Board of Supervisors
Minutes of April 22, 2009
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on April 22, 2009 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Gallagher, and Philip Calabro and Jerry Schenkman, members. Also present were: Joseph 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 and an invocation by Reverend Paul Chreiman of Newtown United Methodist Church. This was followed by and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Special Action: Mr. Jirele introduced Eagle Scout Alan Carey and Scoutmaster Darrell Mancinelli. Mr. Mancinelli presented Mr. Carey with the Hornaday Conservation Award for outstanding achievement in conservation of natural resources. He congratulated Mr. Carey, the first Bucks County Scout to receive the award in over a decade.
On Behalf of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Jirele extended congratulations and presented a commendation to Mr. Carey for his efforts. He asked Mr. Carey to explain the project he undertook to earn this honor.
Mr. Carey said that he had built a bridge over Newtown Creek in Newtown Grant for his Eagle project. While doing the project he noticed that the creek had become a dump site. He organized 23 scouts and other residents, who spent over 180 hours cleaning the portion of the creek that runs through Newtown Grant, removing lawn mowers, car batteries and other debris and hazardous waste. Waste Management provided a dumpster and Stockburgers collected the hazardous materials.
Public Comment: Residents Lauren and Carolyn Rossi announced that they are organizing a dog-walkathon to benefit the Bucks County SPCA, Make Peace with Animals Greyhound Rescue and Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at Tyler Park Mill Dam picnic area. Bucks County SPCA will have pets to be adopted at the event.
Resident Nancy Crescenzo said that the traffic on South Eagle Road is dangerous. She said that there had been a study done in 2004 which found that there are frequent incidents of speeding through the shopping center. The much needed traffic light at the intersection of South Eagle Road and Swamp Road has not yet been installed. She said that traffic details seem to be focused on Eagle Road near Wrights Road with three or four police cars enforcing speed limits there, while the shopping center, Stoopville Road and Swamp Road are not being patrolled.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Police Department has been providing the Board with regular information on traffic enforcement; the reports indicate that the Department is working throughout the Township.
In response to Mrs. Crescenzo’s question, Mr. Gallagher said that the traffic detail usually does involve more than one or two officers. The Township has received grants for traffic enforcement from a few different sources to offset costs for overtime and equipment.
Resident John D’Aprile said that as a member of Newtown Grant’s Master Board he has heard a number of complaints about what residents perceive as overzealous enforcement of the speed limits inside the development. He also thanked Mr. Carey for his Eagle Scout project, which has greatly benefited Newtown Grant and congratulated him on his achievements.
Resident Mick Petrucci, President of Newtown Business and Professional Association announced the annual Welcome Day on Sunday, May 3, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, rain or shine on State Street. The theme is “Street fair with a flare” and activities for children and adults, including a food court and live performances, are planned. Tina Leck is this year’s chairman. No dogs or bicycles are permitted.
Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that over 100 people attended the Newtown Creek Visioning meeting at the Newtown Theater on April 11. The next meeting will be on the third Saturday in May at Newtown Borough Hall. He congratulated Eagle Scout Alan Carey and invited him to join the Coalition.
Resident Candido Rodriguez asked whether the new municipal complex would be LEEDS certified or whether any energy conservation measures are planned.
Mr. Jirele said that the Township would place this information on the Web site. The complex would be LEEDS Silver certified. The Township is considering wind turbines for the public works building.
Mr. Schenkman said that the LEEDS process has already been started by such measures as recycling of old materials removed from the site, using locally available materials and removal of topsoil. The Township is investigating opportunities for funding through the stimulus package for green improvements and construction.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the EAC and Finance Committee are working together on grant opportunities and other funding for green construction. The Township is considering a small wind turbine being manufactured in Bucks County as an energy source.
Mr. Jirele said that the Township is also investigating the use of solar panels for the Woll tract pavilion and compost toilets for Roberts Ridge Park.
Resident David Katz, a member of the Zoning Hearing Board, said that residents interested in the Township government are welcome to attend the Zoning Hearing Board.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes:. Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of April 13, 2009. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro said that he is concerned that the summary presented in the minutes does not completely reflect the last meeting and questioned how long the video of the meeting is kept and whether the minutes had been edited prior to distribution to the Board. He also asked whether there had been any further consideration of Webcasting of the meetings.
Mr. Czajkowski said that video is kept indefinitely.
Mr. Gallagher said that the cost for Webcasting, about $250 per meeting, had not been included in the current budget, but could be discussed for the future.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Czajkowski said that copies of the video can be made available to the public at a cost. Minutes are submitted without editing for the Board’s approval at the next meeting, at which time Board members can request that they be amended.
Mr. Calabro said that the discussion on earmark funding lacks certain detail and he would not vote to approve the minutes as currently presented.
The Board discussed whether to amend the minutes or table approval until a revision has been submitted by the secretary.
Mr. Gallagher moved to table approval of the minutes of April 13, 2009. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Mr. Jirele said that a policy decision would have to be made on whether to edit minutes prior to meetings or amend at meetings in the future.
The motion passed 5-0.
Bills Lists: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $147,805.97. Mr. Schenkman seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo asked about a Begley Carlin bill for Lower Makefield’s Frankford Hospital hearing and Mr. Calabro asked about a bill for the “McCrane Appeal”.
Mr. Garton said that Begley Carlin, on behalf of the Township, has participated in the Frankford Hospital appeal in support of Lower Makefield and has represented the Township, not Mr. McCrane, in Mr. McCrane’s appeal.
Mrs. Crescenzo asked $500 for detective clothing and the current structure of the Police Department.
Mr. Jirele said that there are currently three detectives on the force. Questions about the structure of the department could be better answered by Chief Pasqualini, who gives a report at the first meeting of each month.
The motion passed 5-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Board Members: Mr. Gallagher reported that the Hike for Hunger was very successful; over 100 children participated, raising money to stock local food pantries.
Dr. Ciervo reported that State Representative Frank Farry is sponsoring legislation supporting the use of radar for traffic control. He urged residents to let State Representatives know if you support this legislation.
Mr. Schenkman reported that he attended the PSATS convention and would provide a detailed report for the next meeting.
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler reported that at its meeting on April 21, 2009, Attorney Ed Murphy, Architect Peter Stampfl and Engineer Scott Mills were in attendance to discuss the plan to develop the former Acme site for mixed retail and residential use. The concept plans shown were similar to those shown to the Board of Supervisors at its April 13 meeting. A new façade concept was presented which incorporated changes suggested by residents in attendance at the Board meeting, so that now the building has more varied setbacks and façade materials.
Commission members discussed the plan, focusing specifically on aspects that will require Zoning Hearing Board relief. The members were supportive of the mixed use for the site and for mixed uses on all of Sycamore Street.
Regarding the height, setbacks and impervious surface the members had more concerns. The Commission was not unanimous, however, many of the members would like to see the height reduced further. It was suggested by one member that perhaps if the building were set back farther on the property it might not appear as tall. Many members felt the height would dwarf the buildings on the east side of the street. There was still concern about the overall size of the building overshadowing the Newtown Presbyterian Church. It was pointed out for comparison that the Staples/Bed Bath and Beyond building has a similar length. Three members of the Commission felt that the height was in keeping with the design and would support a variance request. Mr. Murphy indicated that the current impervious surface is 88% at this site, and would be slightly less when redeveloped. The Planning Commission questioned whether that pre-existing non-conformity would continue if land development occurs. No formal recommendation was made, as this is a concept plan.
The Commission reviewed JMZO 2009-01, TC District Changes, which removes uses E-10 Service Station and E-11 Automotive Sales from the TC Zoning District. The Commission voted 5-4 to recommend adoption subject to the condition that businesses in the TC district be notified that this amendment is being considered. Those voting against had concerns about removal of a use that is already in existence in a zoning district. Members questioned when the clock would begin running on “abandoned” uses, if this amendment were adopted.
The Commission reviewed and had no comment on the Zoning Hearing Board application of Michael P. DiMicoli, 19 Delaney Drive.
The Commission passed to the Board without comment the application of 54 Penns Trail LLC, but suggested, as the applicant is seeking disturbance of the floodplain both on-site and on an adjoining property, that the Board recommend that if a variance is granted it be subject to the condition that the Township Engineer reviews it and is satisfied that all environmental issues are addressed.
Due to the lateness of the hour, discussion of Sycamore Street was limited to public comment. One resident suggested that the Township consider expanding the historic district to include the west side of Sycamore Street to insure that future development be in keeping with the historic nature of the downtown Township/Borough area.
The Planning Commission would also like some clarification on the completion of our review of Sycamore Street. The Commission has devoted a few hours at most of its meetings to this, and has really only begun to consider the current permitted uses. Members would like to have enough time to consider revised performance standards for some uses and to consider possibly including uses currently not permitted. Further direction from the Board on a timeline for completion of this task is requested. The Commission has asked the solicitor to draft an amendment to the JMZO to provide for mixed use as well as performance standards within the TC District. This could provide a starting point for discussion of possible future redevelopment of some of the larger parcels in the district.
Mr. Fidler said that looking ahead, the agendas for May appear to be light and significant time could be devoted to Sycamore Street, however more time would be needed to thoroughly review the current and possible future development of the street.
The Board discussed the charge given to the Planning Commission. Mr. Jirele had some concerns about doing this review piecemeal. He said that he would prefer a thorough and detailed review and would support a more relaxed timeframe.
Mr. Schenkman said that perhaps a second “visioning” is required as part of this review as there is potential for redevelopment of some large parcels. Information on other communities that have revitalized commercial districts might be helpful.
Resident Vince Lombardi, a member of the Sycamore Street Community Association commended the Planning Commission for its work on the review of Sycamore Street. He expressed some concern about proposed JMZO 2009-01 because five significant properties, three which are members of the Association, will have their zoning impacted if this amendment is adopted. While current businesses with E-10 and E-11 uses would be grandfathered, they would be non-conforming uses. These property owners should have input into the discussion and visioning process.
Mr. Katz asked about grandfathered uses if properties were sold.
Mr. Jirele said that this amendment is not on the Board’s agenda, so the Supervisors are not prepared to discuss and answer questions.
George Stockburger expressed concern about proposed JMZO 2009-01, which would strip property owners of their rights. The Township has the power of eminent domain, and if the Board wants to control the properties the Township should pay the owners fair market value.
Historical Architectural Review Board: HARB member Bill Mahler reported that the Planning Commission liaison to HARB has asked HARB to participate in its review of Sycamore Street. The Board had previously asked HARB to create a book of appropriateness for the historic district; HARB would like some guidance from the Board on this.
Mr. Jirele said that HARB’s input could be very helpful to the Planning Commission. No Board permission would be needed for a HARB representative to attend and participate in Planning Commission discussion of Sycamore Street.
Mr. Gallagher said that the Board had asked HARB to create a booklet that would outline architectural styles, beyond just windows and doors, for property owners to reference when working in the historic district.
Mr. Mahler said that HARB needs some guidance on signage for Lilly’s Cocina Loca, 255 N. Sycamore Street in the site formerly occupied by Il Sol. The self illuminated sign for Il Sol had been approved.
Mr. Garton said that the sign had been approved in 1988. Sections 1203A and 1205 of the Ordinance address continuation of signage. To continue the illuminated sign, the applicant would need to present it to first the Planning Commission for a recommendation then to the Board for approval.
Lilly Salvatore, owner of the business, said that she is eager to have signage in place for the opening of her restaurant in May. She is asking to replace existing signs with the same signage colors, size, etc, with the name of her business.
Mr. Mahler said that HARB approves of the color, but has some concern about the proposed acrylic material.
Mr. Garton said that if Ms. Salvatore wants signage that is not self illuminated, she needs a HARB recommendation for a certificate of appropriateness; if a self illuminated sign is chosen, then she must present it to the Planning Commission. Regardless of which signage is chosen, she must return to the Board for approval.
Mr. Mahler asked the Board to amend the sandwich board application form to include colors of the building as appropriate for sandwich board signage. The application now includes only the colors of the other signs.
Mr. Garton said this would need to be addressed by a motion.
Mr. Jirele asked that it be placed on the next agenda, so that members could have the application to review.
Park and Recreation Board: Mr. Czajkowski said that Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine was unable to attend the meeting but has reported that the Board and the Park and Recreation and Public Works Departments have been investigating composting toilets. They have visited sites where the toilets are in use and were impressed with the facilities, their cost and ease of maintenance. They recommend the Biosun System Sunflower II for Roberts Ridge Park. Still to be determined is whether solar panels could be used for electricity and whether a water line for cleaning would be needed. It has not yet been determined whether Department of Health approval is needed. As this is a custom product no bidding would be necessary. The cost is $38,000 for a two seat unit. The cost of solar panels is $11,000, for which grants might be available.
Mr. Gallagher said that the budget for a restroom with water and sewer connections would have been about $168,000.
In response to questions from the Board and residents, Mr. Czajkowski said that the recommended unit would have a baby changing station and would be completely wheelchair/handicapped accessible.
Council Rock High School North Parking: Mr. Garton said that this matter is tabled.
Promenade Revised Concept Plan: Attorney William Bolla represented the Township during this presentation.
Attorney Ed Murphy, Architect Peter Stampfl and Engineer Scott Mills were in attendance to review the revisions to the plan that had last been presented at the April 13, 2009 Board meeting. Mr. Murphy said that since that meeting, the applicant has met again with stakeholders including Craig and Allen Smith, Newtown Presbyterian Church, the rescue squad and Sycamore Street Community Association, as well as some community members who have expressed interest in the project.
In response to questions the Board had asked at its last meeting, Mr. Stampfl presented photographs and height comparisons of other tall buildings in the community, including at Goodnoe’s Corner, in the PC zoning district:
and elsewhere in the community:
Mr. Stampfl said that LaStalla Restaurant is 48.67 feet from grade to peak and 53.59 feet from the curb. He explained that from “grade” means the average grade. The Township’s Zoning Ordinance defines height as from “grade to mean”. He reviewed a depiction of the proposed building as it relates to the Newtown Presbyterian Church. Since the Planning Commission meeting on April 21, 2009 the design has been changed to sit back farther from the curb, providing additional greenspace. Its deepest point is 37 feet from the curb, closest is 17 feet 7 inches. Parking remains at 105 spaces in the rear and 71 spaces underground.
Mr. Stampfl presented a new concept for the façade, addressing some of the concerns expressed by residents at the Board meeting. The façade now shows a mix of materials to create the appearance of a number of attached buildings, rather than one large building. The band at the retail level has been eliminated, awnings, shutters and canopies have been added, balconies are open and fenestration is now more varied. The entire site will be ADA compliant; a portion of the promenade has been eliminated. The rear will have the same architectural treatment as the front.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant has attempted to address the concerns of both the Board and the Planning Commission.
Mr. Schenkman suggested that before the Board gives its comments he would like to hear from the stakeholders.
Mr. Murphy said that Craig and Allen Smith were in attendance but had to leave. They have asked him to express their full support for the project.
In response to questions from the Board for additional clarification on modifications to the plan, Mr. Mills said that there is an 8 foot difference between grade and curb at the Church. He reviewed the setback sketch again and placed all of the renderings so that they were visible to residents in attendance.
Mike Sellers of Newtown Borough Council thanked the Board for including the Borough in these reviews. He said that the applicant has worked hard to address the Borough’s concerns and most of these concerns have been addressed.
Warren Waldorf of Newtown Borough’s Planning Commission said that he had also attended the Township Planning Commission meeting and agreed that moving the building back from the curb has softened the effect of the height as seen from Jefferson Street.
Reverend Blake Blakesley, representing the Newtown Presbyterian Church Board of Trustees said that the Church had many concerns which have been addressed by the developer. Legally binding promises have been made to the Church and he is confident that this plan is better than had been expected. The Church’s sight line has been respected. The Church favors the condominium use and completely supports the project as presented.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that the original Acme Visioning Committee had suggested a community center for this site. She has concerns about the size and height of the project and is also concerned about traffic and parking.
Joe Swerk, representing Newtown Ambulance Squad said that the squad is in full support of the project. The applicant has worked to address all of the Squad’s concerns.
Resident Walt Leck said that the builders are members of the community; they are providing jobs and the project will generate revenue to the Township. The site is a disgrace. He urged the Board to support the project.
Resident Karen D’Aprile said that the site needs to be developed and this plan looks very good. She is in support of it.
Mr. Petrucci said that the property is an eyesore. The business community is very eager to see the site developed. The plans have been scaled back and he is in support of the project.
Mr. D’Aprile said that the immediate neighbors’ concerns have all been addressed. He does not agree that the style must be historically accurate, as this is not a restoration village but a functioning commercial district, where modern and historic should be side by side. He is in support of the project.
Jim Maven, who owns a business on State Street, said that the McGraths are active in the communities where they build. They will be good neighbors. He is supportive of the project. He urged the Board to support the project, because if the McGraths walk away it could be years before another developer will take on a project at the site. He also thanked Mr. Lombardi for his efforts over the years to improve Sycamore Street.
Resident Harriet Beckert said that a group calling itself Newtown 21 st Century Voice has been collecting input from concerned residents. Their concerns include traffic, parking, the varied heights, adherence to current zoning, horizontal appearance of the first floor (which has been addressed somewhat), the raised sidewalk, the precedent of the height in the TC district, overshadowing of the Church (which Mrs. Beckert feels has been addressed somewhat by the new setbacks), and the architectural style which appears more European than the Newtown style. Mrs. Beckert thanked Mr. McGrath for meeting with the group and for efforts made thus far.
Resident Jen Dix said that the latest design looks beautiful, but she continues to have concerns about the height variance needed. The applicant should meet the existing zoning.
Resident Mike Baker said that he has known the McGraths for 28 years; they are reputable builders and will live up to their commitments in the Township. He urged the Board to support the project.
Resident Karen Katz thanked the developers for meeting with the group of concerned residents. She said that the Newtown 21 st Century group is conducting a survey on what residents think about the future of the downtown area. She said that she has concerns about perceived discrepancies in the height when compared to the ceiling heights in the interior of the building. She is also concerned about the number and size of the parking spaces proposed. The applicant purchased the property knowing the existing zoning requirements and should develop the property within those limits. She urged the developer to continue to work with HARB on the exterior.
Resident Pam Fitzpatrick said that the site needs to be redeveloped but should meet the current zoning requirements. She is particularly concerned about the proposed height and traffic. She would like to see more done for children in the community rather than commercial development.
Resident Poncho Messier said that he is concerned that if the Board holds up the project the developer will walk away. He is eager to see the site developed.
Mr. Lombardi said that he is the closest residential neighbor to the site. He, along with the Sycamore Street Community Association, supports the plan as presented. He noted that this is the third proposal; it is time to move forward with the project.
Le Sheppard of Wrightstown said that he appreciates the opportunity the public has been given to participate in the meetings and the responsiveness of the developer to the residents. The proposed development will be good for the community.
Mr. Jirele said that there would be no vote taken by the Board on the concept plan. The next step would be the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Murphy said that he has provided an outline of the relief needed to Mr. Bolla, but he does not want to move forward to the Zoning Hearing Board without some sense of whether the Board will be opposed to the application.
Mr. Gallagher said that during the bidding process for the purchase of this property, McGrath seemed to be the developer most amenable to working with the Township. He said that he supports the mixed uses; traffic is being addressed by double entrances, many of the smaller issues would be addressed during land development. The project will bring revenue to the Township and the residential units as proposed will probably not strain the School District. He would not oppose a height variance, as the developer has worked to reduce the height.
Mr. Calabro said that zoning is a living thing that must adapt to the needs of an ever changing community. The McGraths have worked very hard to address the concerns of the Board and the residents, and he agreed that many of his concerns would be addressed during land development. There is a need to compromise and move forward. He would not oppose zoning applications. He wished the applicant good luck.
Mr. Schenkman said that he is impressed with the positive responses thus far and thinks that with additional work all of his concerns could be addressed. He is not ready to support the project because he would like a height closer to 40 feet, the setback from the street increased, the third story set back further on the street side, more green space and a more varied height to create a skyline impression.
Dr. Ciervo said that it appears the applicant has enough support to proceed to the Zoning Hearing Board, and will reserve comment for now.
Mr. Jirele agreed that he does not want to hold up the process anymore. Additional changes will occur during land development to address some concerns. He would like the applicant to continue to work with HARB on the exterior. He does have concerns about the height, but is pleased that the project meets requirements for the number of parking spaces.
Reports of Officials
Bucks County Natural Areas Grant Program Resolution: Mr. Czajkowski explained that this resolution is required to apply for a grant from the County for preservation of open space at the Rockbridge property. The amount sought is $157,500. An additional $10,000 has been received from PECO’s green region program.
Mr. Schenkman moved to adopt Resolution 2009-R-10, Bucks County Natural Areas Grant Resolution. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh said that he is please that the Board is moving forward to participate in the County’s Open Space Program.
Mr. Jirele thanked Mr. Gallagher for his efforts on this project.
Mr. Schenkman and Mr. Calabro said that Mr. Jirele and the previous Board should be commended for work in purchasing and preserving this property. The previous Board had appealed the plan which would have allowed more intense development of this site.
The motion passed 5-0.
Approval of Fuel Bids: Mr. Czajkowski explained that due to market volatility, all fuel bidders are offering floating bids only. The presented recommendations are based on delivery charges only, since posted prices change daily. In response to Mr. Calabro’s question he explained that Petroleum Traders would deduct $0.0052 from the posted price per gallon for delivery of premium gas.
Mr. Schenkman moved to accept fuel bids as presented in a memo dated April 16, 2009 for premium gas from Petroleum Traders, low sulfur diesel from Petroleum Traders, #2 hearting fuel from Sunoco and propane from Sunoco. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Acceptance of St. Andrew’s Briar Detention Basin: Mr. Garton explained that as part of the Woll tract development the Board has agreed to accept dedication of the detention basin serving St. Andrew’s Briar. CKS Engineers has advised the Township that work has been completed. A resolution is required to accept dedication.
Dr. Ciervo moved to adopt Resolution 2009-R-11, accepting dedication of St. Andrew’s Briar detention basin. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh asked whether the Township would accept dedication of other developments’ detention basins.
Mr. Garton explained that this basin is on Township owned property within the Woll tract park.
The motion passed 5-0.
Blacksmith 161 LLC: Mr. Garton explained that construction on this project has been completed; there are no public improvements to be dedicated to the Township. The Township has agreed to accept cash in the amount of $12,500 in lieu of security as referenced in the development agreement in order to make certain that improvements which have a quasi-public purpose are functioning properly at the end of the 18 month maintenance period. The Board is being asked to approve this agreement. Posting cash is less expensive than a bond.
Mr. Calabro moved to approve an agreement accepting cash in lieu of other security for Blacksmith 161 LLC. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
54 Penns Trail, LLC ( Penns Trail Office Park): Mr. Garton explained that construction on this project has been completed; there are no public improvements to be dedicated to the Township. The Township has agreed to accept cash in the amount of $12,500 in lieu of security as referenced in the development agreement in order to make certain that improvements which have a quasi-public purpose are functioning properly at the end of the 18 month maintenance period. The Board is being asked to approve this agreement.
Mr. Gallagher moved to approve an agreement accepting cash in lieu of other security for 54 Penns Trail, LLC. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Zoning Hearing Board
Michael P. DiMicoli, 19 Delaney Drive: The Board passed this application to the Zoning Hearing Board without comment.
Friends Lane, LLC (Penns Trail Storage) 104 Penns Trail: Mr. Garton reviewed this application for relief to by a variance to permit disturbance of 5,200 square feet of flood plain to install a street, driveway, sidewalk and utilities and a special exception to construct improvements within the floodplain for construction of two buildings for a self-storage facility.
Ms. Fountain reminded that Board that the Planning Commission had suggested that should the Zoning Hearing Board be inclined to grant the variance it be conditioned on the Township Engineer’s review to be certain all environmental issues have been addressed. She said that the Planning Commission had thought the applicant was seeking the variance rather than relocating the driveway in order to align the driveway with one on the opposite side of the street.
Dr. Ciervo said that this applicant has already been granted variances for this project for increased impervious surface. He has concerns about encroaching in the flood plain as well.
Mr. Jirele agreed, questioning why the driveway could not be constructed to avoid the flood plain.
Dr. Ciervo moved to send the solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board to oppose this variance request. Mr. Jirele seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman suggested that the motion be amended, so that the Board could invite the applicant to appear at a Board meeting to discuss the request before sending the solicitor to oppose it.
Dr. Ciervo said that Mr. Garton would inform the applicant that the Township will be opposing the application. The applicant could then ask to continue the application and come to the Board.
Mr. Schenkman said that he would prefer that the motion be clear that the applicant could appear before the Board to discuss the application first.
Mr. Gallagher agreed that he would like the applicant to be given an opportunity to review his request with the Board of Supervisors first.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that the Planning Commission had noted that the area to be disturbed receives water from a neighboring property, which would also need to be addressed.
The motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Gallagher and Schenkman voting nay.
Blacksmith 161, LLC: Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $47,753.95 to Blacksmith 161, LLC, with $12,500 withheld in lieu of bond. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
54 Penns Trail, LLC ( Penns Terrace Office Park): Mr. Calabro moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $41,659.16, with $12,500 withheld in lieu of bond. Mr. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh said that a portion of trail has been damaged and should be repaired at this location.
Ms. Fountain said that there is still money withheld for the 18 month maintenance period. She would investigate the trail for damage.
Mr. Schenkman suggested that the escrow not be released until it has been ascertained that there are sufficient funds to repair the trail if necessary.
Mr. Calabro amended his motion to authorize escrow release contingent on the Township’s inspection of and satisfaction with the condition of the trail at this location. Mr. Gallagher amended his second and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher asked that a discussion of road signs be added to the next work session agenda.
Dr. Ciervo said that he had asked the Jointure to discuss the removal of the Melsky tract from the FCO Zoning District. He would like Ms. Fountain to review the percentage of agricultural soils on this tract, because the FCO District does not have the same soil protections as the CM District.
Mr. Jirele and Mr. Schenkman also asked Ms. Fountain to provide some rough calculations of housing density on this tract if developed as CM with B1 or B-12 plans.
he meeting adjourned ay 11:50 PM.