Board of Supervisors Work Session
Minutes of February 11, 2008
Members Present: Tom Jirele, Chairman; Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman; Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer; Phil Calabro, Member Tim Duffy, Solicitor and Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager.
Also Present: John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager; Theresa Katalinas, Bucks County Courier Times; Various Newtown residents including Jennifer Dix, Ethel Hibbs and Bill Sterling.
Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M.
Open Space Plan – Jeff Marshall, Heritage Conservancy
Chairman Jirele updated the Supervisors with regards to the Township’s Open Space Plan, he advised that Jeff Marshall is unable to attend tonight’s meeting. The Supervisors were provided a copy of the current Township of Newtown Municipal Wide Open Space Plan in their packet for review.
Mr. Gallagher read correspondence from Commission Cawley with regards to the County’s Open Space Program. The correspondence discussed the distribution of the funds and advised that the Township’s share is $440,873.00. Mr. Gallagher commented on the guidelines for the Municipal Grant Program and that the Township needs to update the Open Space Plan.
The Supervisors discussed who should review the 1997 Open Space Plan and giving those individuals direction.
Dr. Ciervo advised the Supervisors on discussions he has had with Mr. Marshall and the possibility of having help from the Heritage Conservancy with regards to updating the plan.
The Supervisors discussed the people involved with the 1997 Open Space Plan. Mr. Calabro advised that the names of the people involved are listed on the Park & Recreation Comprehensive Plan.
Chairman Jirele suggested setting up a Sub-Committee.
The Supervisors agreed that the Sub-Committee would consist of two (2) members from the Planning Commission, two (2) members from the Parks & Recreation Board, two (2) members from the Environmental Advisory Council and a Supervisor representative.
Mr. Czajkowski discussed what other municipalities have done and his experience with Upper Makefield’s Open Space Plan. He advised that Heritage Conservancy did assist Upper Makefield.
Mr. Duffy advised the Supervisors that he is a member of Upper Makefield’s EAC with regards to Open Space Plan. He discussed the bond and the assistance from the Heritage Conservancy.
Chairman Jirele discussed items that he would like to see the Sub-Committee focus on - how to go about getting matching funds, go through the Open Space Comprehensive Plan update process and get their recommendations on a Newtown Township Bond Issue for open space preservation. He questioned the other Supervisors on what areas they would like the group to work on.
Dr. Ciervo advised that he would like to keep their focus limited for the time, having them focus on updating the Open Space Plan. He discussed the need for having some of the people from the 1997 plan involved with updating the plan.
Chairman Jirele commented on how long it will take to update the Open Space Plan. Mr. Duffy advised that his experience in Upper Makefield took approximately three (3) months.
The Supervisors agreed to have the Sub-Committee focus on the development of the Open Space Comprehensive Plan.
Dr. Ciervo questioned if all of the money that was allocated ten (10) years ago was spent. Mr. Gallagher advised that he believes that information is available.
The Supervisors discussed the amount of the allotment now and ten (10) years ago.
Mr. Gallagher advised that the $440,873.00 is only for the Municipal Grant Program. He discussed other programs available for special areas and advised that more money is available for land preservation.
Chairman Jirele questioned if any Township residents not currently on committees should be included in the Sub-Committee or should it be kept limited to the representatives from the Planning Commission, Parks & Recreation Board and the Environmental Advisory Council.
Mr. Gallagher advised that it is his assumption that the meetings would be open.
Mr. Calabro commented on the three (3) committees picking their own representatives.
Chairman Jirele requested Mr. Czajkowski to contact the chairpersons of the three (3) committees to update them on the Boards request for two (2) representatives for the Open Space Plan Sub-Committee.
The Supervisors agreed to hold off on picking a liaison until all Supervisors are present.
Traffic and Parking Joint Committee
Chairman Jirele updated the other Supervisors on the action meeting with the Borough regarding the formation of a Traffic and Parking Joint Committee. He discussed the committee consisting of three (3) residents from the Township and three (3) residents from the Borough. Each municipality would have one (1) liaison. He questioned if the Planning Commission should be involved.
Mr. Gallagher commented that the Township asks a lot of the Planning Commission. He suggested that the Committee be opened up to interested parties.
Mr. Czajkowski advised that the Township needs to confirm the structure with the Borough and then advertise for the Committee. Chairman Jirele advised that he would send a letter to Mr. Craig.
Chairman Jirele questioned if a Resolution is needed. Mr. Duffy advised the Supervisors that a Resolution is not needed.
The Supervisors discussed the Borough’s Parking Committee.
Mr. Calabro advised on his feelings with regards to the Planning Commission members’ involvement. He suggested that members from the Planning Commission be unable to apply to this Committee.
Mr. Gallagher suggested leaving the membership open at this time.
Chairman Jirele discussed his feelings with regards to the appointment of the Committee. He suggested not reserving a spot for a Planning Commission member.
Mr. Czajkowski commented with regards to the Township expanding its volunteer pool.
Chairman Jirele advised that he would send a letter to Borough Council regarding the Traffic and Parking Joint Committee.Upper Silver Lake Road
The Supervisors discussed Upper Silver Lake Road, various documentation was provided in their packet for review.
Dr. Ciervo updated the Supervisors with regards to Upper Silver Lake Road; he advised that the barriers have been removed or moved and on his safety concerns. He discussed the construction of the Villas, how to restrict the road to only emergency vehicles and the road appearing to continue on. The Supervisors were provided four (4) photographs for review.
Chairman Jirele questioned the Solicitor for advise on how the Township should proceed. Mr. Duffy discussed the need to clarify the status of the road. He advised that the Township does have the authority to close a road. He suggested that the Township look into vacating the roadway. He advised that further review of the prior plans is needed. He discussed vacating the road and keeping it open to emergency vehicles only.
Dr. Ciervo advised that after reviewing the prior plans he does not feel it was the Township’s intent to vacate the road.
Mr. Duffy discussed the Township wrapping up loose ends.
Mr. Czajkowski commented on the Township’s time line. He advised that the two (2) year escrow for improvements is due to expire in October of 2008 and that a decision needs to be made before then.
Mr. Calabro commented on the issue of the road not being properly closed, the 172 homes in the Villas, issues on how to dispense truck traffic and to open the road or keep it closed.
Dr. Ciervo advised that the Final and Preliminary plans for Wiltshire Walk call for the road to be closed, only open to emergency vehicles.
The Supervisors discussed how this area has changed since 2001.
Chairman Jirele commented on the current conditions of the road being unsafe. He suggested that a discussion take place at a Wednesday evening meeting to make a decision on what to do with the road. He commented on the Township’s options and the other emergency access roads within the Township. He suggested that more information be collected and discussing the matter further.
Mr. Czajkowski advised the Supervisors that a barricade would be installed. He suggested that the Solicitor being researching – an emergency access easement, one (1) lane emergency access, vacating the road, and closing or opening the road. He advised that the road would be properly marked.
Mr. Duffy advised the Supervisors that it would be appropriate to temporally close the road, only allowing emergency access. He discussed possible solutions.
Chairman Jirele advised that he would like a report from the Solicitor on the matter at the first meeting in March. He advised Mr. Czajkowski to put the item on the agenda and that residents in the area need to be contacted and advised on the upcoming discussions.
Mr. Sterling advised on possible methods to deter traffic from going through. He discussed breakaway chains and his safety concerns for residents along the road with regards to emergency access.
Ms. Dix advised on her safety concerns. She discussed the barriers not being visible or being removed, chains across the roadway and the road not being marked as closed.
Chairman Jirele advised that the Supervisors would deal with the safety issues now.
Chairman Jirele updated the other Supervisors with regards to the Township’s 2008 priorities. He discussed the correspondence received from Mr. Gallagher, the Municipal Complex, making decisions and giving direction. He questioned the other Supervisors with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion being a priority.
Mr. Gallagher advised that he is in favor of making a decision with regards to the Municipal Complex expansion and that he would like to see shovels to ground.
Mr. Calabro advised that the Municipal Complex expansion should be at the top of the Supervisors’ priority list.
Dr. Ciervo advised that he is not ready to make a decision at this time. He discussed the proposed plans and the cost and advised that he would like input from the new Police Chief and the Township Manager. He advised that he would like to make a decision this year.
Mr. Czajkowski discussed the need for the Township to float a Municipal Bond and the cost to borrow the money. He advised that the cost of the project would not go down.
Chairman Jirele commented on waiting for the new Police Chief’s involvement. Mr. Czajkowski advised on his feelings with regards to waiting for involvement from the new Police Chief and that the renovation of the Police building would be later in the project.
Chairman Jirele commented on dividing the project into four (4) sections. He discussed the highest priority being the Administration building and Public Works.
Mr. Czajkowski advised that the Administration building and Public Works were at the top of his list.
Dr. Ciervo advised on his reasons for waiting to have discussion with the new Police Chief. He commented on the possibility of using other buildings in the Township. He discussed the price tag for the expansion, the expiration of the Debt Service Bond and not raising taxes.
Mr. Czajkowski discussed the cost to borrow, the economy, interest rates and the cost of the project not going down. He advised that he could provide the Supervisors with calculations for the cost to borrow.
Chairman Jirele suggested dedicating a Work Session to discussing the expansion of the Municipal Complex. He discussed reviewing the plan and doing the project in phases. He advised that he did not want to see another year go by without a decision being made.
Mr. Czajkowski discussed the state regulations with regards to bidding and the questions that need to be addressed.
Mr. Gallagher commented on the building being obsolete. Mr. Czajkowski advised he would research and update the Supervisors with regards to the building being obsolete.
Mr. Calabro discussed the Township’s build out estimate and using a building at a different location.
Mr. Czajkowski advised that he prefers to keep all the departments at one (1) location.
Dr. Ciervo discussed the vacant buildings in the Newtown Commons.
The Supervisors discussed having the departments not all in one (1) central location.
Chairman Jirele advised that the matter would be put onto the March Work Session Agenda.
Chairman Jirele updated the Supervisors with regards to a priority being zoning issues. He discussed evaluating the current zoning and rezoning. He suggested starting with the Planning Commission for recommendations.
Dr. Ciervo advised that zoning is a priority to him. He discussed properties needing to be zoned correctly and suggested looking for recommendations from the Joint Zoning Council.
Mr. Gallagher agreed that the zoning issues should be looked at.
The Supervisors discussed how zoning effects the Jointure.
Mr. Gallagher discussed the Bucks County Planning Commission and the Jointure being involvement.
Chairman Jirele discussed piggy backing the zoning issues on the Comprehensive Plan review.
Mr. Czajkowski discussed the Comprehensive Plan update and inserting the zoning issues into that process.
Chairman Jirele suggested having the zoning issue discussion at the next Jointure meeting.
The Supervisors discussed a priority being Borough cooperation. Chairman Jirele advised on a joint meeting with the Borough.
The Supervisors agreed that the Township and Borough are cooperating.
The Supervisors discussed the Newtown Corporation.
Dr. Ciervo discussed keeping the Borough advised with regards to the Acme building.
The Supervisors discussed a priority being Parks & Recreation issues. Chairman Jirele questioned what the Supervisors would like to see accomplished.
Mr. Gallagher advised that he would like to see the development of the Woll Tract begin within the next year.
Dr. Ciervo advised that he agrees with Mr. Gallagher regarding the Woll Tract. He discussed the Woll Tract Fund.
Mr. Calabro agreed that the Woll Tract is a priority and should be started within the year. He discussed utilizing the Wiggins Tract.
Chairman Jirele discussed having the Parks & Recreation Committee update their Comprehensive Plan and Open Space Plan.
Dr. Ciervo advised that he would update the Parks & Recreation Committee with regards to updating their Comprehensive Plan and Open Space Plan.
Dr. Ciervo discussed preserving the Wiggins Tract and returning it to active farming.
Mr. Calabro commented with regards to the skate park demonstration.
Chairman Jirele discussed the hold ups involved with the Skate Park being cost and location.
Dr. Ciervo advised on the cost associated with regards to the Skate Park.
The Supervisors discussed various location possibilities for a Skate Park.
Chairman Jirele advised that he would research the use of the Staples Field as a possible location for the Skate Park.
The Supervisors discussed parking at the Staples Field.
Mr. Gallagher discussed the Skate Park with regards to fundraising, lack of use and the underlying cost to the Township.
Mr. Gallagher discussed the Township having a Dog Park.
The Supervisors discussed various location possibilities for a Dog Park and what’s involved with running a Dog Park.
Chairman Jirele suggested having the Parks & Recreation Board research a Dog Park.
Mr. Calabro questioned other local municipalities that have a Dog Park. Mr. Gallagher advised that there is a park in Montgomery County.
The Supervisors discussed a priority being Traffic and Roadway issues.
Chairman Jirele discussed the Stoopville Road Traffic Calming Project, the PA TIP, the Swamp Road Corridor and the extension of Terry Drive.
Dr. Ciervo questioned where the Township is with regards to the extension of Terry Drive. Mr. Czajkowski updated the Supervisors with regards to the extension of Terry Drive.
Mr. Calabro discussed the Borough and traffic. He suggested that the Township consider a parking authority. He advised on work being done by the Newtown Corporation.
Chairman Jirele advised that a Sycamore Street business owner who has purchased an empty lot and is willing to make the area available to the Township if additional parking is needed has approached him. He believed that there would be a fee. He discussed Township parking spaces being used by people going into the Borough. He suggested that the Township look at traffic calming and advised that currently the Township has no guidelines with regards to traffic calming. He commented that a policy needs to be set and that he would like to see some progress made in 2008.
The Supervisors discussed incorporating traffic calming when the road is being worked on.
Ms. Dix commented with regards to Gilmore & Associates and traffic calming.
Chairman Jirele discussed the review of the Gilmore report and scheduling a meeting with the Township’s Traffic Engineer.
Dr. Ciervo discussed a priority be the Township going forward with regards to the new budgets. He advised that he would like to see this Board develop a policy directing the Township Manager to have a budget increase within a certain figure.
Chairman Jirele discussed having the Financial Planning Committee review the options that the Board has in terms of budget preparation and the budget process.
Mr. Calabro discussed having the Financial Planning Committee project the budget further out (example – five (5) to ten (10) years).
Mr. Gallagher advised the Supervisors with regards to discussions at the Financial Planning Committee’s January meeting and forecasting further into the future.
The Supervisors discussed what the Township’s income structure would look like in ten (10) years.
Mr. Gallagher advised on a software package available to municipalities that can do financial forecasting ten (10) to twenty (20) years down the road.Community Comments
Mr. Sterling commented with regards to the Township having a procedure and policy manual. He discussed he reviews of past minutes for policy. Mr. Czajkowski advised that the Township has no such manual.
Ms. Hibbs commented on last Thursday’s Jointure meeting with regards to the Comprehensive Plan. She suggested that the Township arrange a meeting with Lynn Bush.
Chairman Jirele discussed the review of reports received from the Bucks County Planning Commission.New Business
Mr. Gallagher advised the Supervisors with regards to a memorandum from Ms. Gibbs with regards to a check from RCN.
Dr. Ciervo commented on discussions with regards to the Township’s portion of the Melsky Tract and zoning. The Supervisors discussed the request made to the Solicitor. Mr. Duffy advised that he would follow up with Jeffrey Garton.Adjournment
Chairman Jirele advised that prior to calling tonight’s meeting to order the Board of Supervisors met in Executive Session to discuss matters of personnel.
Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:16 P.M.