Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

Minutes of May 19, 2008

 

Members Present: 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. Not present was Tom Jirele, Chairman.

Also Present: John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager; Various residents and business owners from Sycamore Street including Vince Lombardi, Frank Tyrol, Melva Vitoriano, Karen Clift, Joe Siano, Bruce Roth, Shawn Ward, Elisa Kahn, Melissa Paterson, Toby Quitel, a representative from Newtown Pizza, Walter Ricci, Lud Worsham, and Jenn Zummo; Ed Murphy, McBride/Murphy; Gene Lorenzetti, Mrs. Lorenzetti; Various Newtown residents including Jay Sensibaugh and Michael Horan; Maureen Griet, CKS Engineers.

Call to Order: Vice Chairman Ciervo called the meeting to order at 7:36 P.M.

Community Comments

Discussion

Sycamore Street Signs Discussion – Vince Lombardi

Mr. Lombardi updated the Supervisors with regards to the correspondence that the businesses on Sycamore Street received from the Township Zoning Officer with regards to temporary signs. He advised on discussions with Mike Solomon and Joseph Czajkowski with regards to the matter. He reported on the Sycamore Street Community Association.

Mr. Tyrol advised that SSCM is here tonight to seek advice from the Supervisors He discussed the possibility of some relief for the use of the temporary sign. He commented on the importance of the sandwich board signs and the Township’s sign ordinance prohibiting this type of sign.

Ms. Vittoriano the owner of Freestyle Salon and Ms. Clift, Front Desk Manager reported on their use of a walk-in sign and the loss of business since the sign has not been permitted. Ms. Vittoriano reported that when she was designing the sign she did try to match it to the building and logo.

Mr. Siano the owner of Il Sol Tuscan Grill discussed his history in the Township, the types of advertising he has tried and his customer draw from using the sandwich board sign. He commented on the signs needing to be tasteful.

Mr. Roth the owner of Sycamore Kitchens discussed the types of advertising he has tried and the business from having the sandwich board sign. He advised on the past history of the sandwich board sign and discussions he has had with other businesses on Sycamore Street being in favor of using the signs. He commented on the Township developing sandwich board guidelines.

Mr. Lombardi read a statement from Ms. Thomas owner of the Carriage House Collection with regards to relief for sandwich board sign. She commented on the types of advertising being used. She suggested that the Township allow merchants to hang buntings honoring our military.

Mr. Ward discussed the signs working for bringing business into the local merchants, the Sycamore Street Project and other cities facing the same problem with regards to the sandwich board signs.

Mr. Lombardi reported that Ms. Vittoriano, Mr. Tyrol and himself are on HARB and suggested that HARB and the Codes Department come up with some type of standard for the sandwich board signs.

Mr. Lang representing Lang Ski and Scuba reported on his experience with regards to the sandwich board sign. He discussed Newtown Borough’s First Friday and ways to help small businesses economically.

Mr. Gallagher thanked everyone for coming out tonight to discuss this matter. He agreed that he could accept tasteful sandwich board signs. He advised that the problem started when signs started appearing on the Bypass and questioned if that has been an ongoing problem. Mr. Lombardi reported with regards to the businesses using a temporary sign to bring in customers.

Mr. Gallagher agreed it is a good idea having HARB and the Codes Department review the ordinance.

Dr. Ciervo discussed the ordinance not allowing use of temporary signs in the Historic District. He commented on the Township amending the ordinance to come up with a middle ground for temporary signs within the Historic District. He suggested that the Township hold back on the enforcement for the time being. He advised that the ordinance is a JMZ Ordinance and that further discussion is needed.

Mr. Lombardi discussed the novelty and temporary parts of the ordinance and offered alternative names for a sandwich board sign.

Mr. Tyrol commented on the issue being to come up with an approved sign standard; he also discussed unapproved signs.

Dr. Ciervo reported that the ordinance would need to be amended to allow temporary signs in the Historic District.

An Upper Makefield resident spoke with regards to the shopping area in Washington Crossing.

Mr. Schenkman commented on statements made by Mr. Ward with regards to what other cities are doing. Mr. Ward reported on the research he came up with regarding design standards; he discussed an article in USA Today.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he is okay with selective enforcement for the time being while the ordinance is being amended. He discussed the importance of notifying the Codes Department that a standard is being worked on and Mr. Lombardi’s suggestion of having HARB and the Codes Department work together to develop a standard.

Mr. Garton suggested that the Supervisors consider removing temporary signs from the Jointure. Mr. Schenkman commented on the matter being reviewed by the Joint Zoning Council

Mr. Ward advised that if it is desired to have an additional presentation that is not a problem. Mr. Schenkman suggested having visual aids for the presentation.

A business owner from Sycamore Street reported on the customer draw he sees from using the sandwich board sign.

Ms. Kahn an employee from Il Sol commented on the restaurant’s use of the sandwich board sign, the need for the sign and Mr. Siano’s history in the Township.

Mr. Calabro advised that he is in favor of the businesses using the sandwich board signs. He agreed that selective enforcement can be done and discussed the people who abuse the signs. He discussed the Township having a stand-alone ordinance, the signs needing to be tasteful. He commented on having input from HARB.

Dr. Ciervo suggested that the current ordinance be reviewed for what needs to be changed to allow temporary signs in the Historic District.

The Supervisors discussed the businesses doing self-policing.

Mr. Schenkman commented on having the Codes Department get in touch with Mr. Lombardi to begin discussions with regards to a standard for temporary signs in the Historic District.

The Supervisors thanked everyone for their time.

Gene Lorenzetti, Durham & Eagle Road – Ed Murphy

Mr. Murphy updated the Supervisors. He commented on discussions at the March 17, 2008 Work Session. He reported on the four proposed plans; he advised that Sketch Plans No. 1 and 2 meet the ordinance requirements. He advised that he is here tonight looking for feedback/direction from the Supervisors. The Supervisors were provided documents in their packets for review.

Dr. Ciervo commented on Sketch Plan No. 2 and questioned how many residents there would be. Mr. Murphy advised that the maximum number of residents would be one hundred twenty (120).

Mr. Schenkman advised that he feels that Sketch Plan No. 2 is too large and explained why. He favors Sketch Plan No. 3, but has concerns with the eight (8) homes. He discussed Sketch Plan No. 1 and 4; he advised that he has concerns with the homes on both plans and explained why.

The Supervisors discussed Sketch Plan No. 3. Mr. Murphy advised that Sunrise Senior Living has interest in Sketch Plan No. 3.

Mr. Lorenzetti advised that he prefers Sketch Plan No. 3 and that he would like to live in the residential area shown on the plan.

Dr. Ciervo suggested building a smaller assisted living facility and fewer residences.

The Supervisors discussed the Sunrise facility in Lower Makefield.

Mr. Calabro questioned the height of the assisted living building and the homes. Mr. Murphy reported on the building heights allowed by the ordinance.

Mr. Horan of Eagle Road advised that he is in favor of keeping within the ordinance requirements. He discussed the condition of the current properties located on the site and suggested that the Township enforce the ordinance and have the structures that are currently on the site removed.

Dr. Ciervo questioned what Mr. Horan would like to see built on the site. Mr. Horan advised that he would like the site to remain residential and that if an assisted living facility were built he would prefer the smaller facility.

The Supervisors discussed Sketch Plan No. 1.

Dr. Ciervo advised that he would like the plan to meet the ordinance requirements. He advised that he would support Sketch Plan No. 1 or 2.

Mr. Gallagher advised that he would like the plan to meet the ordinance requirements.

Mr. Schenkman advised that he prefers Sketch Plan No. 3 and that the community needs a place for the seniors.

The Supervisors discussed all plans with regards to traffic.

Mr. Calabro advised that he favors Sketch Plan No. 2.

Dr. Ciervo spoke for Chairman Jirele and advised that he would prefer the plan to meet the ordinance requirements.

Mr. Lorenzetti discussed the March 17, 2008 presentation to the Supervisors.

The Supervisors discussed Mr. Lorenzetti’s options for developing the site.

Mr. Sensibaugh commented with regards to independent and assisted living facilities.

The Supervisors agreed that they are leaning towards Sketch Plan No. 2.

The Supervisors thanked everyone for their time.

Township Building Land Development Plan Application

Ms. Fountain updated the Supervisors with regards to the Township Building Land Development Plan Application and introduced Maureen Griet, the Design Engineer for the project. The Supervisors were provided documents in their packets for review. She discussed the differences between the architectural renderings and the plans being reviewed tonight. The first difference is the existing Public Works building. The second difference is the Police building. The third difference is the relocation of the driveway; the driveway will align with existing firehouse driveway. This plan would require a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board; the matter is scheduled for the June 5 th meeting. The variance is for the front yard setback from Municipal Drive. She advised on the waivers being requested. She discussed storm water management and landscape buffering.

Mr. Schenkman discussed the Police building with regards to waiting for input from the new Police Chief. He commented with regards to the landscaping and advised that he would not like to cut back on too many trees. He advised on concerns with regards to the view from the Supervisors public meeting room and suggested planting some type of signature tree.

The Supervisors discussed the street trees. Ms. Fountain advised that the Board can waive the street trees.

Ms. Fountain reported on the comment letter received from Amy Kaminski dated May 16, 2008. The Supervisors discussed the recommendations.

Mr. Schenkman questioned the water infiltration system and LEEDS. Ms. Fountain advised that these plans have been forwarded to Mr. Linske.

Old Business

Mr. Gallagher discussed open space and requested Mr. Czajkowski to setup a meeting date for the Open Space volunteers to start meeting.

Mr. Czajkowski discussed the walking video tour production of the existing Municipal Complex. He advised on the proposal from Video Gold and Skotleski Productions. Mr. Gallagher explained why this video is needed. The Supervisors discussed the quotes received. The Supervisors agreed that the next step would be to meet with the producer at the next Work Session. The Supervisors discussed setting up a Sub-Committee to handle the matter.

Dr. Ciervo discussed the possibility of the Township meadowing the Library and Wiggins Tracts; he suggested only mowing the sites two – four times per year. The Supervisors discussed complying with the ordinance. Mr. Schenkman advised that he is okay with the idea as long as the Township complies with the legal requirements. Mr. Czajkowski advised that he would confirm that no ordinances are being violated. Mr. Calabro suggested the possibility of the sites being donated for use by the local colleges or the possibility of planting wild flowers. The Supervisors discussed the Newtown Garden Club. Mr. Schenkman advised on his experiences with the Peace Center and the Langhorne Garden Club.

New Business

Adjournment

Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:36 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