Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

Minutes of June 16, 2008


Members Present: Tom Jirele, Chairman; Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman; Jerry Schenkman, Member; Phil Calabro, Member; Jeffrey Garton, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Engineer and Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager. Not present was Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer.

Also Present: Chris Ortwein, Newtown Corporation; Victoria Bowe, First Fourth; Alan Fidler, Planning Commission Chairman; Various residents and business owners from Sycamore Street including Frank Tyrol, Melva Vitoriano, Bruce Roth, Walter Ricci, Lud Worsham, and Gabriel Matta; Richard J. Schuettler, PLCM; Mary Beth Lake, PLCM; David Fleming and Don Marshall representing Rosebank Winery; John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager.

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

Community Comments: There were not comments from the community at this time.


Youth Aid Panel Checking Account Resolution

Mr. Czajkowski updated the Supervisors with regards to the Youth Aid Panel Checking Account. The Supervisors discussed the request to authorize Sergeant Meyers and Lieutenant Forsyth to sign on the account.

Mr. Schenkman made a motion for the adoption of Resolution 2008-R-14. The motion was seconded by Mr. Calabro and passed unanimously (3-0).

First Fourth & Newtown Anniversary – Chris Ortwein

The Supervisors were provided various information for their review.

Mrs. Bowe updated the Supervisors with regards to Newtown’s First Fourth celebration this year. She provided copies of the First Fourth’s brochure. She commented with regards to the Township’s softball team needing players and advised that the first practice is scheduled for Sunday, June 29 th at 2P.M. at Helen Randle Park.

Ms. Ortwein updated the Supervisors with regards to Newtown’s 325 th Anniversary and thanked them for placing her on tonight’s agenda. She reported on pre-events and upcoming events to celebrate the anniversary. She commented that if anyone is looking for information they should go to She discussed the public art projects, the changes to the Township over the years and ways that the Township can participate. She requested the Supervisors to authorize the 325 th Anniversary logo to be put on the website and government channel.

Dr. Ciervo arrived.

Ms. Ortwein requested the Supervisors to dedicate space for the 325 th Anniversary recognition plaques that she expects the Township to be receiving. She commented on the legacy that Newtown Township wants to leave behind.

Chairman Jirele commented with regards to the exciting ideas being discussed. He commented with regards to the possibility of having alternating American and 325 th Anniversary flags on Sycamore Street.

Mr. Schenkman suggested the possibility of hanging the posters on the poles along Sycamore Street. He questioned if the posters would be available for purchase. Ms. Ortwein advised that there would be a meet and greet the artist.

The Supervisors discussed the 325 th slogan phrase live, worship, work, shop and play.

Mr. Calabro advised that there is a typo on the flyer showing the 12 different posters (Title: Happy Birthday).

Ms. Ortwein advised that she would email more information about the celebration to the Supervisors for their review; she suggested that they view the website.

Chairman Jirele advised that he would be interested in looking into having flags, posters and banners along Sycamore Street.

Ms. Ortwein commented on ways to make this a virtual event

Chairman Jirele suggested setting up a blog for people to write in about their views of Newtown.

Dr. Ciervo discussed including information from the Tri-Centennial on the website.

The Supervisors thanked Mrs. Bowe & Ms. Ortwein for their time.

Planning Commission Discussion

The Supervisors discussed the delivery of the Planning Commission’s report to themselves; several scenarios were discussed including having the Township Manager give the report, having the Supervisor Liaison give the report, have a written report, or having the Planning Commission Chair give the report. There was a consensus to have the Planning Commission Chair give the report. Mr. Fidler offered to give the reports to the Supervisors as needed but requested to be put on the agenda early in the meeting. No final decision on how the report is delivered to the Supervisors was determined at tonight’s meeting. Chairman Jirele advised that a decision would be made at a later date.

Signage Issues – Vince Lombardi

Mr. Tyrol advised the Supervisors that Mr. Lombardi would not be making tonight’s presentation for the Sycamore Street Community Association. He commented on the discussion that took place at the May Work Session and updated the Supervisors on discussions that Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Solomon have had with regards to the sandwich board signs. He reported on the recommendations from the Sycamore Street business operators. He advised that he is looking for guidelines from the Supervisors. The Supervisors were provided correspondence for their review.

Chairman Jirele questioned if the sign matter has been discussed with HARB and advised that the Supervisors would like to have HARB’s input. Mr. Tyrol advised that he was unsure if the matter was discussed at the June HARB meeting.

The Supervisors discussed the existing ordinance with regards to temporary signs.

Dr. Ciervo advised on discussions with Mr. Ward and the need to draft an ordinance that would need to be reviewed/approved by the Jointure. He discussed the local businesses applying for temporary sign permits that would need to be approved by HARB.

Mr. Schenkman commented on the prior presentation at the May Work Session. He advised that he would like to see samples of the proposed signs and more information with regards to the businesses self-policing.

Mr. Calabro advised on his recollection of the May presentation and suggested that the Township have a standalone ordinance with regards to this matter.

Mr. Garton advised with regards to crafting an ordinance solely for the Township; he discussed the Supervisors having concerns with regards to permitting and suggested that everyone be required to get a permit.

Dr. Ciervo advised on his recollection of the May presentation.

Chairman Jirele advised that a blanket permit would not work. He advised that he has concerns with regards to the following:

  • What about other businesses in the Township not in the Historic District?
  • Self-policing concept.

Chairman Jirele advised that he would like to get input from HARB and that he would only approve one sign per business.

Mr. Fidler suggested having one ordinance for businesses on Sycamore Street and another ordinance for other shopping areas within the Township.

Mr. Ricci representing La Nuova Vita Ristorante advised on his use of the sandwich board sign and the business that it brings in.

Mr. Worsham representing Bucks County Beads advised that currently he does not have a sandwich board sign but wants to reserve the right to use the sign.

Dr. Ciervo discussed the need for a written document that can be agreed upon.

Mr. Tyrol discussed the information provided in the Supervisors packets and advised that the sandwich board sign is an important need to the businesses along Sycamore Street.

Chairman Jirele advised that an ordinance is needed and that the Supervisors would like input from HARB and the Planning Commission.

Mr. Garton advised that at this time it is important for the Township to establish a process.

Mr. Czajkowski suggested that the process begin with the Sycamore Street Community Association having discussions with HARB and then the Planning Commission.

Mr. Calabro commented on other municipalities using the signs and suggested contacting them for information with regards to drafting an ordinance.

Mr. Garton advised that the Township Manager, the Zoning Officer and himself would begin work on drafting an ordinance.

Mr. Matta representing Newtown Pizza commented with regards to each business having a different scenario and working together for the benefit of each other.

The representatives for the businesses along Sycamore Street thanked the Supervisors for their time.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives for their time.

PLCM Membership Discussion – Richard J. Schuettler

Mr. Schenkman updated the Supervisors on why he requested the representatives from The Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities to make a presentation; he introduced Mr. Schuettler and Ms. Lake.

Mr. Schuettler thanked the Supervisors for inviting PLCM to make a presentation. He updated the Supervisors with regards to PLCM and advised that the Township is one of PLCM’s eighty-four members. The Township’s annual membership dues are $7,000.00.

Ms. Lake advised the Supervisors with regards to the various services that PLCM provides. She reported on inquires that she receives daily.

Mr. Schuettler also reported on the programs/services offered by PLCM.

Chairman Jirele questioned what other local municipalities are members. Mr. Schuettler and Ms. Lake advised on other local municipalities that are members including Malvern, West Chester, Chalfont and Coatesville.

Dr. Ciervo commented on the cost of the membership dues. Mr. Schuettler advised with regards to the membership dues and the services provided.

Mr. Calabro commented on the dues and membership. Mr. Schuettler advised that the dues are calculated based on the municipality’s population.

Chairman Jirele commented with regards to the Township’s lack of use of the services provided by PLCM. Ms. Lake advised that the Supervisors may not be using the services but the Township staff is using the services.

Mr. Schenkman advised on his use of the services being provided by PLCM.

Mr. Jirele reported on his recollection of the Township’s past history with PLCM.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives from PLCM.

Rosebank Winery – Don Marshall

Mr. Garton advised that this matter is being discussed tonight due to the Boards concerns with regards to the proliferation of extensions being granted on the Land Development Plan for Rosebank Winery and the Board wanting an update from the applicant. The Supervisors were provided various documents in their packet.

Mr. Marshall updated the Supervisors. He provided the Supervisors with various correspondences for their review including a letter from the Township Zoning Officer dated March 22, 1984, a letter from Harris & Harris dated September 15, 2005, a copy of the Court Order dated May 11, 2006 and a sketch plan dated April 10, 2008.

The Supervisors discussed the sketch plan dated April 10, 2008. Mr. Marshall advised on what is currently on the site and what is being proposed.

Mr. Garton questioned if the applicant would be filing the new plan as new or amended. Mr. Marshall advised that he would prefer to file the new plan as amended.

Mr. Marshall reported on what the ordinance says with regards to uses and advised that there is an issue with regards to the impervious surface.

Chairman Jirele questioned the impervious surface calculations. Mr. Marshall and Ms. Fountain discussed the ordinance with regards to impervious surface and the area included in the calculations. Ms. Fountain advised that she would like to review the site.

Dr. Ciervo commented with regards to the uses allowed in CM and the maximum impervious coverage. Mr. Marshall reported that H7 use is permitted and the maximum impervious coverage allowed.

Mr. Marshall advised that this plan has not been submitted yet.

Mr. Marshall advised that agricultural buildings are not land development.

Chairman Jirele commented on the circumstances involved with the construction of the existing building (wine producing facility).

Chairman Jirele recommended that the applicant file another Land Development or an amendment to the plan currently filed.

Mr. Garton recommended that Ms. Fountain review the matter.

Mr. Garton recommended that the applicant withdrawal the originally filed plan. Mr. Marshall advised that he would do what Mr. Garton is recommending.

Chairman Jirele advised that he has two issues with regards to this matter – the number of people on the site and accessing the site.

The Supervisors discussed the postponement of the Land Development Plan.

Mr. Fleming discussed the current parking area.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives for their time.

Chairman Jirele updated Mr. Garton and Ms. Fountain with regards to the Rosebank Winery and their past history with the Township.

The Supervisors discussed their concerns and the stipulation agreement.

Old Business

New Business


Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 P.M.


Respectfully Submitted:
Christy Holley, Recording Secretary



Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager

Tom Jirele, Chairman

Robert Ciervo, Vice-Chairman

Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Jerry Schenkman, Member