Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of December 13, 2006

 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Anne Goren, Vice-Chairman Phillip Calabro, Secretary/Treasurer, Jerry Schenkman and members Thomas Jirele and Richard Weaver. Also present were: Paul Beckert, Township Solicitor, Herbert Gery, 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 Eric Royer of Ascension Lutheran Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public Comment: Dr. Michael Shanfeld, owner of Shanfeld Chiropractic, complained that his recent application for a certificate of appropriateness for signage at his practice on Sycamore Street was rejected. He said that the information presented to the Board by the HARB Secretary, Ethel Hibbs, was inaccurate. His is a single use building in a shopping center of greater than five acres, and as such, he feels the Ordinance, in Section 1106 (H), allows him four signs, including one directional sign. HARB had voted 4-2 to recommend approval of the signage, however Mrs. Hibbs did not convey this adequately to the Board during her report. He asked the Board how to remedy this situation.

Mrs. Goren asked for a copy of his detailed statement, in order for the Board to better evaluate his request. She asked Dr. Shanfeld to contact Mr. Pellegrino during the business day to discuss this further.

Resident Allen Fidler thanked the Board members for all of their efforts on behalf of the residents of the Township.

Members Comments: Mr. Schenkman reported on a National League of Cities convention he recently attended in Reno, Nevada. He will submit written reports on the seminars he attended to the members.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of the work session of November 13, 2006. Mr. Calabro seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked that his name be removed from the minutes, as he was not in attendance.

Mr. Schenkman amended his motion. Mr. Calabro amended his second, and the motion to approve the minutes of November 13, 2006 passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Jirele abstaining.

Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of November 20, 2006. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $238,012.50. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $178,270.34. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: Member Allen Fidler reported that the Planning Commission reviewed a preliminary plan for 11 Friends Lane and recommended approval of this retrofitting of an existing structure, subject to a number of conditions. They recommend that the Board accept a fee in lieu of conducting an individual traffic study.

The Commission reviewed a revised preliminary plan for an addition to the pool and parking lot at the Newtown Athletic Club. The entrance is to be relocated to help alleviate some of the traffic back-up at Penns Trail and the By-Pass, however there is some concern about the primary access road passing through the parking lot. The Commission recommended that the Board approve this plan, subject to a number of conditions.

The Commission recommended that a waiver of land development be granted to Newtown Plaza Shopping Center, subject to a number of conditions. This shopping center, on Swamp Road, will be adding an additional 1,800 square feet to the center and relocating the entrance driveway to align with Eagle Road.

The Commission reviewed the conditional use application of The Promenade at Sycamore, and recommended that the application be denied because there has not been a traffic study and there is concern that the plan is inadequate to handle the flow of traffic in and out of the parking facility. There is also some concern that the project will be detrimental to some of its adjacent neighbors.

The Commission reviewed four applications to the Zoning Hearing Board and recommended that the Board send the Solicitor to support the action of the Zoning Officer in the appeal of Bakul and Sangita Patel. They had no comment on the other applications.

Review of a number of amendments to the JMZO were tabled due to the late hour.

Land Development Projects:

Conditional Use Extension – Petsmart, Inc – 2600 South Eagle Road: Mr. Weaver moved to grant an extension of the conditional use application of Petsmart, Inc., to June 6, 2007. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Conditional Use – Shoppes at Sycamore – 298 Sycamore Street: Attorney John Van Luvanee, representing the applicant, Joseph McGrath, was sworn in.

Mrs. Goren asked if anyone in attendance wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits on behalf of the Township:

  • T-1 – advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – notice to adjacent property owners

Mr. Van Luvanee said that he did not think a conditional use approval is necessary for this project, as it is a part of Village at Newtown, a shopping center greater than 4 acres. The Goodnoe property is 3.9169 acres and is a part of the approved shopping center. He entered the following exhibits:

  • A-1 – The original Phase I site plan
  • A-2 – Unilateral declaration and covenant of restrictions
  • A-3 – Copy of decision of the Zoning Hearing Board dated 11/7/91, granting variances to permit 5.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet
  • A-4- Architectural rendering of proposed project

Mr. VanLuvanee reviewed the six criteria for use as a shopping center:

  • 4 acres – Village at Newtown exceeds 4 acres
  • Parking for buildings in separate areas – this cluster of buildings will have its own separate parking area bounded by Ice Cream Alley and Silo Drive
  • Major landscaping, and bicycle and pedestrian access
  • Parking lot landscaping, which will be addressed in the land development process
  • Lighting – also addressed at land development
  • 60% retail/consumer – the proposed plan will be 100% of 30,600 square feet of retail only, no office uses.

Variances already exist to permit 5.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. The Planning Commission has reviewed this plan and recommended approval. The applicant accepts all of the conditions outlined by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Beckert said that if the Board is of a mind to grant conditional use at this time, whether it is necessary to have a new conditional use approval for the new owner is academic. He noted that some of the conditions to be added to approval are different from those of the original approval, and suggested that the Board consider amending the original approval to address this parcel, as the property is being transferred and the original building has been demolished.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the important issue is that the property is part of a larger shopping center that meets the 4 acre requirement. He noted that the name of the project has been changed to “Goodnoe’s Corner”.

Mr. Weaver moved to amend the conditional use approval for “Goodnoe’s Corner” for use E-15, Shopping Center, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Approval is subject to the obligation that as each individual user is identified, that individual tenant/use shall be obligated to seek conditional use approval;
  2. Consideration as to the nature of each use, hours of operation, number of employees, and other specific conditional use requirements shall be determined on an individual basis as each tenant or user applies;
  3. The Shopping Center will be open seven days per week;
  4. The Shopping Center will comply with conditions of the Zoning Hearing Board and of land development approval;
  5. The Shopping Center is limited to 30,600 square feet of commercially related uses. The four residential uses on the second floor will be limited to residential uses and shall not be converted to non-residential uses;
  6. No noxious, toxic or corrosive fumes, smoke, odor or dust shall be generated by any user on site;
  7. No loud noise shall be generated on site and no music shall be audible off the premises;
  8. No offensive odor or glare shall be generated on site;
  9. No hazardous, flammable or explosive materials shall be present on site;
  10. No loading or unloading along Sycamore Street or Durham Road;
  11. The use will comply with provisions of Section 803E(1)(5), except for any waivers of variances granted;
  12. The applicant shall provide a deed showing ownership of the premises;
  13. All review fees associated with the project shall be paid in full.

Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Schenkman’s request that the plan be reviewed for the viewing public, Mr. VanLuvanee and Mrs. Goren said that a detailed presentation of the plan will be made during the land development hearing, which is next on the agenda.

The motion passed unanimously.

Preliminary Land Development – Shoppes at Sycamore: Mr. VanLuvanee, representing Joseph McGrath, reviewed the plans for a shopping center at the former Goodnoe’s Dairy Bar site. The development will include six buildings close to the sidewalk at Sycamore Street and at Durham Road, with one large, free standing building in the interior. This self-contained cluster will feature a combination of restaurant, retail and service businesses, with a pharmacy in the large interior building. No leases with specific tenants have been signed.

Architect Peter Stampfl presented a series of architectural renderings, noting that the buildings would be similar to those in the shopping center on the opposite side of Sycamore Street, with entrances along Sycamore Street and on the parking lot side. The facades will be a mixture of brick and stone, reminiscent of historic shopping areas throughout the eastern seaboard. In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Stampfl said that the buildings facing Sycamore Street will have two front facades with entrances on both the street and the parking lot sides, but those buildings facing Durham Road will only have entrances from the parking lot, not on the street. The stand-alone building will have a similar appearance. The designs have not been completed for that building, but it will be either brick or stone.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the developers have met with the Planning Commission and the Township consultants, and at their recommendation have addressed the following:

  • Eliminated the by-pass lane for bank drive through window for better traffic circulation
  • Tied all pedestrian paths at the center of the development
  • Altered the shape and location of the stand-alone building for better traffic flow and parking.

McMahon & Associates has studied the traffic at the intersection of Silo Drive and Sycamore Street and find that this intersection, as it is now, warrants a traffic light. DelVal Soils has completed a study and found that there are no Bowmansville soils on the site. Mr. McGrath has met with the Cliveden Estates Homeowners Association and it approves this plan. He asked for preliminary as final plan approval, as the developer is eager to begin working on the site.

Mr. Jirele and Mr. Calabro had some concerns about the stand-alone building’s (building 7) drive in window, as it exits into the path of shoppers exiting the store to the parking lot. Mr. Jirele also questioned the decision to end sidewalks at the corner rather than continue them along Durham Road. He asked about removal of newly planted street trees on Sycamore Street, and questioned some of the designated loading zones.

Walter Bronson of Pickering Corts and Summerson said that building 7 is a prototype pharmacy for a potential tenant. A railing and landscaping could be placed between the exit and the drive-through window to guide pedestrians out of the traffic lane. Loading for building 7 will be at the rear. Loading zones for the other buildings are on the parking lot side of the buildings, with no loading along the street sides. At Township Planner Judith Stern Goldstein’s suggestion, all street trees will be replaced with smaller canopy trees. The location will be noted on the plan.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the applicant agrees to relocate the newly planted street trees on Township property at the Township Manager’s direction.

The Board discussed continuation of sidewalks onto the Durham Road side of the building. Mr. Jirele said that he frequently sees people walking along Durham Road, going from one part of the shopping area to another.

Mr. Beckert said that it was his understanding that the Cliveden Homeowners Association had specifically requested that there be no sidewalks on the Durham Road side of the shopping center.

Mrs. Goren said that if sidewalks are of concern to the residents of Cliveden, she would prefer to accommodate those residents. The interior sidewalk system is adequate.

The Board discussed whether or not sidewalks would be needed on the outside of the buildings on Durham Road, especially because the developer would only be responsible for sidewalks as far as Ice Cream Alley, where they would end abruptly.

In response to questions from the Board, Mr. McGrath said that Cliveden Homeowners Association objected to sidewalks on Durham Road because they were concerned about noise and light when people congregate there. There is a walking trail on the Cliveden side of the street. Sidewalks would require a PennDOT permit, but if the Board requires them, he would comply.

Mr. Jirele and Mr. Calabro were in agreement that as projects are constructed, sidewalks should be included, and efforts should be made to keep the downtown area pedestrian friendly. It was noted that years ago sidewalks were not required in the Business Commons, but now are being required on new development plans, and are proposed for the older properties. It would be better to require them here, rather than come back later to install them.

Mr. Beckert suggested that if this preliminary plan were to be approved with sidewalks, they could be removed at final plan review if the Board no longer wanted to include them; this would be easier than requiring them to be added to the plan later.

The Board discussed whether to require sidewalks at preliminary plan, to possibly be removed at final plan approval. The members also discussed whether to approve this preliminary plan as final. Mr. Schenkman said that there are a few items to be addressed, including the exit and loading zone for building 7, landscape plans with replaced street trees and the sidewalks. The agenda only referred to a preliminary plan, not a final plan. He would prefer not giving final plan approval until a published agenda includes final plan approval. The members agreed to this and to the inclusion of sidewalks along Durham Road.

Mr. Weaver moved to grant preliminary land development approval to the Shoppes at Sycamore, 298 N. Sycamore Street (Goodnoe’s Corner) for a shopping center, subject to the following conditions:

  1. That the plans comply with the review letter of Boucher and James dated November 13, 2006;
  2. That the plans comply with the review letter of Remington and Vernick dated November 10, 2006,
  3. That the plans comply with the review letter of Newtown Emergency Services dated November 3, 2006;
  4. That the plans comply with the review letter of Pennoni Associates dated November 16, 2006, and subject to any issues noted by Suburban Lighting;
  5. That notes be added to the plan indicating any variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board;
  6. Compliance with conditional use conditions as granted;
  7. No noxious or offensive odors will be generated on the site;
  8. Copies of water and sewer service agreements will be provided;
  9. Copies of all required approvals, permits and certificates will be provided;
  10. A Park and Recreation impact fee will be paid;
  11. A traffic impact fee will be paid;
  12. All signs must meet Township Ordinances and along Sycamore Street are subject to review by HARB;
  13. Provision of an adequate review letter from the Bucks County Conservation District;
  14. Execution of declaration of covenants and restrictions regarding notes to the plan;
  15. Lighting will be to the satisfaction of Suburban Lighting; no glare will be extended beyond the property boundary and after shops/stores are closed, security lighting will be provided;
  16. Dumpsters will be screened in accordance with SALDO 534.10;
  17. All legal and engineering fees will be paid;
  18. Apartments will not be subject to any non-residential use;
  19. Basements will be subject to mechanical and /or storage uses only;
  20. Arrangement for loading/unloading of tractor trailers will be at off hours;
  21. Compliance with Zoning Ordinance 903.d relating to floodplain soils by providing a letter from a soil scientist indicating that the soils are urban soils and not Bowmansville soils;
  22. Proof of acceptance by adjoining property owners of any buffering;
  23. No deliveries other than UPS/FedEx type trucks will be permitted on Sycamore Street or Durham Road.

Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele asked that a condition be added that the applicant will relocate any newly planted sycamore trees on Sycamore Street that must be removed, to a Township owned property.

Mr. Weaver amended his motion; Mr. Schenkman amended his second to include this condition.

Mr. Fidler asked that traffic impact fees be used for traffic in this area, after the installation of a traffic signal at Silo Drive.

Mr. VanLuvanee noted that existing conditions warrant a signal at this intersection.

Mr. Jirele suggested that traffic discussion be deferred until the review of the final plan.

The motion passed unanimously.

Conditional Use – Elliott Building Group – The Promenade at Sycamore: Attorney David Sander, representing the applicant, was sworn in.

Mrs. Goren asked if anyone in attendance wished to be party to this application.

Attorney T.J. Walsh, representing Newtown Ambulance, Newtown Veterans Association and Newtown Presbyterian Church and Allen H. Smith, owner of Sycamore Street Associates, asked for party status.

With no objection from Mr. Sander, the Board agreed to grant party status.

Mr. Beckert entered Exhibits T-1 through T-9, notices of hearing, originally scheduled for June 14, 2006 and continued three times, and T-10, the recommendation of the Township Planning Commission. He noted that there is an outstanding application to the Zoning Hearing Board for this applicant, which has been continued to January 22, 2007.

Mr. Walsh and Mr. Smith indicated to the Board that they are parties in opposition to the Zoning Hearing Board application. Mr. Smith said that he had conversations with Mr. Sander and Mr. Beckert about the Zoning Hearing Board, and he is of the opinion that this hearing should be postponed pending the conclusion of the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Sander disagreed, and asked that the hearing be opened. He is prepared to present a witness tonight, and will continue to a later date to present additional witnesses and to permit the parties to cross-examine his witnesses and present their own witnesses.

Mr. Smith indicated that he had understood that this hearing would be continued. He is not represented by counsel this evening because he did not think that the matter would proceed.

Mr. Sander said that he did not indicate to anyone that the hearing would be postponed. He would proceed at his own risk and allow his witnesses to be cross-examined at the next meeting. In response to Mr. Schenkman’s question, Mr. Sander said that his witness would require about one hour. This witness had not testified at the Zoning Hearing Board.

The Board discussed continuing the hearing to a later date. Mr. Weaver and Mr. Jirele indicated that they would like to get started, as this has been continued for six months. Mr. Schenkman and Mr. Calabro preferred to continue the hearing until all legal representation was present. It was established that the hearing would require a great deal of time, with Mr. Smith wishing to present a few witnesses and for all parties to cross-examine Mr. Sander’s witnesses. It was suggested that a special meeting be held for this one application, perhaps after the Zoning Hearing Board has rendered a decision. Mrs. Goren asked if the applicant would grant an extension to a date in February.

Mr. Sander strenuously objected to the granting of an extension, as he has worked diligently to produce plans that reflect the wishes of the Supervisors. At the time of the last continuance, the Supervisors had indicated that this date would be the last, with no further continuances. The building on the site now is an eye sore, and the applicant is eager to begin the project. Over objections from Mr. Walsh and Mr. Smith, Mr. Sander refused to grant an extension.

Mr. Sander made the following corrections to the report furnished by the Planning Commission:

  • The building is to be two stories, reduced from three stories;
  • The height will be 34 feet, 8 inches, reduced from 49 feet;

Mr. Sander said that the plan presented this evening meets the conditions of the Redevelopment Agreement. All uses are permitted uses in the TC Zoning District, restaurant, retail and office. The plan contains businesses that will, in accordance with the Agreement, “drive people to the area”. Mr. Sander acknowledged that the plan has faced some opposition; however it is in keeping with the Agreement. Concerns of the Board have all been addressed in this plan. Residents are in support of the plan and are eager to see the old Acme removed, and the new structure begun. He asked that no decision be rendered until after the Zoning Hearing Board has made a decision.

Kim Le Brake, architect on the project was sworn in.

Mr. Sander entered as Exhibit A-1 Ms. Labrake’s curriculum vitae, noting that Ms. Labrake is a registered architect who has designed similar mixed use buildings.

In response to Mr. Walsh’s question, Ms. Labrake said that she has designed a number of commercial projects, noting them on her C.V.

Mr. Beckert accepted Ms. Labrake as an expert witness.

In response to questions from Mr. Sander, Ms. Labrake described the site as an approximately 2 acre parcel in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District, currently not in use, with an abandoned market on the property.

Mr. Sander entered as Exhibit A-2 the report of the Acme Visioning Committee dated March 12, 2003.

In response to Mr. Sander’s questions, Ms. Labrake said that the plans meet all of the specifications outlined in the visioning committee report as follows:

  • Demolition of existing building;
  • Site cleared; steep slopes addressed with walls of proposed building/parking structure;
  • Compliments neighboring Newtown Presbyterian Church;
  • Commercial, office and residential uses in blend of architectural styles of late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries;
  • Inclusion of a signature attraction which will bring a unique identity to the site;
  • A multilevel structure that may require a minor adjustment of the height requirement;
  • Location of the building at the forward edge of the property with parking at rear to create a streetscape;
  • Construction in a pedestrian friendly manner in keeping with Sycamore Street improvements.

The applicant has agreed to work with Newtown Presbyterian Church during land development to address all of the Church’s concerns.

Ms. Labrake described the project noting that the residential use has been eliminated from the plans. The elevation is designed with stepping dormers and porches and a peaked roof. There is to be one upscale restaurant and a clock tower. The mean height of the building will be 34 feet 8 inches. In her expert opinion the building meets all of the requirements of the Visioning Committee.

Mr. Sander entered as Exhibit A-3 the Redevelopment Authority of Bucks County Request for Proposals. From page two of this document he read into the record:

“It is the objective of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks and the Township of Newtown (the stakeholders) to re-develop this site into a mixed-use commercial/retail property, preferably with some creative service or business that may drive people to the area”

Mr. Sander said that an upscale restaurant is planned as the “creative service”. The applicant responded to this request for proposals and was chosen by the Township.

Mr. Sander entered as Exhibit A-4, the Redevelopment Agreement dated May 22, 2005, as Exhibit A-4B, the sketch presentation submitted with the applicant’s response, and as Exhibit A-5 the deed to the property, noting that the applicant purchased the property for $1,650,000.

In response to Mr. Sander’s questions, Ms. Labrake said that this is not the first plan submitted by the applicant. The first plan showed a 95,000 square foot, three-story building, with a height of 49 feet. There was to have been one level of restaurant/retail use, one level of office use and a third floor of residential use. This plan also included a four level parking garage. The plan had 98% impervious surface and no setbacks. Although in compliance with the Redevelopment Agreement, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, upon review, felt the building was too large, and dwarfed the other buildings on Sycamore Street. A second plan, with conforming side yard setbacks, 83,000 square feet of space and a height of 43 feet was submitted. The Supervisors felt it was still too big.

Mr. Sander submitted as Exhibit A-6 the current plan.

Ms. Labrake said that this plan shows approximately 6,000 square feet of restaurant space, 20,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of office use. The third floor and the residential use have been eliminated. The plan complies with side yard setbacks, and the total square footage is 57,992 square feet. A three level parking garage with 207 parking spaces is planned. The original plan provided 264 off-street parking spaces. This plan complies with the redevelopment agreement. It is significantly smaller than the original plan, and smaller than anticipated in the Redevelopment Agreement. Some variances are required. The applicant currently has an application before the Zoning Hearing Board for parking relief.

Ms. Labrake said that she has reviewed the Ordinance and is familiar with the requirements for conditional use in the TC Zoning District. This building will have D-1 office use, for business, government or professional offices wholly indoors. The use does meet the parking requirement of 153 spaces. The parking will be screened by a buffer wall. The proposed use E-1 retail will require 1 parking space for every 200 square feet of retail space for a total of 108 spaces. The proposed E-5 eating place use will require one parking space for every two seats. Using 18.5 square feet per seated patron, she estimated that the proposed upscale restaurant will require 139 spaces. The three uses combined will require 400 parking spaces, where only 207 spaces are provided in the multi-level parking garage. All of the proposed uses are consistent with the TC Zoning District, are not detrimental to surrounding neighbors and would benefit a pedestrian friendly shopping district. The plan is consistent with the surrounding streetscape. The proposed height, although requiring a variance, is not higher than the Presbyterian Church. Based on the Redevelopment Agreement, this project is in the best interest of the Township, as it will draw money-spending patrons and taxpaying tenants to a currently abandoned property. The uses are suitable for the property and are in harmony with the general vicinity. There are other restaurants along Sycamore Street. Except for the parking, this project is in conformity with the JMZO.

In response to Mr. Beckert’s question, Mr. Sander said that waivers for this revised plan are similar to those requested for the previous plan. He agreed to grant an extension until January 24, 2007 for continuation of the hearing.

Mr. Walsh said that the outcome of the Zoning Hearing Board appeal would affect the time he would need to present his case.

Mr. Jirele moved to continue the conditional use application of Elliott Building Group, The Promenade at Sycamore to January 24, 2007. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Reports of Officials

Chairman: Mrs. Goren reported that she had participated in an awards presentation in Northampton for fire safety essay contest winners, first place going to Samantha Goger and third place to Pam D’Onforio.

Manager

2007 Budget

Mr. Pellegrino asked the members to vote on the 2007 budget, which includes no increase in taxes. The budget is a $15,000,000 budget with a $12,000,000 operating budget, $2,400,000 in capital funds and $600,000 in trust funds.

Mr. Jirele asked that the $90,000 proposed for a trail in Silver Lake Park be removed. He would rather put the money toward the Woll tract, as Silver Lake is rarely used. He would like to leave Silver Lake as is and focus more on the higher priorities. He noted that the guide rails have been installed over the culvert at the entrance to the park.

Mr. Schenkman suggested removing the equipment for watering plants along Sycamore Street from the budget. He suggested that a decoration needing less maintenance be investigated for the lampposts.

Mr. Jirele agreed with this suggestion. He thought that focus should be on easier to maintain planting beds along Sycamore Street.

Mr. Weaver said that if Silver Lake’s proposed improvements were completed more people would use the park.

Mr. Pellegrino briefly outlined some of the plans for Silver Lake Park, which include paving the parking lot, the trail to the lake from the parking lot, some benches and tables and a ball field without fencing for pick-up games.

After further discussion, all members expressed support for removing the equipment for Sycamore Street plant watering from the budget, at least until the Township has had time to evaluate the impact of new development.

Mr. Calabro expressed support for the Silver Lake improvements, noting current and proposed residential development, as well as business development in that area of the Township. He said that he agreed with Mr. Weaver that as improvements are made, more people would use the park.

Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Goren agreed with Mr. Calabro that the funds for Silver Lake Park should remain in the budget.

Resident John D’Aprile said that he did not think that there should be any improvements to Silver Lake Park. He also said that the business owners along Sycamore Street should water the plants, or pay for watering equipment. He asked what portion of the Woll tract would be financed by the sports organizations. The current plans for development of the Woll tract seem too expensive.

Mr. Weaver moved to adopt the 2007 budget, as amended to remove the plant watering equipment for Sycamore Street. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Dedication of St. Andrew’s Briar: Mr. Pellegrino reported that the seal coating for St. Andrew’s Briar has been completed. Elliott Builders has eighteen months to evaluate and repair sidewalks.

Mr. Weaver moved to accept dedication of St. Andrew’s Briar. Mr. Jirele seconded.

Discussion of motion: In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Pellegrino said that the maintenance bond runs through June 2008, allowing two winter seasons for evaluation of the sidewalks. The builder is required to repair or replace deteriorating sidewalks. He noted that the St. Andrew’s Briar sidewalks were built to old specifications, which have since changed.

Mr. Sander, attorney for Elliott Builders, said that the bond of $53,000 would be sufficient to address any sidewalk problems.

The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution Authorizing Reimbursement of General Fund from Debt Proceeds: Mr. Pellegrino explained that this resolution would permit the Township to reimburse its General Fund from proceeds of any debt obligation for acquisition of real estate, professional fees, or construction of new facilities. Eligible expenses are any costs incurred 60 days prior to the effective date of the Resolution, including expenses for the Woll tract and the municipal complex.

Mr. Weaver moved to adopt the resolution authorizing reimbursement of the General Fund from debt proceeds. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Engineering Services Proposal for Woll Site Development: Mr. Pellegrinoreviewed responses to the Township’s request for proposals for engineering of the Woll tract. All who responded are experienced and qualified for engineering a municipal park. Based on costs, he recommends Gilmore & Associates, Inc.

Mr. Weaver moved to award a contract for development of the Woll tract to Gilmore and Associates. Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Schenkman’s questions, Mr. Pellegrino said that the prices quoted are firm; however there could be additional cost if Gilmore and Associates were asked to perform work beyond what was in the request for proposals.

The motion passed unanimously.

Solicitor’s Report

JMZO 2006-13 – Use B-19 – Transitional Residential: Mr. Beckert explained that this new use is being created for transitional housing at the Fidler/Roberts tract. It has been advertised, and approved by Wrightstown Township. Upper Makefield Township will vote at its December 18 meeting. The transitional housing proposed will be similar to the housing currently under construction at the Frost Watson site.

Mr. Jirele moved to adopt JMZO Amendment 2006-13. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Amendment to Agreement/Newtown Area Joint Planning Commission: Mr. Beckert explained that this amendment extends the term of the Joint Planning Commission’s solicitor to two years. Mr. Clemons, Wrightstown’s Solicitor, will remain as solicitor to the Joint Planning Commission an additional year. Each Township will, in turn, provide its solicitor for a term of two years.

Mr. Weaver moved to amend the agreement of the Newtown Joint Area Planning Commission extending the term of the Solicitor to two years. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Zoning Hearing Board Applications: Mr. Beckert reviewed an appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board challenging the validity of the Federal Cemetery Overlay Ordinance.

In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Beckert said that the Ordinance is being challenged in Newtown Township, although 90% of the property is in Upper Makefield, because the applicant’s attorney has indicated that the appellant is a resident of Newtown Township and feels that our Zoning Hearing Board might be more sympathetic to the challenge. The other municipalities have been notified of the challenge. Wrightstown will not participate in the hearing, but Upper Makefield probably will participate. Some of the Township’s costs might be offset by the Jointure.

Mr. Jirele moved to send the Solicitor to defend the validity of the Cemetery Overlay Ordinance. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

The Bakul and Sangita Patel application is an appeal to the decision of the Zoning Officer.

Mr. Jirele moved to send the Solicitor to defend the action of the Zoning Officer. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

The Board took no action on the other residential applications to the Zoning Hearing Board.

Public Comment: Mr. D’Aprile said that many residents are eager for work to begin at the Acme site. He said that the disagreements are petty, as the plan complies with the Acme Visioning Committee’s requests. He also questioned the bills list cost for a Township Employees’ Holiday Party.

Dr. Shanfeld asked for an extension to appeal the action of the Zoning Officer on his signage.

Mr. Beckert said that under state law, the Board of Supervisors cannot grant such an extension. He advised Dr. Shanfeld to file an appeal of the Zoning Officer’s action, in order to preserve his rights.

Mr. Pellegrino said that the Board of Supervisors has discretion to not take the recommendation of HARB, but at this point, Dr. Shanfeld must file an appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:
Robert Pellegrino, Township Manager

Anne Goren, Chairman

Phillip Calabro, Vice-Chairman

Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer

Thomas Jirele, Member

Richard Weaver, Member