is not about seniors vs. children or sports vs. non-sports the park is being designed for all uses.

Ms. Crescenzo questioned why a skate park was not being designed into the Woll Tract. Mr. Levine advised that he is in favor of a skate park within the Township but not at the Woll Tract. He advised that based on prior P&R Committee meetings the public who attended the meetings did not ask for a skate park. Mr. Levine discussed possible areas within the Township for a skate park.

Mr. McCrane questioned if the public could receive copies of the paperwork provided for tonight’s presentation. Mr. Levine apologized for not having enough copies but advised he would forward the information to Mr. Wert who could then post them on the web site or email to residents per request.

Mr. D’Aprile questioned if an acceleration/deceleration lane for the entrance would be provided on Rt. 413. Mr. Levine advised that the funds budgeted for the Woll Tract calls for the Rt. 413 entrance to include a traffic light and one (1) deceleration lane. Mr. D’Aprile questioned the number of parking spaces. Mr. Levine advised there are approximately two hundred thirty (236) parking spaces.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the parking. He suggested that once the plan has been presented to the Planning Commission, that the Township should have the ability to include a reserved area for additional parking. Mr. Levine advised that the P&R Committee has already planned for overflow parking along Wrights Road. Mr. Jirele questioned the need for tennis courts at a Township park. Mr. Clancy advised that according to their research there is a need for public tennis courts within the Township. Mr. Wert advised that having Township owned tennis courts would help to schedule programs for the P&R Department. He advised that tennis is a very popular program and commented with regards to the revenue generated. Mr. Levine discussed the grants available for the tennis court area.

Mr. Clancy commented with regards to parking. He advised there are two hundred thirty (236) parking spaces within the Woll Tract and that there is room is the reserved parking area for one hundred (100) parking spaces.

Mr. Levine questioned what is the next step for the P&R Committee to take regarding the Woll Tract. The BOS advised Mr. Levine to arrange to appear before the Planning Committee.

Mr. Wert advised that there are copies of the plan for the Woll Tract available on the Township’s web site.

Mr. Felker commented with regards to the Planning Commission approving the plan and the lighting of the fields. Mr. Pellegrino advised Mr. Felker to wait and see what the Planning Commission has to say.

Mr. Levine advised on the next steps that the P&R Committee would take. First they will schedule to appear before the Planning Commission. Once the Planning Commission has finished reviewing the plan (which will take a few months), the Planning Commission will meet with the P&R Committee to offer comments. Once the P&R Committee has responded to the comments, the recommendation regarding the Woll Tract will go to the BOS for their vote. Mr. Jirele advised that he believes at that time the BOS would vote and decide on the funding plan for the project.

Mr. McCrane commented with regards to the development of the Woll Tract being the most expensive project the Township has ever developed on their own. He commented with regards to the cost of the project and the project being largely funded by the Township. He also commented with regards to the community’s comments.

Mr. Levine thanked the BOS and the public for their time.

Mr. Weaver thanked everyone for his or her input.

Proposed Building Code Amendment – Emergency Egress from Basements

Mr. Sanders updated the Supervisors. The Supervisors reviewed correspondence from Harris and Harris dated April 8, 2005 regarding the building code amendment – emergency egress from basements. The Supervisors discussed Act 93 of 2004. Mr. Sanders suggested that the Township draft an ordinance to amend the building code pre Act 93 of 2004. Once the ordinance is drafted the Township would send the draft to the Pennsylvania L&I for approval. The Supervisors discussed emergency basement egress and building codes. Mr. Smith commented with regards to his past experience concerning emergency egress from basements and the size of the basement. Mr. Sanders advised he could have more discussions with the building inspectors regarding emergency egress from basements. Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to having a fire code stairway.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to living in a home with a walk out basement and the need for a french drain.

Mr. Sanders advised he would discuss mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits and inspections and emergency egress from basements further with the building inspector and report back to the BOS.

Approval for Change Order #1 – Engineering Services Proposal For Traffic Calming Plan on Stoopville Road

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors. The Supervisors reviewed correspondence from Mr. Kaufman, Gilmore & Associates, Inc. to Mr. Pellegrino dated April 11, 2005, with regards to the extension of the traffic-calming plan on Stoopville Road. The Supervisors discussed extending the traffic-calming plan for Stoopville Road, from Linton Hill Road to Washington Crossing Road. Ms. Goren advised she is in favor of the idea. Mr. Jirele advised he would like to keep the study in the Township. The Supervisors discussed contacting Upper and Lower Makefield Townships to see if they would be interested in contributing to the study. Mr. Goodnoe advised that he is in favor of increasing the area of the study, but feels the Township should approach Upper and Lower Makefield Townships. Mr. Pellegrino advised he would contact Upper and Lower Makefield Townships to discuss the matter.

Request To Waive Fees for Newtown Bucks Joint Municipal Authority

The Supervisors reviewed correspondence from Mr. Warren, Jr., Newtown, Bucks County, Joint Municipal Authority to the Newtown Board of Supervisors dated April 7, 2005, requesting the waiver of fees. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors, he recommended that the Supervisors waive the $1,000.00 for a filing fee. The Supervisors discussed the request.

Mr. Goodnoe made a motion to waive the $1,000.00 filing fee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

Other Business

Mr. Levine commented with regards to the P&R Committee being approached by the local soccer league with regards to a light field. He advised that there has been discussion with Tyler Walk’s HOA and they do not object to the lights. He recommended that the BOS consider allowing lights to be put in at the Township field located behind Staples. The Supervisors advised that matter is being discussed.

Mr. Levine advised that the P&R Committee is recommending that the BOS consider allowing the Wiggins Tract to be used by the football league.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to having a light field at Helen Randle Park. He suggested that the P&R Committee meet with the HOA & residents from Tyler Walk to discuss field lighting at Helen Randle Park. He also advised he would like to be involved with the discussions.

Mr. Levine commented with regards to the Township considering a model ordinance when it comes to the lighting standards within the Township. The Supervisors advised that the matter is being discussed.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the Newtown Township feasibility study done on September 14, 2001 with regards to the Township need for a community center. She also commented with regards to the fitness trail, the P&R budget, the Municipal Complex, and that the Township has not completed existing park projects (the handicap playground). She questioned where the Township priorities lie. Mr. Weaver advised that the Township is researching matters, the Municipal Complex and the P&R projects.

Mr. Garvey commented with regards to having light fields at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Jirele advised on his feelings with regards to having lights at Helen Randle Park.

Representatives from the P&R Committee and the local sports organizations advised they would like to have two (2) light fields at the Woll Tract and two (2) light fields at Helen Randle Park.

One resident commented with regards to having lights at the field behind Staples and Helen Randle Park and meeting with the Planning Commission. The BOS advised that no decisions are being made tonight. Mr. Levine advised that the P&R Committee would recommend that the BOS allow for lighting to be installed at the field behind Staples.

Mr. Cawley commented with regards to reaching out to neighborhoods that would be affected by the lights. Mr. Levine advised that the P&R Committee is able to demonstrate to a resident that there will be no impact from glare or spillage from the lighting. He commented with regards to the Township’s lighting ordinance.

Ms. Hibbs commented with regards to a comment Mr. Weaver made at the Supervisors last public meeting regarding Mr. Harris’s wife and some confusion. Mr. Weaver advised that his comment was in regard to Mr. Harris’s wife not Mr. Marshall.

Mr. Sterling commented with regards to the CM district changes. Mr. Sanders advised that discussion is on the agenda for the next Supervisors meeting.

Mr. Weaver thanked the public for their input.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary