Board of Supervisors
Minutes of December 12, 2007
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, December 12, 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, Thomas Jirele and Richard Weaver, members. Also present were: Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager, Paul Beckert, Township Solicitor and James Watson, Township Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Anne Goren called the regular meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
Invocation: The invocation was given by Paul Kester of Newtown Friends. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Andrew Mark LePine – Eagle Scout Recognition: On Behalf of the Board of Supervisors and Newtown Township, Mrs. Goren presented a Proclamation to Andrew LePine of Scout Troop #29, recognizing him for his efforts in becoming an Eagle Scout, a rank achieved by only 2% of Scouts. Andrew earned his Eagle rank on December 1, 2007, after completing a project with the Newtown Historic Society and building a footbridge at Bowman’s Tower Wildflower Preserve. Andrew also is a Senior Patrol Leader.
Andrew thanked the Township for its recognition, and thanked his parents, Troop Leaders and fellow scouts for their help and support as he worked on his projects.
Recognition of Mrs. Goren: Mr. Schenkman presented a gavel and plaque to Mrs. Goren on behalf of the Township and Supervisors in grateful appreciation of her dedicated service to the Township as a Supervisor for twelve years, from 1994 through 1999 and again from 2002 through 2007. He thanked her for her hard work toward the betterment of Newtown Township.
Mrs. Goren thanked the residents for allowing her the opportunity to serve and for their support during her tenure on the Board. She thanked the staff for its work for the Township, and she thanked John Boyle, who did such a wonderful job as assistant and acting Township Manager. She also thanked her family for their support during the years that she served.
Recognition of Mr. Weaver: Mr. Jirele presented a gavel and plaque to Mr. Weaver on behalf of the Township and Supervisors in grateful appreciation of his dedicated service to the Township as a Supervisor for six years and four months, first as an appointed official and then as an elected Supervisor. He noted the contributions Mr. Weaver has made to the Township residents and especially to the business community, attending frequent daytime meetings for the Main Streets Project and the Economic Development Council.
Mr. Weaver thanked the Board and residents for all of the hard work that has been done to better our community. He particularly thanked the staff for its support. He said that the staff is the best in the County. He also thanked his family for their support during the years he has served.
Recognition of George Stockburger: Mr. Weaver presented a Proclamation to George Stockburger on the fiftieth anniversary of his car dealerships in Newtown Township, and his commitment, support and generosity to the community over these fifty years.
Mr. Stockburger thanked the Board and residents for this recognition and for the opportunity to be a part of the community for fifty years. He hoped that his firm would serve the people of Newtown for another fifty years.
Newtown Business Commons Association Recognition of Mr. Weaver: Doug Terry, President of the Newtown Business Commons Association, presented a plaque to Mr. Weaver in grateful appreciation for his work with the business community, first through the Economic Development Council and then through the NBCA. When Mr. Weaver became involved in the business community, there were 450,000 square feet of unoccupied industrial space in the Industrial Commons. Through Mr. Weaver’s efforts, first the name was changed to Newtown Business Commons, then, under his guidance some zoning changes were made to create a corporate environment in the Commons. Many of the former factories and warehouses have been adapted into offices and additional construction has now added 1,200,000 square feet of office space, contributing $2,200,000 in Earned Income Tax.
Mr. Weaver thanked the NBCA Board of Directors and members, whose efforts have created a first class business environment in Newtown Township. Working with the business community has been very gratifying, and he hopes to continue to work in the business community through other business organizations and the JDNC.
Public Comment: Paul Salvatore of Newtown Borough announced the sale of Rotary Club coupon books, available at the First National Bank of Newtown, Zebra Striped Whale and through members of the Council Rock High School North Choir. The coupon books contain discounts for local businesses, and profits are to be shared with the Choir to support their upcoming trip to perform in China.
Mr. Salvatore thanked Mr. Weaver for his support of the business community and congratulated Mr. Stockburger on his anniversary and for his 37 years of perfect attendance at Rotary Club.
Resident Jennifer Dix announced a family holiday event, “One Winter Night”, at Grace Point Church on Washington Crossing/Stoopville Roads on Saturday, December 14, 2007, beginning at 6:45 PM.
Member's Comments: Mr. Weaver announced that Matthew Piette, a Newtown Boy Scout, is attempting to build a Veterans Memorial in Wrightstown Township for his Eagle project. As a Marine veteran, he will support Matt, and hopes that Newtown’s residents will support this worthy project.
Mr. Jirele asked residents who wish to serve on committees, boards and commissions to please contact the Township through Administrative Assistant Toni Garcia.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports:
Minutes: Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the Budget meeting of November 7, 2007. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of November 14, 2007. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Schenkman abstaining.
Mr. Schenkman said that on page 8 of the minutes of November 19, 2007, reference should be made to the “National Congress of League of Cities”, which he recently attended.
Mr. Weaver moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of November 19, 2007 as corrected. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Jirele abstaining.
Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills for November 28, 2007 totaling $379,657.32. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers for November 28, 2007 totaling $340,000. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills for December 12, 2007 totaling $248,851.33. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers for December 12, 2007 totaling $12,207.37. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions:
Historical Architectural Review Board: HARB Chairman Harriet Beckert reported that there have been some inquiries into the color of the new Ink Stop building on Sycamore Street. HARB will be in contact with the owners about this.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize a certificate of appropriateness for Massimino Builders, at 131 S. Sycamore Street. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mrs. Beckert reported that HARB had discussed the lighting of the letters on signs for the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 1 Ice Cream Alley and had some concerns about the lights being inside rather than behind the letters. These letters are similar to the Firstrust Bank letters, which have internal lights. It had been HARB’s understanding that Firstrust’s sign would be lit from behind, not from inside.
Mr. Jirele questioned the number of signs being approved, particularly the “Food Mart” sign.
Mr. Beckert said that there had been some discussion on the signage at the Planning Commission, and the food mart sign is to denote that there is a retail shop as well as pharmacy in the store.
Mr. Schenkman said that the Planning Commission had been shown a sample of the back lit letter at its meeting. He suggested that the discussion be tabled in order to compare the HARB application with the Planning Commission recommendation and to see the sample letter at a later meeting.
Kenneth Jeffrey of All Star Signs was in attendance. In response to Mr. Beckert’s question, he said that the Zoning Hearing Board had granted relief for all of the signs requested. He showed some photographs of the Firstrust Bank signage and said that the Rite Aid would be similar “halo” lighting. The lights are inside the letters, but the letters are not translucent. The light surrounds the opaque letters.
After further discussion the Board agreed to table consideration of this application in order to review the Zoning Hearing Board decision, the Planning Commission recommendation and to visit the Firstrust Bank to see its signage. Mr. Jirele asked Mr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Beckert to return in January.
Mrs. Beckert said that the HARB had voted to recommend approval of the signage, but that she would return.
Mr. Jeffrey also agreed to return and to show the sample letter at that meeting.
Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize a certificate of appropriateness for Newtown Insurance Group, aka Affinity Solutions at 123 N. Sycamore Street. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.Mr. Jirele moved to authorize a certificate of appropriateness for The Cotswold Group, at 10 Swamp Road. Mr. Weaver seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Conditional Use – Richman’s Ice Cream Store, 33 Swamp Road, Newtown Plaza Shopping Center: Mrs. Goren opened the hearing and asked if anyone wished party status in this application. There was no response.
Mr. Beckert entered the following exhibits:
Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant, Vaughn Derassouyan, for conditional use for an E-5 Eating Place in the CC, Convenience Commercial Zoning District.
Mr. Derassouyan was sworn in.
Mr. Marshall said that the applicant will occupy 1800 square feet of new construction that is part of an existing 6,461 square foot shopping center. The parking area is to be reconfigured to accommodate a new entrance aligned with the intersection at South Eagle Road, where certain traffic improvements are planned by the Township. Land Development has been waived for this application because of the Township’s plans for traffic improvements. Mr. Marshall reviewed the Planning Commission letter, noting that the establishment is to have seating for 16 customers, not ten, as noted in the letter. The applicant will comply with all review letters.
Mr. Derassouyan agreed with Mr. Marshall’s summary. In response to questions from the Board he said that Richman’s is a franchise, but he would be allowed to change the name of the shop, although no name has yet been selected.
Mr. Calabro suggested that if Mr. Derassouyan might extend his weekday hours of operation, he should adjust his application this evening for the extended hours, rather than return to the Board.
Mr. Weaver moved to grant conditional use approval to Richman’s Ice Cream, 33 Swamp Road Newtown, to operate an E-5 ( Eating Place) on the following conditions:
Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Marshall said that the applicant is not sure of any existing non-conformities regarding signage for other businesses in the shopping center. The applicant would agree to comply with signage ordinances and to maintain any existing non-conformities.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Calabro moved to close the conditional use hearing. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Penns Trail Storage of Newtown, 104 Penns Trail – Preliminary Plan for Land Development: Attorney Joseph Pizzo represented the applicant for land development to construct two 2-story self storage buildings with a total gross square footage of 63,180 square feet on 3.27 acres in the LI, Light Industrial Zoning District. Use G-4 Mini-storage, a by-right use, is proposed.
Mr. Pizzo reviewed the plans, pointing out that a fence would surround the facility. There is to be some parking outside of the fence for visitors to the office area. Access to the facility will be by key card. All storage will be indoors, and 2/3 of the units will be climate controlled. The applicant agrees to all of the conditions recommended by the Planning Commission and will comply with the review letters of the Township consultants. The applicant is seeking a waiver from the requirement to install sidewalks, as there are no other sidewalks that would connect to this property. If it is a Township project to eventually install sidewalks, the applicant would like to postpone an assessment for sidewalks until the time of installation.
Mr. Jirele said that the Township has a streetscape master plan for the Business Commons to make the Commons more pedestrian friendly. The plans call for installation of sidewalks, with owners installing sidewalks as they build, eventually connecting all properties.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the requests for waivers.
Walter Bronson, engineer on the project, explained that the building is surrounded by paving to allow tenants to have direct access to their units.
Mr. Beckert said that the Planning Commission had discussed the request to waive the requirement to provide a dumpster. The applicant proposes only to provide trash cans for office use.
Mr. Pizzo said that the facility will provide trash cans for incidental trash such as snack wrappers, inside the buildings, but there is concern that if dumpsters are provided, tenants emptying units will use the facility for dumping of large items such as furniture. He read a sample lease, which clearly states that there is to be no dumping and all trash is to be removed from the facility by the tenant. In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Pizzo said that, if tenants do leave trash behind, it would be the responsibility of the owner to arrange for pick-up. There will be an employee on site during hours when the facility is open, to police the grounds for trash. Mr. Pizzo agreed to provide trash cans outside of the facility.
Mr. Bronson reviewed a request for a waiver from a 50 foot buffer along a stream. This is a drainage ditch, not a stream, and the stormwater management proposed is adequate to handle all run off.
Mr. Calabro asked about security and supervision of items stored in the facility.
Louis Gilmore of Mr. Storage reviewed the lease and screening process. He said that no hazardous or flammable materials are permitted to be stored on site. Video cameras are on site, which monitor activities. The owners have the right to inspect each unit at any time. The FBI provides guidelines for storage facilities. If criminal activity is suspected in is reported to the appropriate agency. Tenants have access only during certain hours, typically 7:00AM to 7:00 PM, during which time an employee is on site.
After further discussion of the requested waivers, the Board agreed that sidewalks should be installed.
Mr. Weaver move to approve the preliminary plan for land development for Friends Lane LLC, trading as Penns Trail Storage, 104 Penns Trail, Newtown Business Commons, Newtown PA, subject to the following conditions:
A. Boucher & James, 10/03/07
The following waivers are recommended from the Newtown Township Land Development Ordinance:
A. From Section 514.2 permitting parking within the front yard.
The following waivers are granted from the Newtown Township Storm Water Management Ordinance:
Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Pizzo indicated that although this is not a retail location, sale of storage supplies such as boxes and tape, might be part of the services offered.
Mr. Beckert said that this would be considered an incidental accessory use.
The Board agreed to approve the sale of materials for storage.
Mr. Schenkman asked that the office area be ADA compliant.
Mr. Weaver amended his motion to add the following conditions:
Reports of Officials:
Mrs. Goren welcomed Mr. Czajkowski, the new Township Manager, and wished him luck in his new position.
Mrs. Goren reported that the Board had met in executive session to discuss matters of litigation and personnel prior to the start of this evening’s meeting.
Mrs. Goren asked those residents interested in serving on committees, boards and commissions to write to Toni Garcia, the Township Administrative Assistant by Friday, December 14, 2007.
In response to a question from Mr. Jirele on the Plan Expiration Report, Mr. Beckert said that the Promenade at Sycamore is about to expire. The Bankruptcy Court should withdraw this application; if it is not withdrawn, the Township will deny an extension.
Ratification of Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Non-Uniformed Employees for 2007 through 2011: Mr. Weaver moved to ratify the collective bargaining agreement with the non-uniformed employees for 2007 through 2011. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
2008 Budget Enactment: Mr. Weaver moved to adopt the 2008 budget. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously/
Executive Search for Chief of Police: Mrs. Goren reported that the Board had interviewed SafeCity Solutions, Inc. to provide professional services to the Township to conduct an executive search for a Chief of Police. The proposal is a comprehensive, clear and concise roadmap providing services for search and selection processes, and can be tailored to accommodate any specific Township requirements.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize the Township to enter into a contract with SafeCity Solutions, Inc., for professional services for a search for a chief of police. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to adopt a Newtown Township Ordinance to amend provisions of the pension plan or program for Newtown Township Police. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to adopt a Newtown Township Ordinance enacting a local services tax. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize advertisement of a resolution appointing the firm Stanley & Booz, LLC, Certified Public Accountants, as independent auditor to audit the books and accounts of Newtown Township for the fiscal year of 2007. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Beckert reviewed the Zoning Hearing Board applications of First National Bank & Trust Company, 773 Newtown Yardley Road and Anthony and Catherine Ferrandino of 36 Atkinson Lane. The Board had no comment.
Mr. Beckert noted that the Planning Commission had reviewed the continued application of Robert Lantzy, 11 Friends Lane, and passed it to the Board without comment.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize final escrow release for Overlook at Newtown in the amount of $221,742.70 and to accept dedication. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to questions from Mr. Jirele, Gary Crossland, Director of Public Works, said that a walk-through of the development with representatives of the Homeowners Association has been conducted. An agreement with the Homeowners Association has been reached regarding snow plowing.
The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Friends Lane parking lot improvement. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for 11 Friend Lane, LLC, in the amount of $141,298.20. Mr. Jirele seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release fir The Villas at Newtown in the amount of $74,146.32. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Newtown Walk in the amount of$330,432.12. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Tudor Square Phase III in the amount of $75,631.95. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release for Penns Terrace Office Park in the amount of $37,492. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Goodnoe’s Corner in the amount of $137,944.44. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mrs. Goren abstaining.
Mr. Weaver moved to authorize escrow release for Delancey Court of Newtown in the amount of $79,632.22. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 10:30 PM.