Board of Supervisors
Minutes of September 27, 2006
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Anne Goren, Vice-Chairman Phillip Calabro, Secretary/Treasure, Jerry Schenkman 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 David Wagner of Lutheran Church of God’s Love. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Pellegrino added payment of the Sycamore Street project to the Manager’s Report.
Public Comment: Resident Paul Salvatore, announced that Newtown Rotary would be donating $5000 in landscaping to the Roberts Ridge playground in memory of H. Stanford Roberts, a founding member of Newtown Rotary. He said that Rotary mourns the loss of member Bud Smith, who passed away recently. He will be sorely missed. Rotary’s “Wheels to Work” program, which collects used bicycles to be refurbished and sent to third world countries, will be held on November 4, 2006, location to be announced.
Mr. Salvatore announced that Newtown Business and Professional Association held a fundraiser for the Newtown Theatre, a community owned theatre, at which $6500 was raised to purchase a DVD player. Their recent golf outing was also a great success.
Resident Nancy Crescenzo said that the new Web site is behind in posting minutes of Township boards and committees. She noted that some Planning Commission members have been arriving late to meetings, or not attending every meeting. She said that Roberts Ridge playground has been closed too long during the renovation period. She said that the work is being done at night by volunteers, but she did not know about the volunteers. She did not know where volunteer help was sought.
Mr. Jirele responded that in early spring it was announced that the construction of the playground would be done with the use of some volunteer labor.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that a sign had been erected at Silver Lake Park, but the guard barriers have not been installed on the culvert, although both signs and barriers were paid for. She complained that there is not handicapped parking or handicapped access to Silver Lake from the parking lot.
Resident Robert Ciervo questioned the method used for rezoning the Brandywine property for high density housing by stipulation agreement, rather than by amending the zoning ordinance. He also said that the project should need to have a conditional use hearing, but that this has been eliminated from the land development process. He said that without a conditional use hearing, any land development approval could be appealed by residents. He also questioned the figures used to project traffic for the Villas project.
Mr. Beckert responded that the stipulation agreement allows for use B-17 as a permitted, not as a conditional use. As part of land development approval proceedings, issues related to conditional use would be addressed.
Mr. Jirele said that the stipulation allows use B-17 as a permitted use, however the JMZO allows use B-17, elderly housing, as a conditional use. He said that the stipulation requires that the project go through the normal SALDO approval process, and that he disagrees with Mr. Beckert’s interpretation.
Mr. Beckert again said that he has interpreted the stipulation as allowing use B-17 as a permitted, as distinct from conditional, use.
Mr. Jirele said that the conditional use approval process allows the Board of Supervisors to decide under what conditions the property can be developed.
Mr. Jirele moved to table the land development proceeding for Villas at Newtown. The motion died for lack of a second.
Resident Jim McCrane asked about the Rosebank Winery’s recent citation for violations to its agreement with the Township. He also asked about sound monitoring equipment at the Winery.
Mr. Beckert said that the Township has written a letter demanding that the tent be removed because there have been material violations to the agreement. The time period to respond to that letter is about to expire. He has confirmed that the equipment installed to monitor sound does record levels of sound, but there have not been complaints about sound.Special Actions
Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Ordinance for Verizon Pennsylvania Franchise Agreement Authorizing Cable Services:
Mr. Harp asked the Board to adopt an ordinance to allow Verizon to bring cable competition to Newtown.
Mr. Weaver moved to adopt an ordinance to authorizing Verizon to offer cable services. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Mr. Beckert said that Verizon would provide the same service levels as Comcast, with the same franchise fees to the Township. Verizon would have the same access to public facilities. This would be a twelve-year agreement.
Mr. Jirele said that Newtown has led the Buck County Consortium through the Verizon negotiations, and he thanked Mr. Pellegrino for his efforts. He also thanked Mr. Schenkman, who joined the cable negotiations this year.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the Township should be seeing service offered by Verizon in early 2007.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to execute the franchise agreement with Verizon. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman commended the many committee members who donated time to bring about this agreement, including Jim Bowe, Harry Stevens, and Patrick Foster and Don Smith of Newtown Borough.
Member's Comments:Mr. Weaver expressed condolences to the family of Bud Smith. Mr. Smith was a great public servant and will be missed by all in the Township.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the work session of August 14, 2006. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Resident Ethel Hibbs noted that “Gaucks Lane” is misspelled on pages 3 and 4.
Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the work session of August 14, 2006, as corrected. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Jirele abstaining.
Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of September 13, 2006. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Bills List: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $269,209.12. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo complained about bills for telephone, cell phone and pager service for Township employees.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $160,000. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine thanked the Rotary Club for its generous donation of landscape plantings from Roberts Nursery for Roberts Ridge Park. He reviewed the progress of construction of the “Park of Possibilities”, noting that the Have-a-Heart Foundation coordinated all volunteer labor efforts. Much of the work required specific knowledge and skills, and volunteers came from a number of trade unions. A great deal of re-grading had to be done before the poured-in-place safety surfacing can be installed. Wood chips removed from the playground have been used on the trails through Clark Nature Center. Progress on the park was delayed in early summer due to inclement weather; flooding in neighboring communities kept the volunteers and their donated heavy equipment busy elsewhere. The safety surfacing is expected to be poured in early October. The play events are being retrofitted with ramps and special needs play panels have been installed.
Mr. Levine reported that the summer camps have been a tremendous success, with an increase in revenue of 4%. More children were enrolled, and there was an increase in participation in before- and after-care. All camps are completely self-sufficient.
Work is being completed on restoration of the Clark barn, paid for by a HUD community block grant.
The Board has had some discussion about expanding the Newtown Trail through the proposed development of the Goodnoe property, preserving open space as a linear park.
Historic Architectural Review Board: Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for Vincent and Judy Loc, 125 South Sycamore Street, for a fence. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to questions from Mrs. Crescenzo, Mrs. Hibbs, Secretary for HARB, explained that a fence is being proposed on the Loc’ property as a safety precaution, because there is a sharp drop at the rear of the property, which leads to the Newtown Creek, below. This drop has always been there, and was not caused by erosion.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for Vincent and Sally Lombardi at 123 North Sycamore Street for a railing. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Hibbs reported that HARB has been involved in some discussion about the St. Andrew’s convent, and that some of the outstanding issues at 159 N. Sycamore Street have been resolved.
Planning Commission: Member Jim Bowe reported that the Commission tabled discussion of the Deluca preliminary plan for land development at the St. Andrew’s preschool, but recommended that the Supervisors approve preliminary plans for land development and minor subdivision for the refurbishment and restoration of the St. Andrew’s convent as office space. (St. Andrew’s Attorney, Ed Murphy, in attendance on another matter, informed the Board that a continuance of the Zoning Hearing Board application for the preschool has been requested)
The Commission recommended that the Supervisors approve conditional use for Lang Ski and Scuba at 107-109 N. Sycamore Street.
The Commission reviewed and made the following recommendations for JMZO amendments:
The commission made no comment on a number of Zoning Hearing Board applications, however recommend denial of the application of The Center Club, 11 Friends Lane, because it is a request for excessive relief of the parking requirement on a property that has already been granted Zoning Hearing Board relief for parking.
The Commission recommended supporting Mr. Schenkman’s requests for documentation on the Veterans Cemetery Overlay District prior to voting on the amendment.
Land Development Projects:
Conditional Use – The Promenade at Sycamore, LP: Mrs. Goren opened the hearing for conditional use for the Promenade at Sycamore, LP.
Mr. Beckert informed the Board that the applicant has requested a continuance until December 13, 2006.
Mr. Jirele said that this application has been continued numerous times, and he would like to make it clear to the applicant that this would be the last time it would be continued.
Mr. Weaver moved to continue the application of The Promenade at Sycamore, LP to a date certain of December 13, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to close the hearing of The Promenade at Sycamore, LP. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Conditional Use - Lang Ski and Scuba: Mrs. Goren opened the conditional use hearing for Lang Ski and Scuba.
Ed Murphy, attorney for the applicant was sworn in.
Mrs. Goren asked if anyone wished a party to this application. There was no response.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant wishes to convert 2900 square feet of space at 107-109 N. Sycamore Street to a retail space to be used as an ancillary location for its shop in New Jersey. A revised plan has been submitted to the Planning Commission for review, and land development will be required. The plan shows some expansion of the existing parking lot.
Mr. Murphy reviewed the Planning Commission letter. He said that the planning Commission had some concerns about storage of scuba tanks on site. There will be no storage of explosive materials on site, although customers will be able to fill tanks at the shop.
Mr. Jirele moved to grant conditional use approval for Lang Ski and Scuba, 107-109 N. Sycamore Street for an E-1 retail use subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to close the conditional use hearing for Lang Ski and Scuba. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Final Plan for Major Subdivision – Delancey Court – 398 Durham Road: Attorney Tom Hecker represented the applicant.
Mary Ellen Saylor of Pickering Corts and Summerson, engineer on the project, reviewed the plan for 120 age-qualified townhomes on 40 acres. She noted that the plan has been granted relief from the Zoning Hearing Board, and the developer is working with the State to obtain necessary permits.
Mr. Hecker noted that a historic home, dating to about 1730, located at the rear of the property, will be preserved and restored, and relocated toward the front of the property, near the main entrance to the development, and will be used as a library for residents of the development. This house has recently been vandalized, with hardware removed from doors. He requested the Board’s permission to board up the house and install “no trespassing” signs until it is moved.
The Board agreed to this request.
Mr. Hecker said that the final plan addresses all conditions of the preliminary approved plan, and no new waivers are requested.
In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Ms. Saylor said that a temporary fence along the northern portion of the property is not at the property line, but along the edge of a tree line that is to be preserved. The property border is several feet inside the stand of trees. Some buffering that was removed during clearing of the property will be replaced with new plantings. The historic home will be visible from Rte 413.
Mr. Hecker confirmed that a shuttle bus service to commercial and professional services will be established for the residents.
Mrs. Crescenzo urged that developer to consider using a bio-basin for stormwater management. She suggested that the Environmental Advisory Council review these plans to determine if a bio-basin should be used instead of the proposed stormwater management.
Mr. Jirele said that there is nothing in our Ordinance to require builders to use this type of stormwater management. He and Mrs. Goren briefly discussed asking an EAC member to attend a work session to discuss incorporating certain environmental safeguards into the SALDO.
Ms. Saylor said that the stormwater management plan will preserve about 90% of wetlands, and that the plan has already been approved by the Bucks County Conservation District. It is too late to redesign the system.
Mrs. Hibbs commented on the construction noise and noted that there is to be blasting on the site. She questioned the entrance plans, and expressed concern about the recent vandalism of the historic house.
Ms. Saylor said that the entrance will align with Municipal Drive. Road improvements for left turns into the development are planned. Although the plan does not currently meet with PennDOT’s requirements for a traffic signal, the developer supports the idea of a traffic signal, and if the Township supports a request for a signal, McGrath would be willing to fund this expense.
Mr. Pellegrino said that if blasting occurs on the site for installation of sanitary sewers, the contractor is required to notify affected neighbors three to five days in advance.
Resident John Hitchener questioned the proposed use of the historic home.
Mr. Hecker said that the house would be converted into a library for residents of the development, only. It will be handicapped accessible, and a restroom will probably be installed. In response to questions from Board members, Mr. Hecker said that professional house movers would relocate the building. This has been done successfully at other historic sites in the county, with buildings in worse condition than this one.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize the Township Manager to begin the process to obtain a traffic signal at the intersection of Durham Road and Municipal Drive/Delancey Court. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant approval to the final plan for land development for McGrath Homes – Delancey Court, last revised September 14, 2006, subject to the following conditions:
The following waiver from the Newtown Township Storm Water Management Ordinance (SWMO) is granted:
Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo questioned the Board’s granting of waivers from the stormwater management requirements.
Mr. Fazio said that these waivers were needed because of existing site difficulties.
Ms. Saylor said that the stormwater management plan will reduce flow below pre-construction levels by 12%, but the levels cannot be reduced to the level required by the ordinance if wetlands are to be preserved. After construction the levels will be lower than they are now. To restrict the basin further would cause clogging during storms.
Mr. Jirele said that there is a great deal of concern about flooding downstream of this site, particularly along Wrights Road, where some homes are inaccessible because of flooding during storms.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Mr. Hecker said that data quantifying wetland preservation was submitted with the stormwater report at the time of preliminary plan review. The waivers have already been granted as part of preliminary plan approval.
Mr. Beckert confirmed this and said that the granting of these waivers cannot be rescinded.
In response to Mrs. Hibbs’ questions, Mr. Pellegrino said that no demolition permits have been sought for removal of additions to the historic house. Such permits will be required.
Mr. Fazio said that the historic house would be protected, if necessary, during any blasting on the property.
The motion passed unanimously.
Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development – The Villas at Newtown – Upper Silver Lake Road: Mr. Ciervo asked for party status in this matter.
Mr. Beckert responded that there is no formal party status in a land development proceeding such as this. Mr. Ciervo is free to ask any questions or make comment. If there were an appeal of a decision of the Board, the courts would determine whether Mr. Ciervo would be granted party status.
In response to Mr. Hecker’s question, Mr. Ciervo said that his home is at 12 Martin Court, about two miles from the project.
Mr. Hecker and Mark Haver, of Pickering Corts and Summerson, Engineers on this project, reviewed the plans for 172 quad, ranch style villa homes on the property known as Brandywine, 58 acres on Upper Silver Lake Road. One existing single-family home on the property is to be preserved, but will not be part of this age-qualified development. This historic building will be restored and sold as a separate lot, with separate access to the road. The development will feature a community center with pools, tennis, fitness center and card/meeting rooms. A shuttle service will be provided to professional and commercial centers.
Mr. Hecker said that the developer has agreed to all conditions recommended by the Planning Commission. No hazardous materials will be stored on site; no noxious odors or glares will be produced; a maintenance firm will maintain the pools; a declaration of age-restriction will be recorded; a large area of open space along the creek will be preserved. The developer, Mr. McGrath, has met with neighbors and has agreed to address their concerns. A buffer will be maintained; a four-foot decorative wall will be installed; four homes on Upper Silver Lake Road will be connected to public water; road improvements will be made to Upper Silver Lake Road.
Mr. Hecker briefly discussed the benefits to the community of an age-qualified development, including tax revenue and reduction in traffic over commercial development. He noted that with this residential use there will be 45 AM peak car trips and 70 PM peak trips per hour.
Mrs. Goren said that her community has expressed interest in a preference for sodium vapor lighting.
Mr. Haver said that this would not be a problem.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Hecker said that the development would be 100% age-qualified. Municipalities can set this requirement, although the Fair Housing Act sets a percentage of age-qualified homes at 80%. The Homeowners Association monitors this, and enforces declarations. A management company is employed, however residents elect a Board of Directors. The only encroachment into the Core Creek area is a continuation of the existing trail. The impervious surface for the development will be 37%. Sidewalks are planned for one side of the internal streets. The developer is basing this choice on his experience in other developments. Street trees will be selected to comply with the request of the Township Planner. The Homeowners Association is responsible for maintenance of the sanitary sewers and stormwater management facilities, unless the sewer authority requests dedication. No bicycle lanes are planned; they have not been needed in the developer’s other similar subdivisions. Parking will be limited to one side of the street, with additional parking at the community center. Belgian block curbs are planned. Upper Silver Lake will be widened to match the improvements near the Reserve development; there will be a drainage swale and curbing. The walking trail will be continued to Silver Lake Park.
Mr. Hitchener expressed some concern about improvements proposed for Upper Silver Lake Road. He also expressed a preference for metal halite street lighting.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the Township is now requiring sodium vapor lighting, as it is easier and less expensive for the Township to maintain.
Mrs. Hibbs asked about a façade easement for the historic home.
Mr. Beckert said that this will be addressed.
In response to Mrs. Hibbs’ questions, Mr. Hecker explained that the trips mentioned earlier were per hour during peak hours, not per day.
Mr. Haver said that this development will use a bio-basin method of stormwater management.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that the streets are too narrow, that sidewalks are needed on both sides of the street and that bicycle lanes should be provided. She also questioned the traffic counts, noting that many of the homes will have two working people generating peak hour car trips.
Mr. Schenkman said that he had questioned the low traffic count, himself, but verified it by counting cars at a similar development.
Resident Joan Baiocchi read a statement of her concerns about the proposed development, including the possible re-opening of the lower portion of Upper Silver Lake Road. She would prefer that the road remain closed because of safety concerns. She would like concrete sidewalks, rather than macadam, with handicapped access, to be joined to the Newtown Trail to Silver Lake Park. She would like a black iron fence along the development side of Silver Lake Road to extend to the creek and Newtown Trial. She and another neighbor, John Iezzatti, had requested that Mr. McGrath make a more aesthetically pleasing closing of the road, which Mr. McGrath had agreed to do. She would like the detention basin to be closely monitored for drainage, and for a fence to be installed around the basin for safety reasons. She would like Penns Trail or Lindenhurst Road used for construction traffic, or possibly a temporary entrance through the wooded area near Norwalk development. If any damage occurs to private properties during construction, she would like Mr. McGrath to acknowledge and rectify said damage. Ms. Baiocchi said that she much prefers this residential plan to the Brandywine office complex, but would like the Supervisors to carefully consider the impact on residents of future high-density housing and commercial uses.
Mr. Ciervo renewed his objection to the proceeding, again stating that a conditional use hearing should have been required. He noted that the property had been zoned OR, which allows residential development, but would have been limited to seventeen houses. He questioned the traffic projections, as previously stated, noting that people 55 years of age are morning commuters, and a more accurate count would be eight trips per home per day. He asked whether there is an agreement of sale with Brandywine.
Mr. Beckert said that proof of equitable ownership is required, but proprietary information can be redacted.
In response to Mr. Ciervo’s questions, Mr. McGrath said that he had been looking for locations for this development, and at the same time, following newspaper accounts of Brandywine’s ongoing legal battles for the property. He will only purchase properties if they can be used for this type of development; this sometimes involves rezoning.
Mr. Salvatore suggested that, as part of this development, the Supervisors consider reducing the speed limit along Newtown Yardley Road to 35 miles per hour, as it is when the road enters Newtown Borough.
Resident Jen Dix, a resident of Wiltshire Walk development, said that she also conducted an informal traffic count at a neighboring McGrath development, and observed very light traffic.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant preliminary as final plan approval to the Villas at Newtown, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Resident Jay Sensibaugh asked whether all of the items requested by residents had been included in the conditions.
Mr. Beckert and Mr. Hecker agreed that they were all included, with Mr. Hecker noting that his office has not been given a copy of the resident’s letter, but that Mr. McGrath will live up to all he has agreed to do.
Ms. Baiocchi again requested a concrete sidewalk rather than a walking trail.
The Board discussed whether the Township would own this walkway, and be responsible for it, since it would be located in the ultimate right of way. Mr. Jirele said that the walkway should be the same as the Newtown Trail. After some further discussion it was agreed that if a concrete sidewalk were installed along Upper Silver Lake Road, the Homeowners Association would be responsible for its maintenance.
Mrs. Crescenzo complained about residents failing to maintain and shovel snow on sidewalks, and about the Township’s failure to plow walking trails in a timely manner.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting nay.
Mr. Hecker said that the applicant would be seeking an interim agreement to begin site preparations, similar to the agreement for Delancey Court. The applicant would post all necessary escrows, and work would be done at the developer’s own risk.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize signing of such an agreement. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Officials
Members: Mr. Schenkman reviewed a recent memo sent to Board members in which he requested the following documentation prior to agreeing to the JMZO Cemetery Overlay Zoning District Amendment:
He noted that this request is not a requirement of approval, but a suggestion of documentation to allow Board members to make an informed decision on the amendment.
Mrs. Goren noted that the request for funding for Stoopville Road improvements also involves portions of Upper Makefield, Lower Makefield and Wrightstown.
Mr. Calabro moved to support Mr. Schenkman’s requests; to authorize the Township Manager to contact appropriate parties to seek a response, and to place the requests, and subsequent responses, if any, on the Township Web site. Mr. Schenkman seconded .
Discussion of Motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Schenkman said that including Lower Makefield in the first request had been done at the suggestion of the Planning Commission.
Mrs. Goren said that the Board has received a letter from Lower Makefield’s township Manager making a similar request.
Mr. Jirele asked that reference to Lower Makefield be removed from the request. Referring to item #2, he commented that Mr. Tuerk, the Undersecretary of the Veterans Administration, has already assured the Board that all entrances would be given consideration. Mr. Jirele also disagreed with the need for item #5, which requires a confirmation of Council Rock’s intentions for the Melsky tract. He said that he did not expect a response from Council Rock, and that the written confirmation from the VA about the entrance was insulting to the Undersecretary.
Mr. Weaver said that if Lower Makefield has expressed interest in party status, he had no objection to its inclusion in the request. He did, however, agree with Mr. Jirele about requiring a written confirmation on the entrances. He said that he would not expect a response from the School District or from Toll Brothers about the Melsky tract.
Attorney Tracy Hunt, representing Newtown Township resident Leo Holt, said that a proof of equitable ownership is necessary for this deal to proceed. Toll Brothers has submitted plans to the Planning Commission for land it does not own. He questioned the inclusion of the Melsky tract in the cemetery deal. His client has met with Upper Makefield’s Environmental Advisory Council and hopes to bring an agreement of sale to Council Rock for purchase of the Melsky tract.
Sue Herman of Lower Makefield said that she is not opposed to the Veterans Cemetery, but objects to the use of Highland Road as an entrance point because this would bring traffic through Lindenhurst Road and be the first leg of a northern by-pass. She suggested that the cemetery processions would cause road rage.
Robert Ciervo said that the entrance to the cemetery would not make any difference, as mourners from the Philadelphia area would exit I-95 at Newtown, regardless of the entrance location. The entrance should be chosen based on safety.
Resident Bob West asked whether Upper Makefield is in a position to grant party status.
Mr. Beckert said that this is a request that Upper Makefield not object to the courts’ granting party status to Newtown.
Resident John D’Aprile said that he resents the idea of telling people how to get to the cemetery in order to avoid Lindenhurst Road. He noted that Stoopville Road has become a highway, and should be improved to accommodate traffic, regardless of the cemetery entrance.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she resented Mrs. Herman’s statement that mourners would cause road rage. She said that most funeral attendees would not arrive in procession, but would gather inside the gates to be directed to the gravesites.
Mr. Schenkman said that he is aware that he cannot require that his requested documentation be provided; he is “tilting at windmills”.The motion passed unanimously.
Report on 2007 Minimum Municipal Obligation for Pension Plans: Mockenhaupt Associates has provided the 2007 Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) reports for the Police Pension Plan, Firefighters Pension Plan and Non-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan. It is required by the State Auditor General that the report be submitted to and read into the minutes by a member of the Board of Supervisors by September 30, 2006.
Financial requirement and the 2007 minimum municipal obligation for the Newtown Township Police Pension Plan will be $367,142.
Financial requirement and the 2007 minimum municipal obligation for the Newtown Township Firefighters’ Pension Plan will be $68,736.
Financial requirement and the 2007 minimum municipal obligation for the Newtown Township No-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan will be $229,347.
Improvement Agreement: DiNardo – Fowler Minor Subdivision 49 Stoopville Rd.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize signing of the DiNardo – Fowler Minor Subdivision improvement agreement. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Acquisition of Township Generator: Mr. Pellegrino reported that the Public Works Director is recommending purchase of a replacement generator for the municipal building because the existing generator failed during the recent power failure, and continues to have problems during test periods. As an emergency response agency, it is essential that we have reliable back-up power for our facilities. Mr. Crossland estimates that the cost will be approximately $30,000.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize purchase of a replacement generator. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Pellegrino said that the purchase would be paid from the capital fund.
Mr. Sensibaugh suggested a lease/purchase.
The motion passed unanimously.
Sycamore Street Payment: Mr. Weaver moved to authorize Sycamore Street payment number 30. Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino explained that a large portion of the payment is to be reimbursed by PennDOT. Most of the payment relates to costs associated with Borough/township traffic signal interconnect work. PennDOT is to be invoiced; it takes about six weeks for a check to be issued by PennDOT.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Pellegrino reported that PennDOT has agreed to include a left turn lane on the By-Pass at Buck Road in 2007 work for the By-Pass. The By-Pass, from State Street to the I-95 entrance, is to be resurfaced in the next few weeks. Work is to be done at night.
Electrical Contractor Ordinance: Mr. Calabro moved to adopt an ordinance revising the existing electrical contractor ordinance, eliminating the requirement that electrical contractors pass a test administered by Newtown Township. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
JMZO 2006-09 – VR-1 and VC-1 Zoning Districts : Mr. Weaver moved to adopt JMZO 2006-09 , amending VR-1 and VC-1 zoning districts . Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren expressed some concern that this ordinance burdens Newtown with high density housing and more intense uses, and further limits development in Upper Makefield and Wrightstown. She said that she is concerned about these burdens placed by the Jointure on Newtown.
Mr. Weaver said that the VC-1 and VR-1 zoning districts are already built out.
Mr. Jirele noted that Township Planner Judith Stern Goldstein has found that the loss of density is very limited and that the change would have no impact on Newtown. In the last few months, Newtown has made a number of changes to the ordinance to increase density in certain residential zoning.
Mr. Calabro and Mr. Schenkman agreed that they should not send mixed messages to the jointure.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mrs. Goren voting nay.
Purchase of Archdiocese Property: Mr. Beckert announced that the Township has completed negotiations with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for purchase of property for a municipal complex expansion. The Archdiocese has requested that the Township institute a friendly condemnation proceeding.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance authorizing condemnation proceeding for the Archdioceses of Philadelphia property adjacent to the Township complex. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to questions from Mr. Schenkman, Mr. Beckert explained that in a “friendly condemnation”, parties would stipulate and agree to a fair market value for the property, and there would be no transfer tax.
Mrs. Crescenzo vehemently objected to the proceeding, as the Township is forcing the Archdiocese to terminate its lease on property currently occupied by the AARK foundation, in order to accommodate a Catholic cemetery.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the two actions have nothing to do with one another.
Mr. Jirele said that the Archdiocese had notified AARK of lease termination before the Township had begun negotiations for land purchase, and the land for the cemetery has been planned for decades.
The motion passed unanimously.
Trash Hauler Ordinance: Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance revising registration requirement for trash haulers. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the professional service used to report our recycling has noted a reduction in recycling, and believes that there has been some unauthorized trash pick-up in the Township.
Zoning Hearing Board Applications: Mr. Beckert reviewed the Zoning Hearing Board applications.
Mrs. Goren expressed some concern about the request for a parking variance for the Center Club at 11 Friends Lane.
Len Casado, owner of the Center Club, and Paul Salvatore, landlord, asked that the Supervisors allow them to appear before the Planning Commission to explain their application, and to make their case before the Zoning Hearing Board unopposed. They had been unable to attend the Planning Commission meeting at which the application was reviewed.
The Board discussed the current number of spaces at Center Club, Village at Newtown, and the ITE recommendations for parking for this type of use.
Mr. Casado said that club members come and go throughout the day for classes, with the busiest times before business hours and in the evening. They would like the opportunity to show the club schedules and anticipated use to the Planning Commission. In response to Mr. Schenkman’s question, Mr. Salvatore said that he would ask for a continuance of the Zoning Hearing Board application.
Mr. Fazio explained that the two bids for repainting of the Clark barn are required by the granting agency, and only one bid was received. He asked that the Board authorize re-bidding.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize re-advertising for bids on the painting of the Clark barn. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo asked about work on the entire Clark property. She asked if work on the barn was being done in conformance with HARB requirements for historic structures. She complained that at one time the boy scouts had not been permitted to use the barn because of safety concerns, and yet workers are being permitted to enter for the repainting.
Mr. Jirele said that there is a very big difference between children playing in the barn and contractors working on it.
The motion passed unanimously.
Old Business: Mr. Calabro said that he would like to discuss formation of a Newtown Visioning Committee to review the comprehensive plan. He suggested that the committee be made up of two Planning Commission members and five members of the community, one chosen by each Supervisor. He thought that some of the Township’s consultants, such as Township Planner Judith Stern Goldstein, be included on the committee, but was not in favor of any Supervisor being a participant.
The Board briefly discussed whether a Supervisor should participate, whether there is money available for consultants, and what the charge to the committee would be.
Mr. Jirele suggested that Mr. Calabro and another Board member work together to prepare a proposal for such a committee.
Mrs. Goren said that the Board should be involved in preparing guidelines for such a committee. Mr. Pellegrino would need to investigate a time and location for meetings, and financing for the Township Planner’s involvement.
In other business, Mr. Schenkman asked about recent re-siding work on the Clark barn.
Mr. Pellegrino said that work has not been completed, yet. Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy has reviewed the materials and found them to be acceptable for the structure. The ramp to the second story of the barn had collapsed a long time ago.
New Business: Mr. Calabro said that a number of elderly residents have inquired about bus service from the Newtown Grant area to the shopping district.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the SEPTA 130 bus runs through Newtown Grant in the early morning and evening. BC Transport does provide transportation for people over 65. A link to this non-profit service will be put on the Township Web site.
Public Comment: Mrs. Crescenzo complained that the sign in Silver Lake Park had been installed, but the guardrails had not been installed. She said that the park is too dangerous and should not be open to the public until the guardrails are installed.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the guardrails are on the Public Works schedule; a third party had installed the sign.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she likes Mr. Calabro’s suggestion of a Newtown Visioning Committee.The meeting adjourned at 2:30 AM