Board of Supervisor Minutes
October 5, 2005
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting October 26, 2005. Minutes of regular meeting of October 5, 2005:Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 5, 2005. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 5, 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, and Member Thomas Jirele. Also present were: Stephen B. Harris, Township Solicitor; Chris Walker, Township Engineer; and John Boyle, Assistant to Township Manager.
Call to Order: Chairman Richard Weaver called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.
Invocation: The invocation was given by Pastor Christopher Edwards of the Northampton Presbyterian Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Additions and Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Boyle reported that K. Hovnanian had requested a continuance until November 2, 2005.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Bills List: Mrs. Goren moved to approve bills totaling $48,815.15. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Reports of Committees Boards and Commissions
Environmental Advisory Council: Chairman Donald McEachron reported that the EAC had begun meeting this past spring, and had discussed a number of projects, including an environmental award for businesses in Newtown that have exceeded basic environmental standards. Such activities as recycling, using recycled materials, and water conservation would be recognized. The EAC would like to co-sponsor this award, called Ecostar, with Newtown Borough’s EAC. The application gives a deadline of January 15, 2006. The awards would be given in conjunction with Earth Day in April. Plaques would be given, and recipients would be acknowledged on the EAC Web site and possibly in the Township newsletter. In response to Mrs. Goren’s questions, Dr. McEachron said that the award would have very little cost associated with it, as the EAC plans to put the application on the Web site, and publicize it through press releases and through presentations at meetings of local business organizations. The only costs would be some duplicating and the award plaque itself.
Mr. Harp and Mr. Weaver both expressed support for the award, noting that it would draw a positive focus on the mission of the EAC.
Mr. Harp moved to approve the Ecostar Award Program, to be sponsored jointly by the Newtown Township and Newtown Borough Environmental Advisory Councils. Mrs. Goren seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Dr. McEachron said that the award would be given to all qualifying applicants, not just to one winner. It would be open to all businesses in Newtown Township and Borough. The award would be annually, with businesses renewing their applications each year.
The motion passed 4-0.
JDNC: Main Streets Manager Chris Ortwein reported that the JDNC’s Main Streets program is entering its fourth year. The design committee’s Design Challenge Grant has awarded matching funds for improving the facades of Township and Borough businesses. The program is available to businesses along Sycamore Street, and a number of those businesses have been awarded grants, including Freestyle Salon, which has been given two awards, totaling $1550, and Tasteful Teas and More, which received $3000. JDNC is working closely with HARB to make Township business owners aware of the program, and to help them with the application procedure. Other JDNC projects that benefit the Township include the visioning map and wayfinding project. The Borough has been eligible for a number of grant opportunities for the wayfinding project, through Hometown Streets, and DVRPC. Although the Borough is the eligible applicant, the Township would benefit by the projects that are subject to the application. This project would place destination and directional signs along Township and Borough streets, directing traffic to the business and historic district. A creek restoration project is just getting under way, that will take in both the Borough and Township. There have been a number of grants for traffic calming and signal synchronization for both State Street and Sycamore Street, including a balanced circulation study grant of $378,000. The Economic Restructuring Committee has worked to produce business retention guides and has completed a white paper on reuse of the Acme site. The Promotions committee has been active in creating AHA! Fridays, and has recently received a grant from the Five County Arts Fund. That grant is being matched by the businesses in the downtown area, to promote businesses in the entire downtown area. This coming Friday is to feature Sycamore Street. The Promotions Committee has also received a grant to produce a new brochure featuring Sycamore Street.
In response to Mr. Harp’s question, Ms. Ortwein said that the two HARB’s have not had a joint meeting with JDNC. She said that there are to be some changes to the façade program for the 2006/07 cycle, and they will be working together on that.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Ms. Ortwein said that the creek restoration has only just begun. They have discussed creating a 50-year plan, and possibly obtaining easements for recreational footpaths. There has also been some discussion of restoring the original Newtown Commons.
Dr. McEachron commented that the EAC, with Delaware Riverkeepers Network, would be studying Newtown Creek and conducting some testing of the water and inventorying of the wildlife on October 12. He understood that a JDNC member would be joining the field study team.
In response to Mrs. Goren’s question, Dr. McEachron said that the EAC has only contacted Delaware Riverkeepers Network about the Newtown Creek. He said that it is his understanding that Core Creek and the Neshaminy watershed have already been well documented, and at this time EAC is limiting its study to the Newtown Creek. A study of Core Creek might be better suited for a regional approach.
Mrs. Goren commented that she had attended the JDNC Design Committee meeting and had been very impressed with their dedication and expertise.
Land Development Projects
Land Development Waiver – Friends Condo – 121 Friends Lane – Michael O’Connor was present to ask for a waiver from land development. He explained that this existing property contains five buildings with loading docks and tractor-trailer parking in the rear. It had been a manufacturing site. It is being converted to office space, and he is trying to create a more businesslike appearance. He would be moving some of the parking to the front of the site, and removing the paved area where the tractor-trailers had been. He is planning wider lawns and landscaping berms.
Mary Ellen Saylor of Pickering Corts and Sommerson did the site plan. She noted that by removing the paved area at the rear, there would be a decrease in the impervious surface of 16,000 square feet. The lot is being regraded to improve drainage. The applicant will comply with the Pennoni Associates letter of September 30, 2005.
Mr. Harris said that the Township would need an as-built plan recorded to show what changes have been made.
Mr. Walker said that there would be pre-construction meetings and an approval from the Bucks County Conservation District would be needed.
Mr. Jirele asked whether parking is permitted in front of the buildings. He also said that he would like the Planning Commission to review this plan before any waiver is granted.
Mr. Walker noted that the paving materials to be used exceed the Township requirements, and that the Ordinance does permit parking in front yards in this area. The lighting consultant would review the lighting changes.
Ms. Saylor said that there are two new lights proposed for the parking area. She also said that she is concerned about postponing this project because she would not want to delay pouring of paving materials as the cold weather approaches.
Mrs. Goren said that she agreed with Mr. Jirele that the Planning Commission should review this plan. She asked Mr. Boyle to see that it is on the October 18 Planning Commission agenda.
Mr. Harp moved to continue this request for waiver of land development to October 26, 2005. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Final Plan for Major Subdivision – Yamamoto Tract – Washington Crossing Road: Ed Murphy represented the applicants. He pointed out that the Planning Commission had recommended that a waiver be granted from SALDO section 507.5, to allow curb radii to be less than 55 feet. Everything else is the same as it had been at the time of the preliminary plan approval in April of 2005. In response to Mr. Harris’ question, Mr. Murphy said that Pennoni Associates had calculated the fee in lieu of curbs and sidewalks as $7600.
Mr. Jirele moved to grant final plan approval for the Yamamoto Tract (Foxhall Estates) with the following conditions:
The following waivers shall be granted:
Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Conditional Use – K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Buck Road and the Newtown By-Pass: Mr. Harp moved to continue this application of November 2, 2005. Mrs. Goren seconded.
Discussion of Motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Harris said that Mr. Jonas had indicated that he would present two more witnesses, and Mr. Clemons has three witnesses. He does not know how many witnesses each of the other parties to the application will call.
Mr. Jirele suggested looking into holding a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors for this application only.
The motion passed 4-0.
Conditional Use – Penns Terrace Office Park – 54 Penns Trail: Mr. Don Marshall represented the applicant seeking conditional use approval for soil stripping.
Mr. Curtis Rittler was sworn in.
Mr. Rittler said that the project would require removal of 1,500 cubic yards of soil. The applicant will comply with the Boucher and James letter of September 8, 2005. Seven days written notice will be given to the Township so that the soil can be made available for Township projects.
Mrs. Goren moved to grant conditional use approval for removal of 1500 cubic yards of topsoil from 54 Penns Trail, Penns Terrace Office Park, with the conditions that:
Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Final Plan for Land Development – Penns Terrace Office Park – 54 Penns Trail: Mr. Don Marshall represented the applicants. Mr. Marshall said that all waivers are the same as at the preliminary plan approval stage. He noted that the fee in lieu of park and open space should be calculated by the building footprint, not the square footage of the building.
Mr. Harris said that the fee would be calculated in accordance with the Ordinance.
Mr. Jirele moved to grant final plan approval for Penns Terrace Office Park with the conditions that:
The following waivers are granted:
Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Marshall said that all signage would comply with the Ordinance.
The motion passed 4-0.
Member Comments: Mr. Weaver expressed condolences to the family of the slain Newtown Borough Police Officer Gregg.
Community Comments: Resident Jerry Shenkman read a poem, “You’re a Policeman”, to express thoughts upon the recent death of Newtown Borough Officer Gregg.
Resident Paul Salvatore said that Rotary Club is sponsoring a collection of used bicycles, to be repaired and sent to third world countries. Bicycles will be collected on Saturday morning, November 12 at Goodnoe’s Restaurant. If anyone wishes to drop used bicycles off in advance of the collection date, they can be dropped at Stockburgers, where they will be stored until November 12. Rotary Club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at Goodnoe’s Restaurant. Newtown Business and Professional Association will host its annual membership drive breakfast meeting on October 25 at Chandler Hall at 7:30 AM.
Resident Karen Doorley said that residents have asked her if Newtown Township would be following the lead of Middletown and Lower Makefield in limiting the areas in which convicted sex offender can live.
Mr. Weaver responded that he thought this should be researched and added to a work session agenda.
Mrs. Doorley also expressed concern that the overpopulation of deer at the Clark Nature Center might lead to a hunt.
Sue Herman of Lower Makefield read a statement expressing her concern about recent decisions of the Regional Traffic Task Force sponsored by Representative David Steil. She said that she is opposed to a review of roadway classification on Stoopville Road, as she fears a “northern by-pass”.
Reports of Officials:
Board Members: Mr. Harp noted that a recent community comment addressed concern for pedestrian safety. He suggested adding this topic to a work session agenda.
Mr. Jirele reported that Ms. Ortwein has begun contacting other municipalities to learn more about approaches taken to aid pedestrian safety.
Manager: Plan Expirations: none
Engineer: no report
Solicitor: no report
Mr. Salvatore said that he takes issue with Ms. Herman’s comments. He said that he would like to see traffic equally shared among all Township roads, and feels that Ms. Herman is only looking to keep quarry truck traffic away from her own neighborhood. He also felt that at recent meetings, JDNC has been picked on. He said that, as a member of JDNC, he would welcome questions, and that he, and all of the JDNC volunteer members can be reached by telephone to discuss JDNC projects. He complimented the Sycamore Street Committee for the wonderful job it has done. He said that the business community is still very interested in helping to raise funds to build a community center.
Resident Phil Calabro said that he did not think that the television debate proposed by Mr. Sensibaugh at the last Supervisors meeting would have involved any personal attacks. He said he thought Mr. Weaver’s channel 23 show was propaganda, as it only presents one side of issues.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that Chandler Hall has offered to host a debate of candidates for Supervisor. A date is to be announced shortly.
The meeting adjourned at 10:00PM.
Respectfully Submitted: ____________________________________
Mary Donaldson, 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