Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of July 23, 2008

 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance were Supervisors: Chairman Thomas Jirele, Vice-Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Gallagher, Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro, members. Also present were: Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.

Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence. Karen Gilardi of Holy Family University gave the invocation. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski said that there would be a special action and under Manager’s Report, an adjustment to the Township’s mileage reimbursement.

Special Action: Newtown Borough Council President Mark Craig and Bernie Bires, manager of the Newtown Township First Fourth Softball Team were in attendance to present the Township with a plaque commemorating the Newtown Township winning of the First Fourth annual softball game against Newtown Borough. Mr. Jirele accepted the plaque with team members, Mr. Bires, Mr. Gallagher, Mick Petrucci and Jay Sensibaugh, and thanked Mr. Craig.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of the work session of June 16, 2008. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Gallagher abstaining.

Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of July 9, 2008. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Bills: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $219,124.23. Dr. Ciervo seconded. The motion passed 5-0..

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $46.10. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Chairman: Mr. Jirele said that the Board had met in executive session prior to the start of this evening’s meeting to discuss matters of personnel, litigation and real estate.

Mr. Jirele announced that Newtown Township and Borough began the celebration of their 325 th anniversary on Sunday at the NBPA Car Show with the opening of a time capsule. This will be a year long celebration with events scheduled throughout the year. Newtown was presented with a proclamation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Newtown has also received a letter from First Lady Laura Bush congratulating us for being chosen as a Preserve America Community. Preserve America is a program designed to promote historic and cultural preservation.

Other Board Members: Mr. Gallagher said that the Board has receive a letter and proposed budget from Environmental Advisory Council Chairman Donald McEachron, requesting the use of $1000 of the EAC’s budget to complete the inventory of open space. This inventory, which will be used by the Open Space Committee to update the Open Space Comprehensive Plan, will require two students from Drexel University, each working 40 hours at a rate of $12 per hour, under Dr. McEachron’s guidance and supervision. Once completed the inventory will be a spreadsheet listing all of the open space parcels in the Township, with a description of the parcels’

physical features. EAC members have been polled, and have agreed to support the use of this budgeted money for the project. The inventory will serve as an aid to the Open Space Committee in preparing an updated comprehensive plan, as it will identify those parcels already held as preserved open space as well as parcels of land that have not yet been developed.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the use of $1000 of the EAC budget to complete the open space inventory, as outlined in Dr. McEachron’s letter. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Planning Commission: Vice Chairman Jay Sensibaugh reported that at its July 15, 2008 meeting the Planning Commission reviewed a sketch plan and request for waiver of land development for Congregation Brothers of Israel for installation of a temporary classroom. The Commission recommends that the Board of Supervisors grant this waiver, subject to certain conditions, including consolidation of the two parcels of the site and that the temporary classroom remain for only four years. In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions, Mr. Sensibaugh said that the Commission did review the environmental impact of the land development and agreed that stormwater management is adequate for the proposed construction, and adequate sediment and erosion controls will be in place. This plan was reviewed in much the same manner as any full land development plan would have been reviewed.

The Commission reviewed the revised final plans for land development for the Woll tract for active recreation and recommends that the Board grant approval.

The Commission had no comment on the Zoning Hearing Board application of OLLY Shoes. The application requests a sign variance which is consistent with other businesses in the area, and the increased size is necessary for visibility from the road. The Commission suggested that the applicant present a graphic showing the entire Petsmart building, to better illustrate the relative size of the proposed sign.

The Commission recommends that the Board adopt JMZO 2006-08, Accessory Contractor, which creates a new accessory contractor or trade use as an accessory use to a residential dwelling in the CM, CR-1 and RI and RI-A Zoning Districts.

Historic Architectural Review Board: Chairman Harriet Beckert was in attendance to present an application for a certificate of appropriateness for repainting the exteriors of buildings at Goodnoe’s Corner. In response to Board questions, Mrs. Beckert said that she was not sure when the repainting would be completed.

Dr. Ciervo moved to issue a certificate of appropriateness for exterior painting of Goodnoe’s Corner as outlined in a memo dated July 23, 2008. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mrs. Beckert asked the Township Manager to check on the date stone in front of the former St. Andrew’s Convent building, which was to have been changed.

Land Development:

Woll Tract Park, Durham and Eagle Roads –Final Plan for Land Development: Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine and Sharon Dotts of Gilmore & Associates were in attendance to present the revised plans for land development for 47.592 acres located between Durham and Eagle Roads, 1300 feet south of Wrights Road in the POS Park and Open Space and CM Conservation Management Zoning Districts. The proposed plan has been revised since preliminary plan approval was granted in 2007 and now includes three multipurpose rectangular fields, a little league field, an NCAA baseball field and a softball field. A pavilion/snack shed with restrooms, a materials storage facility, a trail system, stormwater management facilities and paved parking for 210 vehicles and 86 parking spaces of reinforced turf are included. Facilities for tennis and basketball and additional parking have been postponed at this time. The Zoning Hearing Board has granted a variance for 9.1% impervious surface, which will accommodate this revised plan’s narrower trails and reduced parking. Mr. Levine noted that the main trail through the center of the park has been widened to 10 feet to comply with requests from the Fire Marshal for emergency access. A Highway Occupancy Permit for access to the tract by a right in/right out entrance has been received. Easement agreements with Council Rock School District for access through Wrights Road are expected to be finalized shortly. Wrights Road will be widened by six feet near the entrance to allow traffic to drive around cars waiting to make a left turn into the park.

In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Levine said that the stormwater management facilities have not been changed since preliminary plan approval. Buffering between the St. Andrew’s Briar development is increased.

Mr. Schenkman expressed some concern about the removal of landscaping within the park, between fields, as this would have provided some shade areas.

Mr. Levine said that the internal landscaping was removed for budgetary reasons, and once the park construction nears completion, could easily be added if the budget were to allow. There might also be opportunities for donation of trees, as has been done at Roberts Ridge Park.

Mr. Jirele suggested considering landscaping for the park as a 2009 budget item.

The Board briefly discussed accepting the St. Andrew’s Briar detention basin. Ms. Fountain said that the basin has been inspected; there is some clogging to be addressed, and clearing of debris is necessary before the Township should accept dedication.

Mr. Czajkowski said that he has not yet spoken to the St. Andrew’s Briar Homeowners Association about the basin’s condition.

In response to Mr. Gallagher’s comment, Mr. Levine said that the Bucks County Planning Commission has suggested a path or sidewalk along the Wrights Road access drive for the safety of those who either walk to the park or park along the driveway. This property belongs to Council Rock School District, which has not yet indicated whether the walkway would be permitted. If a paved walkway is installed it would not impact the Woll tract’s impervious surface, but would impact the School District’s impervious surface calculations for its property. This could be addressed as part of the easement agreement. The School District has indicated that it does not want a walkway from the school building to the park.

The Board members agreed that they would like the walkway included in the plans and in the bid package.

In response to Dr. Ciervo’s question, Ms. Dotts said that all trails shown on the plan can be built within the 9.1% impervious surface allotment. The trails are to be listed as options in the bid package, with the exception of the main trail, which is required for emergency access.

Mr. Calabro commended Mr. Levine and the Park and Recreation Board for the many long hours worked, over many years, to bring this much needed park to fruition.

Mr. Calabro moved to grant approval for the revised final plan of land development of Newtown Township  for the premises located at Durham Road  being Bucks County Tax Parcel Nos. 29-3-25-2 and 29-49-58 (the Premises) prepared by Gilmore & Associates, Inc., comprising Sheets 1-24 dated June 29, 2007 (last revised June 25, 2008)  (the Plans), , subject to the following conditions: 

  1. Prior to the signing of the Revised Final Plan and its recordation, and subject to the zoning ordinances and waivers, the Applicant has obtained, the said Revised Final Plan shall be revised to comply with the following review letters:
  2. A.  July 8, 2008 Letter from CKS Engineers, Inc.

    B.  July 2, 2008 Letter from Bucks County Planning Commission, except for the following comments which shall be resolved as indicated:   

    • Paragraph 1 C there will be no rezoning, as stipulated.
    • Paragraph 2 C the Applicant has obtained the zoning variance for impervious surface ratio.
    • Paragraph 4 B the Applicant will comply if it obtains the concurrence of the School District.
    • Paragraph 5(a) B the Applicant will note on the Record Plan a description of the structure including the footprint.

    C.  July 8, 2008 from Carroll Engineering Corporation, except for the following comments which shall be resolved as indicated:

    • Paragraph 1 B The applicant agrees to put up collapsible signs to discourage traffic from using the proposed 10-foot trail.
    • Paragraph 2-- The applicant will comply with any Agreement it enters with the School District regarding the proposed access.
  3. Except as expressly amended by the Revised Plan and this motion,   the Revised Final Plan is and shall continue to be subject to the terms, conditions and requirements of the preliminary plan approval of the Newtown Board of Supervisors on November 19, 2007.
  4. The Applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of the variances granted by the Township Zoning Hearing Board  B specifically B the impervious surface ratio variance granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.
  5. The Applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.  
  6. The Applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
  7. The applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
  8. All lighting, including, but not limited to, field lighting, shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted) and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  9. Any signs shall be subject to and comply with Township sign ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted).
  10. The Applicant shall comply with all storm water management ordinances and the Township Engineer recommendations and the applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township ’s professionals. 
  11. No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating. 
  12. All traffic impact and park and recreation fees are waived.
  13. The Applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants as to the notes of the plan.  
  14. The Applicant  shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the Property from impinging upon nearby intersections.
  15. Trash areas shall be appropriately screened and trash receptacles shall be provided near fields for patron use.
  16. All planting shall be guaranteed for 18 months and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  17. The Property will be ADA compliant.

Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Grainhouse Developers LLC, 11 Penns Trail – Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Don Marshall was in attendance to present this application for the adaptive reuse of a 47,819 square foot warehouse building for flex use, with 15,000 square feet dedicated to use D-1, office use and the remaining space dedicated to G-3, warehouse use on a 4.316 acre parcel in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District.

Three variances have been granted to the applicant for which an extension is requested. One variance was for parking, which had been needed because the plan had first been submitted with considerably more office space. With the use of warehouse space expanded, this variance, and the variance to eliminate loading berths, are no longer needed. The third variance had been for impervious surface of 70%. The plan shows 69.7% impervious surface. The increase in impervious surface is to accommodate stormwater management facilities. When originally built, no stormwater management had been included.

Mt. Marshall said that the applicant is seeking a waiver from the street tree requirement, because of the proposed berming for stormwater management, and would agree to a fee in lieu of $3500, suggesting that the fee be used at the Woll tract.

The Board discussed the traffic impact fee. Mr. Marshall said that this is an adaptive reuse of an existing occupied building. Jeffrey Lamoreaux, Traffic Engineer for Van Cleef Engineering, has calculated that the adaptive reuse of the site will generate an additional 9 trips per day, which would require a traffic impact fee of $15,791.

Mr. Jirele questioned whether this building had ever paid a traffic impact fee, and if not, whether a full fee, as if for new construction, should be due.

Mr. Marshall said that this building predates the ordinance. It has been fully occupied. The fee is for the traffic impact, which is an additional 9 trips. There are currently 48 trips per day. He noted that he has appeared before the Board on numerous occasions with adaptive reuses in the Business Commons, and his other applicants have been charged fees based on additional traffic and were credited for existing conditions. Only applicants presenting new construction have been charged the full traffic impact fee.

Mr. Gallagher said that the full fee would be over $100,000, and would be onerous for the applicant. The Board should attempt to work with applicants who are revitalizing the Commons.

Mr. Schenkman and Mr. Calabro agreed to support the fee for the increase in traffic, crediting the applicant for existing trips.

Dr. Ciervo expressed some concern that the Board should be applying the same standard to all applicants for adaptive reuse.

Mr. Jirele asked that the Township Traffic Engineer prepare a summary of other projects’ traffic fees for the next meeting.

Mr. Garton noted that the plan will expire at the end of the month.

Mr.. Calabro moved to Supervisor grant preliminary/final approval of land development to Grainhouse Developers, LLC for the premises located at 11 Penns Trail, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Number 29-010-097 (the “Premises”) prepared by Van Cleef Engineering Associates, dated March 21, 2008, last revised June 13, 2008, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:

  1. Compliance with the CKS report dated July 1, 2008, with the understanding that by taking action at its public meeting on July 23, 2008, the Board of Supervisors agred to an extension of the Decision of the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board, which was rendered on May 23, 2008;
  2. Applicant will pay a traffic Impact fee to the Township in the amount of $15,791, which said payment shall be made at the time of execution of the Development and Financial Security Agreements;
  3.    The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of any variances, conditional uses and/or special exceptions, and extensions thereof, granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.
  4. Compliance with the Carroll Engineering Report dated April 15, 2008;
  5. Compliance with the Bucks County Planning Commission report dated April 23, 2008 with the understanding that compliance with the previous conditions as noted will satisfy items 4 and 6 of the Bucks County Planning Commission Report;
  6. Compliance with the Township Fire Marshal’s letter dated April 1, 2008;
  7. The following waivers from SALDO sections as indicated are granted:
    • 402.5 – To waive the requirement of a transportation impact study but in lieu thereof, payment of such traffic impact fee as is determined by the Traffic Engineer on the basis of information to be provided by the applicant;
    • 402.3.B & C – To accept an aerial photograph of the site and surrounding area in lieu of topography within 400 feet of the site;
    • 514.2 – To waive the requirement that all off-street parking is to be located on the side and rear of all buildings;
    • 514.9 – To waive the requirement that parking areas be located a minimum of twenty feet from the outside wall of the nearest building;
    • 520.5 - To waive the requirement that nothing be placed within the area of an easement provided, however, that applicant provides written confirmation sufficient in the opinion in the Township Engineer and Township Solicitor that existing recorded easements permit such uses as are proposed;
    • 521.3.C.6 & 521.05.G – To waive the requirement that all basins have slopes less than four horizontal to one vertical;
    • 521.5.H – To waive the requirement that the minimum top of berm lip of detention basin provides written confirmation sufficient in the opinion of the Township Engineer and Township Solicitor that existing recorded easements permit such uses as are proposed;
    • 521.3.C.6 & 521.5.G – To waive the requirement that all basins have slopes less than four horizontal to one vertical;
    • 521.5.H – To waive the requirement that the minimum top of berm lip of detention basin be ten feet;
    • 522.4.B – To waive the requirement that all grading and proposed slopes be a minimum of five feet from all property lines;
    • 530 – To waive the requirement that new street trees be planted at intervals not to exceed twenty-five feet, but that in lieu thereof, the applicant contribute to an amount the Township Engineer determines compliance with this section would have cost.
  8. The applicant shall supply and execute all required financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
  9.    The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
  10. The applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer agencies, confirming the availability of public water and public sewer for the project;
  11. The applicant shall comply with all storm water management ordinances and the Township Engineer recommendations and the applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township’s professionals;
  12. All review and professionals fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid;
  13. No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  14. Signs shall be subject to and comply with Township Sign Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted;
  15. All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted) and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating;
  16. A fee in lieu or of providing open space is not required upon the basis of the Park and Recreation Board’s action at its May 7, 2008 meeting;
  17.   The plan shall be ADA compliant.

Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Congregation Brothers of Israel, 530 Washington Crossing Road – Sketch Plan and request for waiver of land development: Attorney Ed Murphy was in attendance to present this plan to install a 1,680 square foot temporary classroom with associated walkways at the rear of an existing synagogue on two tax map parcels, totaling 7.77 acres in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District. Mr. Murphy said that the Congregation has been granted a special exception subject to the conditions that the two tax map parcels be consolidated. The temporary classroom, which measures 28’X60’, will be used for religious instruction for three classes, each with about 10-14 children, on Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings, with one Saturday morning each month. The Planning Commission has recommended that the Board support the request for waiver of land development.

In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Murphy said that site capacity calculations have been submitted, showing an increase in impervious surface of 0.75%. The classroom will be at the rear of the property, surrounded by mature trees, and will not be visible from either the street or the surrounding neighbors. No trees will be removed for the construction.

The Zoning Hearing Board had granted a special exception with the condition that the temporary classroom only be in place four years. During that time the Congregation will evaluate whether a permanent structure will be necessary as part of a master plan. No additional parking is required. Once the two parcels are merged, the total 7.77 acre parcel will be less non-conforming than the existing property.

Dr. Ciervo moved to grant a waiver of land development for a temporary classroom toCongregation Brothers of Israel for the premises located at 530 Washington Crossing Road, being Bucks County Tax Parcels 29-3-73-6 and 29-3-73-7 subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:

  1. The activities proposed to be undertaken will be in accordance with the plan prepared by Woodrow & Associates, Inc., comprising one sheet dated May 6, 2008,
  2. Compliance with any conditions imposed by the Newtown Township Zoning Heairng Board when it granted a special exception and continued compliance with any other waivers and/or variances that may have been granted;
  3. the Plan shall comply with the CKS Engineering letter dated June 2, 2008;
  4. The applicant shall enter into a waiver agreement with the Township;
  5. All fees are to be paid;
  6. The temporary classroom is to remain in place not more than four years, as is consistent with the conditions of the Zoning Hearing Board approval of July 3, 2008.
  7. A deed of consolidation to be reviewed and approved by the Township shall be filed prior to seeking any permits to undertake the process necessary to install the classroom;
  8. Applicant shall secure the approval of Bucks County Conservation District and Township Engineer as th the location of topsoil stockpile.
Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Reports of Officials

Manager

Municipal Complex – Construction Management Proposal: Mr. Czajkowski presented the Board with proposals for a construction management firm for the municipal expansion project. He explained that State law requires that on municipal projects, each component of the construction be bid separately. A construction management firm would act as general contractor, on site every day, supervising construction to make sure the project is completed on schedule and on budget, overseeing all phases of construction, including change orders. Mr. Czajkowski said that he has been involved in other municipal projects, and has always worked with a construction management firm.

Ms. Fountain confirmed that her firm has worked successfully with both of the low bidding firms.

Mr. Schenkman suggested that the Board, along with the administration, conduct interviews with the two or three low bidding firms. He also suggested including a Planning Commission volunteer who has construction experience in the interview process.

In response to Mr. Jirele’s comments, Mr. Czajkowski said that pre-construction costs were not factored into each bid. The project is scheduled to be completed in 16 months; if the project takes longer, additional charges would be incurred. Mr. Czajkowski would arrange for the interviews.

Mileage Reimbursement: Mr. Czajkowski informed the Board that, effective on July 1, 2008, the IRS has increased the mileage allowance to $0.585 per mile.

Mr. Schenkman moved to increase the Township’s mileage reimbursement to $0.585 per mile effective July 1, 2008. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Solicitor's Report

Newtown Township Municipal Building Bond Ordinance 2008-07: Mr. Garton advised the Board that, in order to issue a municipal bond for financing of the municipal complex expansion, an ordinance must be adopted.

Scott Shearer of The PFM Group was in attendance to review the parameters of the bond sale. He explained that the Township has been given a credit rating by Moody’s of Aa2, which is considered very good. The proposed issue will be $10,000,000. Because of the high credit rating, no bond insurance may be required. Moody’s has recently downgraded certain AAA bond insurance companies, which has had an impact on the bond market. For that reason the Township’s offering was pulled and the auction did not take place. The market should settle down shortly, and the auction should take place within the next week or two. Instead of presenting an ordinance with the numbers included, Mr. Shearer said that he has presented a “parameters” ordinance which uses “not to exceed.” This will give some flexibility in conducting the auction. He said that it is not unusual to conduct an auction with this type of ordinance.

In response to Board questions, Mr. Shearer reviewed his firm’s history throughout the State and the country as financial managers and advisors to municipalities. He reviewed the procedure for viewing the auction on line. Board members would be notified in advance of the start of the auction.

Dr. Ciervo expressed some concern about the amount of the bond, questioning whether the full amount would be needed, as the project has been reduced in scope somewhat. He asked about pre-payment.

Mr. Shearer explained the prepayment options. It was noted that a portion of the bond would be used to pay the loan taken for land acquisition and architects’ fees. Although the proposed costs for construction are under $10,000,000, some additional funds will be needed for items not included in the bid, such as furniture and a telephone system. There is a five year call feature. If money is left over, it would be deposited in an escrow account until the call date. The bond can be refinanced if rates drop.

Mr. Garton reviewed the proposed ordinance, as prepared by Dinsmore & Shohl, Bond Counsel, with the Board.

Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize enactment of Ordinance 2008-07. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Dr. Ciervo voting nay.

Mr. Shearer said that he will provide final numbers to Mr. Garton when the transaction occurs, along with a final debt service schedule.

Newtown Township Ordinance Authorizing the Placement of a Referendum Question on the November 4, 2008 Ballot relating to Increasing the Earned Income Tax for Open Space Purposes: Mr. Garton said that, in accordance with a motion made at the last Board meeting, this ordinance has been advertised so that the referendum question would increase the earned income tax by 0.25%. Three additional versions of the ordinance have been provided to the Board with the option to approve a referendum question at 0.1%, 0.15%, 0.2% as well as 0.25%.

Mr. Jirele opened the public hearing. He said that the ordinance advertised would allow up to 0.25% additional earned income tax. He said that he would propose considering a lower amount.

Mr. Gallagher said that he has researched what other municipalities in Bucks County have done, and already 11 other municipalities have enacted earned income tax for preservation of open space, with most at 0.25%. Wrightstown is at 0.15%. Some municipalities have millage taxes for open space.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the increase cannot be imposed on non-residents.

Mr. Calabro said that it is his understanding that it is not imposed on those earning less than $5000 per year.

Mr. Gallagher reviewed projected revenues if the tax were enacted, based on projected earned income tax revenues for 2008, noting that 0.1% would bring in $680,000; 0.25% would bring in $1,700,000.

Referring to information provided to the Board by Mr. Shearer in connection with the municipal expansion bond, Mr. Jirele said that a substantial bond could be funded by a 0.1% additional tax. A larger increase in the tax might cause the referendum to be defeated.

In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Mr. Gallagher said that there are approximately 4300 acres in the Township that appear on maps as open space. Some of this acreage has been developed, some is preserved open space belonging to Homeowners Associations. He would estimate that about half, or 2150 acres, might be open space.

Mr. Calabro said that this referendum is asking the voters to support a tax increase without any indication of available open space or the costs of preservation of that open space.

Mr. Jirele said that for the past eight years no money has been allocated for open space preservation. By passing this ordinance, the voters could give the Board the ability to enact a revenue stream should land become available for preservation.

Dr. Ciervo agreed, noting that it has been ten years since the Township last preserved open space, meanwhile development continues.

Mr. Calabro said that he is not opposed to the preservation of open space; his concern is with the current economy. In this economic climate a referendum could fail. Residents are facing increased costs for everything, and might reject an increased earned income tax. Postponing the referendum might insure passage at some future time when the economic outlook has improved. While this might be a good time to be purchasing land, prices should not go up between now and the primary election in the spring.

Mr. Garton said that while it might not be advisable to place the question before the public again in the next election, or repeatedly, if the referendum were to fail, it would be permitted. There is not a limitation on when or whether a referendum question can be repeated.

Mr. Gallagher noted that the November election will bring out more voters than a primary election will. A referendum at this election will insure participation of more of the residents.

Mr. Schenkman noted that the Board had worked for ten years on the municipal complex, making plans, reviewing financing options with the Financial Planning Committee and hiring consultants before floating the bond. Now the Board is considering floating a bond for the same amount of money for open space without the same due diligence. A better course to follow might be to provide the public with open discussion of open space preservation.

Dr. Ciervo said that he wants to get the process started; the ordinance would provide the Board with the ability to enact an earned income tax. An earned income tax would protect senior citizens and those on fixed incomes. If the Board delays some currently available open space could be developed.

Mr. Jirele noted that the Board has discussed two properties in executive session. The Board is permitted to discuss land acquisition during executive session. A 0.1% increase in the earned income tax would allow the Board to finance a $10,000,000 25-year bond.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve an ordinance to place a referendum question on the ballot on the November 4, 2008 election, asking for an increase in the earned income tax of 0.1% for the purpose of preservation of open space. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Resident Dennis Fisher said thatthe goal of preservation of open space is a common goal of the community; the Township should wait to hear recommendations from the Open Space Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Financial Planning Committee before attempting the referendum. He expressed some concern that in the current economic climate a referendum would fail.

Mr. Gallagher noted that the Open Space Committee is creating an inventory of open space and updating the comprehensive plan, but is not a funding committee.

The motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Schenkman and Calabro voting nay.

JMZO 2006-08 – Lighting Regulations: Mr. Garton explained that this amendment would take lighting out of the JMZO and allow each municipality to enact its own stand alone ordinance.

Dr. Ciervo moved to adopt JMZO 2006-08. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

JMZO 2006-02 – Accessory Contractor: Mr. Garton explained that this amendment would create a new accessory contractor or trade use as an accessory use to residential dwelling in the CM, CR-1, CR-2, R-1 and R-1A zoning districts.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize advertisement of JMZO 2006-02. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Hidden Lake Sewer Easement: Mr. Garton said that the Board is being asked to consider granting a sewer easement across Township open space for three residents to tie into public sewers. An easement would have to be granted for the sewer lines to be installed.

In response to Board questions, Mr. Czajkowski said that this would be an extension of existing sewer lines. There would be no impact on the environment.

The Board agreed to consider an easement subject to approval of the Township Engineer and Township officials.

Mr. Czajkowski said he would contact the homeowners involved.

T-Mobile Northeast, LLC, 251 Frost Lane: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve the decision of conditional use for T-Mobile, Northeast, LLC. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Zoning Hearing Board Applications

Michael Reilly, 4 Hillview Drive: Mr. Reilly was in attendance to review his Zoning Hearing Board application. He has revised his plans, reducing the request for increased impervious surface to 1400 square feet. He said that he will install a seepage bed to help control run-off. He has reduced both the pool and patio.

The Board had no comment.

OLLY USA, 2690 South Eagle Road: Kyle Hipple of OLLY Shoes was in attendance to review this application for a variance to allow a 24 square foot sign where 20 square feet is permitted, at a height of 14.5 feet where 9 feet is the maximum height. Mr. Hipple presented a photograph of the building front, noting the proposed location of the sign in line with the other businesses’ signage. The sign will be lit by gooseneck lamps.

The Board had no comment.

Engineer's Report

Goodnoe’s Corner Escrow Release: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release of $270,762.35 to Goodnoe’s Corner. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Newtown Walk: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $178,202.26 to Newtown Walk. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

11 Friends Lane, LLC: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $17,867.10. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Possible Rezoning in OR Office Research District: Ms. Fountain presented the Board with a map outlining existing zoning in the OR Office Research Zoning District. She noted that the only parcel in the OR district north of the Bypass which has not been developed is the Sterling/McGowan parcel. The proposal that had been considered is rezoning of The Reserve, Norwalk Development and the Sterling McGowan parcels as CM, Conservation Management, and The Villas at Newtown as R-2. The Office Research zoning for residential uses matches the permitted development in the CM district. If the Sterling/McGowan property were developed as office/research,. A 60,000 square-foot four story office building would be permitted with 240,000 square feet of office space and 1200 parking spaces. This would not be compatible with the surrounding uses. Office and research space is still available on the southern side of the Bypass and is also permitted in the LI and O-LI zoning Districts.

Mr. Garton said that this would not constitute spot zoning since it would be consistent with surrounding uses.

Mr. Gallagher suggested that including the Sterling/McGowan property in this change would deny the property owners a permitted use.

Dr. Ciervo contended that people are already living in the Reserve and Norwalk and CM is better zoning for the area.

Resident Will Sterling said that this proposal would devalue his property. Different residential densities are permitted in OR than are permitted in CM. He asked that the Board leave his property alone; it is his livelihood and his retirement.

Mr. Jirele said that he is concerned about the uses permitted in the OR district.

Dr. Ciervo said that as currently zoned, office use would be permitted.

Mr. Jirele suggested getting input from the Planning Commission on the impact of changed zoning.

Old Business:

Budget 2009: Mr. Jirele said that he would like to have more regular updates from the administration on budget matters, beginning in late August or in September. He said he would like to see options presented on budget issues. He would like to see he Board of Supervisors take a more active role in the budget process.

In response to Mr. Schenkman’s comment, Mr. Jirele said that the Financial Planning Committee would continue to participate and have input.

Mr. Gallagher noted that department heads have begun to provide information on future capital expenses.

Mr. Czajkowski said that although the budget document is not put together until October, he could begin providing some information; he has done this in previous positions he has held. He could also present budgets with different percentage increases.

Mr. Calabro suggested that each department begin considering options for long term savings.

The meeting adjourned at 10:45 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, 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