Board of Supervisor Minutes
October 26, 2005
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting November 16, 2005. Minutes of October 26, 2005: Mrs. Goren noted that the last sentence of the last page of the minutes of October 26, 2005 should read, “…the delay of the light synchronization…”
Mr. Jirele moved to accept the minutes of October 26, 2005 as corrected. Mr. Goodnoe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 26, 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 Members Raymond Goodnoe and Thomas Jirele. Also present were: David Sander, Township Solicitor; Chris Walker, Township Engineer; and Robert Pellegrino, 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 Ron Highley of Crossing Community Church. . This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Additions and Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Pellegrino reported that there would be an addition to the Engineer’s Report; item 2 would be the LaSalle University Improvement Agreement.
Recognition of Retirement: Mr. Weaver presented a recognition award from the Board of Supervisors to Lois Weasner, on her retirement after nineteen years as a school crossing guard.
Mr. Weaver presented a recognition award from the Board of Supervisors to Rita Kalmore, on her retirement from the Park and Recreation Department after twelve years of service to the Township.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the work session of September 19, 2005. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of September 28, 2005. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 5, 2005. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Bills List: Mrs. Goren moved to approve bills totaling $888,486.60. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $323,866.86. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Committees Boards and Commissions
Telecommunications Advisory Board: Chairman James Manahan reported that on Wednesday, October 5, 2005, the Board met with the new Comcast representative, Brian Jeter. Mr. Jeter said that Comcast is revising its channel line-up to make all of Bucks County consistent. The Board discussed meeting with the representatives of local colleges to ask them to supply content for the local television station. There have been no official complaints to the Board about the ongoing Verizon work.
Mr. Harp commented that he has recently read about Verizon bringing television service to other areas. He hopes that some day there will be cable competition in Newtown, and the cable rates will be reduced. He thanked the Board for its hard work to bring about cable competition.
Planning Commission: Chairman Shawn Ward reported that at the October 18, 2005 meeting the Commission reviewed a proposal to rezone four tax parcels along Rte 413 in the PS-2 Zoning District as R-2. McGrath Homes wants to join these parcels into one parcel of 41 acres in order to construct an age-qualified townhome community. McGrath has gotten a positive reaction from the representatives of the Newtown Grant Homeowners Associations. The Commission voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors authorize the Township Solicitor to draft an ordinance to amend the JMZO to rezone the subject parcels from PS-2 to R-2, distribute the ordinance to the Jointure for review and include with the ordinance the petition submitted by the applicant, and a study of the impact of the elimination of the majority of PS-2 district. The Commission recommends that the Township Planner review this study and that her comments be enclosed with the ordinance and petition. The Commission advised the applicant that he should proceed with land development at his own risk.
The Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the land development waiver request of Friends Lane Condo Association, 121 Friends Lane, with the conditions that the plan comply with the Pennoni Associates letter of September 30, 2005, the Bucks County Conservation District letter of October 7, 2005, that a waiver from SALDO Section 514 be granted to allow parking in the front yard, and that the plan be revised so that seven parking spaces are added to the middle entrance road and seven parking spaces are removed from the rear corner adjacent to the Newtown By-Pass.
The Commission reviewed eight Zoning Hearing Board applications and makes no comment.
Mr. Ward commented that he takes umbrage at a recent letter to the editor of the Bucks County Courier Times about the activities of the Planning Commission. He said that the Planning Commission is an advisory, not a decision making, body. The Commission cannot deny an applicant who is in compliance with the Ordinance. The Commission serves at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors.
Land Development Projects
Conditional Use – Soccer & Lacrosse Corner – 53 German Avenue: Don Marshall represented the applicant. Mr. Marshall reminded the Board that testimony had been closed in this hearing, but that the application had been continued to allow the parties to attempt to work out differences. He said that discussions between Mr. Yardley and Mr. Neuhard had been unproductive.
Mr. Marshall offered as Exhibits A-1 a through c, letters from residents of 50, 53 and 54 German Avenue in support of Mr. Yardley’s application, and Exhibits A-2 a through g, letters from business owners in the immediate vicinity of 53 German Avenue, in support of the application.
Mr. Neuhard objected, noting that he had not been provided copies of these exhibits; that the record is closed; and that one of the residents is also the property owner.
Mr. Marshall said that the Planning Commission had recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve this application, with conditions.
Mr. Neuhard said that there has not been any agreement about road maintenance, as suggested by Mr. Goodnoe. Mr. Neuhard said that this is not a public road; that this road is too narrow for commercial traffic; that one property owner does not have the right to inflict the burden of increased commercial traffic and the consequent wear and tear on the road on his neighbors; that Mr. Yardley’s hardship is self created; and that Mr. Yardley built the barn that is now proposed for commercial use under an accessory residential building permit. He said that the Ordinance requires that businesses be located on main streets. Since school has reopened there has been increased traffic because of student parking. Adding commercial traffic would create a dangerous situation. He asked that the application be denied.
Mr. Marshall responded that four of the five property owners on German Avenue have written to support this use. The parking provided is adequate for maneuvering. The use and maintenance of this road indicates that it is a public thoroughfare.
In response to questions from Mr. Pellegrino, Mr. Marshall said that the Zoning Hearing Board decision incorrectly refers to Ms. Hillman as the equitable owner. Mr. Yardley is the owner, and Ms. Hillman is a lessee.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Sander said that he and Mr. Harris have researched whether German Avenue is a public street, and feel that it is a very confusing issue. Use and maintenance history would indicate that it is a public road, although there has been no formal transfer.
Ms. Susan Hillman was sworn in.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Ms. Hillman said that she has a one-year lease on a property in Yardley, but intends to open for business in this location as well. There is currently enough business to support the two locations.
Mr. Jirele said that he has visited the site a number of times and feels that the width of the street is not adequate to support commercial traffic.
Mr. Jirele moved to deny the application of Soccer & Lacrosse Corner for conditional use. Mrs. Goren seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren expressed concern about whether German Avenue is a private street.
Mr. Goodnoe said that, while he thinks that Mr. Yardley has possibly pushed to the very limits of the Ordinance, the property is zoned for business, and he has received relief from the Zoning Hearing Board. He said that other properties that are zoned commercial are accessed by private roads. He said that he did not think that the Township has standing to deny this application. He would have liked to have seen maintenance agreements for the street.
Mr. Jirele said that if Mr. Yardley had come in to develop the property commercially, there would have been different requirements for buffering and for improvements to the road.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Goodnoe voting nay.
K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Newtown – Buck Road at the Newtown By-Pass – Conditional Use: Mr. Sander said that he is in receipt of a letter from Mr. Jonas requesting a continuation of this hearing until November 16, 2005, and a one-month extension of the seven hour, 100 day time for the hearing.
Mr. Harp moved to continue the conditional use hearing of K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons to November 16, 2005. Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mrs. Goren’s question, Mr. Sander said that this would satisfy the seven hour/100 day requirement.
Mr. Pellegrino said that he was attempting to schedule a special meeting to finish this matter.
The motion passed unanimously.
PRD Variance – Matt Mount – 233 Stanford Place: Mr. Mount said that since he had last appeared before the Board he had modified his plan to make the addition smaller. It is now 6.9 feet by 38 feet. He no longer needs a variance for the setback on the addition but still needs the variance for the shed. He has reduced the impervious surface. He has also gotten letters of approval from his two immediate neighbors and his Homeowners Association. He presented letters from Mr. and Mrs. Morris, Raymond Hencken and Mary Ann Sorrento in support of his plans. He said that these are his next-door neighbors on both sides. He has no neighbor opposite his home, and his property backs to open space. He asked that the Board grant this variance, as the space is needed for his growing family, and he would rather expand his home than move.
Resident Maureen Cooper of Country Bend asked that the Supervisors deny this application. She said that she has been a resident of Country Bend for over twenty years, and has abided by the rules of the Homeowners Association. She said that the proposed addition is not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, as it is much larger than any other addition in the development. The size of the addition will make the lot seem crowded. It is visible from her home, and will be unsightly. She is also concerned that the shed has been placed so close to the property line. She said that the Country Bend Homeowners Association rules require 61% of the residents’ approval for a variance of this kind. She was also concerned about the increased impervious surface causing flooding problems throughout the area.
In response to Mr. Sander’s questions, Ms. Cooper said that Country Bend requires a 6-foot setback for sheds. She had not seen the letter from the Homeowners Association approving the plan until this evening. She said that when she had asked for permission to make changes to her property she was required to pay fees for permits, and she felt that Mr. Mount should be held to this same standard. She is also very concerned that once this precedent has been set, other neighbors will seek to build large, two-story additions. She does not want to see the by-laws of the Homeowners Association changed. Ms. Cooper said that she is not sure of the exact distance from her home to the Mounts, but she did receive the notice from the Township.
Mr. Sander explained that, even if a variance were granted, there would still be fees for permits, and Mr. Mount would be obliged to pay all such fees. He explained that seeking this variance does not alter the Country Bend by-laws, but is a variance from the zoning ordinance and final plan. It is seeking permission for this application only, not for the entire development.
Mr. Mount said that he has modified his original plans so that the addition meets the setback requirements. Only the shed requires a setback variance. This shed was on the property at the time he purchased the house, and it appears on the plan that was submitted to his Homeowners Association. He said that the Homeowners Association notifies residents of meetings.
In response to Mrs. Goren’s question, Mr. Mount said that he would rather not move his shed because he would like to leave a larger lawn area on the side of his pool where his children play.
Mrs. Goren noted that the shed is not referenced in the Homeowners Association letter nor in the support letters from the neighbors.
Mr. Sander noted that the addition is new, but the shed has existed on the property without any complaints.
Ms. Cooper said that the Homeowners Association met in private and she was not permitted to attend. She said that the Homeowners Association thought that it was up to the Township to decide on this issue.
Mr. Jirele moved to grant a variance from the Country Bend final plan to allow an impervious surface ratio of 32.96%, and from JMZO Section 1000(E)(4) to permit a 2-foot side yard setback. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said that the Homeowners Association has signed off on the plan, which included the shed, and he feels it is up to the neighbors to make their concerns known to the Homeowners Association. While he is not in favor of the location of the shed, it has existed without complaint.
Mr. Ward said that at the Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Harwood had asked that Mr. Mount include the pre-existing shed in his application.
Mrs. Goren expressed concern that the Homeowners Association has relied on the Board of Supervisors to uphold its by-laws.
Mr. Jirele noted that the Homeowners Association has submitted its approval of the plan in writing.
In response to Mr. Weaver’s question, Mr. Mount said that he would move the shed if necessary, but he has never had any complaints about it, and it is behind a five-foot privacy fence. In response to Mr. Goodnoe’s questions, Mr. Mount said that the fence completely surrounds the rear of his home. The shed is seven feet high.
Resident David Katz said that he is a resident of Tyler Walk, and it concerns him that Homeowners Associations are meeting privately and not allowing input from residents. He said that he thought that the Board of Supervisors needs to know what went on at the meeting.
Mr. Goodnoe said that while he is concerned about setting precedent on sheds in the neighborhood, he felt that the request is mitigated by the fence.
The motion passed 3-2, with Mrs. Goren and Mr. Harp voting nay.
PRD Variance – Thomas Coates – 12 Pinetree Court: Thomas Coates explained that he is seeking a variance to put an addition on his home for a family room. He has six children and the space is needed as a play area for the family. His home does not have a basement and so an addition is necessary. It will encroach five feet into the setback. He is also seeking a variance for a pre-existing shed. The shed is located close to the property line because of the steep slope of his yard. This was the only place to accommodate the shed.
Mr. Sander said that both the Homeowners Association and the supporting neighbors’ letters reference the shed. He also pointed out the irregular shape of the lot.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to grant a variance from the Brookside Final Plan to allow a rear yard setback of 25.1 feet and a side yard setback of 9.2 feet, and from JMZO Section 1000(E)(4) to permit a side yard setback of 2.9 feet and a rear yard setback of 0.3 feet. Mr. Harp seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mark Byelich, representing the Brookside Community Association, said that the Association objects to the plan. He submitted a letter, dated October 26, 2005, stating such. He said that some of the residents have expressed concerns that Mr. Coates’ plans do not provide any details, and the size might be too large. He agreed with Mr. Coates’ statement that the property slopes, making it difficult to place a shed anywhere within the permitted area.
Mr. Sander noted that the first letter of the Community Association, submitted to the Planning Commission on September 20, 2005, had been signed, whereas this second, more recent letter was unsigned.
Mr. Byelich explained that the President of the Association had e-mailed the letter to him this evening, as he is the only Board member available to attend this meeting.
Mr. Coates said that he has no details about the addition because he did not want to draft plans until he knew whether he would be granted a variance.
Mr. Jirele said that, while he has no objection to this application, he would like Mr. Coates to work with his Association to help them feel more comfortable supporting his plans.
Mr. Coates said that he was unaware that there were any objections to the plan.
Mr. Goodnoe withdrew his motion. Mr. Harp withdrew his second.
Mr. Harp suggested that Mr. Coates discuss his plans with his Community Association and continue his application until the next meeting.
Mrs. Goren moved to continue the application of Thomas Coates for a PRD variance to November 16, 2005. Mr. Harp seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Final Plan for Minor Subdivision - Brabazon – 14 Eldridge Road: Don Marshall, attorney for the applicant, reminded the Board that they had withheld a motion in this application until it was learned whether FEMA approval of the HEC-2 study was necessary. Mr. Harris has learned that, because this is alluvial soil and not a floodplain, FEMA approval is not required. The applicant will comply with all comments on the review letters. The Planning Commission had recommended approval, with conditions, including noting existing trees on the plan, not removing larger trees, and tapering the lot line to meet the 200-foot width requirement.
In response to Mr. Goodnoe’s question, Mr. Marshall pointed out the proposed access point, noting that the Zoning Hearing Board had required that the access not impact floodplain soils.
Mr. Goodnoe discussed the proposed access to the second lot, noting that there are existing large trees where the paving stops on Eldridge Road. He said that he is not concerned about the utilities using the extension of Eldridge Road, but he would like the trees to remain.
After some Board discussion, Mr. Marshall said that there would be a common entrance, shared by both lots, with easements in place, and that the applicant would not dedicate to the ultimate right-of-way.
Mr. Goodnoe moved to approve the minor subdivision of 14 Eldridge Road with the conditions that:
§ The applicant will comply with the Pennoni Associates letters of October 20, 2005 and of July 21, 2005;
§ The applicant will comply with the letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission dated September 21, 2005;
§ The applicant will comply with the letter of Boucher and James dated June 15, 2005;
§ The applicant will comply with the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of June 13, 2005;
§ The applicant will comply with the decision of the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board;
§ All required permits and approvals are obtained;
§ All outstanding costs are paid and all necessary security agreements and sewer and water agreements are obtained;
§ The plan is revised to show that access to lot one is taken from the existing driveway serving lot two;
§ A note is added to the plan stating that no additional access to either lot will be taken from the right-of-way;
§ Applicant shall present to the Township, and receive the Township’s approval for an access easement across a portion of lot two to lot one, said easement to be recorded simultaneously with the recording of the final plans;
§ A note shall be added to the plan stating that there shall be no extension of Eldridge Lane beyond the existing macadam;
§ A note shall be added to the plan placing a deed restriction on lot one stating that there shall be no direct access from Eldridge Lane to lot one;
Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele expressed concern about access to lot 1, and about the wetlands on the property. He said that it would be difficult to monitor protection of these wetlands. He felt that the building envelope is too small. Although Mr. Brabazon pointed out that permits would be required for building, Mr. Jirele noted that other properties in the Township with similar protected wetlands have been encroached upon. It is difficult to monitor, and difficult to repair.
In response to Mr. Walker’s comments, Mr. Marshall said that the plans do not show grading, access or the proposed building because at this time there are no plans for a building. The access to the new lot was determined by the Zoning Hearing Board. The property would have a 5000 square foot building footprint, sufficient for a very large house. The applicant has complied with all aspects of the application, including the HEC-2 study.
Resident Nancy Crescenzo commented that this situation is similar to one on Wrights Road, and that the Board should not make exceptions in environmentally sensitive areas. She said that the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) should review this plan and make recommendations before approval is given.
Mr. Goodnoe noted that the problems with the Wrights Road properties are the result of violations.
Mr. Jirele briefly discussed changing the division of the property to avoid cutting through the wetlands, making the division east to west rather than north to south.
Mr. Brabazon said that the engineers had decided on this division based on the recommendation of the soil scientists, making the division where it would have the least impact on alluvial soils.
Mrs. Crescenzo again said that the EAC should review the plans for environmentally sensitive properties such as this one.
Mr. Weaver responded that review of land development plans is not part of the EAC mission.
Mr. Goodnoe amended his motion to include that note shall be added to the plan stating that a conservation easement will be placed on all environmentally sensitive areas of lot one, including, but not limited to, alluvial soils, woodlands, wetlands, and floodplains, all as delineated on the plan, and requiring the submission to and approval of the Township in the form of conservation easement, and requiring the conservation easement to be recorded simultaneously with the recording of the final plan. Mr. Weaver seconded the amendment.
Discussion of amendment: Mr. Jirele expressed concern about the building envelope, and future development of the property, including pools, patios, sheds, etc.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting nay.
Friends Lane Commons, 121 Friends Lane – Land Development Waiver Request – Mary Ellen Saylor of Pickering Corts and Summerson said that the plan has been reviewed by the Planning Commission, who recommended support of the request for a waiver of land development.
Mr. Jirele moved to waive land development for Friends Lane Commons – 121 Friends lane with the conditions that the plan comply with the Pennoni Associates letter of September 30, 2005 and the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of October 7, 2005. A waiver from SLDO Section 514 should be granted to allow parking in the front yard, and that the plan be revised so that seven parking spaces are added to the middle entrance road and seven parking spaces are removed from the rear corner adjacent to the Newtown By-Pass. All permits and approvals should be obtained and the applicant should post an escrow for inspection services. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Authorization to Draft and Circulate an Ordinance Amending the Joint Municipal Zoning Map to rezone Properties Owned by McGrath from PS-2 to R-2: Attorney Tom Hecker represented the owner, McGrath Homes. He explained that McGrath Homes has purchased the properties along Durham Road opposite the Municipal Complex and would like to construct an age-qualified townhome development. The properties had been zoned PS-2 and had previously been approved for office buildings, but the owners had not been able to find tenants. The land development plans have been fully engineered for this 120-townhome development. It will be necessary to circulate an amendment to the Jointure to change this zoning to R-2. The Planning Commission has given a favorable recommendation to this proposed change.
Mr. Wayne, Engineer on the project, explained that the 41 acres would have 120 townhomes, each 37 feet wide. There would be four parking spaces for each unit. Impervious surface ratio is 34%. The open space would be owned by the Homeowners Association. A recreation/community center is planned, which would be staffed by volunteer residents. The center would include indoor/outdoor pools, exercise equipment, and community rooms. He showed a view of the front elevations of the townhomes, and explained that there is a great deal of interest in these units, which will involve no outside maintenance.
Mr. Hecker said that he has already discussed this plan with some of the Newtown Grant Homeowners Associations, which have expressed support for the zoning change. In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, he said that McGrath has already begun the land development process and will be going to the Planning Commission soon. He understands that the applicant is proceeding at its own risk, as the rezoning has not been completed. In response to Mr. Goodnoe’s questions, he said that the units would be owned by fee simple, but that the exteriors and surrounding grounds would be maintained by the Homeowners Association. He expects that the streets will remain private. It will be up to the Homeowners Association to decide whether this would be a gated community.
Mr. Harp moved to draft and circulate an ordinance amending the Joint Municipal Zoning Map to rezone properties owned by McGrath from PS-2 to R-2. Mr. Goodnoe seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino said that there is an out-parcel surrounded by this development, which is also zoned PS-2.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she did not understand why the Township would consider spot zoning. There had been unwillingness to rezone some properties for business.
Mr. Sander said that because this parcel is surrounded by R-2 properties it is not considered spot zoning. This is a motion to circulate a draft amendment, not a vote to rezone.
Mrs. Goren noted that she is in favor of this change because it has a positive impact on surrounding neighbors.
Resident Ethel Hibbs questioned why this property had ever been rezoned as PS-2. She expressed concern because the property is adjoining her home, and there had been agreements in place for buffering when the property was to have been developed as offices. She also questioned whether the Society Place Homeowners Association had been consulted about this proposed change. She expressed concern about increased traffic.
Mr. Goodnoe said that the properties had been zoned PS-2 because there had been professional businesses located on these lots.
Mr. Wayne said that there would be a signal at the intersection of this development, which would be directly opposite the municipal complex entrance, if necessary. The entrance to the development is 1100 feet from North Drive.
Mrs. Hibbs said that because the Jointure is in the process of redoing the comprehensive plan she thought any changes to existing zoning should be postponed.
Mrs. Goren said that the PS-2 zoning could have the same impact on Mrs. Hibbs’ home as the LSAC offices have had on the residents of Grant Avenue.
Mrs. Hibbs suggested that the complaints of the Grant Avenue residents are exaggerated.
Resident Robert Ciervo expressed concern about increased residential development, as it burdens the Township infrastructure. He said that perhaps a development would increase traffic.
Mrs. Goren noted that an office complex could generate 1800 trips per day.
Resident Phil Calabro said that the proposed development would increase property values for the surrounding neighbors and that the change in zoning would have a positive impact on the community.
Resident Karen D’Aprile said that neighbors should be informed of this proposed change.
Mr. Sander explained that a change in the ordinance would be advertised, the property would be prominently posted, and owners within 500 feet of the property would be notified by mail.
Resident Paul Salvatore asked that each Supervisor express an opinion on this proposed change.
Mr. Katz said that he agrees with Mrs. Hibbs, that changes should be postponed until the comprehensive plan has been updated.
Mrs. Goren said that the other municipalities are supportive of the addition of R-2 zoning within the Jointure.
Mr. Ward said that PS-2 is not the best use for this property, and that R-2 will generate less traffic. He said that it is up to each municipality to bring to the Jointure proposed changes that benefit that municipality.
Resident Jerry Shenkman compared this proposed zoning change with the Brandywine development. He said that discussions like this should have taken place before Brandywine was approved. He said that the Township, developers and realtors should be required to notify residents of plans for neighboring parcels.
Mr. Jirele commented that such discussions had taken place prior to Brandywine’s approval. He said that it is not the municipality’s responsibility to inform prospective buyers of the Township’s zoning.
Resident Walt Iwaskiw said that this is a serious issue and it should be on the Township Web site.
Resident John D’Aprile said that although the Newtown Grant Homeowners Associations had approved the plan, some residents have spoken against it.
The motion passed unanimously.
Member Comments: Mr. Harp commended the faculty, staff and students of Goodnoe Elementary School for their participation in the “Wee Care Bear” program, which will now be providing bears for victims of the hurricanes in the South.
Community Comments: Resident Tony McBrien expressed concern that there is still no resolution of the lighting problems between Newtown Gate and LSAC. Although a replacement light has been approved by the Homeowners Association, LSAC has indicated that these lights would remain on all night for safety and security. He asked what the security and safety issue is, since LSAC employs a guard twenty-four hours a day. He said that agreements made between the Township and LSAC have not been enforced.
Mr. Harp moved to notify LSAC that effective tomorrow, all lights except those attached to the building, be extinguished at 8:00PM. Mrs. Goren seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said that LSAC has agreed to replace the lights, and to provide shielding for those lights closest to the surrounding homes, but they feel they need the lights to remain on for security.
Mr. Harp said that those employees who work late should park in the underground lot.
Mrs. Goren said that since the police have indicated that the lights should remain on all night, they should inform the Board of the reason for their concern.
Mr. Harp said that until the police explain the reason for the lights to remain on they should be off.
Mr. Goodnoe agreed with Mr. McBrien that he is entitled to an explanation as to why the police feel the lights are necessary. He asked if Mr. Harp had contacted the police department for an explanation.
Mr. Pellegrino said that Chief Duffy has indicated that the lights are necessary for safety and security. At this point we are at an impasse that will only be resolved in court.
The motion failed 2-3, with Messrs. Jirele, Goodnoe and Weaver voting nay.
Mr. Katz said that the EAC mission statement should be amended to include review of environmentally sensitive properties being considered for land development.
In response to Mr. Katz’s question, Mr. Pellegrino said that the Township has been reimbursed for the Stockburger survey.
Mr. Salvatore announced that Newtown Rotary is sponsoring “Pedals for Progress”, a collection of used bicycles to be shipped to third-world countries on November 12 at Goodnoe Family Restaurant from 12:00 to 3:00PM. Those wishing to drop off bicycles in advance of the collection date can do so at Stockburgers. NBPA heard Former Governor Mark Schweiker speak at the last meeting. The next meeting is November 22, at which Linda Mitchell will speak. He congratulated Mr. Goodnoe on the restaurant’s 50th anniversary.
Mrs. Crescenzo commented on a recent series in the Bucks County Courier Times about drug and alcohol abuse among teens. She said that this points out the need for a community center for teens and seniors. She compared expenditures proposed for the Woll tract for active recreation to expenditures for non-athlete teens. She said that the proposed recreation facilities included in the new municipal complex plan would not be adequate.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that the planned debate among Supervisor Candidates, moderated by the League of Women Voters has been canceled.
Mr. Weaver asked that no political comments follow this announcement.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that at one time the Planning Commission had been in discussion about a disclosure ordinance, but it had never been approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Jirele said that although the Board supports the idea of a disclosure ordinance, there was difficulty with the proposed language and it had never been resolved.
Reports of Officials
Plan Expirations: none
Solicitor: Mr. Sander reviewed eight applications to the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Jirele moved to send the Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board in opposition to the application of Third Federal Savings Bank. Mr. Goodnoe seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said that there should be uniform standard for size of bank signs throughout the Township.
Mr. Harp said that he thought that the Zoning Hearing Board would handle this properly.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Harp voting nay.
Engineer: Mr. Harp moved to authorize execution of the development agreement for Cameron C. Troilo, Inc, 104 Pheasant Run. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp moved to approve the improvement agreement and signing of Mylars for LaSalle University. Mrs. Goren seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Harp reported that certain Council Rock sports teams had requested use of the fields in front of Lockheed Martin for practice. He referred the request to the Park and Recreation Board.
Mr. Jirele asked that interested residents send resumes to serve on Township committees, boards and commissions, as appointments will be made at the January re-organization meeting.
Mr. Ciervo said that he thinks the area around Newtown Gate is too brightly lit, although there has been some petty crime in the neighborhood. He said that he would prefer to see the property on Durham Road rezoned as R-1 or CM, and that the businesses already existing should be grandfathered. He would like the Park and Recreation Department to be self-sufficient. He is disappointed that the plans for the Acme site do not include an ice rink. He would like the business community to build a community center.
Mrs. Crescenzo expressed concern about recent Park and Recreation Board discussions about the deer population and creek erosion at Clark Nature Center. She said that the EAC should be included in any evaluation of solutions to the problems there. She expressed concern about the number of canceled meetings of Township Boards, Committees and Commissions.
Mr. Salvatore noted that there is a disclosure requirement for resale of homes. He disagreed with a comparison made earlier of a Durham Road property to be rezoned residential and Brandywine. He expressed concern about the presence of residential use in the Office Research Zoning District.
Mrs. Goren said that she feels there should be a buffer area between residential and office uses.
Mr. Jirele agreed that it has been poor planning to include residential in the office research district, but removal of that use has met with objections.
Mrs. Goren said that the OR district and in particular Brandywine is surrounded by residential uses.
Mr. Jirele disagreed, noting that there are office research facilities on two sides of the Brandywine property.
Mr. Salvatore said that the Supervisors need to work with business.
Mr. D’Aprile expressed concern that Council Rock teams would like to use Township facilities. He also expressed concern about the political climate at the meetings.
Mr. Calabro said that the Township should take the business community up on its offer to build a community center. He said that Mr. Pellegrino had pointed out that to float a $10,000,000 bond for the municipal complex would cause a 30% increase in taxes. If he were supervisor, he would not vote for the municipal expansion. He sad that Mr. Weaver had attended a fundraiser at Rosebank Winery even though he had opposed Rosebank’s Zoning Hearing Board application.
Resident Brandon Wind announced that the Newtown Exchange Club is hosting its annual pancake breakfast on Sunday, November 6, 2005. The Newtown Library Association Board is to be installed on Saturday at 1:00PM. He thanked Mr. Jirele for announcing openings on committees, boards and commissions, but also questioned the method used to choose appointees.
Mrs. Goren said that resumes are circulated among the Supervisors, who then vote on candidates. At one time there had been a recommending committee, but some felt that all Supervisors should have the opportunity to see all applicants’ resumes.
Mr. Wind said that he thought there should be an interview process.
Mrs. Goren responded that interviews are personnel matters held in closed session.
Mr. Wind disagreed, and felt there should be transparency in the selection process.
Resident Karen D’Aprile asked that all residents vote in the upcoming election.
Sue Herman of Lower Makefield said that she suspects that the light synchronization project for the By-Pass is a plot to make Stoopville Road a northern by-pass.
The meeting adjourned at 1:20 AM.
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