Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

August 15, 2005


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting September 28, 2005. Minutes of work session meeting of August 15, 2005: Mrs. Goren moved to accept the minutes of the work session of August 15, 2005. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed 4-0.


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: Tom Hecker, Esq.; Eugene V. Lorenzetti, Superior Holdings, LLC; Carl Guttilla, 3GHC Architects, LLC; Don Marshall, Esq.; James Linske, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Joseph Phillips, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Don Harris, Newtown Emergency Services; Township employees Tom Harwood and Elaine Gibbs; Various Newtown Township residents including Bonnie Kelly, Harvey Goldberg, Ethel Hibbs, Karen Doorley, James Bowe, Brandon Wind, Bill Sterling, John D’Aprile, Frank Mendicino, Phil Calabro, Fran Pool, Tom Erico, Judith Norkin, Wendy Lonk, Jerry Sheikland and Walt Iwaskiw.

Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order at 8:02 P.M. This was followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Town Center at Durham – Sketch Plan

Mr. Hecker updated the Supervisors with regards to the Town Center at Durham. He advised that Mr. Lorenzetti now has control of seven (7) properties along the north side of Durham Road between Rt. 413 and Eagle Road. The Supervisors were provided information in their packets for review. Mr. Guttilla advised the Supervisors on the proposed site plan. He advised that the site consist of nine acres. He discussed the site’s current appearance. He discussed the entryways to access the site, planting areas, building materials, site amenities and lighting. Mr. Lorenzetti advised the Supervisors on his plans and vision for the property. He advised the Supervisors on the type of retail tenants and professional services he expects the center to offer. He advised the Supervisors on meetings with the HOA for Tyler Walk and Clivedon. He commented with regards to the concerns with lighting and trash. He advised that he has acquired all the homes and is currently trying to purchase other parcels in this area. Mr. Hecker discussed the current zoning for this area and the need to change the zoning to accommodate the center.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to rezoning the area and advised that he is concerned with commercial business moving into residential areas.

Mr. Weaver advised he agrees with Mr. Jirele with regards to rezoning the area.

Mr. Harp advised he also has concerns with rezoning the area.

Mr. Pool, Clivedon HOA President, advised that the residents from Clivedon are not in favor of changing the zoning. He commented with regards to rezoning and advised he has concerns regarding safety and traffic. He also commented with regards to the size of Eagle Road and the Newtown walking path.

Mr. Mendicino, Tyler Walk HOA President, advised that the residents from Tyler Walk are against rezoning the area. He commented with regards to Mr. Pool’s concerns. He discussed the effect on property values, the proposed plan for the project keeps growing, moving the retail line north and the improvements to Sycamore and State Streets.

Mr. Erico questioned how much space in the Township is left for commercial expansion. He discussed reasons for moving the commercial/retail line north and advised that in his opinion the traffic is already here.

Mr. Iwaskiw advised that he is against the Supervisors supporting the rezoning of the area.

Ms. Norkin, Clivedon resident, advised that she is against rezoning the area. She also commented with regards to the lighting and noise.

Ms. Lonk advised that she supports the rezoning and why.

Mr. Bowe advised that the proposed plan looks pretty but he is concerned with rezoning. He discussed pressure to increase density. He advised that he is against the rezoning of the area.

Mr. Erico commented with regards to sound and traffic. He discussed past development within the Township.

Mr. Pool commented with regards to the economics.

Mr. Lorenzetti advised that he only met with the HOA Boards not the residents. He discussed other properties and advised that the Sun Oil property will remain as open space. He advised that the lights would be low level and on timers. He discussed the turning lanes and possibility of aligning the intersection. He discussed financials and property values increasing. He commented with regards to honoring request and support from the surrounding neighbors.

Mr. Hecker advised that if the Supervisors were in favor of the plan that a traffic impact study would be done.

Mr. Goodnoe advised that he has mixed feelings. He discussed the downtown shopping areas within the Township and the Borough. He commented with regards to the improvements on Sycamore Street and the upcoming improvements to State Street. He also commented with regards to property values. He advised that he is not in favor of rezoning the area at this time.

Mr. Marshall commented with regards to retail vs. residential. Mr. Goodnoe estimated that up to thirty (30) houses could be built on the property.

Mr. Erico commented with regards to the vacant shops on State and Sycamore Streets. He suggested that some locations were too small in size for the type of retail shops the center would offer.

Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to property values and the studies not being accurate at this time. He questioned if the Supervisors will make a decision tonight regarding this matter.

Ms. Norkin commented on the Township’s school system, loading areas within the center and the center being pedestrian friendly.

Mr. Iwaskiw commented with regards to the housing and the quality of life in Newtown. He advised that he is against the project.

The Supervisors discussed the plan and agreed that they are not in favor of a zoning change at this time.

Municipal Complex Expansion

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion. The Supervisors were provided a packet for their review. Mr. Pellegrino advised that he is looking for direction from the Supervisors as to if they are in favor of the proposed concept. He advised on the next step if the Supervisors are in favor of the proposed concept.

Mr. Weaver discussed the cost of the total project and ways to reduce the cost. He recommended that the Township proceeds with the project and has a public presentation.

Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township is not just building an administration building but a Municipal Complex. He advised that the estimated cost of the project is $9,325,000.00.

Mr. Jirele advised that he supports the plan in concept, but is not really happy with the details. He discussed possible ways to reduce the cost of the project.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to using the funds from the RCN Settlement to pay off the Township’s existing debt.

Mr. Harp commented with regards to the cost of the project. He advised that he feels that the Township residents should vote to decide if the Township should proceed with the project. He commented with regards to the funds from the RCN Settlement being used for the Woll Tract.

Mr. Pellegrino discussed the Bond Issue cost. He advised that a thirty (30) year Bond would cost $39.00 per year, a twenty-five (25) year Bond would cost $47.00 per year and a twenty (20) year Bond would cost $66.00 per year based on an average assessment. He discussed real estate taxes and millage.

Mr. Jirele asked the Township Manager what his priorities are? Mr. Pellegrino advised that his priority is the Administration Department and the Police Department. He advised that there is not enough room and the need for more storage area. He commented with regards to employees from the Public Works Department having to repair vehicles outside.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to reducing construction cost to $6,000,000.00.

Mr. Goodnoe advised that the Township needs the facilities, but he feels the Township needs to start over regarding the plan. He advised that he feels that the Administration and Police Departments should be in one (1) building.

Mr. Weaver commented with regards to having one (1) building instead of two (2) buildings being discussed in past years and the cost of adding to the existing Township building being expensive. Mr. Phillips commented with regards to the past plans and concerns with hitting rock.

Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the operating cost for running two (2) buildings.

Mr. Phillips commented with regards to having the Administration and Police Departments on multiple levels.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to the proposed site for the Administration building and if the land had been secured by the Township. Mr. Pellegrino advised.

Mr. Goodnoe questioned the cost to purchase the land. Mr. Pellegrino advised that cost is not included in the project cost.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to the need to purchase the land. Mr. Goodnoe agreed.

Mr. Weaver questioned the option of the Board with regards to the design and layout of the buildings.

Mr. Mendicino questioned the cost to purchase the land. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township has budgeted $400,000.00. He advised that the Township is waiting for an updated appraisal from the Archdiocese.

Mr. Mendicino questioned the Township’s plan to payoff the Bond. Mr. Pellegrino advised on how the Bond Issue would be paid.

Mr. Mendicino questioned the cost spent to date for the project. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township has spent $170,000.00.

Mr. Mendicino questioned Mr. Pellegrino’s priorities. Mr. Pellegrino advised that he would like to move the Codes Department out of the trailer, the Police Department needs more room and the Public Works Department has no place to store vehicles and can not work on multiple vehicles indoors. Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to having a public presentation for the proposed Municipal Complex. Mr. Pellegrino suggested that the Supervisors have a public presentation once they are comfortable with the proposed plan.

Mr. Iwaskiw questioned the tax increase with regards to operating expenses. Mr. Pellegrino advised. Mr. Iwaskiw commented with regards to the cost to operate the proposed Municipal Complex and the amount of square footage in the proposed Administration building verses the square footage of the current building. Mr. Pellegrino advised with regards to the square footage allotted per employee. The Supervisors discussed the total number of square footage now and with the proposed Municipal Complex. Mr. Pellegrino advised on the standards that the proposed Municipal Complex was designed.

Discussed the current use of the Township’s meeting rooms.

Mr. Goodnoe commented with regards to the Administration building and the use of space per employee. Mr. Pellegrino and Ms. Gibbs advised. The Supervisors discussed the number of employees housed in the Administration building. Mr. Phillips advised on possible layouts for the Administration building.

Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to the Township reaching build out and staff reductions. Mr. Pellegrino advised on his thoughts with regards to both matters.

Ms. Hibbs commented with regards to Newtown Borough reaching full build out, the reconstruction of houses and the increase of work at the Borough office.

Mr. Iwaskiw questioned the number of Township employees and the amount of space allotted per employee.

Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to tax increases being due to an increase in employees. Mr. Pellegrino advised and discussed the need to add additional employees to the Public Works Department.

Mr. Iwaskiw commented with regards to tax increases and increased operating expenses. Mr. Pellegrino advised that he agrees an analysis needs to be done with regards to the operating expenses but he is looking for direction from the Board as to whether they are for the proposed plan or should the Township start over.

Mr. Sheikland commented with regards to downsizing the plans. Mr. Weaver advised that the current Municipal Building was to small the day it opened and he did not want to make the same mistake twice.

Mr. Pellegrino advised that the proposed Administration building has been designed for ninety (90) employees at 300 Sq. Ft. per employee.

Mr. Phillips commented with regards to reducing the size of the Public Works building.

Mr. Weaver commented with regards to the consensus of the Board. Mr. Goodnoe advised he feels that the Township needs to start over. Mr. Jirele advised he feels that the Township needs to redesign the current plan. Mr. Harp commented with regards to how the project would be paid for. Ms. Goren advised that she has concerns regarding the purchase of land from the Archdiocese and suggested that the Township focus on the Public Works building for now.

Mr. Mendicino questioned the annual budget. Mr. Pellegrino advised.

Mr. Phillips advised the Supervisors on ways to reduce the square footage and cost.

The Supervisors discussed the Public Works building. The Supervisors discussed heating the equipment storage area within the Public Works building. The Supervisors discussed reducing the size of the Public Works building.

Ms. Gibbs advised the Supervisors with regards to the working conditions within the Administration and Finance office. She also expressed the need for additional Township meeting rooms. She also discussed the needs of other departments.

The Supervisors discussed the need all departments have for more space.

Mr. Pellegrino discussed ways to scale back the Administration building.

Mr. Weaver suggested that the Board document their proposed changes/problems and forward them to Mr. Pellegrino.

Mr. Weaver thanked the representatives from George J. Donovan AIA & Associates for their time.

2007 Transportation Improvement Program

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that this matter was discussed at the August 10, 2005 meeting. The Supervisors were provided information in their packet for review.

Ms. Goren questioned Mr. Mendicino, Planning Commission Member with regards to whether the Planning Commission has reviewed the information with regards to the proposed 2007 BCPC TIP and the current 2005 Local TIP Projects. Mr. Mendicino advised the Supervisors that he was unsure and that the matter was not discussed at the last Planning Commission meeting.

Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to the TIP presentation to the State Transportation Commission. Mr. Pellegrino advised on the presentation to the State Transportation Commission.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on the proposed 2007 BCPC TIP Projects. He discussed previously applied for projects including the Newtown-Yardley road corridor improvement, the Stoopville Road rehabilitation, the TEA21 recreational trail #2 and the Newtown rail line reactivation. He also discussed new projects including PA 332, Newtown Bypass. Mr. Pellegrino suggested that the Township prioritize the projects. Mr. Jirele advised he feels it is important for the Township to make the improvements to project PA 332, Newtown Bypass. He commented with regards to all the improvements being made to the Newtown Commons. The Supervisors discussed project PA 332, Newtown Bypass. Mr. Smith advised on project PA 332, Newtown Bypass. The Supervisors discussed the need to widen the Newtown Bypass from Penns Trail to I-95.

The Supervisors agreed to proceed with the presentation to the State Transportation Commission with regards to the 2007 TIP.

Standard Operating Procedures – Emergency Services Department

Mr. Harris updated the Supervisors with regards to the Operations Manual for the Newtown Emergency Services Department. The Supervisors were provided information for their review. He advised that he is looking for guidance from the Supervisors on how to proceed. The Supervisors discussed the Operations Manual. Mr. Harris advised that the manual does not effect volunteer firefighters. He advised that the Township’s Insurance carriers and the Township Solicitor would review the manual. The Supervisors discussed operating procedures and guidelines for career and volunteer firefighters. He advised that the Newtown Emergency Services Department follow the NFPA standards. Mr. Harris advised that he would have the Operations Manual reviewed and then present the manual to the Supervisors.

Mr. Harp left the meeting.

Payment #21 Sycamore Street Construction Improvements

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to payment application #21 for the Sycamore Street Construction Improvements. Mr. Pellegrino discussed contractor problems with the project. Mr. Pellegrino requested the Supervisors to reconsider and authorize the payment of $94,499.11 to Haines & Kibblehouse.

Mr. Goodnoe made a motion to authorize the payment of $94,499.11 to Haines & Kibblehouse. The motion was seconded by Ms. Goren and passed unanimously (4-0).

Joint Resolution Between Township & Borough Authorizing Payment To The Newtown Township Sycamore Street Reconstruction Project Contract

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the joint resolution between the Township and Borough authorizing payment to the Newtown Township Sycamore Street reconstruction project contract. The Supervisors were provided correspondence dated August 10, 2005 from The Borough of Newtown with regards to an addendum to the Sycamore Street project.

Mr. Goodnoe made a motion to authorize the Township to pay 50% of the Borough’s engineering and design costs. The motion was seconded by Mr. Jirele and passed unanimously (4-0).

Community Comments

Mr. Mendicino commented with regards to the Town Center at Durham. The Supervisors advised that there would be no change to the zoning at this time.

Mr. Weaver thanked the public for their input.

Other Business

Adjournment

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

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary