Board of Supervisors
Minutes of October 11, 2006
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, October 11, 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: Joseph P. Caracappa, Township Solicitor, Herbert C. Gery, Township Engineer and Robert Pellegrino, Township Manager.
Call to Order: Chairman Anne Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:07 PM with a moment of silence.
Invocation: The invocation was given by Father Larry Snyder of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Pellegrino said that a bid on the painting of the Clark barn would be added to the Engineer’s Report and that appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee is to be removed from New Business.
Public Comment: Sue Herman of Lower Makefield said that she and Residents for Regional Traffic Solutions are in support of the proposed Veterans Cemetery, and are concerned about a recent article in the Bucks County Courier Times, which states that the deal could be “derailed” over certain wording in the proposed cemetery district overlay zone ordinance. She said that at previous meetings, Undersecretary William Tuerk had indicated that there is no deadline for completion of negotiations, and she urged the Supervisors to give the proposed ordinance careful review. She said that she did not think that the deal should be completed without a traffic study.
Member's Comments: Mr. Jirele apologized for his tardiness.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mrs. Goren noted that in the minutes of the work session of September 18, references to Harry Ott should be changed to Jim Ott.
Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the work session of September 18, 2006, as corrected. Mr. Calabro 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 27, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Goren noted that page 2, paragraph 10 should read, “…Mr. Schenkman, who joined cable negotiations this year”. Page 11, paragraph 7 should read, “….will be connected to public water;”
Mr. Jirele said that page 12, paragraph 5 should read, “Mr. Pellegrino said that the Township ….”
Mr. Weaver amended his motion; Mr. Calabro amended his second and the motion passed unanimously.
Bills Lists: Mr. Schenkman movedto authorize payment of bills totaling $323,847.18. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Mr. Schenkman moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $187,476.41. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
JDNC: Main Streets Manager Chris Ortwein thanked Mr. Calabro and Mrs. Goren for their participation in ribbon cutting ceremonies during AHA! Friday! She reported on the success of the brochure “Destination Newtown” which was created with the help of the Newtown Advance and distributed quarterly. It is hoped that next year there will be a four-color brochure.
JDNC has received a grant from 5 County Arts Fund for promotion of AHA! Friday. Posters for next year’s AHA! Friday calendar will be unveiled at the December event.
In September a new program, “Girls Night Out” was begun to promote local business. Tickets to the event, the third Thursday of each month, include admission to the movie and coupons redeemable at a number of downtown restaurants for appetizers, desserts and cocktails.On October 21, 2006 there will be a Brewfest at the Stockingworks, as a fundraiser for JDNC. Tickets and information are available at www.newtownbrewfest.com.
Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine reported that Park and Recreation program revenues are up 4.19% over last year, while participation remains steady.
Program Director Kathy Pawlenko has launched a new program, bringing Park and Rec activities directly to business locations. The first program, at Lockheed Martin, a self-defense class, will be available on-site for Lockheed Martin employees, only. If successful, other “lunch and learn” programs will be tried at Lockheed, and other large employers. Possibly, if meeting rooms are available in the new hotel, other Park and Rec programs could be offered for workers in the Business Commons. These programs bring revenue to our Park and Rec department.
Mr. Wert has begun to investigate use of an e-newsletter. The electronic mailing of program news and updates would be a large savings, and an easy way to send information to the schools and to past participants.
Roberts Ridge Park of Possibilities is nearing completion. Over 500 volunteer hours have been contributed. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be planned for early November, however the park will informally open to the children as soon as work is completed. In response to a question from Mr. Schenkman, Mr. Levine said that a plaque and sign are planned for the park to acknowledge the very generous donations and a sign will acknowledge the volunteers and their trade unions. Mr. Levine would also like to thank volunteers at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh asked whether there is a timeline for work on the Woll tract.
Mr. Levine said that some recreational impact fees and the RCN settlement money, will make it possible to begin work. An RFP for engineering has been prepared, with a response date of November 17. If the engineering portion runs smoothly, groundbreaking is expected in March of 2008.
Planning Commission: Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi reported that on October 3, 2006, the Planning Commission reviewed a final plan for minor subdivision for Mastromarco, 135 Swamp Road, and recommended approval.
The Commission reviewed the DeLuca Corporate Center sketch plan for 138 Sycamore Street. There is a petition to rezone the property as TC, Town Center. The Commission voted to authorize Mr. Beckert to investigate reclassifying Sycamore Street, in front of the building, as a commercial street. That is the designation of Sycamore Street north of the project, but at the site it is a principal arterial road. The reclassification would allow the building to be placed closer to the street. The basement will be for storage only, and would not need to be included in parking calculations. The members agreed that the applicant should move forward with preliminary plans.
The Commission continued its review of JMZO 2006-18 – Cemetery Overlay District. Some members are very concerned that the use of the words, “ or open space” in section 401(F)(1), as this could burden Newtown if the cemetery deal falls through, and the land in Upper Makefield remains as open space. Attorneys for Toll Brothers have indicated that if the deal falls through, the Overlay Ordinance goes away. Nevertheless, the Commission voted to recommend that these words be deleted. Further discussion was tabled until October 17, 2006.
Land Development Projects:
Revised Final Plan for Minor Subdivision – Frank Mastromarco – 135 Swamp Road: George Chajkowsky, of Fioravanti Inc., Engineers, explained that this is a subdivision of a square lot into three lots, each 36,000 square feet in size. Relief for the subdivision has been granted by the Zoning Hearing Board. The middle lot will keep the existing swimming pool, and the existing 1.5 story house is to be demolished. Each lot will be provided with public water and sewer, which will also be extended to the adjacent property. There is to be a shared driveway for lots 1 and 2. In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Mr. Chajkowsky said that PennDOT has expressed preference for the shared driveways, with only two exits onto Swamp Road, a state highway. An easement agreement will be prepared that will be recorded and will stay with the properties, should they be sold. This easement will run in perpetuity.
Mr. Jirele asked that the requests for waivers be reviewed.
Mr. Chajkowsky said that the first waiver is from SALDO Section 202, which will allow a minor subdivision, and the second is from Section 517.1, to waive the requirement for sidewalks. There are no other sidewalks along this part of the street. The Planning Commission recommended this waiver.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Pellegrino said that the applicant will pay a recreational impact fee of $15,495 in lieu of open space.
Mr. Jirele noted that lot 2 would have no available impervious surface after construction. He asked whether the Board felt a deed restriction is needed to prevent any increase in impervious surface.
Mrs. Goren said that these are large lots, and a variance would be required for an increase. She did not think a restriction would be necessary.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant approval of the plan for minor subdivision for 135 Swamp Road, last revised August 29, 2006, subject to the following conditions:
The applicant shall comply with the review letter of Boucher & James dated September 11, 2006, of Remington & Vernick Dated September 20, 2006, of Bucks County Planning Commission dated April 21, 2006, of the Emergency Management Services dated September 14, 2006.
The Board of Supervisors grant the following waivers from the Newtown Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance:
Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked if the applicant would agree to a condition that traffic impact fees could be used anywhere within the Township.
Mr. Mastromarco agreed to this condition.Mr. Weaver amended his motion to add the condition that traffic impact fees could be used anywhere within the Township. Mr. Jirele amended his second and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Officials
Members: Mr. Weaver said that the Economic Development Council is currently meeting quarterly, and with so much of its original mission accomplished, members are covering the same business as the Business Development Council. In fact, there is an overlap of some of the membership of the two councils. He asked the Board to consider forming a new group, the Economic and Business Development Council.
Mr. Jirele suggested that this be addressed at the reorganization meeting.
Mrs. Goren expressed support of the idea, noting that a new mission statement and goals could be drafted for the reorganization meeting.
Manager's Report: Mr. Pellegrino asked the Board to consider authorizing the signing of a resolution opposing statewide cable franchising legislation. He said that Verizon is currently asking the legislature to support a bill for statewide franchising. Each municipality and its residents have significant and specific interest in the terms and conditions attendant to the cable television franchise, and the local franchising process has benefited local communities and cable customers. These proposed bills in the state senate and house would remove some local authority in adopting cable franchise agreements.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize adoption of a resolution opposing statewide cable franchising legislation in Pennsylvania. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Pellegrino said that it is not clear what would be the standing of our already signed franchise agreements if statewide franchising legislation is passed. Our agreements could be grandfathered.
Mr. Schenkman said that because the current legislative session is about to close, these bills will probably not be passed in this session, however, it is important that our opposition be taken to our representatives.
Mrs. Goren expressed some concern about the time when our existing franchise agreements expire.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Pellegrino asked the Board to sign an application to PennDOT for signalization of the intersection of Swamp and South Eagle Road. He said that the Newtown Plaza Shopping Center is planning an expansion. As part of the plan, the entrance to the shopping center will be moved to align with Eagle Road. The Township can lift design work directly from the Newtown Plaza plan for engineering of what will become a four-way intersection. The Township will be responsible for road improvements in the right-of-way.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize an application to PennDOT for signalization of the intersection of Swamp and South Eagle Roads. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the timing of the lights along Sycamore Street has been adjusted to allow additional green light time on the side streets. He believes this has helped with some of the back up of traffic.
Mr. Pellegrino said that the work on Stoopville Road will continue until October 20. The road is currently being paved. He asked that residents not use the road, as it disrupts work. The police will be ticketing anyone who fails to obey the road closures.
Engineer's Report: Mr. Jirele moved to accept the bid of Building Craft Associates, the low bidder for painting of the barn at Clark Nature Center for $27,000. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pellegrino explained that the first request for bids produced only one bidder. Two bids are required for block grants. The first bid was similar to the current low bid, but the first bidder did not resubmit a bid.
Mr. Gery said that the other two bids are higher, because the work requires use of a specialized paint. Building Craft Associates has experience using these specialized paints.
The motion passed unanimously.
Old Business: In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Mr. Pellegrino reported that the outstanding issue with Law School Admission Council’s lights has been resolved. Replacement fixtures have been ordered and will be installed shortly.
Remington & Vernick is studying the location of the traffic stop line on Sycamore Street at Jefferson, and should have a recommendation shortly.
Public Comment: Resident Ethel Hibbs announced that a sample of the new voting machine will be on view at the fire house on Municipal Drive on October 25 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM for demonstration to voters. Poll workers are also being trained to assist voters with the new machines on Election Day. She asked that this announcement be placed on the Township Web site.
In response to Mrs. Hibbs questions, Mr. Pellegrino explained that there was no road improvement program in 2006. Because bids were so high, the 2006 road improvements have been combined with 2007’s and will be put out for bid in the winter, for work next spring. Bills from the Township engineer that Mrs. Hibbs questioned were for design work.
In response to Mrs. Hibbs’ questions, Mr. Pellegrino said that the new fountain in Silver Lake Park is on a timer. It is being tested right now, and the cost of operation of the fountain is being researched. That is why Mrs. Hibbs has not seen the fountain in operation. At one time Toll Brothers had offered to install the fountain, which was paid for by Commerce Bank. Toll Brothers did not offer to pay for installation. The installation has been paid through recreational impact fees.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.