Board of Supervisors
Minutes of September 26, 2007
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 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, James Watson, Township Engineer and John Boyle, Acting Township Manager.
Call to Order: Chairman Anne Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
Invocation: The invocation was given by Reverend David Cramp of Newtown United Methodist Church. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Boyle announced that the Park and Recreation Board report is removed from the agenda, and an additional item, Stuckley vs. Newtown Township, has been added to the Solicitor’s report.
Discussion of Regional Traffic Issues and Projects: Mrs. Goren introduced Township Traffic Engineer Matthew Johnston, to give a presentation of regional traffic issues followed by public comment. She said that she would allow one hour for this discussion and comment. Unfortunately, the representative from PennDOT who was to have spoken about the Swamp Road project is unable to attend this evening’s meeting.
Jerry Coyle of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission was introduced by Mr. Johnston. Mr. Coyne reviewed the study conducted by a regional traffic task force formed in 2004 by State Representative David Steil and elected representatives of seven municipalities. The study focused on mobility, traffic safety and truck movement. Mr. Coyne referred to maps that identified 16 key roadways. The task force focused on assessment of the roadways, conducting research into safety and operating conditions, looking into opportunities for traffic calming. PennDOT and the Bucks County Planning Commission played an active role in the task force, integrating four ongoing projects into the task force’s work:
The task force held 11 meetings and 3 public meetings. Quarry truck traffic was discussed. Investigation into possible use of rail lines for shipment of quarry materials was conducted. At open house meetings public input focused on quarry truck traffic and quality of life issues. Suggested methods of improvement included maintenance, signal timing, pavement marking, geometric improvements and highway lighting improvements.
Eight roadway segments were identified for traffic calming, six of which require further documentation. Stoopville Road will receive traffic calming, including raised medians and additional crosswalks on a one to three year timetable. Lindenhurst Road’s traffic calming is being implemented now.
The task force will focus on education, communication and enforcement. Enforcement is the most effective way to control unsafe driving. On October 29, 2007 a regional traffic open house will be held at Northampton Township. Information on the meeting can be found at http://www.dvrpc.org/BCRTS/meetings.htm. There is a link on the Township Web site.
Eric Kaufman of Gilmore & Associates discussed the traffic calming recommended based on a study of Stoopville Road, as requested by the Township. The results of the study have been presented to the Township Supervisors and submitted as a concept plan to PennDOT. Among the suggested traffic calming devices are a gateway treatment and crosswalk at Rosefield development’s entrance, including a median in the road, a landscape median at Linton Hill Chase’s entrance and a crosswalk at Eagle Road. Five locations were identified for possible location of roundabouts:
Gilmore & Associates is not recommending that five roundabouts be installed, but is recommending locations where installation would be feasible.
Mr. Johnston said that PennDOT had presented ideas to address needed improvements at Swamp Road to improve safety and drainage problems. After PennDOT’s initial presentation, there was a great deal of feedback from residents. The plans have been revised, reducing lane size to 11 feet with 5 foot shoulders, a second traffic signal at the Community College has been eliminated, and an eastbound climbing lane has been eliminated. PennDOT plans to install tow right turn lanes at Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass in 2008.
Mrs. Goren announced that, because a large number of residents have attended the meeting to speak about Swamp Road, public comment on this issue would be heard beyond the time initially allotted.
Resident George van der Horn said that the report of the traffic study does not properly represent the desires of the residents who live in the Swamp Road area. Residents were not represented at the traffic meetings. Attention seemed too focused on the Stoopville Road and Lindenhurst Road traffic calming. The traffic study report only references the “Swamp Road Reconstruction” but does not offer any specifics. He asked that time be given to the residents to have input into the regional traffic study. He strongly suggested reclassification of Swamp Road from an arterial to a collector road.
Mr. Schenkman said that he has requested a 45 day extension, but that has not been granted; it has been indicated that comments made at the October 29, 2007 meeting would be included. He has asked Mr. Johnston to incorporate the public input, including the reclassification of Swamp Road into the regional traffic study. He agreed to keep the public informed on the regional traffic task force.
In response to Mrs. Goren’s question, Mr. Coyne said that Swamp Road cannot be treated differently in Newtown if it is an arterial roadway with a posted speed limit of 40 MPH or greater and/or if it does not go through a commercial district. The Community College is not considered a commercial district. Any request for reclassification would have to be approved by the State.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh presented some written suggested alternatives to the roundabouts proposed by Gilmore & Associates to the Board. He also suggested that a vote on the regional traffic task force study be deferred from October 29, 2007 until there has been time for residents and inter-municipal officials to have input. Regarding Swamp Road, he said that traffic calming has not been adequately considered because of its classification as an arterial roadway; it should be designated a collector road. A reclassification would preserve the rural nature of the region.
Mrs. Goren asked Mr. Johnston to take a copy of Mr. Sensibaugh’s written material for review.
Resident Nancy Crescenzo said that discussion of Swamp Road and of quarry traffic should include Wrightstown’s residents and officials. She urged the Board to strengthen the jointure or there could be quarries in Newtown. Regarding traffic calming on Stoopville Road, she urged the Board to work with the police department on enforcement. She also suggested that a traffic advisory committee, made up of residents, be formed, rather than including traffic issues in the Planning Commission’s duties.
Resident Eleanor Lyons urged the Board to institute traffic calming on Swamp Road. She suggested that rather than widening the road, lower the speed limit, address drainage problems and install additional stop signs and pedestrian and horse crosswalks. She suggested an additional entrance to the Community College, and the removal of a Swamp Road reconstruction from the regional traffic task force study. She said that quarry truck traffic is not evenly distributed.
Resident Moe Sood and Mickey Dalsh of Wrightstown presented petitions with over 300 signatures from Newtown and Wrightstown residents asking for traffic calming rather than expanding Swamp Road. Mr. Sood noted that he had requested that some bushes at the Community College be trimmed, and this request had been addressed, improving sight distances greatly. He said that the enrollment at the College has grown tremendously, and it causes some traffic difficulties at two different times of the day, for a very short while. He suggested that an additional entrance to the College would alleviate this traffic congestion.
Resident Fred Olweiner of Sawmill Lane thanked the Board for increased police presence in his neighborhood enforcing truck speeds. He questioned why Stoopville is being considered for narrowing for traffic calming but Swamp Road is being proposed for widening.
Mr. Kaufman explained that PennDOT must follow its own guidelines. The Stoopville Road and Lindenhurst Road projects are not PennDOT projects. PennDOT’s job is to keep traffic moving; the road widening is to provide for vehicles to pull off of the roadway in the event of a breakdown.
Mr. Johnston explained that PennDOT might not follow its own guidelines in certain circumstances, such as if doing so were cost prohibitive or if it involved preservation of a historic structure. In response to Mr. Jirele’s suggestion, Mr. Johnston agreed to research exceptions granted in Bucks County.
Resident Dennis Fisher said that residents would like the Swamp Road reconstruction project deleted from the regional traffic task force report. Residents would like more consideration given to preservation of open space and avoidance of expansion of traffic corridors. He supports the reclassification of Swamp Road as a collector road.
Resident John D’Aprile said that as a resident of Newtown Grant, he is opposed to installation of roundabouts on Stoopville Road. He said that roads must be improved as the area grows and becomes more densely populated. He does not think it is right to tell truck drivers what roads they can take, but would like to see improvement of all roads in Newtown.
Resident Mike Gallagher said that our State representatives should be told how the residents feel about this traffic task force study. He asked which roundabouts are being considered.
Mrs. Goren said that the five locations mentioned are locations where roundabouts would fit.
Mr. Schenkman noted that there is not consensus among Board members in support of the use of roundabouts.
Resident Robert Ciervo said that the intersection of Twining Bridge Road and Swamp Road is very dangerous and should be the first issue addressed when considering improvements. Placing a three-way stop sign at that intersection would make an immediate difference. He also noted that no residents who live near Stoopville Road support roundabouts and all would like reference to them removed from the regional task force study. The only place where a roundabout or traffic circle might be helpful is at the intersection with Washington Crossing Road, which is in Lower Makefield.
Steve Santarsiero, Lower Makefield Township Supervisor, said that he has served on the regional traffic task force. The goal of the task force is the safety of all residents. He agreed that roundabouts on Stoopville Road might not be the best solution. There is some concern about the realigning of Stoopville Road with Washington Crossing Road, creating an expressway, which would have an environmental impact. He would support the reclassification of Swamp Road as a collector road. He said that he is aware that Newtown Borough and Yardley Borough have also requested an extension on the comment period. He would urge DVRPC to grant extensions.
Sue Herman, Lower Makefield Township resident, said that DVRPC has not gotten enough input from residents. She said that she opposes a roundabout at Washington Crossing Road and Stoopville Road and is opposed to any realignment of Stoopville Road. She is opposed to the regional traffic task force study being accepted.
Paul Salvatore of Newtown Borough said that there has been a large increase in car traffic on the regional roadways. There should be better police enforcement and traffic calming for cars as well as for trucks. He said that the different communities should share the traffic burden, rather than address issues on one road, so that other roads become overburdened.
Resident John Solito, president of Nob Hill Homeowners Association, said that Nob Hill residents are not trying to move truck traffic off of Swamp Road; but want all roads to share the burden. There has been an increase in truck traffic in the past year. Swamp Road should be able to take advantage of the same traffic calming measures as are being put into place on Lindenhurst Road.
Mr. Sood urged that Swamp Road reconstruction be removed from the regional traffic task force study.
Mr. Coyne said that the DVRPC recognizes that there are issues with Stoopville Road at Washington Crossing Road. The report tries to address these issues. The report deals in ideas only; it is an opportunity for people to discuss possible solutions to problems of safety and mobility.
Mr. van der Horn asked the Board to pass a resolution to make Newtown’s position clear to PennDOT.
Board members agreed that residents’ concerns must be brought to the regional traffic task force. The regional traffic task force study will not be approved until Newtown’s concerns are included. Of prime concerns are the safety of residents and the even distribution of traffic. Lindenhurst and Swamp Roads should be treated the same.
Because of the large number of residents in attendance to discuss the re-opening of Upper Silver Lake Road, Mrs. Goren announced that this item would be discussed before other agenda items.
Resolution regarding the opening of a portion of Upper Silver Lake Road presently closed to all but emergency vehicles: Mr. Beckert reported that a portion of Upper Silver Lake Road has been closed for a number of years. The Township never took official steps regarding an Ordinance and the procedures required to vacate a portion of Upper Silver Lake Road, which is a public street. The action that had been taken was part of the land development and conditional use approval of Wilshire Walk, which provided that the road would not be vacated in that it was still available for emergency vehicles only and further provided that the maintenance responsibility for the area that was closed to all but emergency vehicles would be the responsibility of Wilshire Walk Homeowners Association. The developer of the Villas agreed as part of final land development approval that if the Township directed, it would improve the road to Township standards. The Township Traffic Engineer was directed to determine whether the reopening of that portion of Upper Silver Lake Road to the general public would be warranted and has issued a report recommending that the road be reopened to all travel.
A resolution directing the developer to perform the necessary work to have the road improved to meet Township requirements, certified by the Township Engineer, after which the Township would remove signage and open the road to the general public and absolve Wilshire Walk Homeowners Association of any further responsibility for maintenance, has been drafted.
Mr. Schenkman moved to adopt a resolution regarding the opening of a portion of Upper Silver Lake Road currently closed to all but emergency vehicles. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman asked whether any traffic calming measures would be incorporated into the resolution.
Mr. Beckert referred to the paragraph in the proposed resolution dealing with Township standards.
Mr. Schenkman said that the reopening would be a benefit to the traveling public.
Mr. Jirele disagreed, noting a sharp, greater than 90°, turn on a very narrow street. He questioned the need to reopen the road. He asked whether the Traffic Engineer had suggested any restrictions on two-way traffic, or whether he had investigated accidents at this location. He had some concerns about the safety of the road.
Mrs. Goren said that there have been requests for the reopening from numerous residents of Kirkwood, Wilshire Walk and the Reserve. They have cited the condition of disrepair making it no longer accessible even for emergency vehicles.
Mr. Johnston said that he had not investigated the accident history. He did not find the road to be unsafe, and he said that there are ways to insure safety on an open road, rather than closing it.
Mr. Jirele continued to object, noting that the closed road is a very small inconvenience to some residents, but if opened would be a very dangerous road. He said that Penns Trail had been extended north to accommodate traffic that would have used Upper Silver Lake Road.
Mrs. Goren said that the road had been closed at the time that the Brandywine office complex had been planned, to eliminate some business traffic, but the road had never been properly vacated. She also expressed concern that emergency responders from other municipalities have been unaware that the road is closed, causing delays. She had not spoken directly to these emergency responders, but had heard the stories anecdotally.
Mr. Jirele expressed some concern that the reopening had not been properly thought out. He asked for additional information on accidents and safety.
Mr. Weaver agreed that he would want more information on safety before proceeding.
Mr. Jirele said that it would also be important to research what work would need to be done to improve the road to meet Township standards, and whether the developer is in agreement to assume the costs for those improvements.
Resident Barry Hurtzburg, representing Kirkwood Homeowners Association said that his development had been excluded from discussion of the closing of the road, which had been the only access point to 186 homes. Currently the road is filled with debris and not accessible to emergency vehicles. Because the road is not officially closed, it appears on maps and GPS systems, causing confusion. This needs to be addressed.
Mrs. Crescenzo questioned the reason this item was on this evening’s agenda, when not all necessary information has been made available.
Mrs. Goren said that she asked that it be included on the agenda because the legality of the road closing must be addressed, and because there had been requests from numerous residents.
Mr. Beckert explained that there is a formal procedure by which roads are closed, and this had never been done for Upper Silver Lake Road. Something must be done. There are three options:
In response to some public comment, Mr. Jirele said that all of these options should be further investigated. He noted that there are other options for emergency access.
Resident Walter Scott of Upper Silver Lake Road said that the road does appear as closed on GPS systems, and directions show how to go through his neighborhood to avoid the closed road. He said that the angle of the road is greater than 90°.
Resident Joan Biaocchi of 109 Upper Silver Lake Road said that she had previously lived in Kirkwood, and feels that rushing into the reopening of the road is creating animosity among the neighborhoods. It had been her understanding that the road had been closed for safety reasons. At meetings about the Villas there had been some discussion of reopening the road, but she is opposed to this plan because it will increase the incidence of graffiti and underage alcohol and drug use. She objected to the reason for reopening it for emergency access because there is access through Penns Trail.
Mr. Beckert explained that a road cannot be closed as a condition of land development, but must go through certain legal procedures.
Mrs. Goren advocated opening the road by a resolution to remedy the current illegal status of the road. Once opened the Board can investigate whether to permanently close it or address traffic concerns with other measures.
Ms. Biaocchi strongly advocated permanently closing the road. She said that there would be a traffic impact on the community if the road were opened; many of the neighborhood driveways would then enter onto a main thoroughfare. It would be dangerous for children living in the area, as there are no sidewalks.
Resident Elizabeth Bye of Old Frost Lane asked whether the Board had investigated accident reports for that road when it was open. She said that there are no concerns among neighbors about the emergency access; emergency workers are all aware of the closure. There are a number of emergency responders living in the neighborhood. She expressed serious concern for safety of children, bicyclists and motorists on this narrow road.
Resident Sue Iazetti of 107 Upper Silver Lake Road said that she had been promised by Mrs. Goren that she would be notified if this issue were ever to come before the Board of Supervisors.
Mrs. Goren said that the agenda had been advertised and this matter had previously been discussed at a work session. Many residents have requested that the road be reopened.
Mrs. Iazetti said that she is opposed to reopening the road for safety reasons. There had been serious accidents in front of her home. She felt that the Board is rushing into a decision without properly investigating the conditions.
Resident Lawrence Hayner of 43 Vera Avenue urged the Board to leave Upper Silver Lake closed because it is too narrow and has a very sharp right turn. Emergency vehicles have access through Penns Trail.
Resident Linda Scott of 125 Upper Silver Lake Road said that the road had been closed for safety reasons. She felt that the neighbors had not been treated respectfully, in that they had not been notified that this matter would be discussed. She asked that the Board further research the options before making a decision, and that Mr. Schenkman, as a resident of Kirkwood, abstain from voting. She felt that she and her neighbors have lived with the great inconvenience of surrounding construction for a long time and that residents of this neighborhood need to be treated fairly. She questioned the reason that some neighbors have been notified by mail on small matters, but this did not require notification.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the laws regarding notification of Zoning Hearing Board applications. No notification is required by law for this matter.
Mr. Schenkman said that he was unaware of many of the issues brought up by the residents and would support further investigation. His only concern is the Township’s liability with the road in its present condition. He agreed with Mr. Jirele that additional information is needed before an informed decision could be made.
Mr. Schenkman withdrew his motion. Mr. Calabro withdrew is second.
Mr. Weaver moved to table discussion of the resolution to open Upper Silver Lake Road until additional information has been presented. Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Weaver and Mr. Jirele asked the Township Manager to provide information on emergency access, including information on whether emergency responders from neighboring municipalities are aware of the current road conditions, costs of improvements needed to meet Township standards and whether McGrath developers are agreeable to those costs, what traffic calming might be needed to make the road safe, input from the Planning Commission, and reports on accidents prior to the closing of the road.
Dr. Ciervo agreed that the matter should be tabled, but that the road should ultimately remain closed. He also urged the Board to keep residents informed of matters that affect their neighborhoods.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Salvatore announced Newtown Rotary’s upcoming Pedals for Progress, which will collect used bicycles to be shipped to third world countries. Collection will take place on the morning of November 3 at the old St. Andrew’s Preschool on Sycamore Street. Rotary is asking for a $10 donation to cover costs of repairs and shipping. Rotary will be donating a dictionary to every third grade student in Council Rock School District. Rotary is also participating in a fundraising coupon book being sold by Council Rock North’s choir to raise money for a trip to China. The book will offer coupons for local businesses.
Mr. Salvatore announced that the Newtown Business and Professional Association will hold a Business Expo on October 10 at the NAC. It is hosting a golf outing on September 27 at Makefield Country Club. Its monthly breakfast will be at Chandler Hall on October 23. NBPA is sponsoring a fundraising “sing” at St. Mark’s Church featuring choirs on October 27.
Mrs. Crescenzo urged the Board to form a residents’ traffic advisory committee rather than leaving traffic matters to the Planning Commission. She complained that some members of the Planning Commission have had intermittent attendance. She asked the Board to re-evaluate whether members should continue to serve on committees if they are not attending meetings regularly.
Mrs. Goren reported that the Board had met in executive session prior to the start of this evening’s meeting to discuss matters of personnel and litigation.
Minutes Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of September 5, 2007. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 3-0-2, with Messrs. Schenkman and Jirele abstaining.
Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $376,190.53. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $169,083.90. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Committees Boards and Commissions
Planning Commission: Chairman Shawn Ward reported that at the Planning Commission meeting of September 18, 2007, the Planning Commission reviewed and recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the Preliminary/Final Plan for the portion of the Melsky tract in Newtown Township for 45 homes, with 45 homes on the Upper Makefield portion, all taking access from Stoopville Road, with conditions. Among the conditions recommended are that the Board consider requiring curbs and gutters, or if Belgian blocks are used, that the streets remain private; that if Federal money is made available for Stoopville Road improvements, and traffic impact fees are not collected from Toll Brothers, that portion of the federal money equal to the Newtown Township portion of traffic impact fees be considered for Township use where needed anywhere within the Township; that inside the development three-way stop signs be used at intersections with less than 100 foot tangent approaches to the intersections; and that street lights be installed at the entrances and at the internal intersections, only.
The Commission reviewed and recommended that the Board approve Johnson Kendall Johnson’s preliminary/final plan for adaptive reuse of an 11,827 square foot building, with a proposed future addition of 7,500 square feet for D-1 office use, at 109 Pheasant Run, with conditions.
The Commission reviewed and recommended that the Board grant final land development approval NAC 209 Penns Trail, with conditions.
The Commission discussed the conditional use application of Newtown Irish Pub at length, and with Chairman Ward recusing himself from discussion, recommended that the applicant consider revisions to the application to address hours of operation and number of seats and parking concerns. The applicant agreed to return for the October 2, 2007 meeting, for further review. Members of the Commission agreed that the proposed uses are E-5 and E-6, eating place, with alcohol sales incidental to food sales/restaurant, and that an E-17 Special Exception would not be needed.
The Commission reviewed the Zoning Hearing Board application of Kieffer & Company/Petsmart and would like to point out that throughout the Township, shopping center anchor stores have been permitted larger signs, and there was no objection to Petsmart having a larger sign, especially since the building location is set back from the road, however there was some concern about three signs for the one business at this location. On the Newtown Irish Pub, Commission members agreed that the proposed use is E-5 and E-6 – eating place, with alcohol sales incidental to food sales. There are no E-17 tavern uses in the Township, and the proposed use resembles other restaurants, such as Applebee’s, an E-5 use.
The Commission passed the other four Zoning Hearing Board applications without comment.
Historic Architectural Review Board: Chairman Harriet Beckert said that the HARB had agreed to recommend approval of signage for Rockfactory, but is suggesting an index sign, placed to screen the existing PECO box. HARB would suggest two signs on either side of the PECO box.
Business owner Peter Baldes said that he was not aware that the sign was not permitted. He is not sure that the index sign would help his business. In response to questions from the Board he said that there are 5 other businesses is his location.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage over door for Rockfactory Ltd., 3 Cambridge Lane . Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to deny a certificate of appropriateness for Rockfactory Ltd., 3 Cambridge Lane, for a sign on Sycamore Street, subject to the condition that 2 group signs be allowed near the PECO box. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Jim Salamone of Cambridge Sound Studios indicated that he would be willing to participate in a group index sign, but asked who would organize the effort.
Mr. Weaver said that the Codes Department would work with tenants.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for a wall sign for Cambridge Sound Studios, 1 Cambridge Lane. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to approved a certificate of appropriateness for Rite Aid, 1 Ice Cream Alley for the façade. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Weaver moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for Jules Thin Crust Pizza, 300 North Sycamore Street. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for Taste of Philly Hand Twisted Pretzels, 250 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for Cosi Café, 280 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for First Trust Bank, 11 Durham Road subject to the condition that lights on signs other than the ATM lights would be turned off from 10:00PM to 6:00AM.. Mr. Weaver seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Beckert explained that the signs would be back lit. The ATM drive through signs would have gooseneck lighting. The ATM sign would remain lighted at all times.
Mr. Beckert said that a condition on timing of lights had not been part of the Zoning Hearing Board decision.
The motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for The Carriage House, 221 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for Lang Ski and Scuba, 107-109 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Brian Rounsaville of the Newtown Historic Association showed a sample of the historic marker signage to be placed at various locations throughout the Township and Borough. He thanked the Township Public Works Department, which has installed the stanchions for the signs. A history detective badge program is being initiated for children who visit the various signs.
Mr. Jirele moved to approve a certificate of appropriateness for signage for historic markers at various locations. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Conditional Use – Newtown Irish Pub, 240 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Weaver moved to continue the conditional use hearing of Newtown Irish Pub to October 10, 2007. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Conditional Use - Bucks County Creamery and Confections, 254 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:
Attorney Michael Carr represented the applicants.
Christopher Faschetti and Vincent Marinelli were sworn in.
Mr. Carr said that this is an application for an E-6 Eating Place occupying 1200 square feet in building 2B of Goodnoe’s Corner Shopping Center. The shop will have 24 seats and 2 to 3 employees. The applicants agree to all conditions of the recommendation of the Planning Commission. Mr. Carr entered the following exhibits:
In response to Mr. Beckert’s question, Mr. Marinelli said that there is to be common seating on an upstairs deck. These seats are not included in the 24 seats.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Mr. Marinelli said that there would be no outdoor music. The outdoor seating is not part of his plan, as it is shared common seating with the entire shopping center. He is not sure of the exact number of common seats. He estimated that there would be four tables inside the ice cream shop and possibly four tables upstairs. As part of his lease agreement, he will clean the upstairs deck. There are no dedicated parking spaces and no drive-up window. He would agree to a condition of designating parking spaces for take-out, but had not planned on it. The business name has been changed to “Sweet Pea Creams and Confections”.
In response to comments from Mr. Beckert, Mr. Carr said that his firm represents the landlord, who would be agreeable to certain designated 10 minute take-out parking spaces for the shopping center if that were required.
Mr. Schenkman said that he finds that difficult to enforce, and would rather enforce fire lane restrictions.
In response to further questions from Mr. Jirele, Mr. Marinelli said that ice cream would be made on the premises. There would be a maximum of 3 employees. He expects to need about 12 parking spaces, with peak hours between 6:00PM and 10:00PM weekdays and weekends.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that the shared parking plan presented by the shopping center owner is inconsistent with the numbers Mr. Marinelli has estimated. She asked about handicapped elevators to the upstairs deck.
Mr. Jirele said that the restaurant designated a fast food restaurant and is ADA compliant.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant conditional use approval to KLS Ryan LP and Bucks County Creamery Newtown, tenant, 254 North Sycamore Street, to operate an E-6 ( Eating Place/Drive In Use) on the following conditions:
Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Weaver moved to close the conditional use hearing. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Officials
Manager: Mr. Boyle read the following statement into the record:
“Mockenhaupt Associates has provided the 2008 Minimum Municipal Obligation 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, 2007.
Financial requirement and the 2008 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Newtown Township Police Pension Plan will be $488,207.
Financial requirement and the 2008 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Newtown Township Firefighters Pension Plan will be $105,271.
Financial requirement and the 2008 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Newtown Township Non-uniformed Employees’ Pension Plan will be $257,179.”
Bid Award – Infield Rebuild – Field #4 – Helen Randle Park: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the bid of Superior Turf & Landscaping for rebuilding of field #4 at Helen Randle Park in the amount of $23,931.24. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance revising the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance relating to the requirement to provide historic resources impact study. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of JMZO 2007-04, rezoning 37 acres of the Woll Tract from POS to EIR. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Jirele voting nay.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance amending Newtown Township’s Traffic Ordinance to provide a four-way stop sign at North Drive and Sequoia Drive. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Watson said that a blinking light could be used to alert motorists of the new sign. If the lights bother nearby residents, signage alerting to a stop sign ahead could be used. These devices could remain in place for up to one year.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Beckert informed the Board that the sellers of the Acme site, Elliott Builders, are in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. To effectuate purchase of the property, a motion would be needed to enter into an agreement to purchase. Such agreement would be subject to the Bankruptcy Court approval.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize Newtown Township officials to execute and agreement to take all steps necessary to effectuate purchase of the Acme site. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mrs. Crescenzo reviewed the history of the Acme site, noting that a committee of residents had recommended that the site be used for a community center. She said that the Township should not purchase the property, but should allow the current owners to sell it. She continued to request a community center.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the following Zoning Hearing Board applications:
The Board passed on these applications without comment.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the application of Newtown Irish Pub, noting that the applicant has applied for a special exception for an E-17 tavern use. The planning Commission and the Zoning Officer reviewed this application and felt that the proposed use was an E-5 eating place, and that E-17 use approval is not needed, as the sale of alcohol is incidental to the sale of food. At this point, the application still appears on the Zoning Hearing Board agenda.
Mr. Jirele moved to oppose this application, pending the conditional use hearing. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Mr. Fisher said that the Planning Commission had asked this applicant to return with additional information before a recommendation would be made.
The motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the Kieffer & Company/Petsmart application.
Mr. Jirele said that he would like this applicant to come to a work session to discuss the proposed signage, or if not, to send the solicitor to oppose the application.
Mrs. Goren said that she is not opposed to the signage if it is similar to that of the Petsmart at Oxford Valley Road. This store is set back from Eagle Road, so should be given some additional consideration.
Mr. Schenkman agreed that the applicant should be invited to a work session to discuss the signage.
Mr. Jirele moved to invite the applicant to a work session to discuss the signage, or if not, to send the solicitor to oppose the application. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Fisher said that the Planning Commission questioned the need for three outdoor signs, when there is only one entrance to the store, but did not object to the larger sign for the anchor store in the shopping center.
The motion passed 4-1, with Mrs. Goren voting nay.
Mr. Beckert informed the Board that Carol Stuckley, along with other parties who had joined the Holt validity challenge before the Zoning Hearing Board has filed an action in mandamus in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. Joined as defendants are Newtown Township, Upper Makefield Township and Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Jirele moved to authorize the solicitor to defend the position of the Township. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Engineer’s Report: Mr. Jirele moved to authorize signing of Mylars for Lang Ski and Scuba 107-109 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize escrow release for Newtown Walk in the amount of $179,794.62. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for the Villas in the amount of $182,579.05. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Blacksmith 161 in the amount of $43,880.47. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Delancey Court in the amount of $150,463.80. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Public Comment: Mrs. Crescenzo asked the Board to address attendance at meetings by Planning Commission members.
Mr. Jirele said that this is a matter for discussion at executive session.
Mrs. Crescenzo asked whether the Board would be appointing two new members to the Environmental Advisory Council.
Mr. Schenkman said that there have been no applicants for the opening. He suggested that the opening be placed on the Township Web site.
In response to Mrs. Crescenzo’s request that a residents’ traffic advisory committee be formed, Mr. Schenkman said he would prefer to discuss this at a work session.
Mr. Jirele said that he is not sure that a committee is necessary, but perhaps a change in the current method of addressing traffic concerns should be investigated.
Without objection the meeting adjourned at 2:05 AM.