Board of Supervisor Minutes
May 25, 2005
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting June 8, 2005. MINUTES OF 5/25/05 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Jirele moved to approve the minutes of the 5/25/05 regular meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, May 25, 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: HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs, Telecommunications Advisory Committee Chairman James Manahan, Park and Recreation Board Vice-Chairman Joel Grosso, 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 Pastor David Wagner of the Lutheran Church of God’s Love. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
ADDITIONS AND CHANGES TO THE AGENDA: Mr. Pellegrino asked that a permit application for a signal be added under the Manager’s report, a certificate of completion be added under the Solicitor’s report, and a request to sign mylars be added under the Engineer’s report.
MINUTES, BILLS LIST, AND REPORTS
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.
BILLS LIST: Mrs. Goren asked that $4,750 in bills from Core Research Associates (CRA) on page 2 be removed from the bills list. She said it was her understanding that the funds to reimburse the Township for the costs of the Stockburger survey were to be escrowed. She also said there is no documentation that General Motors supports Stockburger’s move to the Bypass site.
Mr. Harp said the Township received a letter indicating that another dealership will protest Stockburger’s proposed move; Mr. Harris confirmed this statement. Mr. Harp asked that the CRA bills be tabled until the situation is clarified.
Mr. Weaver said there was no agreement that the funds be escrowed before CRA is paid.
Mr. Jirele said CRA has done the first phase of the survey work and should be paid. He said another dealership’s objections or General Motors’ position on the move are not the business of the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to pay bills in the amount of $518,082.21; the motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren said she also understood that the Board would be able to review a draft of the survey. Mr. Weaver responded that this was not part of the agreement because the Township wanted an independent survey. He said CRA should be paid for their work.
Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked if Board members had discussed the agreement. Mrs. Goren responded that she understood that the funds would be escrowed and the Board would see a draft of the survey. Mr. Weaver responded that these two requirements were not part of the agreement.
Frank Mendicino, a Township resident, said he was present at a meeting at which a member of the Stockburger family said he had reviewed a draft of the survey. Mr. Weaver and Mr. Pellegrino said they were unaware of this and will follow up; Mr. Weaver said he will contact the Stockburger family tomorrow. Mr. Mendicino also said if the zoning is changed to allow the move, but other factors prevent it, other dealerships can move to the Bypass.
John D’Aprile, a Township resident, complained about the confusion on the Board regarding the survey agreement.
Mr. Goodnoe’s motion passed 3-2, with Mrs. Goren and Mr. Harp voting “nay.”
Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $150,226.44; the motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: None.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND COMMISSIONS
PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Board Vice-Chairman Joel Grosso reported on their 5/4/05 meeting. Discussion items included a proposal for offices and a hotel/conference center on a property on Pheasant Run Road, services for senior citizens, improvements to the Park and Recreation link on the website, and improvements to Township parks. The Board also discussed the master plan for the Woll Tract, which will be presented to the Planning Commission soon.
FINANCIAL PLANNING COMMITTEE: Mrs. Goren reported on their 5/19/05 meeting, at which the Police, Technology, and Park and Recreation Departments presented their capital budget requests. At the next meeting on 6/16/05 the Committee will hear from the Emergency Services, Codes, Public Works, Administration, and Finance Departments.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Chairman James Manahan reported on their 5/4/05 meeting, at which the Committee discussed Verizon installation problems at length. Mr. Mahanan said most of the problems are being resolved; residents who still have problems should contact the Township. The next meeting will be on 6/1/05; there will be no meeting in July.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD (HARB): HARB Secretary Ethel Hibbs reported on their 5/10/05 meeting, at which they discussed possible changes to Edward Murphy’s barn at 301 N. Sycamore Street, the front doors on the Pryda building, some remaining issues regarding 211/213 N. Sycamore Street, a hitching post to be installed at the Tyrol property, a historic preservation document being developed, and plans for a memorial for the late Elinor Campbell, a longtime member of HARB.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS – 107/109 N. SYCAMORE STREET – MICHAEL BOCCARDO – TMP# 29-12-10: Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for improvements to the roof, exterior, and windows of the building at 107/109 N. Sycamore Street, in accordance with the recommendations of the HARB at their 5/10/05 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously.
LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
CONDITIONAL USE - 53 GERMAN AVENUE: Mr. Jirele moved to continue this item to 6/22/05 at the request of the applicant. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE – CAMERON TROILO – 104 PHEASANT RUN ROAD: Mr. Jirele moved to continue this item to 6/22/05 at the request of the applicant. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe and passed unanimously.
ELECTION: Mr. Weaver congratulated the winning candidates in the 5/17/05 Primary Election.
MEMORIAL DAY EVENT: Mr. Weaver said he attended a Memorial Day event at the Chancellor Street Center; many local veterans also attended.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (FIRST SESSION)
Jay McGuigan, a Township resident, asked if Stockburger will sell their present sites if they move to the Bypass. Mr. Harris responded that Stockburger has not committed to selling those properties, but has discussed how they can be developed.
Mr. McGuigan asked about the terms of the survey agreement. Mr. Weaver responded that the agreement calls for an independent survey of residents with no preconceived conclusion. His understanding was that neither the Township nor Stockburger will review the survey before it is sent out.
Melanie Bracey, a Township resident, said she does not support a proposal for a new Alternative School and additional parking on Frost Lane. She said there will be less open space on Frost Lane and the rest rooms will not be convenient for users of Roberts Ridge Park.
Paul Zotter, a Township resident, said his development, Devonshire Meadows, continues to have problems with the Verizon installation project. Mr. Pellegrino responded that a separate crew has been doing the finishing up work for Verizon, and he will find out when they will be in Devonshire Meadows.
Mr. Zotter said he supports the survey of residents regarding the Stockburger proposal.
Nancy Crescenzo said she attended the 5/23/05 work session and discussed some problems regarding the environmental impact of work being done on the Kramer subdivision on Wrights Road. She questioned whether the Codes Department had issued permits for the work. Mr. Harris responded that the Engineer inspected the work and found no violation of the conservation easement in the area. An enforcement notice was issued regarding the lack of a permit in one case.
Mrs. Crescenzo said chainsaws were being used and there was major environmental damage in the area.
Mrs. Crescenzo also commented that Mr. Harp should not have voted on an issue involving the Rose Bank Winery because he received a political contribution from them.
REPORTS OF OFFICIALS
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
INFORMATIONAL MEETING: Mr. Goodnoe said the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation will sponsor an informational meeting on the Stockburger proposal on 6/1 at the Chancellor Street Center.
PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Pellegrino said there are no expirations requiring Board action.
SYCAMORE STREET CONSTRUCTION EXTENSION: Mr. Pellegrino said Haines and Kibblehouse has requested an extension of their contract from 6/18/05, the current project completion date, to 9/18/05. According to Mr. Pellegrino’s 5/20/05 memo the Engineer recommends an extension to 8/26/05 to require completion before Labor Day and the start of the school year. Mr. Pellegrino said he concurs with the Engineer’s recommendation.
Mr. Harp moved to extend the Haines and Kibblehouse contract for the Sycamore Street project to 8/26/05 as recommended in the Manager’s 5/20/05 memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked how the extension will affect the work schedule. Mr. Pellegrino responded that the heavy construction will be done by the end of June and the finishing work will be done over the summer. No daytime work will be required, and the work to be completed will include cleaning up the Acme site and installing the traffic lights on State Street.
Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.
2005 ROADWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT – CONTRACT AWARD: Mr. Pellegrino’s 5/20/05 memo reports the results of the bidding for the 2005 roadway improvement program and recommends awarding the contract to Miller and Sons for $524,013.50. Mr. Pellegrino said most of the work will be covered by Liquid Fuels funds, but $75,850 of the curb and gutter work may need to be funded from the General Fund because the extent and cost of the work was underestimated when the budget was prepared. He said that it is possible that the funds will be found elsewhere, but he asked that the Board authorize the transfer of General Fund monies if necessary.
Mrs. Goren moved to award the contract for the 2005 roadway improvement program to Miller and Sons for $524,013.50 as recommended in the Manager’s 5/20/05 memo, and to authorize, if necessary, the transfer of funds from the General Fund to cover work not eligible for Liquid Fuels funds. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked about two items in the 5/18/05 Pennoni Associates letter involving work in the Rosefield development. Mr. Pellegrino said that the developer did not do some work correctly and the guarantee period is past.
Mr. Harris explained that there was a gap in oversight of the project during the transition between Carroll Engineering and Pennoni Associates.
Mrs. Goren’s motion passed unanimously.
PAYMENT #17 – SYCAMORE STREET PROJECT: Mrs. Goren moved to pay $266,016.43 for work done through 5/17/05, as recommended in a 5/20/05 Pennoni Associates memo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
PERMIT APPLICATION – PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SIGNAL: Mr. Pellegrino said Chandler Hall has requested a pedestrian crossing signal on Sycamore Street; PennDOT supports this request. The Township already has a surplus mast arm and pole that can be used for this signal.
Mr. Harp moved to sign the application for a pedestrian crossing signal on Sycamore Street at Chandler Hall. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if the signal will flash continuously 24 hours a day. Mr. Pellegrino said it will flash continuously for certain hours to be determined in consultation with Chandler Hall.
Mr. Harp’s motion passed unanimously.
DEDICATION – NEWTOWN MEADOWS: Mr. Harris said the public improvements at Newtown Meadows are ready to be dedicated. He provided a copy of a 4/19/05 Carroll Engineering letter stating that the Newtown Meadows Homeowners Association has confirmed that the punchlist items have been satisfactorily completed. Mr. Harris also provided a copy of a 5/23/05 Carroll Engineering letter transmitting the final Certificate of Completion #2 in the amount of $1,072,977.79.
Mr. Jirele moved to accept dedication of the public improvements in Newtown Meadows as recommended in Carroll Engineering’s 4/19/05 letter. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to adopt a resolution accepting dedication of the roads in Newtown Meadows. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp and passed unanimously.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve the Certificate of Completion #2 and release $1,072,977.79 in financial securities as recommended in Carroll Engineering’s 5/23/05 letter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Harp.
Discussion of motion:Mrs. Goren asked if there is a maintenance bond; Mr. Harris and Mr. Pellegrino responded that there is one.
Mr. Jirele’s motion passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: Mr. Harris reviewed the three new cases scheduled for the 6/2/05 Zoning Hearing Board meeting. The Supervisors indicated they did not wish the Solicitor to represent them in these cases.
AUTHORIZATION TO SIGN MYLARS – PRD VARIANCE - 343 WEXLEY DRIVE – TMP# 29-16-161: Mr. Goodnoe moved to sign the mylars for the PRD Variance for 343 Wexley Drive. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Goren and passed unanimously.
AUTHORIZATION TO EXECUTE REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT – FORMER ACME SITE: Mr. Jirele moved to execute the agreement with the Elliott Building Group for redevelopment of the former Acme site on Sycamore Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Goodnoe.
Discussion of the motion: Nancy Crescenzo asked the Chairman to explain the agreement. Mr. Weaver said the Board of Supervisors reviewed five plans for the site, evaluated them according to the criteria developed by the Acme Site Visioning Committee, and chose the plan submitted by the Elliott Building Group. He said the plan includes retail space on the first floor, offices on the second floor, and residential condominiums on the third floor. A two-story parking garage will be built in the rear of the site, and eventually there will be access to South Eagle Road.
Mrs. Crescenzo said she is concerned that the access on South Eagle Road will aggravate the current traffic problems described in a report written by Police Chief Duffy, and she encouraged the Board to take back the road.
Mr. Pellegrino said the safety of the road is not relevant to the issue of the ownership of the site. He also said the report was written before the 35 MPH speed limit was posted and speed studies will be done before the site is developed. He said the access has not been determined yet. Mr. Weaver supported Mr. Pellegrino’s statements.
Mr. Goodnoe said he agrees that the Township should take back the road, but there is no consensus on the Board regarding this. He added that the residential component of the plan is very important and should be specifically mentioned in the agreement.
Mr. Harris said it will be mentioned. He also said that the residential units will be condominiums so that the developer will not be concerned about keeping the units rented.
Shawn Ward, Chairman of the Planning Commission, asked if the retail units will also be condominiums. Mr. Harris responded that this will be up to the property owner, and there will be very few retail units.
Paul Zotter asked why the Township is advocating residential units at this site. Mr. Goodnoe responded that residents will be a presence 24 hours a day, which will increase safety in the area. Mr. Weaver noted that the Visioning Committee recommended a residential component for this reason.
Vince Lombardi, Chairman of the Acme Site Visioning Committee, thanked the Board of Supervisors for implementing the Committee’s recommendations.
NEW BUSINESS: None.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS (SECOND SESSION)
Ethel Hibbs, a Township resident, reported on the Summit on Aging which she and several others had attended that day as representatives of the Township. She said that presenters emphasized that the proportion of the County population that is 65 and older is rising, and that today’s older people tend to be more active and healthy than in previous generations. She said the Township representatives will be meeting soon to discuss how to follow up on the many good ideas coming out of the Summit.
Emil Matchyshyn, a Township resident, noted there are internal issues for Stockburger to address regarding their proposed move. He also said the Board of Supervisors already approved the dedication of Brandywine Boulevard in the Newtown Corporate Center. Mr. Weaver said this was part of the preliminary approval; the Board has not yet given final approval to this development.
Walter Iwaskiw, a Township resident, said Stockburger is willing to pay for the survey even with the internal problems mentioned by Mr. Matchyshyn. He suggested that Mr. Weaver contact the survey company rather than Stockburger to ascertain if the draft survey was shared with anyone.
Jennifer Dix, a Township resident, said she and others will continue to fight for better conditions in their neighborhood. She asked why there were no concerns raised about the traffic impact of the Brandywine development when the preliminary plan was discussed.
Sue Beasley, a Township resident, expressed gratitude that the Board of Supervisors has been responding to people speaking during the Community Comments sessions tonight. She asked Mr. Weaver to explain his statement that residents should refrain from political comments. She criticized a letter with false statements that was circulated about one of the candidates in the recent primary election; she said residents should be able to make such criticisms at Board meetings. She also said candidates should be able to state their positions on important issues during the Community Comment sessions.
Mr. Weaver said he intends that Community Comment sessions be used for Township business only. He would allow comments on issues, but not personal attacks. He suggested that residents should use the newspapers to comment on others’ false statements.
John D’Aprile said the public should also be able to make comments on any wrongdoing by members of the Board of Supervisors. He encouraged residents to attend the informational meeting on the Stockburger proposal on 6/1/05. He also urged the Township to get the potholes in South Eagle Road fixed before taking back the road.
Nancy Crescenzo said that minutes from a Board work session in March 2002 showed that the Supervisors were already thinking of a multistory parking facility for the Acme site. She complained that the Board ignored the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Community Center Committee, and said such a center would provide opportunities for intergenerational and intercultural experiences for residents.
Mike Iapalucci, a Township resident, asked if Supervisors will be allowed to make political statements. Mr. Weaver said such statements should be made through newspaper editorials. Mr. Iapalucci said residents should be able to question Supervisors about their political statements.
Walter Jamison, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Church, said the church has been next to the Acme site since 1769. He asked that the Board of Supervisors make sure the Elliott Building Group is a good neighbor to the church.
Frank Mendicino said the Township allowed the Stockburger organization time at the podium at a Board of Supervisors meeting and limited residents’ opportunities to respond to their presentation. He said he is concerned about how the Board will proceed when the survey results are available.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: None.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 PM.
Respectfully Submitted: ____________________________________
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