Board of Supervisor Minutes
January 11, 2006
MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting January 25, 2006. MINUTES OF JANUARY 11, 2006 REGULAR MEETING: Mr. Jirele moved to accept the minutes of January 11, 2006. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Resident Ethel Hibbs said that in the Minutes of January 11, 2006, Messrs. Shenkman and Calabro voted to approve the minutes of December 14, 2005, although they had not been in attendance at that meeting. She also questioned their votes on the bills lists presented at that meeting.
Mr. Jirele responded that Messrs. Calabro and Shenkman were permitted to vote on the December bills because those bills would be paid during their term of office, however he amended his motion to reflect that Messrs. Calabro and Shenkman abstained from voting to approve the minutes of December 14, 2005. The motion passed 4-0.
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Anne Goren, Vice-Chairman/Assistant Treasurer Phillip Calabro, Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Shenkman, and Members Thomas Jirele and Richard Weaver. Also present were: Paul Beckert, Township Solicitor; Chris Fazio, Township Engineer; and Robert Pellegrino, Township Manager.
Call to Order: Chairman Anne Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence.
Invocation: The invocation was given by Pastor Ron Murphy of Newtown Community Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Additions and Changes to the Agenda: none
Public Comment: Resident Tony McBrien reminded the Board that the LSAC lighting problem has not yet been resolved. He said that one sample light has been installed near the cemetery, and a second is to be placed nearer to the border with residential properties, however, LSAC intends to leave lights on all night. This is not satisfactory to the adjoining residents.
Resident Larry Fyock asked that the new Board review the floodplain ordinance that had been amended in 2004 to increase the floodplain to the FEMA maximum. He expressed concern because this amendment permits some backwater onto adjoining properties.
Resident Jennifer Dix said that she disagreed with the former Board’s approval of Brandywine Realty Trust’s final plan for Newtown Corporate Center. She questioned that Board’s approval of Brandywine, when at the same meeting they denied the application of K. Hovnanian for safety concerns. She said that the former Board catered to business interests at the expense of residents and she hoped that the new Board would keep the interests of the residents first.
Resident Nancy Crescenzo expressed concern about the lack of public discussion before the appointments of the Township Solicitor and Engineers. She noted that Mr. Beckert had been involved in the fight for re-apportionment of Council Rock School District, representing three members of the Board. She provided a printout of Mr. Beckert’s Web site and noted that Mr. Beckert has advertised as a general practice attorney but has not advertised as a municipal attorney. He has claimed on this Web site to be a member of the Newtown Township Planning Commission. She said that Mr. Beckert is not a municipal specialist and should not have been appointed.
Mr. Beckert responded that he has not recently updated his Web site and was unaware of the outdated information. He said that he became involved with the reapportionment of the School District to insure that the residents of Newtown were adequately represented on the School Board. He noted that the District should have been reapportioned after the census, but had not been in over twenty years.
Resident Brandon Wind expressed concern about the proposed use and re-occupancy permit that is being considered. He said that, although Fire Marshal Harris had estimated that the inspections would take about one hour per fire employee per week to perform, this calculation had not taken into account that the majority of home sales occur in one quarter of the year. He also expressed concern about the municipal appointments that had been made, noting that Harris & Harris had billed the Township $150,000 for professional services last year. He felt that Mr. Beckert’s appointment was cronyism. He also questioned the appointment of Jerrold Kamensky as Township labor attorney, noting that Mr. Kamensky is not a labor attorney, and is a former partner of Mr. Shenkman. He said that only oneassociate of counsel to Mr. Kamensky practices labor law.
Mr. Shenkman responded that Mr. Kamensky had at one time been his law partner, and that he continues to have a personal relationship with him. Mr. Kamensky’s associate, Philip Whitcomb, is a prominent New Jersey labor lawyer who has represented the state of New Jersey in negotiations with many unions.
Resident John D’Aprile expressed concern about the appointments of Mr. Kamensky and Mr. Beckert. He also said that the new Board has been elected to represent the interests of the entire Township, not just their own neighborhoods.
In response to questions from Mr. D’Aprile and Mr. Jirele, Mr. Shenkman said that Mr. Kamensky had made a contribution of $150 to his campaign for supervisor.
Minutes, Bills List and Reports
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Jirele moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of December 14, 2005. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Goren asked that pages three and four of the minutes of the reorganization meeting of January 3, 2006 read as follows:
“Issuance of Certificate of Occupancy Upon Re-Occupancy of any Premises
Resolution 2006-5 Establishing the Requirement of Issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by Newtown Township Upon Re-Occupancy of any Residential, Commercial or Industrial Premises Within Newtown Township
Mr. Weaver moved to table consideration of issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by Newtown Township upon re-occupancy of any residential, commercial or industrial premises within Newtown Township until the work session of January 18, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Adopting the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax
Ordinance 2006-4, adopting the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax
Mr. Weaver moved to table consideration of adopting the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax until the work session of January 18, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.”
Mr. Jirele moved to accept the minutes of the reorganization meeting of January 3, 2006 as amended. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Bills List: Mr. Shenkman moved to approve bills totaling $110,729.79 for December 2005. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Shenkman moved to approve interfund transfers of $10,910.53 for December 2005. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Shenkman moved to approve bills totaling $134,484.76 for January 2006. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Land Development Projects
PRD Variance – Thomas Coates – 12 Pinetree Court: Mr. Weaver moved to table this hearing to January 25, 2006. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Officials
Members: Mr. Weaver reported that he had participated in a ceremony announcing the location of a new Veterans Cemetery in Upper Makefield. He said that he was very proud of the work done by Congressman Fitzpatrick, Mr. Nicholson of the VA, officials of Upper Makefield, Newtown and Council Rock School District, and Toll Brothers, to bring this cemetery to Bucks County.
Mrs. Goren thanked Mr. Weaver for his representation of Newtown at this event. She said that his speech was very moving.
Manager: Mr. Pellegrino asked the Board to authorize payment 24 of the Sycamore Street Project.
Resident Vince Lombardi asked whether this payment included landscaping payments, and if so, whether funds remain to complete the landscaping in the spring.
Mr. Pellegrino said that $4,000 of the payment is for landscaping, however funds remain for completion of the landscaping work.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize payment number 24 of the Sycamore Street Project in the amount of $326,978.43. Mr. Shenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Calabro asked if, as part of the manager’s report, Mr. Pellegrino could include follow-up information on questions asked by the public and matters that are ongoing.
Solicitor: Mr. Beckert said that there would be a need for an executive session.
Public Comment: Mrs. Crescenzo asked whether any measures could be taken to improve safety along South Eagle Road. She said that the speed limit does not seem to be enforced. A 2004 study reported that 994 cars drive through this road per day. She said that the curve in the road near the new bank makes exiting its parking lot difficult. She also asked whether a traffic light could be installed at the intersection of South Eagle Road and Swamp Road. She said that it is particularly dangerous during the morning and afternoon when school students are arriving and leaving.
Mr. Pellegrino said that a 2005 study of this intersection would be reviewed at the February work session. He said that the property owners have not requested to offer the road for dedication to the Township. If the Township were to consider dedication, many improvements would have to be made. The police monitor the speed limit on this road and have not found it to be a problem. They are permitted to enforce the speed limit, even though it is a privately owned road. In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Mr. Pellegrino said that Swamp Road is a state road and PennDOT must grant approval for a traffic light to be installed at the intersection with South Eagle.
The Board discussed whether the Township should take dedication of this road at some time in the future. Mr. Jirele said that the new members of the Board should be informed about the issues involved. Mr. Shenkman suggested that this also be included in an upcoming work session agenda.
Mr. Wind suggested that, regardless of ownership, the road should be resurfaced. He announced that Newtown Library Company is hosting a book lovers party on February 11 at the Stockingworks. Information about this event is posted on the Library Company Web site.
Mr. D’Aprile asked about recent surveyors activity along Stoopville Road and what appeared to be core boring on the Melsky tract.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the surveyors were doing work in preparation for the road re-alignment. The Melsky tract is owned by the School District, and he does not know what was being done there.
Board Reconvenes: Mr. Calabro moved to appoint Jay McGuigan to the Environmental Advisory Council. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 10:05 PM.
Respectfully Submitted: ____________________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary
Minutes Approved as submitted __________ as corrected___________
Robert M. Pellegrino, Manager Anne Goren, Chairman
Phillip Calabro, Vice-Chairman
Jerry Shenkman, Secretary/Treasurer
Thomas Jirele, Member
Richard Weaver, Member