Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

July 18, 2005


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting August 24, 2005. Minutes of Work Session of July 18, 2005: Mr. Jirele moved to accept the minutes of the work session meeting of July 18, 2005. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Harp abstaining.


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: James Linske, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; William Knittle, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Joseph Phillips, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Michael Imperial, Keystone Municipal Services, Inc.; Rich O’Brien; Various Township employees including John Boyle, Elaine Gibbs, Bill Wert, Ron Weaver, Gary Crossland and Jean Tanner; Various Newtown Township residents including Ethel Hibbs and Walt Iwaskiw.

 

Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:04 P.M.  This was followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Building Code Amendment Basement Egress
 

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the Building Code Amendment for a basement egress.  Mr. Pellegrino introduced Mr. Imperial and Mr. O’Brien, representatives from Keystone Municipal Services, Inc.

 

Mr. Sanders commented with regards to the Building Code Act 45 and Building Code Act 93 (an Amendment to Act 45).  Mr. Sanders advised the Supervisors that he is looking for their direction on how to have the Township’s building inspectors enforce the building codes. 

 

Mr. O’Brien advised the Supervisors on Act 45 (required a basement egress) and Act 93 (does not require a basement egress).  Mr. O’Brien questioned the Supervisors on as to how they would like the building inspectors to enforce the basement egress options as dictated in the bounds of the Building Code or eliminate the basement egress from the requirements of the Uniform Construction Code.  Mr. O’Brien advised the Supervisors on three (3) possible options.  The first option would be to leave the Building Code as it is.  The second option would be to eliminate the basement egress from the requirements.  The third option would be to enforce the basement egress if the area is used for sleeping.

 

Mr. Pellegrino questioned how the building inspectors are currently handling the matter regarding a basement egress.  Mr. Imperial advised that the Township has been enforcing the requirement for a second means of egress.  He also advised the Supervisors on the 1996 BOCA Code.  He discussed the emergency egress and commented with regards to the Township’s liability.

 

Mr. Sanders advised the Supervisors on the Township’s liability in accordance to Act 93.  He also commented with regards to the increased addition of living space and the residents’ ability to appeal.

 

Mr. O’Brien commented with regards to the Building Code being a reactive document.

 

Mr. Smith questioned if Act 93 applies to new construction.  Mr. O’Brien advised that new construction does not fall under Act 93 and that new construction requires a secondary means of egress.

 

The Supervisors discussed the townhomes within the Township with regards to a basement egress. 

 

Mr. Imperial commented with regards to having concerns about residents finishing their basements without applying for permits.  He advised the Supervisors on his biggest concerns.  The Supervisors discussed people sleeping in the basement.

 

Mr. Smith questioned the requirement of alarm systems.  Mr. Imperial advised that the Township only requires smoke detectors.

 

Mr. Goodnoe questioned what Act the Township’s building inspectors are currently enforcing.  Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Imperial advised that the building inspectors are enforcing the requirement for a second means of egress for a finished basement.  Mr. Sanders advised that due to Act 93 the building inspectors are enforcing the requirement for a second means of egress from a finished basement under the increase in floor area.  

 

The Supervisors discussed what other municipalities are doing.

 

The Supervisors discussed the interpretation of Act 93.

 

Mr. Goodnoe questioned the appeal process.  Mr. Imperial advised that the residents would have to formally apply to the Township’s Building Code Appeals Court and that the building inspectors are advising the public on their right to appeal.

 

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to not requiring Townhomes to have an emergency egress.  Mr. Sanders advised on his thoughts with regards to exempting any type of housing.

 

Mr. Pellegrino questioned the building inspectors’ experiences with regards to enforcing the secondary means of basement egress.  He also questioned the number of applications received.  Mr. Imperial advised that he receives approximately five applications per month.  He advised the Supervisors that the problem is with existing homes and on the problem areas within the Township.

 

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to requiring all new construction within the Township to have an emergency egress. 

 

Mr. O’Brien suggested having residents’ sign an affidavit stating that the area would not be used as a sleeping area if they do not want to install an emergency egress.

 

Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the Building Code, he suggested requiring an emergency egress for all new construction, but leave existing homes alone.

 

The Supervisors discussed leaving the Building Code as is, and have the building inspectors continue handling the matter as they have been and advise the residents that they can appeal.

 

Mr. O’Brien commented with regards to problems he has seen in finished basements.

 

Mr. Iwaskiw commented with regards to hard wiring smoke detectors to ring if an alarm goes off elsewhere in the building.

 

Mr. O’Brien advised the Supervisors that they would draft an Amendment to Act 93 addressing all new construction requiring an emergency basement egress whether the basement is finished or not.

 

Ms. Goren advised that she is in favor of the Township requiring an emergency egress.

 

The Supervisors agreed to continue enforcing the emergency egress.

 

Mr. O’Brien advised he would rework the draft Amendment to Act 93 and forward to the Supervisors for review. 

 

Mr. Weaver thanked Mr. Imperial and Mr. O’Brien for their time.

 

Municipal Complex – Architect Presentation

 

Representatives from George J. Donovan AIA & Associates made a power point presentation to the Supervisors with regards to the proposed plans for the Municipal Complex.  Mr. Phillips updated the Supervisors and discussed correspondence dated January 26, 2005.  Mr. Linske advised the Supervisors on the proposed plan.

 

Mr. Linske discussed the proposed Public Works Facility.  He advised on the existing square footage (7,570 square feet) and the proposed square footage (24,000 square feet).  He advised that the new Public Works Facility would be a pre-engineered steel building.  He discussed the floor plan and possible ways to heat the facility.

 

Mr. Linske discussed the proposed Administration Building.  He advised that the square footage has been reduced to 16,400 square feet.  He discussed the floor plan. 

 

Ms. Goren questioned the square footage in the new public meeting room compared to the square footage in the current public meeting room.  The representative from George J. Donovan AIA & Associates advised that the proposed meeting room is currently 1,800 square feet. and that the existing public meeting room is approximately 900 square feet.

 

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that two of the public meeting rooms and some storage area have been removed from the proposed plan for the Administration Building reviewed June 9, 2003. 

 

Mr. Linske discussed the proposed Police Department.  He advised that the square footage has been reduced to 11,766 square feet.  He discussed the floor plan.

 

Mr. Linske discussed the Park & Recreation Facility.  He advised on the proposed floor plan and discussed the finished building.

 

Mr. Linske advised on the program summary, he discussed the programs from March 18, 2002, June 9, 2003 and November 10, 2004.  He also discussed the changes in square footage.

 

Mr. Pellegrino questioned the total number of square footage prior to the 2002 plan.  Mr. Linske advised that on the 1998 plan the square footage was approximately 58,000 square feet.

 

Mr. Goodnoe questioned the number of Township employees housed.  Mr. Pellegrino advised that he expects the Township to have approximately ninety (90) employees at full build out.

 

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors with regards to the cost of the project.  The June 9, 2003 program would of cost approximately $6,819,000.00.  The January 26, 2005 program would cost approximately $7,343,395.00l, plus a 15% contingency fee.  He advised that the total cost for the project is approximately $9,325,000.00.

 

The Supervisors discussed the Bond issue cost.  Mr. Pellegrino provided the Supervisors information regarding the cost estimate, Bond issue cost and the Schedule O – 2005 Debt Service Schedule.  He discussed ways to fund the project.  He also discussed paying off the Wiggins loan, he suggested that the Township use the funds received from the RCN settlement.

 

The Supervisors discussed the cost of the project and agreed the cost would not go down and that now is a good time to borrow the money.

 

Ms. Goren questioned the property that needs to be purchased from the Archdiocese.  Mr. Pellegrino advised that he is waiting for a second appraisal from the Archdiocese.  He discussed the 2003 appraisal and that the property value has increased.  He advised that the cost of the property is not included in the Bond issue cost, but the Township has budgeted for the purchase of the property.

 

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the cost estimate and furnishing the facilities.  Mr. Pellegrino advised it would cost approximately $300,000.00 to furnish the facilities.  Mr. Phillips advised he would look into and advise the Township.

 

Mr. Pellegrino advised that he is looking for direction from the Supervisors on how to proceed.  He discussed have a public meeting to present the plans for the Municipal Complex and securing the funds.

 

Ms. Goren advised that she has concerns with regards to purchasing the property from the Archdiocese.  Mr. Pellegrino advised on his feelings.  The Supervisors agreed that the property needs to be purchased then the Township can apply for the bond.

 

Mr. Phillips advised the Supervisors on the project timeline: eight (8) – nine (9) months of design time, the project would go to bid, one (1) year for construction.  He discussed the project being done in two (2) phases. 

 

Ms. Goren questioned if the department heads have reviewed the proposed plans.  Mr. Pellegrino advised.

 

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that there may be a possible problem with the local of the proposed Public Works building.

 

Mr. Jirele questioned the location of the Township’s Police Department firing range.  Mr. Pellegrino advised that the firing range would need to be relocated to the rear of the Township’s property.

 

Ms. Goren questioned an item in the packet provided by George J. Donovan AIA & Associates, on page 3, item #8 Recording Secretary.  Mr. Pellegrino advised.

 

Mr. Jirele suggested that the Supervisors review the plans received tonight and discuss the matter further at the August Work Session.

 

Mr. Goodnoe advised that he feels the project is too big and expensive.  He also advised that he is against having two (2) building for the administration and the police department.

 

The Supervisors agreed to discuss the matter further at the August Work Session.

 

Resolution Authorizing PACC Automotive & Equipment Contract
 

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the resolution authorizing PACC Automotive & Equipment Contract.  The Supervisors were provided a copy of Resolution No. 2004-R-11.  Mr. Pellegrino advised that the prices are the same as if the vehicle was purchased through the state.

 

The Supervisors discussed the vehicle options and ordering through a state contract.

 

Mr. Jirele made a motion to adopt Resolution No. 2004-R-11.  The motion was seconded by Ms. Goren and passed unanimously. 

 

Community Comments

 

Mr. Iwaskiw commented with regards to the Sycamore Street project.  Mr. Pellegrino advised that the project should be complete soon.  He updated the Supervisors on the work that will be completed in the Fall of 2005 including any tree replacement, replacing topsoil where needed and landscaping.

 

Mr. Weaver thanked the public for their input.

 

Other Business

 

Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the closed loop system with the Borough.  Mr. Pellegrino discussed a contract extension.  He advised that there is a meeting with PennDot regarding the closed loop system.  He advised that with regards to the contract extension the Supervisors would need to authorize an Amendment to the contract.  Once that has been done the project should be completed later this year. 

 

Adjournment

 

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:44 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

 

_____________________________

Christy Holley, Recording Secretary