Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of October 15, 2007

 

Members Present: Anne Goren, Chairman; Philip Calabro, Vice Chairman; Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer; Richard Weaver, Member; Tom Jirele, Member; Paul Beckert, Solicitor; John Boyle, Acting Township Manager and Matthew Johnston, Engineer.

Also Present: H. Joseph Phillips, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; James M. Linske, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Theresa Katalinas, Bucks County Courier Times; Dave Sanders; Various Newtown residents including Nickki Parlet, John Sties, Nancy Crescenzo, Jay Sensibaugh, Jen Dix, John D’Aprile, Dennis Fisher, Nancy Yasalonis, Ethel Hibbs and Mike Gallagher.

Call to Order: Chairman Goren called the meeting to order at 8:13 P.M.

Chairman Goren advised that prior to calling tonight’s meeting to order the Board of Supervisors met in Executive Session to discuss matters of personnel, land acquisition and litigation. She also advised that the Board will be voting to retain Joe Czajkowski as the Township Manager at the next meeting on October 24, 2007, he will start in that position on December 10, 2007.

Traffic Safety Resolution – Swamp Road – Proposed by Swamp Road Residents Group

The Supervisors discussed the proposed Traffic Safety Resolution for Swamp Road, various documents were provided for their review.

Mr. Johnston advised the Supervisors with regards to the Resolution proposed by the Swamp Road Residents Group. He discussed line item 1 and advised that he would not recommend removing the Swamp Road corridor improvement project from the report but he would recommend that the quality of life issues along Swamp Road be recognized in the report and that the report support context sensitive design solutions to address the quality of life issues as well as safety and mobility issues along with the project. He defined what he means by sensitive design solutions. He discussed the re-evaluation for the reclassification of the roadway. He advised that currently reclassification of the roadway itself would not make Swamp Road eligible for traffic calming and on the PennDot qualifications. He discussed line item 2 and advised that it is not a Traffic Engineering aspect, but he did not see any concerns with that item. He discussed line item 3 and advised that the proposed project does not increase capacity. He advised that he has no concerns with regards to line item 4. He discussed line items 5, 6 & 7 and recommended that those items be evaluated. He advised that stop signs should not be used for traffic calming and explained why. He advised that Pennoni has begun researching the Twining Bridge intersection.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the original PennDot plan and the entrance of the Colonial Commons. Mr. Johnston suggested a traffic signal be researched rather tha n a stop sign.

Mr. Schenkman thanked Mr. Johnston for his input.

Mr. Fisher discussed the September 26, 2007 Supervisors meeting and the recommendation to reject the current PennDot Swamp Road Improvement Plan, but still consider improvements to the roadway.

Mr. Johnston agreed that the Township should still continue to address the concerns on Swamp Road.

Mr. Fisher discussed the Bucks County Regional Traffic Study.

Mr. Jirele questioned what the Board’s next steps should be.

Mr. Schenkman advised the other Supervisors on his concerns and that he is in favor of passing a Resolution. He also advised that he has begun drafting a Resolution regarding the matter.

Mr. Jirele advised that he is also in favor of passing a Resolution.

Mr. Sensibaugh discussed a letter regarding the matter that was passed out at a prior Supervisors meeting. He also discussed the Jointure’s Highway Classification Map and the PennDot Design Manual, Section 2.1.07. He advised that he believes that Swamp Road should be classified as a major collector not a principal arterial. He feels that the Township needs to correct the classification of the roadway.

Mr. Johnston discussed the PennDot roadway classifications and their definitions.

The Supervisors discussed the traffic studies conducted in April and June of 2005.

Mr. Schenkman advised on the purpose of tonight’s discussions.

The Supervisors discussed the speed limit of the roadway. Mr. Johnston advised on how the speed limit is determined.

Ms. Parlet commented on the traffic report presented at the September 26, 2007 meeting and the quarry trucks. Ms. Goren advised that the quarry owners would not allow the trucks to be inspected by the Police before they left the quarry.

Ms. Herman commented that at the May 30, 2007 Regional Traffic Planning Task Force meeting she asked PennDot officials if they had gone to the Federal Highway Administration and asked them to make an exception to the 85% speed limit rule. She discussed the need to change the standard operating procedures.

Mr. Johnston discussed the speed limit and enforcement issues. He advised that he has never requested the Federal Highway Administration to make an exception to the 85% speed limit rule.

Ms. Crescenzo discussed the Township’s Police Department patrolling Wrightstown. She suggested that the Township request Wrightstown Township to allow the Police to inspect the quarry trucks right outside of the quarries. She commented on driving to Doylestown. She discussed Stoopville Road with regards to traffic calming and the similarities to Swamp Road. She requested that the Township conduct a traffic study of the roadway.

Mr. Fisher discussed the public’s comments/recommendations that he has heard and suggested that the Township request exemption from the Federal Government. Mr. Johnston advised on his feelings with regards to requesting exemption.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the Traffic Advisory Committee. Mr. Jirele advised on his opinion with regards to getting another committee involved.

Ms. Crescenzo requested the term quality of life be defined. Ms. Goren advised that the term quality of life with regards to the roadway defines safety, noise and accessibility.

Ms. Crescenzo discussed an article with regards to seniors and crosswalks, she commented on the need for pedestrian safety.

Mr. Calabro discussed the State Laws with regards to crosswalks and pedestrians. He requested signs being posted in the center of the roadways. Mr. Boyle advised that could be done.

Mr. D’Aprile discussed Swamp Road being closed to quarry/heavy trucks for approximately thirty (30) years due to the culverts and the past traffic figures being inaccurate. He commented with regards to the quarry trucks and enforcement.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he has drafted a possible Resolution and read it aloud to the other Supervisors and the public.

Mr. Jirele suggested having Mr. Schenkman’s Resolution reviewed by the Supervisors and to discuss the matter further at the next meeting.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he would forward a copy of the Resolution to Mr. Boyle tomorrow.

Ms. Herman suggested that the Townships need to start making the physical safety of the residents and the roadways the highest priority; she explained why she feels this way.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he would like Mr. Johnston to receive a copy of tonight’s minutes to be included in his report to the Regional Traffic Planning Task Force.

Municipal Complex – Update – Donovan & Associates, Architects

Mr. Phillips updated the Supervisors with regards to the proposed Municipal Complex expansion. The Supervisors were provided various documents for their review. He advised that he and Mr. Linske are here tonight to discuss the design plans and design issues with regards to LEED Certification.

Mr. Linske updated the Supervisors with regards to the proposed design plans. He discussed the site plan and the revisions.

Ms. Goren questioned the size of the proposed salt storage shed compared to the existing one. Mr. Phillips and Mr. Linske advised that the proposed salt storage shed would be double the size of the current salt storage shed.

Mr. Linske advised the Supervisors with regards to the proposed Administration Building.

Ms. Goren questioned the number of people that would be able to fit in the public meeting room. Mr. Linske advised that approximately 120 people would be able to fit in the public meeting room.

Mr. Calabro questioned if the public conference rooms had a separate entrance. Mr. Linske advised that there are separate entrances/exits for the public conference rooms.

The Supervisors discussed the restroom areas for the public conference rooms.

Mr. Linske advised that the doors and the cashier/receptionist windows could be locked when the employees have left for the day.

The Supervisors discussed the cashier/receptionist windows with regards to safety.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the Supervisor’s boardroom (Room 130) and the workroom (Room 131), he suggested that a door be installed connecting the two (2) rooms. He also commented with regards to the Township Manager’s office (Room 134) and the Administrative Assistant’s office (Room 135), he suggested that a door or window be installed connecting the two (2) rooms.

Mr. Linske advised the Supervisors with regards to the elevations of the proposed Administration Building.

The Supervisors discussed the audio-visual room and accessing the room.

Mr. Jirele commented with regards to the building being ADA compliant.

Mr. Linske advised the Supervisors with regards to the proposed additions and renovations to the Police Building. He discussed the building elevations.

Mr. Linske advised the Supervisors with regards to the proposed Public Works Building. He discussed the look of the exterior of the building and advised that the shell of the building would be a prefab steel building.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to having an area for stray dogs. Mr. Phillips advised that he would speak to Mr. Crossland with regards to the matter.

Mr. Linske updated the Supervisors with regards to the proposed renovation of the existing Public Works Building for use by the Parks & Recreation Department. He discussed the exterior of the building.

Mr. Schenkman questioned if there has been any direction with regards to the old Schoolhouse. Mr. Phillips advised that building was discussed years ago and concepts were worked on. Mr. Schenkman advised that he would like to see past plans for the Schoolhouse. Mr. Phillips advised that access is a problem with that building, but he would supply the Supervisors with any information he has.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to having walkways connecting the front of the different buildings. Mr. Linske advised that it is possible to have walkways connecting the front of the buildings.

Mr. Phillips advised the Supervisors that the plans being reviewed tonight are strictly architectural.

The Supervisors discussed the entrances to the buildings being covered by some type of canopy/overhang.

Ms. Goren commented with regards to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification and possible grants. Mr. Phillips advised the Supervisors with regards to Leed Certification and grants. He advised on the LEED rating system and that the Township needs to make a decision soon with regards to being LEED Certified. He advised that the LEED Certification requires a third party consultant to be involved through the design process. He questioned if the Township wants to take the next step with regards to being LEED Certified. He advised that the third party consultant with regards to LEED Certification would be The Stone House Group.

The Supervisors discussed the benefits of building a LEED Certified building, but not going through with the certification process.

Mr. Phillips discussed the pay back with regards to going green.

The Supervisors discussed the future with regards to utility cost.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to LEED Certification buildings and where it’s been done. Mr. Phillips advised that he would provide that information to the Township.

Mr. Phillips discussed the possibility of having a representative from The Stone House Group make a presentation before the Supervisors.

The Supervisors discussed the social benefit of the LEED Certification.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to Mr. Linske email sent on October 3, 2007 to Mr. Boyle and the decisions made about mechanicals. Mr. Linske advised on the comments made by the recommendations made by the Mechanical Engineer. Mr. Schenkman advised that he feels that the Board should review that information themselves.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Phillips and Mr. Linske for their time.

Ms. Crescenzo questioned the total square footage of the proposed buildings. Mr. Phillips advised that the total square footage of the proposed buildings is approximately 52,000 square feet. Ms. Crescenzo questioned the cost per square foot. Mr. Phillips advised that the cost per square foot for the Administration and Police Buildings are approximately $170.00 - $200.00 per square foot. He advised that the next step in the process is to come back to the Board with revised figures and it is his intent to do that in about a month.

PetSmart – Sign Variance Application

Mr. Sanders updated the Supervisors with regards to the PetSmart sign variance application. The Supervisors were provided with various documents for their review. He discussed possible alternatives with regards to the signs. He advised that he is hear tonight to get the Board’s input and that it is the applicants hope that the Township can come to an agreement where the applicant will amend their application to comply with the Board’s wishes and the Board can withdrawal it authorization of the Township Solicitor to attend the hearing and oppose. He advised that the store is scheduled to open on October 29, 2007 and that he is schedule to appear before the Zoning Hearing Board on October 23, 2007 with regards to the matter. Mr. Sanders discussed the three (3) options. Option 1 shows the PetSmart sign (54” – 169.21 Sq. Ft.) being located above the store entrance, the g rooming sign (15” – 12.35 Sq. Ft.) and the Banfield sign (20” – 17.72 Sq. Ft.) being located with one (1) on each side of the storefront. Option 2 shows the PetSmart sign (48” – 133.70 Sq. Ft.) being located above the store entrance, the g rooming sign (15” – 12.35 Sq. Ft.) and the Banfield sign (20” – 17.72 Sq. Ft.) being located with one (1) on each side of the storefront. Option 3 shows the PetSmart sign (48” – 133.70 Sq. Ft.) being located above the store entrance and the Banfield sign (20” – 17.72 Sq. Ft.) being located on the right side of the storefront. He advised with regards to the request for the height variance for the main sign over the entrance. He advised that he is looking for guidance with regards to the location of the signs, the height and the number of signs.

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors on the concerns of the Planning Commission. Their first concern is with regards to there only being one (1) entrance into PetSmart and that the grooming and Banfield signs where not directional signs but advertising signs. The second concern was with regards to the building being occupied by other tenants and having more signs on the storefront. The third concern was with regards to the size of the signs having some relation to the facade of the building.

Mr. Sanders discussed the façade of other buildings in the area and advised that the Acme building has five (5) signs located on the storefront.

Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the sign locations on the building. Mr. Sanders offered possible alternatives for the locations of the signs.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the building and the store entrances. Mr. Jirele advised that currently there are three (3) separate entrances on the front of the building.

Mr. Sanders discussed the sizes of the proposed PetSmart signs.

Mr. Jirele advised that he prefers the smaller 133.70 Sq. Ft. (48”) PetSmart sign and that he supports the Banfield sign. He advised that he would be in favor of option 3 .

Mr. Schenkman and Mr. Jirele suggested having the Banfield and the grooming signs located together. Mr. Sanders advised that he could make that suggestion to PetSmart.

Mr. Calabro advised that he is in favor of option 2. Which showed the three (3) signs in three (3) different locations, he felt it gave more balance to the storefront.

Ms. Goren advised that she agreed with Mr. Calabro with regards to having the three (3) signs in three (3) different locations. She advised that she is in favor of option 2.

Mr. Weaver advised that he is in favor of option 2, having the three (3) signs in three (3) different locations.

Mr. Sensibaugh commented with regards to the other tenants in the building and the size or location of their signs.

Mr. Sanders advised that he would discuss the Supervisors recommendation for option 2 with PetSmart and update Mr. Beckert.

Mr. Schenkman made a motion to rescind its authorization of the Township Solicitor to attend the Zoning Hearing and oppose . The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously (5-0).

Resolution of the Board of Supervisors – Regarding the referendum for the Bucks county Open Space Bond Issue

The Supervisors agreed to table this matter until the next televised Board of Supervisors meeting.

Solicitor Report

Mr. Beckert advised the Supervisors on the add-on request ed by Wrightstown with regards to the Toll Hibbs development in Wrightstown Township; there are two areas in questions. The first area in question is with regards to a strip of land along the frontage that borders Stoopville Road; he questioned whether the Township desires the right-of-way to be dedicated to Newtown Township. The Board agreed that they would like that right-of-way. The second area in question is with regards to lot 46 (48 acres of open space) on the subdivision plan, .818 acres of the 48 acres is located in Newtown Township. The Supervisors discussed Wrightstown owning the .818 acres in Newtown Township and agreed they did not want that. Mr. Jirele suggested that the parcel be subdivide and that the Township would take control of the land within Newtown. Ms. Goren advised that it looks like two (2) parcels are in question. Mr. Beckert advised that he would look into the matter further and update the Supervisors. The Supervisors discussed taking control of the property located in Newtown and the right-of-way being dedicated to Newtown Township.

Community Comments

Ms. Crescenzo questioned where the Township is getting 1.7 Million Dollars to buy back the Acme building. Mr. Schenkman advised that the Township is borrowing the money through a bridge loan from The First National Bank of Newtown. Ms. Crescenzo questioned if the matter has come before the community. Mr. Beckert advised that it has not happened yet. Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the matter coming before the community before it happens. She discussed rumors that the building would be torn down to build a parking lot and the building having asbestos and possible ground contamination . Mr. Schenkman and Mr. Calabro advised that the Township is aware of the problems.

Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the Township hiring a new Manager, the job done by the Acting Manager and how tonight’s announcement looked insensitive. The Board advised that Mr. Boyle did receive notice prior to tonight’s public announcement.

Ms. Crescenzo discussed the start date of t he new Manager and his involvement with the Budget process. The Supervisors advised with regards to the new Manager and the Budget.

New Business

Mr. Jirele advised that he has been approached by a soccer organization with the request to have temporary lights at the Staples Field. He discussed having a public discussion before giving authorization and giving proper notice to the public. He requested that the matter be put on the October 24, 2007 agenda . The Supervisors agreed to discuss the matter at the October 24, 2007 meeting.

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:55 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Christy Holley, 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