Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors 

Work Session Minutes

April 10, 2006


 MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting May 24, 2006. Minutes of work session meeting of April 10, 2006: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the work session of April 10, 2006. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


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: Brian Applegate, Applegate Wood Floors, Inc.; John Torrente, Esquire; Cameron Troilo, Jr., Homewood Sales; Neil Capuano, Carlucci’s Express Café; Doug Terry, Newtown Business Commons Association; Ed Murphy, McBride & Murphy; Mike Palmer, Toll Brothers; Eric Kaufman, Gilmore & Associates; Tom Hecker; John McGrath, McGrath Homes; Elaine Gibbs, Township employee; Various Newtown Township residents including Nancy Crescenzo, Ethel Hibbs, John D’Aprile, Lisa Grabowski, Larry Fyock, John Hitchneir, Robert Apple, Jennifer Dix and Mrs. Herman.

Call to Order: Chairman Goren called the meeting to order at 8:04 P.M.

Variance – Application Applegate Wood Floors, Inc.

Mr. Applegate and Mr. Torrente updated the Supervisors with regards to the Variance application for Applegate Wood Floors, Inc. located at 8 Pheasant Run, Newtown, PA. The Supervisors were provided various correspondences and a copy of the proposed plan for their review. Mr. Applegate advised the Supervisors on the proposed plan.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if they were open for business at this location. Mr. Applegate advised that they are not open for business at this location yet.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the number of walk-in customers. Mr. Applegate advised that he expects the number of walk-in customers to be very few at first until the business is more established in the area.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to customer volume. Mr. Applegate estimated that the initial customer volume be approximately five (5) to ten (10) people and that once business increases he would expect more customers.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the current showroom location in Washington Crossing. Mr. Applegate advised that currently he is operating his business out of three (3) locations and if the proposed plan is approved the business would be operated out of one (1) location located in the Newtown Business Commons.

Mr. Calabro questioned the types of materials being sold out of the cash and carry. Mr. Applegate advised on the types of materials.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the delivery/pick-up of the flooring materials. Mr. Applegate advised that the flooring materials would be delivered to the customers’ location.

Mr. Schenkman questioned the number of employees. Mr. Applegate advised the business currently has five (5) employees.

Mr. Beckert questioned the hours of operation. Mr. Applegate advised the normal business hours would be 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday thru Friday and the cash and carry hours would be 12 P.M. to 5 P.M., Wednesday thru Friday and 9 A.M. to 12 P.M. on Saturday.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to residents’ concerns with opening a flooring store within the Business Commons.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to restricting the hours of operation. Mr. Applegate advised that he is open to changing the hours of operation.

Mr. Jirele advised that he would be in favor of the Variance if the cash and carry hours of operation were restricted to twenty (20) hours per week.

Mr. Calabro questioned the approved use of the property located at 8 Pheasant Run. Mr. Beckert advised that the property is zoned LI. He also advised on the concerns that the Planning Commission has expressed with regards to retail use in the LI District.

Mr. Jirele questioned the legal basis of the Planning Commission’s concerns. Mr. Beckert advised on the legal basis.

Mr. Weaver questioned page 4 of the ZHB Application with regards to neighboring properties having been granted retail use. Mr. Beckert advised.

The Supervisors discussed Sir Speedy. Mr. Beckert advised that the Codes Department is monitoring the business.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to this matter being currently before the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Beckert advised that the matter was discussed at the April meeting and will be discussed further at the May meeting.

Ms. Crescenzo questioned why this matter is not being discussed at a televised meeting. Mr. Pellegrino and Ms. Goren advised that the matter was discussed at a televised public meeting and that the applicant requested to discuss the matter further at a Supervisors’ Work Session.

Ms. Goren expressed her concerns with regards to retail use in the LI District.

Mr. Applegate commented with regards to the current retail businesses located in the LI District.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to the definition of retail use.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to Applegate Flooring being a low impact business and having less retail than Express Café, Sir Speedy and the US Postal Service.

Mr. Calabro questioned what the intent use of the property is. Mr. Applegate advised on his intentions.

Mr. Calabro expressed he concerns with the closeness to the other buildings and there not being ample parking.

Ms. Goren advised that she did not feel that 8 Pheasant Run was the appropriate location for this type of use.

Mr. Jirele made a motion not to oppose or take any position on this application before the application goes before the Zoning Hearing Board. The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed three – two (3-2).

Ms. Goren advised the applicant on the next step.

Mr. Applegate thanked the Supervisors for their time.

Conditional Use Application – Carlucci’s Express Café

Mr. Troilo, Jr. updated the Supervisors with regards to the Conditional Use Application for Carlucci’s Express Café. He discussed the bank, café and office space. He also discussed extending the hours of the café.

Mr. Jirele advised that tonight’s meeting is not a Conditional Use Hearing.

Mr. Beckert advised that the Conditional Use Hearing is advertised for the May 2, 2006, Planning Commission meeting.

Mr. Capuano advised the Supervisors on Carlucci’s concept plan, they would serve breakfast and lunch and would like to remain open later than 6 P.M. to serve dinner. He discussed other restaurants owned by Carlucci’s and how the dinner hours are very important to the business.

The Supervisors discussed the current hours of operation under Conditional Use. Mr. Beckert advised that the hours are currently 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., Monday thru Saturday.

The Supervisors discussed the square footage being 2,200 sq. ft under Conditional Use. Mr. Beckert advised that applicant’s request is for 3,000 sq. ft. and the hours of operation 6 A.M. to 11 P.M., seven days a week.

Mr. Weaver advised that he is okay with extending the hours and increasing the square footage of the café.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the local business people having the need to meet for business dinners and the need for a restaurant to serve dinner to be successful.

Mr. Calabro advised on his concerns. He discussed the work being done by the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation and the operating hours of the café. Mr. Capuano advised that the restaurant would be located inside the office complex.

Ms. Goren questioned the number of clients the café expects to serve. Mr. Capuano advised that the café would be more of a family restaurant.

Mr. Schenkman questioned the seating capacity of the café. Mr. Capuano advised that café would seat approximately sixty (60) people.

Ms. Goren advised on her concerns with regards to the allowed uses in the LI District. She discussed the Township ordinance with regards to making eating facilities available to the people who work in the LI District and the improvements that have been made to Sycamore and State Streets. Ms. Goren discussed complying with the Township’s ordinance and suggested that if Mr. Capuano is looking to operate this restaurant like his other businesses, he look into locating in the downtown area of Newtown.

Mr. Capuano discussed the cost involved with starting up a business and the risk of only being open for breakfast and lunch.

Mr. Troilo, Jr. discussed possible changes to the LI District once the hotel is complete.

Mr. Weaver advised on discussions that the Economic Development Committee has had with regards to the need for eating-places in the Newtown Commons.

Ms. Goren discussed the current Township ordinance and having a meeting with the Planning Commission to discuss changing the ordinance.

Mr. Pellegrino advised on the current Township ordinance and that the applicant requested the original hours of operation as part of the Conditional Use process.

Mr. Terry provided the Supervisors with correspondence regarding Carlucci’s Restaurant. He advised that the Newtown Business Commons Association is in favor of the Carlucci’s Restaurant in the Newtown Business Commons.

Mr. Schenkman questioned the possibility of other food services. Mr. Troilo, Jr. advised.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if Carlucci’s was advised on the restricted hours of operation and details regarding a liquor license. Mr. Troilo, Jr. advised that Carlucci’s was advised of those details.

Mr. Beckert questioned the closing hours of the café. Mr. Capuano advised that 10 P.M. would be fine.

Mr. Beckert advised that the hotel will have a liquor license and discussed possible concerns.

Mr. Beckert advised that the hours included are when the establishment is open, not clean- up time.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Troilo, Jr. and Mr. Capuano for their time and will see them on May 2, 2006 at the Planning Commission meeting.

Melsky Property Concept Plan

Mr. Murphy advised the Supervisors with regards to the Melsky property concept plan. He also discussed the National Veterans Cemetery being proposed in Upper Makefield Township. He advised that the concept plan being reviewed tonight has been recommended by the Citizens Round Table of Upper Makefield to the Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors. He commented with regards to the Melsky and Dolington properties and to discussions at last week’s Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors meeting. He advised that Upper Makefield’s Board of Supervisors has agreed to start the process of preparing a Zoning Board Amendment to be submitted to the various Boards and Commission within the Jointure including Newtown, Wrightstown and Upper Makefield. He advised that the purpose of appearing at tonight’s meeting is to introduce the concept plan, advise on where Upper Makefield is heading and to get a sense of how this Board feels. He advised on discussions by the Citizens Round Table and a time deadline. He advised that it is his intentions to schedule a meeting with the Veterans Association. He discussed the direct impact to Newtown and the White Farm in Upper Makefield. He discussed the Melsky tract being currently owned by Council Rock School District and half of the property being located in Upper Makefield and half in Newtown. He advised that approximately 42 acres would be reserved for a potential Elementary School for the School District and request made by the School District. He advised that the remaining 94 acres would be devoted to 120 single-family homes on a lot size of 15,000 sq. ft. He advised that the homes located in Newtown will have public water and sewer and that the homes located in Upper Makefield will not. He advised that the proposed plan shows two (2) entry/exit points off of Stoopville Road. He advised that he has been trying to keep Mr. Beckert informed with regards to the project and what Upper Makefield is doing. He advised that currently the site is zoned CM and to develop the proposed concept plan would call for a Zoning Amendment. Mr. Murphy commented with regards to starting the formal process for the plan.

Ms. Goren questioned the type of housing. Mr. Murphy advised that the proposed plan is for single family housing.

Ms. Goren questioned the area within Upper Makefield Township with regards to sewers. Mr. Murphy advised on Upper Makefield’s feelings with regards to public sewer.

The Supervisors discussed the Traffic Impact Fee. Mr. Murphy advised the Supervisors on discussions with the Township Solicitor and Upper Makefield’s Township Solicitor with regards to the Traffic Impact Fee.

Mr. Pellegrino commented with regards to the Township possibility of maintaining the piece of roadway that will run through Upper Makefield and having a Road Maintenance Agreement.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the Township’s possible maintenance of the roadway and advised that he feels that if the Township has to maintain the roadway they should be involved with the design of the roadway. Mr. Murphy advised that the roads would be construction to a standard that both Newtown and Upper Makefield agree to.

Mr. Murphy advised that he is trying to identify a potential list of waivers or variances that may be required. He also advised that he is trying to keep Mr. Beckert in the loop.

Mr. Beckert questioned if the proposed concept plan is a variation to R1. Mr. Murphy advised that he believed so.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to traffic calming on Stoopville Road and Tolls involvement to help. Mr. Murphy advised that Toll Brothers would help with regards to traffic calming.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to possibly decreasing the number of homes if there are issues with regards to sloping and wet lands. Mr. Murphy advised that he believes it is premature to try to answer that question at this time.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to the locations of the slopes and wet lands. Mr. Murphy advised that most of the sensitive areas are located in Upper Makefield Township.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to receiving input from the Council Rock School Board. Mr. Murphy advised on the input from Council Rock School Board.

The Supervisors discussed rezoning the 42 acres to EIR.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to restricting the 42 acre parcel for educational use with a possible deed restricted.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the land restrictions and the homes having decks. She also commented with regards to educating the children, money for the School District, overpopulating the schools and the impact to the School District when rezoning properties. She also advised that she is in favor of the National Veterans Cemetery and is very upset with Toll Brothers with regards to the cemetery.

Ms. Dix commented with regards to Toll Brother only wanting to build 120 homes on the 94 acres when the current zoning allows for 30 more homes to be built on the site.

Mr. Calabro questioned the total building acreage. Mr. Murphy advised that the current site is 136 acres, less the 42 acres being reserved for a future Elementary School, which leaves a remaining 94 acres.

Mr. D’Aprile commented with regards to the Board of Supervisors being in favor of the proposed plan and additional traffic to the Township. Mr. Weaver advised that the matter would need to go through the regular process before the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board. Ms. Goren advised with regards to the traffic and discussed the Traffic Impact Fee and Toll’s involvement with regards to traffic calming on Stoopville Road.

Ms. Dix commented with regards to the preservation of conservation properties and rezoning. Ms. Goren advised on the development process.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors with regards to the pending litigation on the Melsky Tract.

Mr. Murphy requested that the Board of Supervisors authorize the Township Solicitor to work in developing ordinances or proposed ordinances to be considered.

Mr. Beckert advised on discussions he has had with Mr. Rice, Upper Makefield’s Township Solicitor.

Mr. Weaver made to motion to permit the Township Solicitor to review Mr. Rice’s work towards a proposed draft ordinance for the purpose of effectuating a concept plan. Mr. Jirele seconded the motion.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to taking any formal action on the matter. Ms. Goren advised that the motion was only to allow the two Township Solicitors to work together drafting an ordinance.

The Supervisors discussed the motion.

Mr. Murphy advised that he just wants to keep Mr. Beckert informed. The Supervisors agreed a motion was not needed to keep Mr. Beckert informed.

Mr. Weaver withdrew the motion.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors that he would update them at on the next solicitor’s report.

Financial Planning Committee Focus

The Supervisors were provided a memorandum from Mr. Schenkman for their review. Mr. Schenkman updated the Supervisors with regards to the Financial Planning Committee. He discussed the possible reorganization the Committee, the Committee’s purpose and what the Board would like the Committee to focus on.

Ms. Goren discussed the mission of the Committee.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on the Committee’s Mission Statement.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the Chairmanship. He advised that he feels it would be okay to allow a member of the Committee to be the Chairperson.

Ms. Goren advised she would be in agreement to allow a member of the Committee to be the Chairperson.

Mr. Weaver advised he would be in agreement to allow a member of the Committee to be the Chairperson.

Mr. Calabro advised he would be in agreement to allow a member of the Committee to be the Chairperson.

The Supervisors discussed the Committee taking on additional projects.

Ms. Gibbs questioned the Supervisor’s priorities for the Committee to concentrate on.

Mr. Pellegrino commented on the Committee’s focus.

Stoopville Road Traffic Calming Plan Update

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to the Stoopville Road traffic-calming plan. The Supervisors were provided a draft of the traffic calming study prepared in November 2005.

The Supervisors discussed roundabouts along Stoopville Road.

Mr. Kaufman advised the Supervisors with regards to the right-of-way information. He advised that the right-of-ways are to narrow for a full roundabout. He recommended having mini roundabouts or an attractive circle at the intersection of Stoopville Road and Hemlock Drive/Eagleton Farms Road and the intersection of Stoopville Road and Linton Hill Road/Creamery Road. He advised that he is looking for direction from the Supervisors with regards to submitting the report to PennDot. He advised on additional recommendations which include having speed humps along Stoopville Road between Durham Road and Rosefield Drive and a gateway treatment along Stoopville Road near Washington Crossing Road as the roadway enters the Township.

The Supervisors review the recommendations.

Mr. Pellegrino updated the Supervisors with regards to finalizing the draft report. He discussed submitting the final report to PennDot and funding.

The Supervisors discussed the proposed new Toll Brothers development.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the roundabout at Hemlock. He questioned if the roundabout is approved by PennDot is the Township obligated to put in the roundabout. Mr. Pellegrino advised that the Township would not be required to install the roundabout.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors that the process for the study would be to finalize the plan, submit the plan to PennDot, if approved by PennDot have Gilmore & Associates develop plans to be presented to the public, have public input and then the Supervisors would make a decision.

Mr. Calabro questioned if there is another plan if PennDot does not approve this plan. Mr. Kaufman advised there is no other plan at this time.

The Supervisors discussed the intersection of Stoopville Road and Linton Hill Road/Creamery Road.

The Supervisors discussed the timeline. Mr. Kaufman advised that the process could take a couple of years depending on funding.

The Supervisors discussed seeking grant funds.

Ms. Crescenzo commented on receiving the traffic-calming handbook for free from PennDot and questioned how much the Township has spent. Mr. Pellegrino advised on the cost of the study and the work being done by Gilmore & Associates.

Ms. Crescenzo commented on the Toll Brothers development on Stoopville Road and the roadwork that was suppose to be completed to the roadway. The Supervisors discussed hold ups and easement issues that held up the project.

Ms. Dix commented with regards to proposed developments along Stoopville Road and increasing traffic in the future. She suggested that the Township getting a second opinion.

The Supervisors discussed the study and options.

Ms. Goren advised that she would be in favor of having a second consultant review the study.

The Supervisors discussed the final report showing the Township’s options.

Mr. Gilmore advised he would provide the Supervisors with a final draft of the traffic-calming study by next month.

Mr. D’Aprile advised the Supervisors that he is against having a circle at Hemlock and suggested the only way to control traffic is to enforce the traffic laws.

Mrs. Herman discussed traffic calming measures that the Township could take.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Kaufman for his time.

Ordinance Amendment – Adding a B-17 (Elderly Housing) Use in the OR District

Mr. Hecker updated the Supervisors with regards to McGrath Homes purchasing the Brandywine Tract. He advised that McGrath Homes would like to build an age qualifying community on the 55 acre tract. The proposed plan would call for 172 units. He discussed the plan with regards to the layout and advised that the proposed development would be similar to The Villas of Shady Brook. He discussed the financial and traffic impacts to the Township and the AM and PM traffic. He advised that to develop the proposed plan would require the Township to amend the ordinance to allow B-17 use in the OR District.

Mr. Beckert questioned if the streets would be private. Mr. Hecker advised that the streets would be private.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to buffering for the existing residents in the area. Mr. Hecker advised that he is planning to meet with the residents for their input.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to the time schedule for the project.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the farmhouse located on the property. Mr. Hecker advised on the plan for the farmhouse.

Mr. Fazio commented with regards to the Ordinance Amendment and any variances that will be needed. Mr. Hecker advised with regards to the Ordinance Amendment and the variances.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the closure of the lower portion of Upper Silver Lake Road and the possibility of reopening, how would that effect McGrath Homes plan. Mr. McGrath advised that he did not believe reopening the road would effect the plan.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the proposed colors that would be used on the outside of the homes. Mr. McGrath advised on the exteriors of the homes.

Ms. Goren questioned if the development would be a gated community. Mr. Hecker advised that could be a possibility.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to emergency access. Mr. Hecker advised on the emergency access.

Mr. Fyock commented with regards to the proposed plan. He advised that he would like to meet with McGrath to discuss berming, security and shrubbery.

Mr. Apple advised that he is in favor of the project if all of the Township’s compliances are met.

Mr. Hitchneir advised the Supervisors with regards to his concerns regarding the property – preserving the wooded lot, the historic home and the large beech tree. He advised that he would like a 10 foot berm. He commented with regards to extending the Newtown Trail, water hook-ups and road improvements. Ms. Goren advised with regards to the road improvements. Mr. Hitchneir advised that he would like to meet with McGrath Homes to discuss the project.

Ms. Dix advised that she is in favor of the McGrath project and opening up the lower portion of Upper Silver Lake Road. She commented with regards to the roadway improvements. She advised that she would prefer the development to be a gated community. She commented with regards to having additional access to the development.

One resident advised that he is in favor of the proposal. He also discussed the location of the emergency access road.

Mr. Hitchneir advised that he has concerns with regards to the preservation of the wooded lot.

The Supervisors discussed the preservation of the wooded lot.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to McGrath’s schedule. He discussed the April 18th Planning Commission meeting. Mr. McGrath advised that he would look into and advise Mr. Beckert.

Mr. Beckert commented with regards to the request being made by Brandywine and McGrath for a draft ordinance allowing B-17 use in the OR District go to the Jointure for preliminary review.

The Supervisors discussed the current restrictions with regards to B-17 use. Mr. Beckert advised on the restrictions.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the litigation impacts. Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors with regards to the litigation impacts.

Mr. Jirele questioned when the financial analysis would be available. Mr. McGrath advised that he believes the financial analysis could be available within two (2) weeks.

Mr. Weaver made a motion to recommend the draft of an Ordinance Amendment to allow B-17 Use by Conditional Use in the OR District be recommended for moving forward to the Jointure for their appropriate procedure and review in accordance with their established regulations. The motion was seconded by Mr. Calabro and passed four – one (4-1).

Community Comments

Mr. D’Aprile advised the Supervisors that he is upset with them voting on issues at a non-televised meeting.

Other Business

Mr. Kaufman updated the Supervisors with regards to the improvement plan for the intersection of South Eagle Road and Swamp Road. He advised that before the Township approaches PennDot to request a traffic signal the Township would need to pass a Resolution.

Mr. Pellegrino advised the Supervisors on an upcoming meeting with the property owner, once that meeting has taken place he will approach the Supervisors with a Resolution.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:36 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted by:

 

_____________________________
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary