Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of July 11, 2007

 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Ann Goren, Vice-Chairman Phillip Calabro, Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Schenkman and members Tom Jirele and Richard Weaver. Also present were: Paul Beckert, Township Solicitor, James Watson, Township Engineer and John Boyle, Acting Township Manager.

Call to Order: Mrs. Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM with a moment of silence. Gary Schaeffer of Lutheran Church of God’s Love gave the invocation. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Boyle reported that the applicant’s attorney has requested that the remanded hearing for consideration of final plan for Gigliotti Avignon Associates, Rockbridge Drive, be continued to August 8, 2007. Consideration of JMZO 2006-06 and 2007-01 have been added to the Solicitor’s report.

Public Comment: Resident Nancy Crescenzo said that rebroadcast of the last Board of Supervisors meeting had been cut short. Referring to previous statements she has made at “public comment”, Mrs. Crescenzo asked the Board to plan and budget for maintenance of existing parks within the Township, particularly labeling of plants at Clark Nature Center. She asked the Board to encourage the Environmental Advisory Council and the Planning Commission to lend support to efforts to bring the AARK Foundation to the Clark Nature Center.

Resident Robert Ciervo expressed concern that at its May 2007 meeting, the Zoning Hearing Board granted a variance to Orleans Homebuilders, reducing the open space requirement at the Goodnoe tract on Eagle Road.

Board members pointed out that this is to be private open space; a trail through this open space is planned, which will provide public access.

Member's Comments:

Mr. Weaver thanked all those who volunteered or worked at the recent First Fourth celebration, parade and fireworks. Thanks to the efforts of the First Fourth Committee, the police and public works departments, the day was a great success.

Mr. Weaver reported that the Joint Zoning Council has met to review the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Schenkman and Planning Commission Chairman Shawn Ward participated with him and representatives of Wrightstown and Upper Makefield. They have reached consensus on 6 of the 9 principles in the plan, and hope to have completed consideration of all of the principles before the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of June 27, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Boyle noted that in the work session minutes of June 18, 2007, page 5, paragraph 7 should read “loading berths”.

Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the work session of June 18, 2007, as corrected. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Jirele abstaining.

Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $167,515.13. Mr. Weaver seconded.

Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Beckert explained that he bills the Township monthly for work done, however, if his bills are to have been paid from escrow accounts that have not been replenished, his payment is delayed. It is not a case of the Township underestimating escrow, nor is it a case of his delay of billing.

Resident John D’Aprile commented on the PECO bill for $408 for the fountain in Silver Lake Park and a Remington & Vernick bill for Verizon road openings.

In response to Mr. D’Aprile’s question, Mr. Schenkman said that the Township is reimbursed for the Verizon road opening costs.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $370,000. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Land Development

Remanded Hearing for Consideration of Final Plan for Gigliotti Avignon Associates – Rockbridge Drive: At the request of the applicant, this hearing has been continued to August 8, 2007.

Conditional Use – Goodnoe Tract – Eagle Road: Mrs. Goren opened the hearing.

Mr. Weaver moved to continue the conditional use hearing of the Goodnoe tract to August 8, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Conditional Use – LaStalla – 18 Swamp Road: Mrs. Goren opened the hearing.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Mr. Weaver moved to continue the hearing of LaStalla, 18 Swamp Road to August 8, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Conditional Use – Piccolo Trattoria – 32-34 West Road: Mrs. Goren asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Joseph A. Halsey was sworn in. Mr. Halsey said that Piccolo Trattoria is planning to expand into the space currently occupied by a dry cleaning business. The dry cleaner will move into a smaller space at 36 West Road. Piccolo will expand the restaurant from its current 2000 square feet to 4146 square feet, with expanded kitchen and restrooms and additional seating. The restaurant currently has 65 seats; the expansion will accommodate 130 to 140 seats. It is the hope that this will eliminate long waits for tables. Currently customers wait up to an hour, and stand on the sidewalk waiting to be seated. With the expansion, customers will be seated inside more quickly. All improvements will be ADA compliant. Questions raised about screening of dumpsters are to be addressed by Michael Solomon, the Code Enforcement Officer.

Mr. Jirele expressed concern that parking would be inadequate if the restaurant size were doubled. While the shopping center has not allocated specific parking spaces to each business, he is particularly concerned about traffic and safety on evenings and weekends when both Piccolo and Applebee’s are very busy. He noted that this could become a similar problem to that experienced near LaStalla.

Mr. Halsey said that it appears on the plan that there are about 70-75 parking spaces near Piccolo; the surrounding businesses, the pet food store, dry cleaner and eyeglass shop are closed on weekend evenings.

The Board discussed establishing a consistent policy in dealing with restaurant uses in the shopping centers. Mr. Beckert suggested that this could be the trigger to require the shopping center owner to build parking that is currently held in reserve.

Mr. Halsey agreed to continue the hearing until August 8, 2007. He would then confirm the number of parking spaces available to the restaurant and the hours of operation of the other businesses near Piccolo.

Mr. Schenkman moved to continue the conditional use hearing of Piccolo Trattoria to August 8, 2007. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mrs. Crescenzo asked whether there is adequate handicapped parking near Piccolo, and whether sidewalk dining is permitted. She said that during the holiday season the parking lot is overcrowded, as all businesses remain open later.

Conditional Use – Goodnoe’s Corner: Mrs. Goren said that there are six businesses seeking conditional use approval for the shopping center at Goodnoe’s Corner. As one of the businesses is a branch of her employer, she will abstain from participating in all of the hearings for this development.

Conditional Use – Jules Thin Crust Pizza – 300 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Beckert asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Attorney Kelly McGowan represented the applicant. She explained that her firm represents KLS Ryan, developer of Goodnoe’s Corner, and would be representing all six of tonight’s applicants. All of this evening’s applications had been reviewed by the Planning Commission, who recommended approval at the June 19, 2007 meeting. The Shopping Center has already been granted conditional use approval for E-15 shopping center use.

John Ordway was sworn in. Mr. Ordway said that this location at Goodnoe’s Corner will be a second location. His original restaurant is in Doylestown, and he is in the process of opening a few other branches. He agrees with all conditions outlined in the letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission dated June 28, 2007. In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Ordway said that his is a private company. The site will be ADA compliant.

Referring to the application for all six businesses on this evening’s agenda, Mr. Jirele expressed great concern about the adequacy of the parking. The shopping center has 146 parking spaces, and the six businesses before the Board this evening have a total of 47 employees. He said that because there are so many restaurants proposed, he is very concerned that the parking will not be adequate, particularly on weekends. He is also concerned about the safety of the entrances and exits.

Mr. Ordway said that he has not had any problems with parking at his Doylestown location, where his business has five parking spaces. The restaurant has seating for about 50 customers, and he will have 7 to 10 employees, but a large portion of his business is take-out, and for those dining in the restaurant, there is a quick turn-over.

Ms. McGowan pointed out that the shopping center has not allocated specific parking spaces for each business, and a parking variance has been granted for the shopping center. Some of the uses in the shopping center will be complementary uses, needing parking at different times of the day. There are also at least 50 parking spaces available along both sides of Sycamore Street, within walking distance to the shopping center.

Joseph McGrath, developer of the shopping center, was sworn in. In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Mr. McGrath said that a traffic/parking study had been conducted by McMahon Associates. This study considered the “downtown” nature of the project, and the complementary uses proposed for the project. This study had been presented to the Zoning Hearing Board. The ratio of restaurant to retail use is 40/60. There is one small building not yet leased. The proposed shopping center is planned as pedestrian friendly, with adequate parking near the shopping center. The plan is to encourage pedestrians to stroll up and down Sycamore Street. He and all of the tenants are hoping to have successful businesses, and he feels confident that parking in and near the shopping center will be adequate.

As the Board continued to express concerns about the parking issue, Mr. Beckert suggested that the three restaurants, Jules, Cosi Café and Taste of Philly Hand Twisted Pretzels, be continued to August 8, 2007. At that time the applicant could present parking data.

Mr. Schenkman moved to continue the conditional use hearings for Jules Thin Crust Pizza to August 8, 2007. Mr. Jirele seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo was sworn in. She objected to the continuance of only the restaurant uses. She said that the entire shopping center should be considered together.

Mr. Jirele said that it is the applicants’ decision whether to continue. The other businesses on this evening’s agenda are not parking intensive uses.

Resident Chris Fischetti was sworn in. Mr. Fischetti said that he is the owner of the “Taste of Philly”. He is aware of the parking problems near LaStalla, but feels that this shopping center will have adequate parking, both in the lot and on the street. The center is designed to encourage foot traffic.

The motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Conditional Use – A Taste of Philly Hand Twisted Pretzels – 260 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Beckert opened the hearing.

Mr. Jirele moved to continue the conditional use hearing of “A Taste of Philly” to August 8, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Conditional Use – Cosi Café – 280 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Beckert opened the hearing.

Mr. Jirele moved to continue the conditional use hearing of Cosi Cafe to August 8, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Conditional Use – Firstrust Bank – 11 Durham Road: Mr. Beckert asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Attorney Kelly McGowan represented the applicant.

Ed Benz, of Firstrust Bank was sworn in.

Ms. McGowan entered as Exhibit A-1 a packet of materials about Firstrust Bank.

Mr. Benz explained that Firstrust Bank was founded in 1934 as a savings and loan business. It currently has 24 branches and assets of $2 billion, with the bulk of its business in commercial lending. The nearest branch is in Yardley. This branch will have a drive-up window. An armored car delivers twice a week, and a courier delivers once a day. The facility will be ADA compliant. He expects to have 5 to 7 employees on site, and might have as many as six customers and any given time. He would agree to a condition that employees park along the western side of the parking lot, near the dumpsters.

Mrs. Crescenzo said that she was concerned about traffic in the entire area. She asked that no approvals be granted until the issue of two-way traffic on Silo Drive had been resolved.

Mr. Schenkman said that issue of Silo Drive would be back before the Board shortly. It is not an important consideration in discussing this particular business. Mr. Jirele agreed with this statement.

Mr. Benz reviewed the hours of operation and number of employees, noting that the Bank is considering remaining open for a few hours on Sunday.

Mr. Jirele moved to approve the conditional use application of KLS Ryan LP and Firstrust Bank, tenant, 11 Durham Road, to operate an E-4 (Financial Establishment) on the following conditions:

  1. Use shall be E-4 (Financial Establishment) containing 3,000 square feet to provide financial services.
  2. The maximum number of employees shall be 7, the average 5.
  3. The hours of operation shall be 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday; 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday.
  4. No hazardous, flammable or explosive material shall be stored or used in the building.
  5. All loading and unloading of deliveries by tractor trailers or similar size vehicles shall be at off hours between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. and no deliveries shall take place along Sycamore Street or Durham Road.
  6. No noxious or hazardous impact shall be generated on site.
  7. The applicant meets the requirements of JMZO Section 1301.B.
  8. The applicant shall be bound by the conditions of conditional use approval, variance relief and final land development approval of KLS Ryan LP which shall be made a part of this approval.
  9. The applicant shall supply a true and correct copy of the lease as a condition of the approval.
  10. Signs shall meet township sign requirements and a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be secured.
  11. The applicant/owner shall meet with the Newtown Township HARB to review the proposed exterior of the building for their comments and recommendations.
  12. No offensive odors or glares shall be generated by the use.
  13. The facility will be ADA compliant
  14. Employees will be instructed to park along western side of parking lot, near dumpsters.
  15. All review fees shall be paid as a condition of conditional use approval

Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Mr. Jirele suggested that Mrs. Goren open hearings and call for motions.

Conditional Use – AT&T Mobility (Cingular) – 3 Durham Road: Mrs. Goren asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Attorney Kelly McGowan represented the applicant. She entered as Exhibit A-1 a pamphlet describing the store floor plan.

Paul Groncki was sworn in. He said that this will be a small retail location for sale of telecommunications products and services, and is fully ADA compliant. He will generally have 4 employees at the location at any one time, but could have as many as 12 during promotional events, such as was recently held for the launch of the “I-Phone”. Such events only occur about once a year. Mr. Groncki agreed to all conditions outlined in the Planning Commission’s recommendation letter.

In response to Mr. Jirele’s request that employees park in a designated location, Mr. Groncki said that it is an AT&T policy to ask employees not to park directly in front of its stores, however he would be unwilling to make that a condition of approval. He does not want employees to be inconvenienced if they are handicapped, nor does he want employees to leave at the end of the day and walk across a dark and deserted parking area. As Mr. Jirele continued to request designated employee parking as a condition, Mr. Groncki said that his peak times are at lunch time and just after the work day, as customers stop in on their way home. Generally there are very few customers during the day, and no more than ten parking spaces would be used. Customers remain at the location a maximum of 40 minutes. He stressed that this is an outlet to provide service for existing customers.

In response to Mrs. Crescenzo’s question, Mr. Jirele said that the shopping center is required to provide 6 handicapped parking spaces, which are located throughout the center, and are not specifically assigned to each business.

Resident Mike Gallagher was sworn in. Mr. Gallagher asked whether exceptions could be made for special circumstances if an “employee parking” condition were added to approval.

Mr. Schenkman said that this is an administrative matter for the codes department, not a police matter. There is room for flexibility.

Resident John D’Aprile was sworn in. He said that stores should require that employees not park directly in front, leaving those parking spaces for customers.

Resident Jay Sensibaugh was sworn in. He said that the Board would be in violation of the ADA if handicapped employees were required to park remotely.

Mr. Calabro pointed out that handicapped people with handicapped parking permits are entitled to park in handicapped parking spaces, whether they are customers or employees.

Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the application of Cingular (ATT Mobility) for conditional use for an E-1 Retail Store, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Use shall be E-1 (Retail) containing 2,000 square feet to provide the retail sale and service of cellular phones.
  2. The maximum number of employees shall be 12, the average 4.
  3. The hours of operation shall be 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday.
  4. No hazardous, flammable or explosive material shall be stored or used in the building.
  5. All loading and unloading of deliveries by tractor trailers or similar size vehicles shall be at off hours between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. and no deliveries shall take place along Sycamore Street or Durham Road.
  6. No noxious or hazardous impact shall be generated on site.
  7. The applicant meets the requirements of JMZO Section 1301.B.
  8. The applicant shall be bound by the conditions of conditional use approval, variance relief and final land development approval of KLS Ryan LP which shall be made a part of this approval.
  9. The applicant shall supply a true and correct copy of the lease as a condition of the approval.
  10. Signs shall meet township sign requirements and a Certificate of Appropriateness shall be secured.
  11. The applicant/owner shall meet with the Newtown Township HARB to review the proposed exterior of the building for their comments and recommendations.
  12. No offensive odors or glares shall be generated by the use.
  13. That the facility be ADA compliant
  14. That all review fees are paid in full.

Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed 3-1-1, with Mr. Jirele voting nay and Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Conditional Use – Rite Aid – 1 Ice Cream Alley: Mrs. Goren asked if anyone wished to be party to this application. There was no response.

Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:

  • T-1 – The advertisement of hearing
  • T-2 – Proof of advertisement
  • T-3 – Notice to adjoining neighbors
  • T-4 – Recommendation letter of the Newtown Township Planning Commission.

Attorney Kelly McGowan represented the applicant.

Paul Newlin, regional real estate manager for Rite Aid was sworn in. Mr. Newlin said that this is a 9,970 square foot, stand-alone building with 56 parking spaces, 17 of which are near the dumpsters. Employees would be required to park in those 17 spaces. This building is smaller than the prototype Rite Aid stores; some product lines are shrunk, but services will include one-hour photo and pharmacy with one drive-through window, and sale of health and beauty and seasonal products. Rite Aid has recently acquired Eckerd Pharmacy, which will close at its location at Village at Newtown near Genuardi’s. Rite Aid will have a total of 45 employees, with 7 at the location at any one time, including 3 pharmacists. At most 8 employees will be on the premises at one time, during shift changes. The building will be ADA compliant.

Mr. Newlin said that he is concerned about restrictions placed on tractor-trailer deliveries. The location has been designed with a loading berth away from traffic. The delivery trucks would drive in from Durham Road to Ice Cream Alley, and exit by Silo Drive onto Sycamore Street. While deliveries are scheduled to comply with the early morning requirements, these trucks are making deliveries to other Rite Aid stores in the region, and it is difficult to guarantee that deliveries would arrive and depart before 8:00 AM. The trucks would not enter the parking area of the shopping center, and deliveries could be scheduled for less heavily trafficked times of day, but more flexibility is needed. He hesitates to have deliveries late at night because the trucks are large and noisy and might disturb residential neighbors. He suggested that deliveries occur 3 to 4 times per week between 10:00AM and 3:00 PM, or from 10:00PM to 11:00AM.

Mr. Beckert noted that Rite Aid’s representative at the Planning Commission had indicated that deliveries would be completed by 8:00 AM.

Mr. Newlin said that while the goal would be to complete deliveries by that time, he was asking for more flexibility.

The Board was amenable to extending delivery hours, with the understanding that this additional leeway would be for exceptional circumstances.

In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Newlin said that the new store would have more automation, making fewer employees than currently serve Eckerd necessary.

Ms. McGowan said that the landlord has indicated that he has not allocated any parking spaces to a particular tenant, nor can he designate any spaces as employee parking. It is also the applicant’s understanding that a HARB Certificate of Appropriateness in only necessary for businesses fronting on Sycamore Street.

Mr. Beckert said that all businesses in the shopping center would need certificates of appropriateness. At the Planning Commission the applicant had agreed to a façade review by HARB.

Ms. McGowan said that a HARB review of the façade is not the same as a requirement of a Certificate of Appropriateness for conditional use approval. This store does not require a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Mr. Jirele said that this is a requirement of the original land development approval, and applies to all buildings visible from Sycamore Street, not just those fronting Sycamore Street. Although the store is not in the historic district, the requirement was added because of the excessive impervious surface relief granted.

Attorney John Van Luvanee asked to speak. He represented the applicant at the land development hearing. He said that signage is not linked to conditional use, and that signage is a separate element of the approval process. He agreed that signage of Sycamore Street is subject to HARB review, but not that a Certificate of Appropriateness in needed for conditional use approval. The applicant will seek all necessary permits, but this should not be part of this approval, and approval should not be denied or delayed.

Mr. Beckert noted that the entire shopping center is one tax map parcel, and as such, fronts Sycamore Street.

Mr. Schenkman expressed concern about the applicant’s unwillingness to agree to this condition.

After some further discussion, Mr. Jirele said that there is disagreement as to what were conditions of land development approval. He suggested that the hearing be continued; meanwhile the land development documents could be reviewed.

Mr. VanLuvanee continued to request that approval be granted, repeatedly pointing out that signage is not part of the conditional use, nor had it been a condition for this business at land development. He contended that HARB’s requirements are subjective. The requirements of the sign Ordinance are objective. Conditional use approval should not require meeting subjective criteria. Rite Aid, as a National company, has certain corporate requirements for signage.

Mr. Beckert continued to maintain that a HARB Certificate of Appropriateness had been part of the original land development approval. He pointed out that the applicant has agreed to accept, and has already accepted, HARB input on facades for the Rite Aid site. He said that the Board has the right to impose the Certificate of Appropriateness as a condition of conditional use approval.

Mr. VanLuvanee continued to disagree that this had ever been a condition of land development approval. He noted that the Goodnoe’s Corner shopping center is part of the larger Village at Newtown Shopping Center, which has no such requirement for the HARB Certificate. He further maintained that signage is an issue separate from conditional use approval.

Mr. Newlin said that unless his use is approved he cannot spend money of signage.

After lengthy discussion, Mr. Beckert offered the Board three options for proceeding:

  1. Deny conditional use approval because the applicant has been unwilling to accept the condition of HARB issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness
  2. Grant approval without the condition of HARB issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness
  3. Grant approval with a condition of HARB issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness

He noted that the Board could impose a condition that an applicant is not amenable to. The applicant has the option of appealing to the Court of Common Pleas. He noted that this applicant had been aggressively developing this property, sometimes proceeding at his own risk, without all permits and approvals in place.

After some further discussion with the Board, Mr. VanLuvanee requested that this application be tabled in the hope that some research and further informal discussion with the Board might resolve the issue.

Mr. Schenkman moved to continue the conditional use hearing of Rite Aid, 1 Ice Cream Alley, to August 8, 2007. Mr. Jirele seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo objected to the possibility of this applicant holding private conversations to resolve the question of whether a Certificate of Appropriateness is required. This is a condition that the Board has imposed on other applicants. She also took issue with the characterization of HARB as “subjective”.

Mr. Ciervo was sworn in. He said that the land development approval of this project went very quickly, with a number of concessions made and relief granted for parking and impervious surface. He supported the Board’s requirement of a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Mr. D’Aprile was sworn in. He also took issue with the characterization of HARB as “subjective”.

Resident Ethel Hibbs was sworn in. Mrs. Hibbs reported that HARB would not hold a meeting before the next Board of Supervisors meeting. At the previous HARB meeting, Rite Aid representatives discussed the façade of the building, and signage for the entire shopping center was discussed. These discussions went very well, with HARB recommending approval of the monument signs for the center.

Mr. Calabro said that the Board is elected by the residents to represent their interests. It is the Board’s obligation to see that the residents are happy.

The motion passed 4-0-1 with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Mr. Weaver moved to close the conditional use hearings. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Reports of Officials

Chairman: Mrs. Goren reported that the Board of Supervisors will cancel its regular meetings of July 25 and August 26. The work sessions scheduled for July 16 and August 13 will take place.

The Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation has two openings on its board. Any interested residents can contact Mr. Boyle either by telephone at 215-968-2800 or via e-mail through the Township’s Web site.

Members: Mr. Schenkman provided a written report to the Board on the recent League of Cities and Municipalities convention that he had attended.

Manager: Mr. Boyle announced that there is to be an open house on the Swamp Road Improvement Project on August 7, 2007 at 6:00PM until 9:00PM at Bucks County Community College. This information is posted on the Township Web site.

Solicitor’s Report:

JMZO 2006-20 QA-QA-A: Mr. Beckert explained that this proposed amendment would rezone a portion of the quarry district in Wrightstown Township to permit the sale of consumer fireworks. This amendment is being recommended to avoid a challenge to the Ordinance, since there is no area within the Jointure where fireworks sales are permitted. This amendment is very restrictive, and permits only consumer fireworks, no explosives; there are substantial safeguards as part of the conditional use procedure. There has been a request for fireworks sales in a tent in Newtown Township.

Mr. Weaver moved to adopt JMZO 2006-20 QA-QA-A, consumer fireworks ordinance. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

JMZO 2007-01: Mr. Beckert explained that this is a technical amendment recommended by the Bucks County Planning Commission. It provides for residential standards in the QA zoning district in Wrightstown.

Mr. Weaver moved to adopt JMZO 2007-01. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

JMZO 2006-06 – Wineries: Mr. Beckert explained that this amendment has incorporated all of Newtown Township’s recommendations. It has no impact on existing wineries.

Mr. Weaver moved to adopt JMZO 2006-06, Wineries. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Township Ordinance Amending Schedule of Fees and Charges: Mr. Weaver moved to adopt the Township Ordinance amending the schedule of fees and charges. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Termination of Lease with Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation (JDNC): Mr. Beckert explained that the lease in place between the Township and JDNC on the Clark house is rented on a year-to-year basis. If the Board were to wish to terminate the lease in order to provide a home for the AARK Foundation, notice would have to be given by July 31, 2007.

Mr. Schenkman moved to terminate the lease between Newtown Township and JDNC on the Clark house. Mr. Calabro seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman said that he has submitted an application to the “Extreme Makeover” television show, in hopes of renovating the Clark house and property to accommodate the AARK Foundation, whose lease on Archdiocese property within the Township has been terminated. He has discussed this with the current tenant of the house, indicating that the lease would be continued on a month-to-month basis unless or until an agreement is in place with the AARK Foundation.

Mr. Jirele said that he would prefer postponing any action until the JDNC Board has been notified of this Board’s intention.

Mr. Calabro said that he is on the JDNC Board, and would discuss this with the members at the next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, July 12, 2007.

Mrs. Goren expressed some concern about voting during a work session if the vote were tabled until next Monday.

Mr. Jirele pointed out that the Board’s intention has been discussed in a televised meeting and an agenda will be published. Interested residents can attend the work session.

Mrs. Crescenzo asked that the vote be postponed until JDNC has been notified. She asked that the work session be televised, since two regular meetings have been cancelled.

Mr. Schenkman withdrew his motion, and Mr. Calabro withdrew his second.

Zoning Hearing Board Applications: Mr. Beckert reviewed two residential Zoning Hearing Board applications. The Board had no comment.

Mr. Beckert reviewed the application of KLS Ryan, Goodnoe Corner for sign variances.

John Van Luvanee, representing the applicant, and Mr. Crawford, a sign consultant, presented color designs of the proposed signs. Mr. VanLuvanee explained that the applicant is trying to have a uniform appearance for the entire shopping center. The two monument signs have been approved by HARB. The total height is 15.9 feet, where the maximum allowed is 6 feet. Mr. Crawford said that the height is to the top of the lantern on top of the sign; the height of the top cross bar is 10 feet 4 inches. These monument signs are to be located at Durham Road/Ice Cream Alley, and Silo Drive near Sycamore Street. The height is needed so that the sign is visible behind the steps of the corner building which will be the Irish Pub.

Mr. McGrath, Mr. Crawford and Mr. VanLuvanee began to review the signage for the Irish Pub. This location is to have different signage, including one vertical sign along the side of the building. The signs for this business have not yet been designed.

The Board was reluctant to take a position on the pub signs until they can be seen. They asked that the pub signs be removed from the Zoning Hearing Board application.

Mr. McGrath explained that the additional 2 square foot signs being requested are for pedestrians. They will stand out from the buildings, where they can be seen by people walking along the street. Signs that will go across the front of the buildings would have to be higher than the Ordinance permits or they would block the windows, as the buildings are taller than 9 feet.

After further discussion with the applicant the Board agreed to the following positions regarding the Zoning Hearing Board application:

  • Support the request for two monument signs, one at Durham Road and Ice Cream Alley, one on Silo Drive near Sycamore Street, each with a height of 15.9 feet
  • Support the request for individual establishment signs mounted on buildings at a height greater than 9 feet
  • Support the request for two façade signs one on street side and one on parking lot side, plus two, two-square foot pedestrian signs for each establishment, one on the street side, one on the parking lot side
  • Support an amended application for individual tenant signs 2 feet in height and 16 feet in length, with 15 inch lettering
  • Support the request for two Firstrust signs, measuring slightly less than 3 feet in height and 21 feet in length, provided that they are not internally lighted. An ATM sign will comply with the Ordinance
  • Support an amended application that removes the Irish Pub signs from consideration

Mr. Jirele moved to send the Solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board to convey the Board of Supervisors’ support for the KLS Ryan application for variance relief, subject to these conditions. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Mr. Beckert announced that there would be a need for an executive session to discuss matters of personnel.

Engineer’s Report: Mr. Weaver moved to authorize signing of Mylars for Village at Newtown South. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Weaver moved to authorize revised escrow release #2, totaling $122,189.36 for Goodnoe’s Corner. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.

Mr. Weaver moved to authorize revised escrow release #1 totaling $205,222.50 for Newtown Walk. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment: Mrs. Hibbs said that HARB Certificates of Appropriateness for Rouget and the Goodnoe monument signs should be available for the Supervisors at the August 8, 2007 meeting. There has been a change in color for a sign at the old St. Andrew’s convent. The new colors are similar to those already considered. That Certificate should also be available for the August 8 meeting.

Mrs. Crescenzo again asked that the work session of Monday, July 16 be televised.

Mr. Jirele said that the contract calls for two meetings per month to be televised. There should not be an additional charge for the work session, since the second regular July meeting has been cancelled.

The meeting adjourned at 1:30 AM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:
John Boyle, Acting Township Manager

Anne Goren, Chairman

Phillip Calabro, Vice-Chairman

Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer

Thomas Jirele, Member

Richard Weaver, Member