Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

Minutes of May 18, 2009


Members Present: Tom Jirele, Chairman; Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman;

Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer; Jerry Schenkman, Member; Phil Calabro, Member; Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Engineer and John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager.

Also Present: Jim Worthington, NAC; Ted Christian, GSP Consulting; Brian Held; Chief Pasqualini; Various Newtown Township and Borough residents including Dick Weaver, Chris Ortwein, Paul Salvatore and Mark Craig.

Call to Order: Chairman Jirele called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M.

Community Comments


Newtown Athletic Club, Jim Worthington – Traffic Concerns

Ted Christian introduced himself to the Supervisors. He advised that he works for GSP Consulting and that the Newtown Athletic Club has retained his firm with regards to seeking state funding for some of the proposed renovations. He discussed the entry to the facility from Penns Trail and advised with regards to the seeking of discretionary money. He advised that he is here tonight seeking support from the Township.

Mr. Worthington reported on the past history of the NAC and the intersection at Penns Trail and the Newtown Bypass. He advised on the entrance that is being proposed. A map was provided for the Supervisors review. The new entry would be located off of Pheasant Run running along the rear of his properties.

Supervisor Gallagher questioned if the NAC has spoken with Clearfield Printing with regards to what is being proposed. Mr. Worthington reported that he has not had any discussions with Clearfield Printing and advised that he would.

Chairman Jirele questioned if the proposed entrance would be a private road. Mr. Worthington advised that it would be a private road.

Supervisor Ciervo suggested waiting until the Township hears something with regards to what is being proposed for Terry Drive or possibility using the entrance for the Jeff Mantos’ baseball building. Mr. Worthington advised on his concerns with regards to having customers go past the facility, the need for adequate signage and that what he is proposing would also remove the entrance to the Jeff Mantos’ baseball building.

The Supervisors discussed traffic concerns in that area.

Chairman Jirele suggested keeping the current entrance off of Penns Trail for emergency access. Mr. Worthington advised that he would do what Chairman Jirele is suggesting if that is what the Township wants.

Supervisor Calabro advised that he likes the idea of closing the two entrances and the he is against keeping the current Penns Trail entrance open.

Chairman Jirele reported that he feels Mr. Worthington’s proposal makes sense.

Supervisor Schenkman commented on the need for signage relief in the future. Mr. Worthington requested the Township to work with him when it comes to the signage relief.

Supervisor Gallagher questioned if there were any other concept ideas. Mr. Worthington commented on there being no good solution.

Supervisor Schenkman questioned if Blacksmith Road will still be used as an entrance. Mr. Worthington advised that entrance would remain.

Supervisor Schenkman advised that he feels what is being proposed is a decent idea.

The Supervisors agreed that the Township would sponsor the project and apply for the funding.

Mr. Christian’s advised that the Township would be the advisor, what the next steps would be and that the grant application would come from the Township.

The Supervisors thanked Mr. Worthington and Mr. Christian for their time.

Brian Held, Rouget Restaurant – Request for Take Out Use

Chairman Jirele advised that Mr. Held is requesting the Township to modify his Conditional Use Approval to allow take-out.

Mr. Held updated the Supervisors on his request for upscale take-out use. The take out facility would be located on the 2 nd floor of the building. The restaurant is on the 1 st floor and seats 60 people. The 3 rd floor of the building is for storage. The estimated number of take-out customers on a Friday is between 40 to 50 people. The proposed hours for take-out would be from 12 P.M. to 6 P.M. There would be no seating on the 2 nd floor for eating. Seating would be provided for customers that are waiting for an order. There is no elevator service in the building; there are two sets of steps. The upper floors of the building are not handicap accessible. A printed take-out menu would be available on the 1 st floor for handicap customers.

Supervisor Gallagher asked if the applicant would agree in writing to comply with the modifications to the Conditional Use that the take-out facility would not be open after 6 P.M., there would be no seating for dining on the 2 nd floor and addressing their concerns with regards to being ADA compliant. Mr. Held advised that he would agree to the Board of Supervisors modifications.

Supervisor Calabro advised that he has concerns with regards to the facility being ADA compliant and the hours of operation causing traffic to that area. He commented with regards to the valet service that is offered. He questioned the expected percentage of take-out business. Mr. Held advised with regards to the valet service that is offered and that he hopes that the take-out business would be at least 20%.

Supervisor Ciervo questioned the number of employees on a shift at one time. Mr. Held advised that he would expect to have 5 – 6 employees on a shift.

Ms. Fountain questioned the number of parking spaces. Mr. Held advised that there would be four parking spaces designated for take-out customers.

Supervisor Calabro questioned what time Rita’s opens. Mr. Held advised that Rita’s opens at 11 A.M.

Supervisor Calabro questioned why the take-out facility could not be run from the 1 st floor. Mr. Held advised that the restaurant seating area is on the 1 st floor and that the kitchen is on the 2 nd floor.

Supervisor Gallagher advised that he is okay with the proposal for take-out use, but has concerns with regards to the facility being ADA compliant.

Ms. McGrath reported that a hearing would be needed to allow take-out use and that the use may be changed to E6, which is allowed under Conditional Use.

Chairman Jirele advised that he has three issues – the facility being ADA compliant, parking concerns and pedestrian safety. Mr. Held advised on the parking spaces that are allocated to his business.

Supervisor Calabro commented with regards to the stairway and safety. Mr. Held reported that the stairway is large enough for two people to pass.

Supervisor Ciervo commented on the request to modify the Conditional Use and the hours proposed for take-out. He feels that the applicant may be back in the future requesting a change in the hours and should be making their entire request at one time rather than modifying their Conditional Use at different times.

Ms. Fountain questioned if the 1 st floor is ADA accessible. Mr. Held advised that the 1 st floor is ADA accessible.

Supervisors Ciervo commented on the existing Conditional Use stating that no alcoholic beverages can be sold and questioned if the applicant had requested to sell alcohol. Mr. Held advised that he never requested the ability to sell alcohol.

Supervisor Calabro commented on the number of 2 nd floor restaurants/facilities in the Township. Mr. Held advised that the kitchen is on the 2 nd floor.

Chairman Jirele commented with regards to the Supervisors being open to the idea with four hesitations – being ADA compliant, the parking, the stairway and pedestrian safety. He advised the applicant that all of those matters would need to be addressed before the Township can move forward.

Supervisor Schenkman advised on his concerns and commented with regards to the proposed take-out hours and satisfying customers. Mr. Held advised that he did not feel he would be bending the rules.

Chairman Jirele advised that the next step would be for the applicant to evaluate the Supervisors’ concerns and that a new Conditional Use Application would need to be filed.

Mr. Held commented with regards to the ADA concerns. Ms. Fountain suggested contacting Rich O’Brien in the Codes Department.

Newtown Corporation

Chairman Jirele advised that tonight the Corporation’s priorities would be discussed.

Ms. Ortwein reported on Corporation’s goals; the Supervisors were provided a compact disc with various information.

Chairman Jirele requested to discuss the work being done by the Economics Structuring Committee. Ms. Ortwein reported on the ongoing work done by the Corporation, new businesses opening in the area and building vacancies.

Supervisor Gallagher questioned how it works with regards to businesses interested in coming to Newtown. Ms. Ortwein advised that telephone calls are received daily. She reported with regards to business recruitment, the Main Street Program and ad campaigns.

The Supervisors discussed the economy and its effect to businesses.

Ms. Ortwein reported on business outside of the downtown area and the ongoing work with the Newtown Business Commons Association.

Supervisor Ciervo questioned when the State contract for the Downtown Main Street Program expires. Ms. Ortwein advised that it expires in June 2011 and that those funds would probably be spent prior to that date; she discussed staying on track with fundraising.

Chairman Jirele questioned if the Corporation is helping the supermarket areas. Ms. Ortwein advised that the Corporation is currently not helping the supermarket areas due to manpower/volunteers. Mr. Salvatore commented with regards to the Corporation having several new members and their need to feel comfortable. Ms. Ortwein commented with regards to the Corporation consisting of volunteers.

Supervisor Ciervo questioned the state regulations. Ms. Ortwein reported that the State required the Township to merge with the Borough.

Supervisor Ciervo questioned the state restrictions. Ms. Ortwein reported how the Main Street Program works with regards to state restrictions. She discussed the work done by volunteers.

Supervisor Ciervo commented on the amount that the Township contributes to the program.

The Supervisors discussed the local shopping centers with regards to vacancies and restrictions.

Supervisor Gallagher questioned outlying/inlying organizations and member/non-member organizations. Ms. Ortwein reported advised with regards with regards to member and non-member organizations.

The Supervisors discussed the Corporations’ bylaws. Ms. Ortwein advised that information is on the compact disc. The Supervisors agreed that the bylaws should be discussed further at a later date and that the adopted bylaws need to be approved by the Township and the Borough. Chairman Jirele requested that the Supervisors be provided a document showing the changes to the bylaws and for this matter to be put on an agenda.

The Supervisors discussed what they would like to see from the Corporation. Supervisor Schenkman suggested that in addition to what is already being done any form of business development/economic development should be Township wide; he also commented with regards to the mission objectives of Business Development Council and having the staff to carry out the goals. Supervisor Calabro reported that he would like the Corporation to focus on business development and having more involvement from residents. He commented on the need to educate the public on what the Newtown Corporation is. Supervisor Ciervo reported that he would like to see a monthly vacancy report, a monthly outreach report and a marketing plan for the Newtown shopping areas. Ms. Ortwein advised that monthly reports could be supplied. Supervisor Gallagher reported that he wants to work together and share information. Chairman Jirele advised that having quarterly meetings are helpful and that he would like a monthly report and a copy of the minutes. Ms. Ortwein advised that she would send the Corporation’s minutes and report she does to the Supervisors on a regular basis.

Chairman Jirele reported that he would summarize tonight’s discussion and that he loves the visioning idea for Sycamore Street.

Ms. Ortwein requested the Township to let her know when the discussion of the Corporation’s bylaws would be put on the agenda.

The Supervisors thanked the representatives from the Newtown Corporation for their time.

Green Transportation

Chairman Jirele reported that the green transportation discussions would be postponed due to the absence of Mr. Czajkowski.

Old Business

New Business

Other Business

Supervisor Schenkman commented with regards to additional appointments to the Technology Committee. Supervisor Gallagher reported on the information he had with regards to appointments to the Technology Committee. Chairman Jirele requested that the Supervisors be provided the applications/resumes in their next packet for review and discussion the matter at the next meeting.

Supervisor Calabro commented with regards to Primary Day and parking concerns. Mr. Boyle reported that the parking concerns are being addressed.

The Supervisors discussed the status of the construction of the new Municipal Complex and when it should be complete. Mr. Boyle reported on last conversation with the site superintendent regarding when the project should be complete.


Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M.

Once the meeting adjourned, the Supervisors met in Executive Session to discuss matters of litigation.


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