Newtown Township

Board of Supervisor Minutes

May 11, 2005


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 25, 2005. MINUTES OF 5/11/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 5/11/05 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr.Jirele and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, May 11, 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 Tom Jirele, and Member Raymond Goodnoe. Also present were: Sycamore Street Chairman and Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi, Main Streets Manager Chris Ortwein, 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 Reverend Klein of the Addisville Reformed Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that the Park and Recreation Board report be taken off the agenda and that an item relating to the signing of mylars be added to the Engineer’s report.

SPECIAL ACTIONS: None.

MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS

MINUTES OF 4/27/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 4/27/05 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

BILLS LIST: Mrs. Goren moved to approve bills totaling $464,604.56; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked if two bills from Pennoni Associates totaling approximately $217,000 were the same bills discussed at a recent work session. Mr. Pellegrino said they were.

Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked about a Pennoni bill for “general engineering services.” Mr. Pellegrino explained that this was probably a retainer for attending meetings.

Mrs. Crescenzo also asked about a bill relating to a culvert on Eagle Road. Mr. Pellegrino said this item involved a large culvert near the intersection with Wrights Road.

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting “nay.”

Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $156,026.81; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT: None.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS

JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION (JDNC): Main Streets Manager Chris Ortwein reported on recent activities and accomplishments of the JDNC. The group has had over two dozen media exposures in the last two months and has sponsored or co-sponsored several community events, including monthly “Aha! Fridays.” Several grants have been obtained, and the JDNC was able to give over $12,000 in additional contributions towards the Chancellor Center project. The JDNC has applied for a $300,000 DCED grant for the State Street Improvement project. The new website is almost complete and an e-newsletter is being developed. The JDNC will host two informational sessions about the Stockburger land development proposal at the Chancellor Street Center on 6/1/05 and 6/2/05.

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Follows Land Development Projects.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs said the HARB met on 5/10/05 and discussed the Yogasphere signs, a street light on the Murphy property, and improvements at 107 N. Sycamore Street.

CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS - YOGASPHERE LLC – 18 SWAMP ROAD: The Board of Supervisors tabled this item at the 4/27/05 meeting to allow the Codes Officer to investigate the size of the signs and the accuracy of the illustrations accompanying the application. Members received a 5/2/05 memo from the Codes Officer reporting that he found that the signs on the site are in compliance with the ordinance, although the illustrations accompanying the application were not accurate. Mrs. Hibbs noted that the applicant erected the signs before they were approved and has been informed that the fees will be doubled.

Mr. Harp moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for signs for Yogasphere LLC, in accordance with the 4/12/05 recommendation of the HARB. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.

PLANNING COMMISSION: Follows Land Development Projects.

LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

CONDITIONAL USE – PNC BANK – 2500 S. EAGLE ROAD – TMP# 29-10-85: Frank Walters of PNC Bank, attorney John VanLuvanee, and engineer Mary Ellen Saylor were present to discuss their proposal for 3,500 SF of B-4 Financial Establishment Use in a building to be constructed in the Village at Newtown shopping center in the PC District. Mr. Weaver opened the hearing and Mr. Walters was sworn in. Mr. VanLuvanee said the PNC Bank project is part of an approved land development plan to be built by Newtown Center Associates.

Mr. Walters said the bank has a temporary office in the shopping center. The new building will be a free-standing, environmentally-friendly structure using recycled and recyclable materials. It will be energy-efficient, utilizing natural light when possible. He confirmed that the conditions recommended in the 5/5/05 Planning Commission letter are acceptable to the applicant.

Mr. Harris asked if the building footprint is consistent with the pad shown on the plan. Mr. Walters said the footprint will differ slightly but will not exceed the perimeter of the pad. When mylars are submitted for signature they will show the exact footprint.

Mr. Walters said that the bank will not open until there is sufficient lighting in the access, egress, and parking areas. Mr. Jirele said it would be important for the entire front section of the site to be lit before the bank opens.

Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant conditional use approval for 3,500 SF of B-4 Financial Establishment Use at 2500 S. Eagle Road to PNC Bank with the following conditions:

The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.

Discussion of motion: Nancy Crescenzo read excerpts from a 4/8/04 memo from Chief Duffy describing the results of a traffic study on S. Eagle Road which she said showed a large number of vehicles during peak hours and frequent violations of the speed limit. Mrs. Crescenzo said the bank site is on a dangerous curve in the road and sight distances are poor. She said the problem seems to be enforcement of speed limits.

Mr. Jirele said these are valid concerns but unrelated to the conditional use application; he suggested the Board discuss how to address the enforcement problem later tonight.

Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed unanimously.

PRELIMINARY PLAN – MAJOR SUBDIVISION – FLOWERS/MADANY TRACT (BROOKSHIRE ESTATES) PHASE II – WASHINGTON CROSSING AND GAUCKS LANE – TMP# 29-16-18, 20-3-4, 20-3-11-2: Attorney David Shafkowitz and engineer Brian Focht were present to discuss the plan for a 29 lot single family residential subdivision, located primarily in Lower Makefield Township but with one lot located in Newtown Township in the CM District.

Mr. Shafkowitz said Phase I of the plan has been given preliminary plan approval in Lower Makefield. Several options for providing access to Washington Crossing Road in Newtown Township were discussed with the Planning Commission and residents of Gaucks Lane and it was agreed that the best plan involved relocating a portion of Gaucks Lane to form a 90 degree angle with Washington Crossing Road. Mr. Shafkowitz said the Newtown lot is approximately one acre; a variance will be needed for the setbacks on this lot. The applicant has agreed to provide connection with water and sewer service for two properties on Gaucks Lane, but the Township will have to request extension of the service from Lower Makefield.

Mr. Shafkowitz said that the possibility of an intermunicipal agreement between Newtown and Lower Makefield regarding Jase Drive was discussed at the Planning Commission. Since access to Jase Drive lies in Newtown it might make sense for Newtown to provide maintenance for this road and receive the traffic impact fees for all eight lots.

Mr. Goodnoe said a similar agreement was made regarding Lower Silver Lake Road, which lies in Newtown but has access only in Middletown. He asked if an agreement would make it necessary to amend the Township’s 537 Plan; Mr. Harris said it would. Mr. Shafkowitz said the applicant would pay the costs of amending the plan.

Mr. Harris asked about the neighbors’ concerns mentioned in the Planning Commission recommendation. Linda Majewski, a resident who was present, said the plan addresses the concerns, and provided Mr. Harris with a copy of the document.

Mr. Harris asked if the 5/5/05 Planning Commission recommendation is acceptable to the applicant. Mr. Shafkowitz said it is.

Mr. Jirele asked about what school districts serve Jase Drive. Mr. Shafkowitz said he believes that all of the children will go to Pennsbury schools except for those in the home in Newtown; these will go to Council Rock schools.

Mr. Goodnoe referred to a 5/6/05 memo from Bill Wert and asked if the applicant can provide a driveway apron for future access to the Wiggins Tract at the intersection of Washington Crossing Road and Gaucks Lane. Mr. Shafkowitz said this can be done and will appear on the final plan.

In response to Mr. Goodnoe’s further questions Mr. Shafkowitz said the snow removal easement will have a curb cut and no obstacles will be permitted. There will be a street light at the end of the bulb and one at the intersection of Gaucks Lane and Washington Crossing Road.

Regarding a possible intermunicipal agreement, Mr. Pellegrino said it should include routine maintenance like snow plowing and street sweeping but not road repairs, curbing, street lights, etc. Reimbursement or sharing of these costs can be negotiated.

Mr. Jirele said some concerns have been expressed about protecting open space from being developed later, and he asked if the applicant would give an easement to the Heritage Conservancy. Mr. Shafkowitz said he was not sure, since the Conservancy charges substantial fees for this service. He suggested a deed restriction.

Mr. Jirele said that he is not inclined to vote for approval unless the Conservancy holds an easement. Mr. Shafkowitz said the Conservancy usually prefers to have an easement on all the open space in a development, and Lower Makefield may take their open space. He agreed to research an appropriate entity to hold an easement for the Newtown open space.

Brandon Wind, a Township resident, suggested that the buyer of the Newtown lot should be told of its proximity to the Stonehouse Bistro.

Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, noted that this applicant has been working with Lower Makefield for 2 ½ years on this plan, which eliminates a key portion of the proposed northern bypass route.

Tom Ames, a resident of Gaucks Lane, thanked the developer and the Planning Commission for working with the residents to develop a good plan.

Mr. Goodnoe asked about the stormwater management system. Mr. Shafkowitz said the basins will be dedicated to Lower Makefield and he expects they will take the conveyance system as well. Mr. Pellegrino said he will discuss this with Lower Makefield.

Bob Murphy, a Township resident, asked if the realignment of Gaucks Lane will affect the Stoopville Road Improvement project. Mr. Pellegrino said there will be no impact.

Mr. Goodnoe said he would like to have an agreement with Lower Makefield in place before granting preliminary approval to the plan. Mr. Harris suggested that the applicant give the Township a 45 day extension and the matter be tabled until 6/22/05. In the interim Newtown, Lower Makefield, and the applicant can meet to determine if there are any significant issues that will need to be worked out. If there are none it would make sense to proceed with the preliminary plan approval.

Mrs. Goren moved to table the issue until the 6/22/05 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS CONTINUED

PLANNING COMMISSION: Commission Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi reported on their 5/3/05 meeting, at which members heard a report from the Traffic Engineer and reviewed and recommended approval for PNC Bank’s conditional use application and the preliminary plan for the Flowers/Madany Tract. They also reviewed a preliminary plan for the Dolington Tract, which abuts the Township. Mr. Lombardi noted that the Planning Commission felt an intermunicipal agreement on the Flowers/Madany Tract would be important, particularly to facilitate getting services for the nearby Newtown residents.

SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Mr. Lombardi, the Committee Chairman, reported on their 5/10/05 meeting. He said members toured Sycamore Street and discussed several technical difficulties that have been encountered. He apologized to residents for traffic delays that are occurring, and said the project should be completed in less than two months.

MEMBERS’ COMMENTS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)

Mr. Weaver asked that speakers refrain from political statements and personal attacks, and that Township residents speak first.

James Conroy, a Township resident, complained about speeding truck traffic on Stoopville Road early in the morning. One of his neighbors has experienced rocks flying off quarry trucks onto her deck. Mr. Pellegrino said state law requires that the trucks’ loads be covered with tarps.

Paul Salvatore, a Township resident, announced that the Rotary Club is hosting a Golf Outing on 5/23/05 and will be part of Welcome Day on 5/14/05. He also complained that some political candidates are distributing letters with personal attacks.

Nancy Crescenzo complained about the Board’s lack of response to the business community’s offer to discuss a community center and to the report of the Ad Hoc Community Center Task Committee. She also said the Board refused to discuss the school board reapportionment issue before it was litigated.

Jonathan Dix, a Township resident, said the Brandywine traffic study projects that a great deal of traffic on Penns Trail North will be generated by the proposed office complex.

Karen Doorley, a Township resident, said the Township should encourage commercial development because it brings in recreation impact fees that help to fund park and recreation projects.

Bob Murphy said he is a Rosefield resident and thanked the Township for helping his community deal with the developer. He asked about the status of the Stoopville Road traffic-calming project. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the contractor is collecting data and should finish in less than six months.

Mr. Murphy asked if it is true that Stockburger is planning to add three dealerships if they move their present two dealerships to the Bypass. Mr. Weaver said he had not heard anything like this.

David Felker, a Township resident, said he runs the Little League and Babe Ruth programs. He said the Council Rock School Board has been cooperative with his programs. He said the 600 children involved with his programs need additional fields and this should be a Board decision, not put to a referendum vote. Mr. Felker said that contributions from sports organizations and grants have already reduced the estimated cost of developing the Woll Tract to $2 million.

Pat Cawley, a Township resident, said he runs softball programs in the Township and agrees with Mr. Felker’s comments.

Fran Poole, a Township resident, said he is the president of the Cliveden Homeowners Association, which opposes rezoning the site of the proposed Shops at Durham. He said the developer believes the Board favors rezoning. Residents of Cliveden and other developments in the area would like to participate in any meetings about this subject.

Jim Caruso, a Township resident, said he does not support the Shops at Durham project and asked the Board to clarify their position on rezoning the site.

Judith Norkin and Michelle Goldberg spoke in favor of the comments of Mr. Poole and Mr. Caruso.

REPORTS OF OFFICIALS

CHAIRMAN: Mr. Weaver commented that a builder has done a very good job of rehabilitating a gas station on Washington Avenue.

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS

VERIZON WORK: Mr. Harp said the Cable Advisory Committee is effectively addressing concerns about the Verizon work.

TRAFFIC: Mr. Jirele said the need for speed limit enforcement has been expressed several times tonight and he would like to address it. Mr. Pellegrino said he has directed Chief Duffy to monitor speed and volume of traffic on five streets and report on the results in a month.

Mr. Weaver said Newtown residents seem to run red lights frequently. He noted that recent speed enforcement efforts resulted in the arrest of four Township residents.

MANAGER

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no expirations requiring Board action now that an extension has been received on the Flowers/Madany project.

RESOLUTION 2005-R-10- AMENDING FEE SCHEDULE: Mrs. Goren moved to adopt Resolution 2005-R-10 amending the Township fee schedule to include a fee for the purchase of the Township Stormwater Management Ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if the ordinance can be made available on the Township website. Mr. Pellegrino said it is available through the website.

Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.

PAYMENT #16 – SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mr. Jirele moved to authorize Payment #16 in the amount of $245,227.69 for work done through 4/29/05, as recommended by a 5/6/05 letter from Pennoni Associates. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.

SOLICITOR: No report.

ENGINEER

AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS – 462 UNION STREET – TMP# 29-25-16: Mrs. Goren moved to sign the mylars for a PRD Variance at 462 Union Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.

MONTHLY REPORT: Members received the Engineer’s monthly report on Township engineering projects in their packets.

OLD BUSINESS

WORK SESSION: Mr. Weaver said the work session scheduled for 5/16/05 will be canceled, but the Board needs to discuss the Acme site. After some discussion members decided to reschedule the work session for 5/23/05 at 8:00 PM.

NEW BUSINESS: None.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)

Robert Ciervo, a Township resident, thanked the Board for approving the agricultural soils preservation ordinance. He said the Township needs to limit the number of new students and traffic brought into the Township by residential developments. He said that the Board has discussed removing residential uses from the OR District several times but nothing has come of it. He said one study concluded that there are 36,000 trips a day on the Bypass, and most of it is coming from residential developments in other municipalities.

Jim McCrane, a Township resident, expressed concern about decreasing Earned Income Tax income and reserves. He asked the Board to not pursue expensive projects. Mr. Pellegrino said reserves were at an all-time high at the end of 2002, and the Township has used some of these funds for specific capital projects since then.

Sue Beasley, a Township resident, said the children in the Township do not need expensive facilities like the Woll Tract. She said it is the parents who are demanding this kind of facility. Mrs. Beasley also asked about the status of the special needs playground equipment for Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Pellegrino said the equipment will cost at least $120,000 and there is only $40,000 for it in the budget. Some funding options are being discussed with the School District.

Brandon Wind asked if approval of the Flowers/Madany plan will mean the northern bypass proposal is dead. Mr. Jirele said it has been dead for a while.

Mr. Wind also asked what uses are permitted on the Stockburger property on the Bypass. Mr. Weaver responded that Office/Research or Residential uses are permitted. Mr. Jirele commented that an approved plan for an office complex on that site exists.

In response to several questions from Mr. Wind Mr. Pellegrino said he has served as a Township Manager for 28 years, is not politically aligned, and did recommend in his budget transmittal letter that nonresidential uses be encouraged in the OR District to help solve budget problems.

David Felker said lighted fields have always been part of the plans for the Woll Tract, and Township children deserve lighted fields and well-equipped parks.

Steve Goodman, a Township resident, said he agrees with Mr. Felker and he is confident that funding can be found for the Woll Tract.

Mr. Jirele said residents should stop opposing commercial development that will bring revenue into the Township to fund projects like parks. He noted that the Brandywine development will bring in about $500,000 in park and recreation fees.

Mrs. Goren said the costs of maintaining the Brandywine bridge will consume the revenue generated by the development. She also said she is concerned about the amount of traffic it will cause.

Mr. Goodman said a Pennoni Associates engineer stated at the Zoning Hearing Board meeting that the local streets near the Brandywine site cannot handle the traffic it will generate if the bridge is not built. He said that if the bridge is stopped Brandywine cannot build the development because the local streets cannot handle the traffic. Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Pellegrino if this is true; Mr. Pellegrino said the owner of the property is entitled to access to a public street. Mr. Jirele said this is why the Township asked Brandywine to build the bridge.

Karen D’Aprile, a Township resident, said she does not support spending more money on ballfields because it will raise taxes. She suggested that participants in the sports programs should contribute to the funding.

Ethel Hibbs, a Township resident, said she has seen a political letter that refers to her and others as crones; she wrote a guest editorial about it in the newspaper. She asked that candidates and office holders not engage in personal attacks or dishonesty.

John D’Aprile, a Township resident, said a lot of traffic problems should be addressed by more aggressive enforcement. He also commented that he is in favor of the Brandywine bridge, that the Woll Tract may cost as much as $4.8 million, that the Pop Warner football program will need lighted fields, and that the Township should do more for nonathletic children.

Frank Mendicino said the Township needs to be consistent in addressing zoning and budget issues. He called for residents to work together on problems and put aside personal issues. He said the northern bypass concept has been dead for several years but the issue still comes up. He also said that the residents of Tyler Walk said about two years ago that they did not object to lighted fields at Helen Randle Park, but the Board of Supervisors have refused to change the plans for lighted fields at the Woll Tract.

Mr. Jirele said he has talked with Mr. Levine about discussing this issue with residents of Tyler Walk and other developments in the area and he expects the meetings to occur soon.

Mr. Mendicino said the meetings should have taken place already.

Bob Murphy said the northern bypass is not dead as there are several options for building it.

Elizabeth Beasley, a Township resident, said she is a nurse and a mother who has coached youth sports teams. She said she knows single parents, older people, and others who cannot afford to live in the Township any more because of taxes, and she asked the Board to find a way to balance the budget without raising taxes. Ms. Beasley also said the Police Department has been diligent and she often sees Township police patrols and speed boards on the streets.

Paul Salvatore said he wants to see a community center in the Township for children who are not active in sports. He also said residents are anxious about taxes and property values. He suggested the Township look into lighted fields at Helen Randle Park and seek corporate donations to help fund them. He also said residents are tired of seeing Board members quarreling with each other.

Sue Herman, a resident of Lower Makefield and president of Residents for Regional Traffic Solutions, said the northern bypass idea is not dead. She said the Stoopville Road Rehabilitation TIP is the middle leg of the northern bypass proposed by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) in 1988. She also complained about several decisions made by the Regional Traffic Task Force.

Nancy Crescenzo said the issue of putting lighted fields at Helen Randle Park instead of the Woll Tract was discussed by the Park and Recreation Board in October 2004. She also said the Municipal Complex Expansion should take priority over ball fields, and suggested using a vacant building in the Newtown Business Commons for municipal offices. Mrs. Crescenzo said the Township needs a community center. She displayed a free book explaining traffic-calming methods and complained that the Township is paying for a consultant to provide the same information.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: None.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 AM.

 

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