Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

Minutes of April 14, 2008

 

Members Present: Tom Jirele, Chairman; Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman; Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer; Jerry Schenkman, Member; Phil Calabro, Member; Jeffrey Garton, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Engineer and Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager.

Also Present: Andy Levine, Parks & Recreation Board Chairman; Sharon Dotts, Gilmore & Associates, Inc.; James Linske, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Joseph Phillips, George J. Donovan AIA & Associates; Various Township employees including John Boyle and Bill Wert; Theresa Katalinas, Bucks County Courier Times; Various Newtown residents including Dori McCrane, Jim McCrane, Nancy Crescenzo, Glenn Beasley, Sue Beasley, Paul Furlong, Walt Leck, Edward Fox, Tim Deegan, John Buhr, Nelly Lauro, Tony Lauro, Joe Doody, Jerry McLaughlin, Marty Sommer, Kevin O’Shea, Dave Felker, Dave Cuten, Randy Coppola, Michael J. Child, John Stranford and Joel Grosso.

Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.

Community Comments

Chairman Jirele advised the public that this would be the only time during tonight’s meeting for public comment. He requested the public to address any issues at this time. He advised that the Supervisors would not be voting tonight; tonight’s discussions were for the Board to sit down and have an internal discussion of what the Township should do.

Mr. McCrane commented that if there were any changes to either of the plans wouldn’t that suggest an opportunity for public comment.

Chairman Jirele advised that he prefer the public to make any comments now before the Supervisors begin having discussions with regards to the items on tonight’s agenda.

Mr. Schenkman commented on the report from the Financial Planning Committee and questioned if that would be part of tonight’s report. Chairman Jirele advised that the report would be discussed under the Municipal Complex expansion.

Mrs. Beasley requested that the Supervisors have the Municipal Complex discussion first. Chairman Jirele advised that the Woll Tract would be discussed first.

Mr. Fox a resident of St. Andrew’s Briar commented with regards to the size of the light towers; he provided the Supervisors with a handout.

Mrs. McCrane a resident of St. Andrew’s Briar advised that she is in favor of developing the Woll Tract without the lights.

Mr. Furlong a representative from St. Andrew’s Briar’s HomeOwners Association advised that the HOA is in favor of the fields but against the installation of lights. He thanked the Board for taking the time to meet with the HOA. He discussed the added cost to the Township for lights and the playing hours gained.

Mr. Sommer, 250 Eagle Road, commented with regards to the Township having less income coming in, the cost of electric and cutting back on the use of electricity.

Mr. Leck advised that he is against the lights, not the fields. He commented on the Township’s Noise Ordinance.

Mr. Lauro a resident of Blaze Court discussed past issues reviewed by the Township and the past positions taken by the Boards (examples: Pier I sign, Stockburger on the Bypass). He suggested that the size of the light poles are too big.

Mr. Felker, former President of the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association advised that lights have always been part of the plan and would be financed by the leagues.

Mr. O’Shea, Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association advised on the league’s playing session running from April to June and that the intent is to be able to extend the game so that seven innings can be played.

Mr. McCrane a resident of St. Andrew’s Briar commented on the 1999 plan showing no lights, only discussions. He advised on his concerns with regards to the quality of life. He commented on past issues discussed by the Boards with regards to lights and signs. He commented on an observation he made while driving past the lit fields in Northampton Township.

Mrs. Beasley advised that her concerns are with regards to the children; she discussed her past experiences with coaching. She advised that she feels that the lights are an unnecessary expense.

Chairman Jirele commented on discussions that took place ten years ago with regards to the development of the Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan and the intention to leave out the lights, leaving the decision to a future Board.

Mr. Levine discussed the request for lights at Chandler Field being turned down due to the height of the pole and advised that at that time the Board commented that if there were to be lights installed anywhere in the Township it would be at the Woll Tract.

Ms. Crescenzo commented on her concerns with regards to the Township’s future, tax impacts, the recession and the need for more schools in the district. She discussed the quality of life, her past work experiences and engaging children in play. She discussed the proposed Skate Park and the fields at the Woll Tract being all-purpose. She suggested that the plan be reviewed and planned for the children of today.

Mr. O’Shea advised that Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association is not a beer league and is comprised of approximately 600 children ranging in ages 5 – 18 and 150 adult volunteers.

Discussion

Woll Tract

The Supervisors were provided various documentation regarding the proposed plan for the Woll Tract for their review.

Chairman Jirele advised that the goal of tonight’s discussion is for the Board to give feedback on changes to both Mr. Levine and the Engineer and develop a plan to move forward.

Mr. Levine reported on the plan currently being proposed and how it was developed. He advised that the lights would be off by 8:30 P.M. with the exception of tournaments.

Chairman Jirele advised on the following challenges faced with regards to this park, being to reduce the impervious surface and to discuss what the Supervisors like about the plan and what should be eliminated.

Mr. Gallagher commented with regards to the fields being designated for multiple uses, he questioned the different field types. Mr. Levine advised with regards to the different types of playing fields.

Dr. Ciervo questioned who would play on the NCAA field (soccer field). Mr. Levine advised that request was made by the public.

Chairman Jirele questioned the size of the soccer field behind Staples. Mr. Wert advised that the soccer field at the Woll Tract would be the same size as the current Staples field.

Mr. Levine discussed the rules with regards to the diamond fields and that they would need fencing.

Mr. Gallagher commented on the foliage that currently existing between the Woll Tract and Mr. Leck’s property and the Rose Bank Winery. Mr. Levine advised that none of that foliage is planned to be removed, but that Mr. Leck would like a fence installed.

The Supervisors discussed the Township’s meadow area that is being used by the winery. Mr. Levine commented on the winery using that area for buffering.

Chairman Jirele suggested moving the parking area away from the residents to the meadow area; he discussed prior correspondence sent to landowner of the winery.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he is concerned with the economics and that he has not seen a budget showing the cost to the Township. He would need to see more information before making a decision. Mr. Levine advised that a budget would be available once the plan goes for final approval.

Mr. Levine advised on discussions with various internal Township Departments and that the walking/maintenance trail and maintenance shed were requested by Public Works.

Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to the lights be funded by the leagues and the Township needing verification that the leagues will honor their commitment. Mr. Levine suggested that the Supervisors meet with the leagues to discuss the matter.

Mr. Calabro questioned if Mr. Felker has a response with regards to the matter of the lights being funded by the leagues. Mr. Felker discussed the availability of financing, the revenue status of the Council Rock Newtown Athletic Association and advised that the league could raise the funds in six months.

Mr. Calabro commended Mr. Levine and the Parks & Recreation Board with regards to their work on the plan, he advised that he loves the plan. He discussed the various changes to the plan, the work done by committee volunteers and thanked them for their work. Mr. Levine advised on the comments received from the public that helped develop the proposed plan.

Mr. Calabro questioned the status of the proposed Skate Park. Mr. Levine reported on discussions with the Shopping Center and with Principal King from Newtown Elementary School.

Dr. Ciervo advised that he can not support the plan currently being proposed due to the cost and that he is against the Township borrowing money for building athletic fields. He questioned how the cost could be reduced. He discussed the funds already set aside for the park and the Parks and Recreation fees that the Township expects to receive. He would like the total cost for the project to be approximately 2.8 Million. He commented on the proposed entrance off of Route 413 and questioned if it is needed. Mr. Levine advised that the entrance is not required for the plan, he discussed the Highway Occupancy Permit with PennDot. Dr. Ciervo questioned the cost of the entrance. Ms. Dotts advised that the construction cost for the entrance is approximately $74,000.00.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the cost savings if the walking trail was removed. Ms. Dotts advised that if the walking trail was removed that the savings would be approximately $348,000.00 with the additional savings of approximately $86,000.00 for trees equaling a total savings of approximately $435,000.00.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the cost savings if the tennis courts, basketball courts and playground were removed. Ms. Dotts advised that if the tennis courts, basketball courts and playground were removed the total saving would be approximately $450,000.00.

The Supervisors discussed acceptable safety surfaces for playgrounds.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the cost of the pavilion. Ms. Dotts advised that the cost of the pavilion is approximately $400,000.00. Mr. Levine advised that the pavilion area would consist of a pavilion, a storage area and restroom facilities and on the directions from past Boards.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the plan with regards to public water and sewer. Ms. Dotts advised that the sewer would come in from Eagle Road and the water would come in from Durham Road.

Dr. Ciervo commented with regards to reducing the impervious surface. Mr. Levine questioned what the Board is looking for with regards to reducing the impervious surface; he discussed the requirements from the Township’s Planning Commission. Dr. Ciervo advised that he would like to reduce the impervious surface so that a zoning change is not needed. He questioned if the trail and the tennis and basketball courts were removed would it meet the zoning requirements. Mr. Levine advised that if those items were removed the impervious surface coverage would be 8.1%. Dr. Ciervo commented on the impervious surface ratio needing to be at 8%, he questioned how many parking spaces would need to be removed. Mr. Levine advised with regards to the reduction of some parking spaces and the removal of the walking trail, the tennis and basketball courts and the pavilion. Dr. Ciervo questioned the how many parking spaces would need to be removed to meet the zoning requirements regarding the impervious surface ratio if the walking trail, the tennis and basketballs courts and the pavilion are not built. Ms. Dotts advised that approximately 16 parking spaces would need to be removed.

Dr. Ciervo commented with regards to landscaping and the bio basins, he requested that the Supervisors be provided information regarding the cost for landscaping in just the bio basins; he questioned if other options were looked into. Mr. Levine advised that other options had been explored and that the main concept for this type of basin is to reduce stormwater flow to the Clark Nature Center.

Dr. Ciervo commented on the lights being paid for by the leagues, he questioned if they would be paying for the infrastructure and what is that cost. Mr. Gallagher advised that according to Gilmore’s cost sheet the cost is approximately $80,000.00.

Dr. Ciervo questioned if the $80,000.00 includes the lighting for parking. Ms. Dotts advised that was not included and the cost for lighting the parking area is approximately $106,000.00.

Mr. Schenkman commented on the cost for delaying and redesigning the plan. Mr. Levine advised that the original groundbreaking was scheduled for March 2008 and now he’s hoping for the fall of this year. Mr. Schenkman questioned how long it would take to reconfigure the plan. Ms. Dotts advised on the options involved with reengineering the plan and that she did not feel it would take long or be expensive to do the engineering. Mr. Schenkman questioned the effects of delaying the start time. Mr. Levine advised that it is his hope to be able to provide the Supervisors with the information they would like for the next regularly scheduled Supervisors meeting; he discussed the request from the Public Works Department with regards to the walking path and access for maintenance. He requested the Supervisors consider installing a pad for the Skate Park if it does not work out with the Shopping Center.

Chairman Jirele discussed the basin on Eagle Road and suggested that the Township should own it. He discussed the money spent on trees and suggested that some of that money be diverted for heavy buffering along the corner of the park closest to St. Andrew’s Briar and the Leck property.

Mr. Gallagher advised that the maximum he would like to spend is $2.8 Million.

Mr. Calabro questioned if the trail system would be required to be ADA compliant and if mulch could be used. Mr. Levine advised on his feelings with regards to using mulch.

Mr. Calabro questioned what the Township would get for $2.5 Million. Mr. Levine advised that $2.6 Million would pay for the construction of the all fields and parking, there would be no landscaping, no pavilion, no playground, no tennis or basketball courts, no walking trail, no site furnishings and no maintenance building.

Mr. Levine advised on the public meetings that were held and the public’s request not to build just another athletic field.

Mr. Schenkman commented on the proposed cost at build out being $4.3 Million, the Township already having $2.5 Million, financing $2 Million and the effect to the taxpayers over the next twenty-five years.

The Supervisors discussed the Township’s current debt service and the effects to the taxpayers.

Chairman Jirele questioned what the anticipated Parks and Recreation income is for next year. Mr. Wert advised that he did not have that information on him.

Mr. Leck questioned if there is a fuel surcharge added in to this proposal. Mr. Levine advised that he needs to look into that.

The Supervisors discussed issue #1, the park entrance off of Route 413. Four of the Supervisors were in favor of the entrance off of Route 413; Dr. Ciervo was not in favor of the entrance.

The Supervisors discussed issue #2, the 9’ wide walking trail. Chairman Jirele advised that he would like to see a paved walking trail and suggested reducing the trail to 6’ wide. Dr. Ciervo commented with regards to the impervious surface ratio and the cost of the trail. Mr. Calabro questioned if the Township would want the police to be able to access the trail. Ms. Dotts advised that the Fire Department requested the trail be wide enough for emergency vehicles. Mr. Schenkman advised that he would like to know the difference in cost between a 6’ wide or a 9’ wide trail before making a decision. Mr. Levine advised that information would be provided. Chairman Jirele advised that this issue would be held for further discussion at the final plan approval.

The Supervisors discussed issue #3, the tennis and basketball courts. Chairman Jirele advised that he is against using the area for tennis/basketball courts, but would be in favor of a pad for a Skate Park. Mr. Calabro advised that he would also be okay with a pad for a Skate Park and that he would like to keep the basketball courts. Mr. Levine and Mr. Wert advised on the Parks and Recreation Department’s tennis program. Mr. Levine reported on the tennis sponsor for $25,000.00. Mr. Schenkman commented on the Township’s tennis program and suggested leaving the tennis courts in the plan due to the sponsor. Mrs. Beasley discussed other Township parks being developed in stages. Mr. Gallagher advised that these discussions are with regards to what the Township will start developing this year and that items could be added in the future and that tennis and basketball courts do not fit into the plan this year. Mr. Calabro advised that he agrees with Mr. Schenkman due to the sponsor the tennis courts should be left in the plan, he also wanted the basketball courts kept. Chairman Jirele advised that he would like both the tennis and basketball courts removed from the plan. He suggested that Mr. Levine provide the Supervisors with information that does not include the tennis and basketball courts and the Skate Park.

The Supervisors discussed issue #4, the proposed playground and other playgrounds in the Township. Chairman Jirele suggested starting small and expanding at a later date. He also suggested that the Parks and Recreation Board come back to the Board with new cost estimates. Ms. Crescenzo commented on the parking area being so far from the playground. Mr. Gallagher advised that he would rather see a playground than tennis or basketball courts.

The Supervisors discussed issue #5, the pavilion. Chairman Jirele suggested that the pavilion should have no community rooms, only what’s needed. The Supervisors discussed the pavilion area being similar to what’s at Helen Randle Park. Mr. Levine advised that the pavilion is a kit. The Supervisors discussed the pavilion costing approximately $400,000.00. Mr. Czajkowski discussed the cost of a similar pavilion at a park in Upper Makefield Township.

The Supervisors discussed issue #6, the parking area on the eastside of the site. Chairman Jirele suggested removing/revising the parking area and that there be no maintenance shed. The Supervisors discussed parking alternatives and the stormwater management. Dr. Ciervo questioned the total number of parking spaces. Mr. Levine advised that there are approximately 396 parking spaces (236 regular/60 on connector/100 reserve (grassy area)). The Supervisors discussed the request from Council Rock School District for a walking path. Mr. Schenkman commented with regards to there being sufficient parking for tournaments. Ms. Dotts advised on the materials that would be used for the reserve parking area. The Supervisors agreed to eliminate the parking area on the eastside of the site and the basins at this time.

The Supervisors discussed issue #7, the landscaping. Chairman Jirele commented that landscaping could always be added and suggested focusing on heavy buffering on the two residential areas. Mr. Levine advised that Mr. Leck has requested an 8’ fence and maybe the residents of St. Andrew’s Briar may also like a fence. Dr. Ciervo advised that he is concerned with planting trees along Route 413. He discussed the need for a waiver. The Supervisors discussed the options with regards to planting trees.

Mr. Levine commented on the engineering calculations and questioned if the paving cost is calculated using porous or impervious. Ms. Dotts advised that the calculations are based on using impervious. Mr. Levine suggested using a porous paving. Ms. Dotts discussed porous paving cost and made recommendations on were it should be used. Ms. Fountain advised that she feels what Ms. Dotts is saying is accurate, and that she has not seen the stormwater management system but she thinks it can be done.

Mr. Levine questioned what the Supervisors expect for the next meeting. Chairman Jirele advised that the Board would like a budget by next Wednesday, April 23, 2008.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the current budget with regards to the funds allotted for sports equipment. Ms. Dotts advised on the types of items included in that cost.

Mr. Levine summarized what the Supervisors are expecting - a budget by next Wednesday, April 23, 2008. If the budget were acceptable the Supervisors would want to see the whole plan reengineered and have Ms. Fountain do a complete review. The earliest time for final approval would be late May.

Mr. Levine questioned the feelings with regards to lighting. Chairman Jirele advised that once the leagues have the money for lighting, the Supervisors would have a policy drawn up with regards to lighting and restrictions. Mr. Levine questioned who the leagues should contact. The Supervisors advised that the leagues should contact Mr. Czajkowski. Chairman Jirele suggested that in the next couple of weeks the Board should focus on what fields should have lighting?

Chairman Jirele proposed the Township taking ownership of the detention basin near Eagle Road. Mr. Schenkman advised that he would like to know the cost of maintaining the basin over the next 20 – 30 years. Mr. Furlong advised that he could provide the Township with past records. Chairman Jirele requested Ms. Fountain to review the basin site and make a recommendation to the Board.

Chairman Jirele requested Mr. Garton to review past correspondence with the owner of the winery and report back to the Board.

Mr. Garton advised on the status of discussions with Council Rock School District. Chairman Jirele requested the Supervisors to get their comments to the Solicitor by Wednesday.

The Supervisors thanked everyone for their time.

Municipal Complex Building , Donovan & Associates, Architects – Joe Phillips, Jim Linske

The Supervisors were provided various documentation regarding the proposed Municipal Complex expansion for their review.

Chairman Jirele advised on the type of discussions he intends to have tonight with regards to the expansion.

Mr. Schenkman suggested hearing from the Financial Planning Committee.

Mr. Beasley, Financial Planning Committee, reported on the work done by the Financial Planning Committee, the results of the meeting on April 8, 2008 and their recommendations.

Mr. Stranford, Financial Planning Committee, discussed the proposed Municipal Complex expansion, the Committee’s April meeting with Mr. Phillips and the recommendations with regards to cost savings.

Jim McCrane, Financial Planning Committee, discussed the items that the Financial Planning Committee focused on and the prior review of the plans.

Chairman Jirele thanked the members of the Financial Planning Committee for their input and recommendations. He discussed the Committee’s next role in the process.

Mr. Schenkman discussed his review and feelings with regards to the proposed plans.

Dr. Ciervo advised that he is okay with the Maintenance Building. He is against the Parks and Recreation Building and suggested using the School House. He suggested leaving the Police Building as it is until hiring a new Police Chief. He is against the Administration Building; he feels it is too large. He suggested removing the left wing with the exception of the restrooms and maintenance rooms. He commented on the number of conference rooms and suggested removing at least one.

Mr. Phillips discussed the cost effects by removing space.

Mr. Calabro commented on the Financial Planning Committee’s report, possible future scenarios for the Township with regards to growth, the savings by removing space for the plan and the Parks and Recreation Department needing more space for programs. He suggested that the complex be built with the Township’s future growth in mind.

Mr. Gallagher advised that he is against renovating the current Public Works Building for use by the Parks and Recreation Department. He is okay with the proposed Public Works Building. He is unsure of what should be done with regards to the Police and Administration Buildings. He discussed the cost savings from Dr. Ciervo’s suggestions with regards to removing sections of the proposed buildings. He would like to know the savings before making a decision.

Chairman Jirele advised that he is also against renovating the current Public Works Building for use by the Parks and Recreation Department. With regards to the Administration Building being too large he would defer to the Township Manager. With regards to the Police Building he feels that some items do not make sense and would defer to the Township Manager on why the need to expand. Mr. Phillips advised with regards to the use of space in the Police Building. Chairman Jirele suggested using the current Public Works Building for Police storage. Mr. Czajkowski discussed the secure area of the Police Building and issues with regards to evidence and processing. Mr. Gallagher suggested leaving the secure area of the Police Building alone.

The Supervisors discussed the proposed Public Works Building and agreed that they had no changes to the proposed plan.

The Supervisors discussed the renovations to the existing Public Works Building for use by the Parks and Recreation Department and agreed not to make the renovations at this time.

The Supervisors discussed the proposed Administration Building and the consensus was to leave the proposed plan as is.

The Supervisors discussed the proposed Police Building and agreed that more information is needed before making a decision. Mr. Czajkowski advised on what information he could with regards to the Police Department. The Supervisors discussed the contract with Wrightstown Township with regards to police services and touring the Upper Makefield Police Department. Dr. Ciervo suggested that the Supervisors wait to hear from the Police Chief before making a decision regarding the Police Building.

Mr. Schenkman advised on his concerns with regards to falling behind the timeline.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives for their time.

Mr. Phillips summarized the Supervisors decisions – proceed with the Public Works and Administration Buildings. The renovations to the existing Public Works Building for use from the Parks and Recreation Department are to be done at this time. The Police Building will be put on hold until more information is reviewed.

The Supervisors discussed possible uses of the Martindale House.

New Business

Old Business

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 11:32 P.M.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:

Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager


Tom Jirele, Chairman

Robert Ciervo, Vice-Chairman

Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Jerry Schenkman, Member