Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

May 23, 2005


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 22, 2005. Minutes of May 23, 2005 Work Session: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the May 23, 2005 Work Session. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Members Present: Richard Weaver, Chairman; Anne Goren, Secretary/Treasurer; Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, Member; Tom Jirele, Member; Dave Sanders, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager; Gerald Smith, Engineer. Not in attendance was Scott R. Harp, Vice Chairman.

Also Present: Thomas Ames, CRSD, Supervisor of Operational Services; Mike Palmer, Toll Brothers; Ed Murphy, Toll Brothers; Tom Mirande, Beazer Homes; Evan Stone, Pickering, Corts & Summerson, Inc.; Don Marshall; Bill Wert, Recreation Director; Renate Siekmann, Advance; Chris Ortwein, Main Street Manager; Various Newtown Township and Newtown Borough residents including Jay Seinsbaugh, Ethel Hibbs, Nancy Crescenzo, Vince Lombardi, Shawn Ward and Michael Iapalucci

Prior to the Meeting the Board of Supervisors met for executive session to discuss real estate matters.

Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:06 P.M. This was followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Presentation JDNC Wayfinding Program

Ms. Ortwein, Main Street Manager, made a presentation to the Supervisors with regards to the JDNC Wayfinding Program. She advised the Supervisors on the concept plans and the grant that has been applied for. She commented with regards to the architect firm being used. She displayed three (3) sample sketches for the Supervisors to view. She advised that she has already met with the Borough and the Sycamore Street Committee. She advised that the signs would have wood features; samples also included using flagstone or wrought iron. She discussed the logo and colors that will be used. She discussed the directional signs. She advised that she wanted to keep the Supervisors informed and was looking for suggestions.

The Supervisors discussed the areas were the signs would be used.

Mr. Weaver advised the Supervisors on an earlier discussion at the Newtown Business Commons Association meeting regarding the Wayfinding program.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to discussing the matter with the Township and Borough HARB Committees. Ms. Ortwein advised that she is on the agenda at the upcoming Borough HARB Committee meeting, but wanted to meet with the Supervisors before meeting with the Township HARB Committee.

Mr. Goodnoe advised he likes the idea and feels it would be an advantage to the town.

The Supervisors discussed the samples provided by Ms. Ortwein.

Ms. Ortwein advised that she would keep the Supervisors informed.

Mr. Weaver thanked Ms. Ortwein for her time.

Fidler/Roberts Zoning Amendment Proposal

Representatives from Toll Brothers made a presentation to the Supervisors with regards to the Fidler/Roberts zoning amendment proposal. Mr. Murphy updated the Supervisors on meetings with the Township Planning Commission and the Wrightstown Supervisors and Planning Commission and the Upper Makefield Supervisors and Planning Commission. Mr. Murphy advised that per the Township’s Planning Commission the traffic consultant issued a report considering aligning the proposed entrance on Dolington Road with Stanford Place. Mr. Murphy discussed previous design plans. He advised that the current sketch represents Toll Brothers acquiring ¾ of an acre from the Roberts Ridge Park, to change the point of access to reflect the recommendation from the traffic consultant and to offset the ¾ of an acre needed by Toll Brothers they are proposing to extend Roberts Ridge Park by donating almost two (2) acres of ground including the Roberts Barn.

Mr. Sanders commented with regards to the B-19 use/creating a new use in the R-2 District rather than creating a new zoning district or creating an overlay. He questioned if the Upper Makefield or Wrightstown Municipalities commented with regards to creating a new use in the R-2 District. Mr. Murphy advised that neither Upper Makefield nor Wrightstown commented. Mr. Sanders advised that he believes that the Township Planning Commission suggested keeping the B-19 use with no change to the zoning districts.

Mr. Goodnoe questioned the proposed use of the barn if it were included in the development. Mr. Murphy advised.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the access to the barn, he felt it would not be convenient. Mr. Jirele advised that he likes the access point better on the new plan. He also commented with regards to the land swap.

The Supervisors discussed using the land as open space, restricting use of the land, and the land being a buffer for the Borough.

The Supervisors discussed relocating the barn and the possible use as a community center.

The Supervisors discussed the relocation of the barn and the land swap.

Mr. Sanders commented with regards the possibility of a conservation easement on the Roberts Ridge Park and transferring ¾ of an acre of the Roberts Ridge Park. He advised that he did not know if such a transaction would be legal. He advised that if that is the case Toll Brothers would have to apply for a permanent access agreement.

Mr. Jirele questioned the access location and the retention basin. Mr. Murphy advised.

Mr. Wert provided the Supervisors with the site plan of the Roberts Ridge Park for their review.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to access from the development to the park.

Mr. Murphy questioned the Supervisors to see if they want Toll Brothers to pursue the B-19 use in the R-2 District. Mr. Sanders advised that he would review the draft ordinance.

The Supervisors discussed the condition of the barn.

Mr. Sanders commented on the number of units proposed, he suggested that the number of units be reduced to the mid ninety’s.

Mr. Ward encouraged Toll Brothers to reduce the number of units on the proposed plan.

Mr. Weaver thanked the representatives from Toll Brothers for their time.

Sloan School Expansion Proposal – Council Rock School District

Mr. Ames made a presentation to the Supervisors to discuss the proposed expansion to the Sloan School. The Supervisors were provided correspondence from Mr. Ames to Mr. Jirele dated May 18, 2005, which included a copy of the plan for the proposed expansion. He advised the Supervisors on the expansion plan. He discussed the past relations between the Township and CRSD. He advised that CRSD has hired Gilbert Architects, Inc. and on the architect’s recommendations to construct the new building south of the Preston House. He advised that he is here tonight to discuss a cooperative arrangement where the CRSD would continue with the design effort and also to include an expansion of the parking area. He commented with regards to the need for additional parking at the Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Ames advised that there would be access from outside the proposed building for bathroom facilities, so that people using Roberts Ridge Park could use the bathrooms. Mr. Ames advised the Supervisors that he has met with Mr. Harwood and Mr. Walker, and that he has also met with Mr. Wert to discuss the concept of allowing the Township use of the building. He advised that the new building would be located away from Frost Lane and would be ADA complaint.

Mr. Goodnoe questioned the use of the Preston House. Mr. Ames advised that the facility would be used to help special need students with a life skills program. The building could be shared with the Township Park & Recreation Department for Township use. He advised that the building would not be used as a residential facility and that the day would end like a regular school day.

Mr. Ames advised that CRSD is looking for direction from the Supervisors and that he has started a draft Joint Use Agreement similar to the one used in 2001.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the two (2) bathrooms being accessed from outside the new proposed building. He questioned the location of the bathrooms. Mr. Ames advised that according to the current plan the bathroom would be located in the rear corner of the proposed building.

The Supervisors discussed ways the Township would use the classroom in the new building, the number of hours the classroom would be available. Mr. Ames advised he would work with Mr. Wert regarding scheduling use of the building. Mr. Ames advised that the only restrictions CRSD would have are that the classroom not be used for youth activities and have low intensity use. Mr. Wert advised he could find programs to run in the building.

Mr. Jirele questioned if CRSD is suggesting that the Township build the parking area. Mr. Ames advised that CRSD would pay for the engineering and would bid the project so that on bid day they would know the exact cost and then look to the Township to fund that cost.

The Supervisors discussed the zoning of the property.

Mr. Sanders commented with regards to CRSD paying for the engineering of the parking lot and bidding at CRSD cost and the Township would pay for the construction of the parking lot. Mr. Ames advised that there have been no decisions made. Mr. Ames advised on a water line running thru the property.

The Supervisors discussed storm water flowing into the park. Mr. Ames advised that Mr. Walker suggested a water trench.

Mr. Smith commented with regards to the two (2) bathrooms for community use, he suggested having more fixtures in each bathroom. Mr. Ames advised on way the bathrooms were planned for single use. Mr. Wert advised on the recommendations from the Public Works Superintendent for doubling the number of fixtures in each bathroom, keeping consistent with the other parks within the Township and to add a pipe chase. Mr. Ames advised that CRSD still have details to work out.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to safety concerns having the bathrooms located where they are. He suggested flipping the building plans so that the bathrooms would be located in a more secure area. Mr. Ames advised that could be possible. Mr. Jirele advised he likes the plan for the proposed building.

The Supervisors discussed the additional thirty-three (33) parking spaces. Mr. Wert advised the Supervisors on prior discussions with the CRSD regarding additional parking spaces.

Mr. Ames advised the Supervisors that he would keep them informed through Mr. Jirele and draft a Joint Use Agreement and get the appropriate reviews. He thanked the Supervisors for their input.

Ms. Crescenzo advised that she objects to the Preston House being used for a life skills program. She commented with regards to the taxpayers having to pay to bus the children and the care staff involved with caring for special needs children. She commented with regards to the Sloan property exchange, the proposed expansion to the facility, the taxpayer having to pay and the debt owed to CRSD. She suggested making the current building work. She questioned who would open and close the community room being used for Township programs. She commented that the parking area is quite some distance from the playground. She commented with regards to adding a new building and impervious surface. She advised that she is against using the Preston House for community use. She questioned how this proposal would benefit the Township.

Mr. Ames commented on the use of the Preston House with regards to the life skills program. He suggested that Ms. Crescenzo address her concerns at the next CRSD Board meeting.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the impervious surface and the original agreement between the Township and CRSD. Mr. Ames advised that the existing agreement did discuss the expansion.

Mr. Iapalucci questioned the definition of the alternative program. Mr. Ames advised he is involved with the facilities for the CRSD and that the students who attend the Sloan School have behavior issues. Mr. Ames advised on the types of behavior issues the students may have and the goals of the Sloan School. Mr. Iapalucci questioned the number of students attending the Sloan School. Mr. Ames advised that there are currently twenty (20) students attending the Sloan School and with the expansion the number could go to forty (40) students. Mr. Iapalucci questioned the cost involved to manage the students. Mr. Ames advised on the review of cost to manage the students attending the Sloan School.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Ames for his time.

Sketch Plan Presentation – Beazer Homes – Penns Trail

Mr. Mirande made a presentation to the Supervisors with regards to a proposed sketch plan for age qualified condominiums. He commented with regards to a possible solution for additional revenue for the CRSD. He advised that the property is located at the intersection of Penns Trail and Pheasant Run. The site would consist of three (3), four (4) story buildings with twenty-seven (27) units, twenty-two (22) interior garages and five (5) exterior garages. Each building would be 15,000 square feet. The Supervisors were provided a copy of the plans and a fiscal impact analysis prepared by E. Van Rieker, AICP. Mr. Mirande advised on the impervious surface, the open space and that trails would be constructed for the residents to walk to the NAC.

The Supervisors discussed the proposal.

Ms. Goren questioned if the proposal would require a zoning change. Ms. Sanders advised on the zoning in that area and that a zoning change would be required for the proposal.

Mr. Jirele advised that he likes the plan, but has one concern, what will happen once the residents have moved in and realize they live in a lite industrial area. He also advised that he likes the idea but would prefer if the site were closer to the residential properties.

Mr. Stone commented with regards to the transformation that is taking place within the industrial park.

Mr. Sanders commented with regards to accessing the site. Mr. Stone advised that the site would be accessed off of Pheasant Run and possibly having an emergency access located off of Penns Trail.

Mr. Ward commented with regards to height issues. Mr. Sanders advised on the height ordinance. Mr. Ward also commented with regards to zoning changes.

Ms. Crescenzo advised that she has concerns for the seniors and suggested running a transportation shuttle and questioned access to Septa. Mr. Mirande advised that running a transportation shuttle could be considered. Ms. Crescenzo also commented with regards to the residents purchasing the condominiums, she felt they would see that they would be living within the industrial park. Mr. Mirande advised that he would work with the HOA regarding the transportation shuttle.

The Supervisors discussed the proposal and agreed that they have issues with this type of use within the Newtown Business Commons. Mr. Pellegrino advised that this proposal is not an appropriate use within this zoning district.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to residents having issues with more offices within the Township.

Mr. Ward commented with regards to the work the EDC has done regarding the Newtown Business Commons.

Mr. Stone advised that he is on the Planning Commission in Northampton Township and discussed zoning now and zoning historically. He also discussed the idea when the proposed plan was being drafted.

Mr. Ward advised that he is against the proposed plan and commented with regards to traffic concerns.

Mr. Weaver advised on traffic concerns and that there has been discussions with the NAC.

Mr. Seinsbaugh commented with regards to the traffic concerns and advised that he feels this is not the right location for the proposed plan.

The Supervisors agreed it is a nice concept but a bad location. Mr. Jirele suggested that Beazer Homes look for another location within the Township.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives from Beazer Homes for their time.

Fee Waiver Request – YMCA (Chandler Hall Facility)

The Supervisors reviewed a memorandum from Mr. Pellegrino dated May 19, 2005 regarding a request from Eric Stark at the Lower Bucks YMCA located at Chandler Hall. Mr. Weaver updated the Supervisors. Mr. Jirele questioned if other non-profit groups have had their fees waived. The Supervisors discussed the request. Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the correspondence received from Mr. Stark and the comment regarding the reimbursement of the application fee upon final approval. Mr. Pellegrino advised he did see that comment.

Mr. Seinsbaugh commented with regards to the use of the YMCA. Mr. Pellegrino advised that original application was for Chandler Hall resident’s use only not public use.

Mr. Ward questioned if any other non-profit groups have had their fees waived. Mr. Pellegrino advised he had no recollection but would look into it. Mr. Ward urged the Supervisors to waive the fee.

Mr. Jirele suggested that the Supervisors establish a policy with regards to waiving fees.

Mr. Jirele made a motion to reject the request made by Eric Stark at the Lower Bucks YMCA to refund the application fee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed with three (3) to one (1).

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the YMCA being told by the Codes Department that they would get their money back. Mr. Sanders advised their must of be some type of miscommunication.

Community Comments

Ms. Hibbs commented with regards to children playing at the Woll Tract.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to changing the meeting date to accommodate the Supervisors attendance and EAC business. She also commented with regards to the property located at 150 Wrights Road. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township is aware of the situation. Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the plans generated by the Township Engineer and the correspondence from Harris & Harris. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Township has paid those fees. He discussed the correspondence stating what residents can and can not do on their property within a conservation easement. Mr. Jirele advised that he has concerns with the lot and the wetlands. Mr. Jirele suggested having someone from the Township inspect the property. Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the Township enforcing the display of permits to be visible. The Supervisors agreed they would look into the situation.

Mr. Iapalucci commented with regards to the Comcast OTN and the employees parking along the Newtown Bypass. He also questioned the landscaping. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the trucks should stop parking along the Newtown Bypass soon.

Mr. Weaver thanked the public for their input.

Other Business

Mr. Jirele updated the Supervisors with regards to moving some of the lighted fields from the Woll Tract to Helen Randle Park. The Supervisors agreed that is a good idea. The Supervisors discussed the sports organizations willingness to pay for the lighting at the Woll Tract and Helen Randle Park. Ms. Crescenzo questioned who would pay for the lights. Mr. Pellegrino advised that he has concerns regarding payment, maintenance and ownership of the lights. Mr. Jirele advised that he would set up meetings with the HOA and residents who would be affected.

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the possibility of using the Wiggins Tract for soccer fields. The Supervisors discussed drainage. Mr. Wert advised that he would review the site and advise the Supervisors. Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to parking.

Ms. Goren advised that she has concerns with dog waste in the Township parks. Mr. Wert advised that the Township parks are posted advising residents to cleanup after their dog and keep them leashed.

Adjournment

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

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary