Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

February 13, 2006


MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting March 22, 2006. Minutes of work session meeting of February 13, 2006:Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the minutes of the work session dated February 13, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 3-0.


Members Present: Anne Goren, Chairman; Philip Calabro, Vice Chairman; Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer; Tom Jirele, Member; Richard Weaver, Member; Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager; Chris Fazio, Engineer.

Also Present: Don Marshall, Esq.; Mr. Terry, Newtown Industrial Commons; Eric Kaufman, Gilmore & Associates, Inc.; Ed Murphy, McBride & Murphy; Greg LaGreca, Toll Brothers; Newtown resident Ethel Hibbs.

Call to Order: Chairman Goren called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.

Sign Variance Application – 111 –115 Pheasant Run

Mr. Marshall advised the Supervisors that the proposed request is for the property to have three (3) signs. Two (2) 18 sq. ft. signs would be located along the street front to identify the tenants and one (1) 8 sq. ft. direction sign would be located within the complex.

Ms. Goren advised that she likes the smaller signs but still has concerns with the two (2) signs that would be located along the street front.

Mr. Jirele discussed the need for the complex to identify the tenants from the roadway.

The Supervisors discussed the need to be consistent with regards to signage within the Newtown Commons.

Mr. Weaver advised that he has no problem with the signs.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he has no problem with the signs.

Mr. Calabro advised that he has no problem with the signs.

Mr. Marshall advised the Supervisors that there would be no signs on the buildings.

Ms. Goren advised that the Supervisors are in agreement with the smaller signs and having no signs on the buildings.

Authorization to Advertise Ordinance and Forward to Jointure: Adding B19 Use in the R2 Zoning District

Mr. Murphy commented on discussions at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting with regards to the Boards consideration of authorization to advertise the ordinance, which would add B19 use in the R2 Zoning District. He advised that if the proposed ordinance were passed it would permit the development of the Fidler Tract as seen on the proposed plan, similar to the Frost Watson property. He discussed the current age qualify use in the R2 Zoning District which allows for a minimum open space of twenty percent (20%) and a minimum impervious surface space of forty-five percent (45%). He discussed request to increase the open space beyond twenty (20%) and reduce the impervious surface space below forty-five (45%). He discussed the reasons as to why the impervious surface space is higher. He discussed the access road that runs through the property. He advised that he feels the site could have forty percent (40%) or less impervious surface. He discussed the way that the Township calculates open and impervious surface spaces. He provided the Supervisors with a handout showing the open space calculations. He advised that on the handout any area beyond five feet (5’) of the perimeter of the building was considered open space. He advised the Supervisors that the Township Planner, Judy Stern Goldstein commented with regards to having twenty feet (20’) of open space off the front and ten feet (10’) of open space off to the side. He advised the Supervisors on the open space calculations.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors on the Township Planner’s concerns with regards to the designated open space being within five feet (5’) of the perimeter being unreasonable. He commented with regards to Ms. Goldstein advising that the ordinance normally requiring twenty feet (20’).

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to decks. Mr. Murphy advised that the decks would be built at the time of construction.

Mr. Murphy advised that the Township’s current ordinance proposes twenty percent (20%) of open space. He advised that he feels they could go to thirty percent (30%) of open space.

Mr. Murphy advised the Supervisors that the barn parcel would probably be included in the overall project. He commented with regards to what will happen to the barn. He advised that there is a thirty feet (30’) X forty feet (40’) section of the barn that could be relocated. He questioned if the Township would be interested in the barn.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the possibility of Toll Brothers funding the relocation of the barn. Mr. Murphy advised that Toll Brothers would relocate the barn if the Township were interested.

Mr. Jirele questioned the condition of the total barn. Mr. Murphy advised.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to any other parcels within the Township that the B19 designation could apply to. Mr. Murphy advised that probably not, due to the way the ordinance is drafted.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the new ordinance issued by the Jointure with regards to open space. Mr. Beckert advised.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the impervious surface. Mr. Murphy advised the Supervisors on the Borough’s concerns with regards to storm water and discussed the land grade. He also advised that developing the Fidler Tract would not have an adverse effect on the Borough.

Mr. Jirele questioned if the Borough has been informed. Mr. Murphy advised that the Borough has been informed with regards to developing the Fidler Tract.

Mr. Beckert questioned basin #3 with regards to open space. Mr. Murphy advised that basin #3 is being counted as open space. Mr. Fazio advised that basin #3 should be usable as open space once some re-grading is done, he commented on the upcoming Engineer report.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to the access road that currently runs through the property being used by the gas station and the veterinary office.

The Supervisors discussed ownership of the access road that runs through the property. Mr. Pellegrino advised he would research the matter. Mr. LaGreca advised that he would forward any information regarding the matter to Mr. Pellegrino.

Mr. Murphy questioned the Supervisors on how they want to proceed.

Mr. Murphy advised the Supervisors with regards to the access roads into the development, on the proposed plan Road D would need an access easement across Roberts Ridge Park in order to align the roadway with Stanford Drive.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the current plan showing what appear to be roundabouts on Roads A, B and C. Mr. LaGreca advised that those areas would have low curbs with plantings in the center and that an emergency vehicle could access if needed.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the residents’ ability to access Roberts Ridge Park. Mr. Murphy advised access to Roberts Ridge Park would be available to the residents.

The Supervisors discussed the Newtown Trail system.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the current access road being abandoned and the use of the roadway by the veterinary office and gas station. He discussed contacting the veterinary office and gas station with regards to the roadway.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to the amount of open space the proposed ordinance would require. Mr. Murphy suggested that the proposed ordinance would require thirty percent (30%) open space and forty percent (40%) impervious surface space.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to a conservative plan including parcel ‘B’ as open space – 20’/10’/10’.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors on the concerns that the Township Planner has with the present ordinance and calculations of open space of impervious surface space. He also discussed the use of remnant pieces not being usable.

Mr. Fazio questioned if the Township Planner has agreed with Mr. Murphy’s calculations. Mr. Beckert advised that the Township Planner is okay with open space – 20’/10’/10’.

Ms. Goren questioned if the Supervisors are in agreement that the proposed ordinance would require thirty percent (30) open space and forty percent (40) impervious surface space. The Supervisors agreed on the proposed percentages for open space and impervious surface space.

Mr. Murphy advised that he would talk with Ms. Goldstein and forward the revised ordinance to Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Beckert.

Mr. Schenkman questioned Mr. Beckert with regards to the Township selling land to Toll Brothers. The Supervisors agreed to discuss the matter further at a later date.

Environmental Advisory Council Grant Application for Newtown Creek Streambank Stabilization

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the Environmental Advisory Council’s grant application for the Newtown Creek stream-bank stabilization. He discussed the stream assessment and recommendations prepared by the Delaware Riverkeeper in January 2006. The Supervisors were provided a copy of the Delaware Riverkeeper’s stream assessment and recommendations for their review.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to there being two (2) projects, the stream-bank stabilization and the basin naturalization. He suggested that the Supervisors might want to direct the EAC to begin the projects. He discussed waiting to approach the area by Rt. 532 until a later date, due to on going construction in that area.

Mr. Pellegrino discussed the bank stabilization with regards to the EAC conducting preliminary inspections, but advised that it would need to be reviewed by the Township Engineer to determine the best means of bank stabilization.

Mr. Jirele advised that he believes that the EAC is asking for assistance in writing the grant. He also advised that the grant is due in early March.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to needing the Engineer to develop a scope of the work involved and create a bid package.

Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Engineer would need to develop a scope of the work, but the bid package does not need to be created until the grant is approved.

Mr. Fazio commented with regards to the Engineers’ developing a scope of the work and putting together a cost estimate.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to having the Delaware Riverkeepers help the Township with the grant proposal.

The Supervisors discussed the Township’s need to know the scope of the work involved and the cost before writing the grant.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the Township, the EAC and the Delaware Riverkeepers being on the same page. He discussed the short deadline for the grant proposal.

The Supervisors discussed needing more information with regards to restrictions. Mr. Pellegrino advised he would look into.

Emergency and Municipal Services Tax Ordinance

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the proposed Emergency and Municipal Services Tax increase ordinance. The Supervisors review Mr. Pellegrino memorandum dated February 9, 2006 with regards to the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax.

The Supervisors discussed the Township’s loss of Non-Residential Earned Income Tax.

Mr. Jirele advised that he is opposed raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year.

Ms. Goren expressed her concerns with regards to the loss of income to the Township and advised that she is in favor of raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year.

The Supervisors discussed the services that the Township provides to the residents and the need to repair the current municipal complex.

Mr. Calabro advised that he is in favor of raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year.

Mr. Schenkman discussed the municipal complex expansion and the possibility of raising taxes. He advised that he is in favor of raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year. He suggested that any surplus funds be committed to the Township’s Capital projects.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to the use of steel buildings for the municipal complex. She discussed a company called General Steel Builders.

Mr. Jirele suggested contacting Tom Ames Council Rock School District to gather information with regards to steel buildings.

Mr. Jirele advised the he has concerns with the surplus funds being used for other projects and that he would like the Supervisors to make a decision with regards to the municipal complex expansion.

Mr. Weaver advised that he is in favor of raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year, if the surplus funds go into an account for the municipal complex expansion.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors with regards the danger of allocating excess funds from the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax over a long-term period and to over committing the money for a long-term period. He suggested ways to structure the fund. He discussed the Township’s excess revenue, yearly reviews and putting the money in a Debt Service Fund.

The Supervisors discussed the Township taking in more cash than needed and the future of the Township.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the possibility of using the excess funds to lower other taxes or millage.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors with regards to lowering millage.

Mr. Jirele suggested that Mr. Pellegrino contact Berkheimer Associates to question the number of households out of 4,065 that would be effected by the tax increase. Mr. Pellegrino advised that Berkheimer Associates could not provide that information.

Mr. Calabro questioned Mr. Pellegrino with regards to what surrounding Townships are charging and the exemption levels. Mr. Pellegrino advised he would look into the matter and update the Supervisors.

Mr. Beckert advised that Middletown Township’s Emergency and Municipal Services Tax is $52.00 per year.

Mr. Schenkman made a motion to authorize the Township Solicitor to advertise the proposed Emergency & Municipal Services Tax increase ordinance showing that the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax has increased from $10.00 to $52.00 per year and that the minimum income level has increase from $500.00 to $12,000.00. The motion was seconded by Mr. Calabro and passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting “nay”.

Certificate of Appropriateness; Paul Allen – 13 South Sycamore Street

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the Certificate of Appropriateness requested by Mr. Allen to erect a sign at 13 South Sycamore Street. He advised that the matter was authorized by the Board last year, but due to a scheduling change failed to make it on to an agenda.

Mr. Jirele advised that the certificate was approved before but was never ratified by the Board.

Ms. Hibbs advised that the matter was supposed to appear on the agenda for the December 19, 2006 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Mr. Calabro questioned if both signs would be used. Ms. Hibbs advised that the second sign would be used if the space becomes occupied.

Mr. Jirele made a motion to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness requested by Mr. Allen to erect a sign at 13 South Sycamore Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously 5-0.

Improvement Plan for the Intersection of South Eagle Road & Swamp Road

Mr. Kaufman updated the Supervisors with regards to the proposed improvement plan for the intersection of South Eagle Road & Swamp Road. The Supervisors were provided a draft copy of the report prepared by Gilmore & Associates, Inc. He discussed ways for the Township to proceed, submitting the plan to PennDot and discussions with the property owner.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on discussions with the property owners.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the possible removal of the private driveway and ownership of Swamp Road.

Mr. Pellegrino advised that PennDot owns Swamp Road.

Mr. Pellegrino advised if the proposed traffic signal is approved that it would be owned by the Township.

Mr. Calabro advised that he is in favor of the original access into the shopping center being a right in/right out.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to traffic light distance to the Sycamore Street traffic light. Mr. Kaufman advised.

The Supervisors discussed the need for an access easement for the project.

Mr. Jirele questioned the cost involved with the project. Mr. Kaufman advised that Gilmore & Associates could provide the Township with a cost estimate for the project.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that he would have further discussions with the property owners.

Authorization to Install A Multi-Way Stop Intersection at Penns Trail North and Warwick Court/Hartfeld Road

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to discussions with representatives from the Wiltshire Walk Home Owners Association requesting a multi-way stop intersection at Penns Trail North and Warwick Court/Hartfeld Road.

The Supervisors discussed the requests from the representatives of the Wiltshire Walk community.

The Supervisors discussed the speed study. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on the results of the speed study.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to the roadway being repaved and the need for a new speed study.

Mr. Weaver made a motion to authorize the installation of a multi-way stop intersection at Penns Trail North and Warwick Court/Hartfeld Road. The motion was seconded by Mr. Calabro and passed unanimously 5-0.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to discussions at the Staff Meeting regarding the traffic ordinance. Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors with regards to areas that apply to the traffic ordinance.

Community Comments

Ms. Hibbs commented with regards to the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax increase. Mr. Pellegrino advised that $5.00 of the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax goes to the School District.

Ms. Hibbs advised the Supervisors that she is not happy with their motion to proceed with raising the Emergency and Municipal Services Tax to $52.00 per year.

Ms. Goren thanked the public for their input.

Other Business

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors that he has received an Appeal from K. Hovnanian with regards to land use and a Motion to Sublimate the Record.

The Supervisors agreed to discuss the matter further at the next televised Board meeting.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to changing the ordinance. Mr. Beckert advised.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors that he would add the matter to the next solicitor’s report.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the walking path along Eagle Road between Stoopville and Durham Roads. He suggested extending the path down to Durham Road due to people walking in the roadway.

Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Newtown Trail goes down Eagle Road to Overlook and then crosses the road to go through the Cliveden neighborhood.

Ms. Goren advised on prior discussions with regards to extending the pathway and some residents not wanting the trail.

Mr. Pellegrino and Mr. Fazio advised the Supervisors that they would research the matter of extending the walking path along Eagle Road.

Ms. Goren updated the Supervisors with regards to a memorandum received from Ms. Gibbs regarding the RCN Settlement Fund and transferring the funds to a CD with Commerce Bank.

Mr. Weaver advised that he is okay with the transferring of funds to a CD with Commerce Bank.

Mr. Jirele advised that he is okay with the transferring of funds to a CD with Commerce Bank.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he is okay with the transferring of funds to a CD with Commerce Bank.

Mr. Calabro advised that he is okay with the transferring of funds to a CD, but would prefer not to use Commerce Bank due to their current legal issues.

Mr. Beckert updated the Supervisors with regards to the corrections prepared by Steve Harris with regards to the Newtown Trail near the Goodnoe Elementary School and the Newtown Junior High School. He advised that he has received the copy signed by the School Board and is requesting the signatures from the Chairman and Treasurer of the Board.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:49 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary