Board of Supervisors
Minutes of June 10, 2009
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on June 10, 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, Philip Calabro and Jerry Schenkman, members. Also present were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jennifer McGrath, 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 Sister Francesca Olney of Holy Family University. This was followed by and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Jirele said that the Board would meet for executive session after this meeting to discuss matters of personnel and land acquisition.
Mr. Czajkowski said that a discussion on the skateboard ordinance would be added to the reports of board members and discussion of the Newtown Corporation bylaws would be removed.
Mr. Jirele asked that the Board be provided with a copy of those bylaws with changes noted.
Public Comment: Resident Pam Fitzpatrick thanked Dr. Ciervo for following through on positions he had taken during his campaign for office. She also praised Newtown 21 st Century Voice for its efforts to bring together residents to discuss a visioning for the future of Newtown. She urged the Board to participate in Newtown 21 st Century’s survey and to post information about the survey on the Township Web site and the television teleprompter, noting that Council Rock School District has added a link in its e-flyer. She urged the Board to consider the environment, particularly the aquifers, when reviewing plans for land development. She discussed some Web sites of other municipalities elsewhere in the country and in Canada that she had recently visited that have provided important information of interest; she suggested that the Township’s Web site contain similar additional information. She urged the Board to have open communication with residents.
Mr. Jirele said that the Board should attempt to communicate better with residents who do not attend meetings, read minutes of our committees, boards and commissions or read the newspaper accounts of Township matters. Regarding the Newtown 21 st Century Voice survey, Mr. Jirele said that he has some hesitancy because of the difficulty of formulating effective survey questions and interpreting the results. He stressed that the Board members are always willing to respond to residents’ phone calls and e-mails and are very willing to meet with residents to discuss matters of concern.
Mr. Gallagher said that the Township Technology Committee has been investigating ways to improve the Township Web site, beginning with the Park and Recreation Department’s page, which will be improved to be more responsive and to allow for on-line program registration.
Resident Joanne Bintliff Ritchie said that she was disappointed in the Board’s indecision regarding participation in the Zoning Hearing Board application of 200 N. Sycamore Street. She said the residents in attendance at the last meeting were confused as to the Board members’ positions on each individual variance requested. She said that it might have been more informative if the members had voted on each variance, rather than on whether to support or oppose the entire application. This might have helped the Board to give the Solicitor better direction.
Mr. Schenkman said that such an approach might have been helpful.
Mr. Jirele said that in prior discussions and in the review of the application, it was apparent that the Board only had serious differences or concerns about the height variance and the number of residential units proposed for the building. Although each variance request was considered individually, the Board focused the bulk of its discussion on those two requests.
Mr. Gallagher said that the Board usually does not vote at all on Zoning Hearing Board applications, sending them to the Zoning Hearing Board without comment. Rarely is the Solicitor sent to support an application and only occasionally is he sent to oppose.
Dr. Ciervo said that each variance was considered individually, but the majority of discussion had focused on the issues of height and the number of residential units and the number of stories the building would be. The Board discussed, but did not have strong opinions on the other requests, for setback and parking stall size and steep slope disturbance. The Board did carefully consider the question of parking stall size before being satisfied that there was no strong objection to that request.
Mr. Schenkman said that each Board member reviewed his concerns before the motions were made.
Vaughn Derassouyan, owner of Newtown Plaza Shopping Center, said that his detention basin collects run-off from neighboring parcels. He has asked before for the Board to allow the paper street behind the shopping center to be used for stormwater management so that he can use the area of his detention basin for additional parking for the shopping center. It is too costly for him to provide underground stormwater management.
Ms. Fountain said that she has been investigating whether a 2007 resolution to vacate the paper street had been followed up with the adoption of an ordinance, as is required.
Ms. McGrath confirmed that a paper street must be vacated by adoption of an ordinance.
Mr. Derassouyan said that other properties are using his detention basin for stormwater collection. He needs the land and would like a common basin on property other than his.
Ms. Fountain said that some years ago stormwater work was done in the area around Mr. Derassouyan’s property and the Township entered an agreement with Mr. Derassouyan to allow other properties to use the basin with the Township required to maintain it; if the basin fails the Township must fix it. Mr. Derassouyan is responsible for the day to day maintenance such as mowing of grass.
Mr. Jirele said that he does not know if the land Mr. Derassouyan wants to use would be adequate for stormwater management. He said that he is not sure the Township wants to get involved in taking over stormwater management in order to allow more or bigger development. He did ask Ms. Fountain to continue her research.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Township might not yet have vacated the paper street; if it is still to be vacated there will have to be a public hearing. He said that with all of the possible changes that might occur on Sycamore Street, vacation of German Avenue might not be a good idea.
Mr. Jirele noted that when Newtown Plaza recently expanded, Mr. Derassouyan indicated that he already had adequate parking to accommodate the expansion.
Mr. Schenkman said that there would have to be more research done on the status of German Avenue as a paper street and on the agreement with the Township on the use of the existing detention basin as well as effect of any changes on the surrounding properties.
The Board urged Mr. Derassouyan to speak with the Township Manager who would coordinate research being done by Ms. Fountain and Ms. McGrath, after which this matter could be placed on a work session agenda, possibly in July.
Ms. Fitzpatrick expressed concern about stormwater management in the Sycamore Street area.
Resident Karen Katz said that many residents have participated in the Newtown 21 st Century Voice survey but she asked that the Township help by placing information about the survey and the Web site on the Township’s Web site and teleprompter. It has been added to the Council Rock School District’s e-flyer and Bucks County Community College has provided the link to staff and faculty. Residents responding to the survey have been appreciative that their opinions are being sought. The survey will still be available on line for a few more weeks at www.newtown21stvoice.blogspot.com. This survey is seeking opinions on land use and planning in Newtown without reference to any one project.
Resident John D’Aprile said that he has concerns that Newtown 21 st Century might be biased as only those in agreement with this evening’s previous speakers might answer the survey, skewing the results. He has spoken to many residents who are supportive of developing the Acme site with urban amenities.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Calabro moved to accept the minutes of the regular Board meeting of May 27, 2009. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher noted that page 1, paragraph 7 should read, “Mr. Gallagher said that…” , not “Mr. Calabro.”
Mr. Calabro amended his motion to accept the minutes with that correction. Dr. Ciervo amended his second and the motion passed 5-0.
Bills: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $374,140.95. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions about Carroll Engineering billing for work on the Melsky tract, Ms. Fountain said that a revised final plan has been submitted.
Mr. Czajkowski said the bill would be paid from the escrow for the project.
Mr. Calabro asked whether the changes made to the cell phone plans had resulted in any savings.
Mr. Czajkowski said the amount on this bills list shows two months of payments. Credits would be reflected on the next bill. The Township will begin to see savings, as carriers have changed and the number of cell phones has been reduced.
The motion passed 5-0
Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $182,259.97. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Gallagher moved to make payment to Univest for the final payment for the Public Works crack sealer in the amount of $24,056.96. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0..
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Chairman: Mr. Jirele announced that there will be a Fire Department parade through Newtown on Saturday, June 13, which will cause some detouring and street closings as Newtown Fire Company celebrates its 120 th anniversary. The Newtown Creek Coalition will sponsor a creek clean up on June 20 at 9:00 AM at Greene Street near the Newtown Bicycle Shop.
Board Members: Mr. Schenkman reported that he had attended the Pennsylvania Downtown seminar in Johnstown. He will provide a report to the Board in their packets.
Dr. Ciervo reported that on July 4, Newtown’s First Fourth celebration day, “Fund A Cure” will sponsor a 5K walk and run to benefit research in pancreatic cancer. Additional information is available at www.fundacure.com
Mr. Gallagher said that the Ancient Order of Hibernians is hosting a hunger festival at Shadybrook Farm on June 20 from noon to 10:00 PM. Additional information is available at www.irishhungerfestival.com.
Mr. Jirele asked the Board if anyone wished to appear at Lower Makefield Township’s Zoning Hearing Board as a witness or to speak in support of Lower Makefield. Mr. Jirele will attend and Mr. Gallagher agreed to appear if Mr. Jirele were delayed.
Mr. Gallagher moved to send Mr. Jirele to Lower Makefield Township’s Zoning Hearing Board to speak in support of Lower Makefield and in opposition to the application of Frankford Hospital for a special exception. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo said that it is important to stress Newtown Township’s opposition to this application as the traffic impact will be more acutely felt in Newtown Township.
The motion passed 5-0.
Dr. Ciervo asked the Board to review the Township’s current skateboard ordinance, which prohibits the use of skateboards on “any public street, public alley, public sidewalk, public park, public parking lot or other public place…” This Ordinance was passed in 1990. He asked the members to consider whether any changes should be made to this ordinance, especially since the Township is in the process of considering a skate park. He said that he would like to revise this or possibly remove the prohibition from “any street”, as children would be in violation of the ordinance whenever they take their skateboards beyond their own driveways.
Mr. Schenkman said that he agreed the current ordinance is too restrictive. He said that perhaps the Board could review some other ordinances which would be less restrictive while still promoting safety.
Mr. Jirele asked Ms. McGrath to provide the Board with some sample ordinances to be discussed at a work session.
Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler reported that at its June 2, 2009 meeting the Planning Commission reviewed the application of Goodnoe Dairy Bar for conditional use for an E-5 Eating Place, for a 20 seat ice cream parlor, serving only ice cream products at 4 South Sycamore Street. The Commission voted 5-1 to recommend approval for an E-5 Eating Place, subject to certain conditions. The dissenting voter said that the proposed business might better be described as an E-6 use. The building had originally been built as a bank with a drive thru window. The Commission considered this application later in the meeting during consideration of Sycamore Street; the members agreed that this might be a good location and business for drive thru service, as the drive thru lane is completely contained on the site and it would not be an intense use, since only ice cream products are to be sold.
The Commission continued its ongoing review of Sycamore street by reviewing a comparison chart of permitted uses in the TC district and other, similar, downtowns in the area, including Princeton, Metuchen, and Stone Harbor in New Jersey, and New Hope, Doylestown, Skippack and Lansdale in Pennsylvania. Members discussed the various residential uses at length and have asked the Solicitor and Engineer to research further any differences among the types of multi-family dwellings, such as attached row houses, twin houses, apartment buildings and mixed uses with residential components. The ordinance currently only has single, two family and multifamily, which is described as 6 or more families. The Commission asked for additional information of differences between nursing home, senior housing, age qualified and age restricted housing, as our ordinance only includes nursing homes and elderly housing. Once the Commission has more information on the distinctions other municipalities have made, the members will consider performance standards for these uses/.
The Commission agreed that with certain restrictive performance standards to keep the uses small, the Board might consider adding artist studios and certain fitness /recreational facilities and commercial schools to uses permitted by conditional use.
The Commission discussed various entertainment uses, but agreed that, while facilities such as bowling alleys and pool halls could contribute to the Township, they might better be suited to the PC zoning district, as the facilities would need to be large to be economically viable. Some of the other municipalities reviewed have separated some retail uses from their general retail categories, including antique shops and bakeries. These uses fall under our E-1 and E-14 specialty retail uses. Both types of businesses would contribute to the TC district.
The Commission spent a good deal of time considering drive thru components, and were not against them, provided they provide an appearance in keeping with the historic atmosphere, and they contain the drive thru aisles entirely within the property, as do the bank at Goodnoe’s Corner and at the north end of Sycamore Street. Drive-in could be a good permitted use if it were not an intense use such as a fast food franchise.
While the members hesitate to remove an already permitted use, it was agreed that radio and TV broadcasting, antennas for short wave and funeral homes might no longer be a good match for Sycamore Street.
HARB has had representatives in attendance and have kept the Commission informed on HARB’s possible consideration of expansion of the historic district or creation of a historic overlay.
Going forward, the Commission will be reviewing performance standards, particularly as applied to the larger properties and would like some Board input on the vision for Sycamore Street, particularly on heights, setbacks and parking for the proposed uses. Mr. Fidler suggested that at some point a joint meeting of the Board and Planning Commission might be helpful.
Mr. Jirele said that it had been the Board’s intention that the discussion and review of performance standards and uses would lead to a vision. He suggested that when the Planning Commission is ready to give its report, a joint meeting to discuss the vision might be in order.
Mr. Gallagher suggested that Newtown Corporation participate in some of the discussions as it has some experience with downtown areas and visioning for the future.
Mr. Schenkman noted that Township/Borough relationships are common throughout the State. He suggested a joint planning commission.
Mr. Jirele noted that Newtown Borough had resigned from the Joint Planning Commission a number of years ago, but he agreed that to help with visioning some participation of the Board members at the Planning Commission level could be helpful.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Fidler explained that the Planning Commission discussed uses such as antique shops and bakeries. These uses are already permitted as part of the E-1 retail or E-14 specialty retail uses. The other municipalities the Commission was reviewing have these types of businesses listed as separate uses. Both would be welcome additions to the Sycamore Street area. Mr. Fidler agreed to include a Newtown Corporation member in some of the discussions and to work with the Board on a joint meeting when the Commission is closer to giving its recommendations.
Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine reported that the Township Summer Day Camps still have a few openings in each of their three age groups, Camp Beechtree for 4-5 year olds, Camp Newtown for elementary school children up to fifth grade and teen camp for sixth through eighth grades, all with after camp extended hours. These camps are offered to residents at a fraction of the cost of private camps.
The Board and Park and Recreation Department have been working with the Technology Committee to produce a more interactive Web site with on-line registration for programs.
As the Township nears closing on property for a skate park, the Park and Rec Board would like to begin fundraising efforts for equipment. American Ramp has submitted a design with a cost of between $60,000 and $65,000. To raise funds, Mr. Levine suggested that the Board of Supervisors form a 501(C)(3) corporation, which would allow donors to deduct their contributions from their income taxes.
The Board briefly discussed this. Dr. Ciervo said that it would be a good idea provided the corporation is not completely independent but is for the Township park and will have Township involvement.
In response to Board questions, Mr. Levine said that existing 501(C)(3)’s are hesitant to take this endeavor under their umbrella so he will fill out necessary forms to create a new entity. He would also like some input from potential users of the park, as the Park and Recreation Board members are somewhat unfamiliar with the various pieces that have been included in the current design.
Mr. Levine said that the Park and Recreation Board and Department, along with the Public Works Department, have reviewed and recommended compost toilets for Roberts Ridge and have designated a location, near the playground and existing paved path. The DEP needs to confirm that setbacks are adequate.
Mr. Czajkowski explained that the DEP is confirming that the facility is not close to an existing water line.
Mr. Levine asked the Board to discuss meadowing of some of the Township owned open space areas. Input from the Environmental Advisory Council could be helpful.
Mr. Jirele asked the Park and Recreation Board to consider the existing skate board ordinance and make recommendations regarding use of skate boards inside the parks.
Mr. Levine said that there are a few opportunities to name parks, including the skate park, the field behind the Newtown Shopping Center and the Woll tract. He asked that the Board consider appropriate names.
Reports of Officials
Police Report: Police Chief Henry Pasqualini reported that the department had responded to 1367 calls in the last month, including 30 theft investigations, 37 traffic accidents and 22 animal complaints, including some bear sightings. He has forwarded a breakdown of the traffic detail to the Board members electronically. The Department has monitored Stoopville Road and found that motorists are complying with the speed limit. The report is also being posted on the Township Web site.
In response to questions from the Board, Chief Pasqualini said that Wrightstown Township has been very satisfied with the coverage the department has provided. The Department’s partnership with Council Rock is very successful in working with the schools. The upcoming Fire parade on Saturday, featuring 400 fire trucks, will require some traffic detouring and street closings which will be posted on the Web site.
Energy Savings Grant for Street Light Conversion: Mr. Czajkowski asked the Board to pass a resolution for a partnership with Warrington Township on a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for conversion of streetlights to LED lights. Multi-municipal projects will require a 10% match for the $375,000 grant. Newtown’s matching portion would be $18,750, paid from the streetlight fund. This grant, coupled with the grant with Doylestown Borough will enable the Township to convert 50% of the streetlights.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Czajkowski said that he is aware of some possible opportunities for private businesses to make similar conversions and he will share this information with Newtown Business Commons Association.
Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2009-R-15, Pennsylvania Conservation Works! Harvesting 25% Energy Savings for Pennsylvania Communities. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Resident Jay Sensibaugh asked about the other 50% of Township street lights and about the color of lights to be replaced.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the new lights would be white, not orange, like sodium vapor lights. The remaining lights will be converted on a schedule over time.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that he is also aware of a PECO program and a Growing Greener program for grants. DVRPC posts opportunities on its Web sites.
Ms. Fountain said that this is a Growing Greener II grant.
The motion passed 5-0.
Council Rock School District: Ms. McGrath explained that Council Rock School District is seeking a waiver of land development to install an all purpose synthetic athletic field at Council Rock High School North.
Tom Schneider, Supervisor of Operations and Superintendent Mark Klein were in attendance to review this plan. Mr. Schneider explained that community members have raised $445,000 for artificial turf for the stadium field. Soccer associations would contribute user fees for the fields; the project will require no taxpayer money. The project has not yet been approved by the School Board. Mr. Schneider showed a plan, noting that the field will be expanded to accommodate soccer, football, field hockey and lacrosse. The end zones will remain grass for field events and the running track will remain in place. The artificial turf installation will include a drainage system which will take water to underground storage. Ms. Fountain will be forwarded these stormwater plans.
Ms. Fountain suggested that if the Board approves a waiver of land development it should be subject to engineer’s review of the stormwater plans.
Mr. Jirele said that he is not opposed to this waiver, but would like to know the project’s impact on the impervious surface ratio to determine whether a variance would be required from the Zoning Hearing Board.
In response to Board questions, Mr. Schneider said that the running track would still have seven lanes. Javelin events would take place on a grass area near the tennis court.
Ms. McGrath suggested that as conditions of approval, the Board should request information on impervious surface ratio, review of stormwater plans, Bucks County Conservation District approval and execution of a waiver of land development agreement.
Mr. Schneider said that subject to School Board approval these conditions would be acceptable.
Mr. Calabro moved to approve a waiver of land development for Council Rock School District’s installation of a synthetic field at Council Rock High School North subject to the following conditions:
Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh questioned increased risk of injury with synthetic surfaces.
Mr. Klein said that the District has investigated this extensively. There are lower rates of injury with the new surfaces than with grass or with older synthetic surfaces. The synthetic field will allow a more intense use by two high school football teams, band competitions, other sports and community sports organizations. The life expectancy is about 12 years. There is no health risk because of lead content; the exposure is less than in home carpeting. Other surrounding school districts have installed the product without any problems or added risk. Insurance premiums will be less.
The motion passed 5-0.
Goodnoe Dairy Bar, 4 South Sycamore Street – Conditional Use: Ms. Fountain explained that this is an application for conditional use for an E-5 eating place for an ice cream store with 30 seats and some take out sales.
Skip Goodnoe and Colin Goodnoe were in attendance to review the application. Skip Goodnoe explained that this is a stand alone building in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District for the sale of ice cream, only. There are to be 20 seats, with the possibility of expansion to 30 seats. The Planning Commission had recommended approval of the use, and had recommended an amendment to the application increasing the hours of operation to 11:00 PM and the number of employees to a maximum of six. The site has 24 parking spaces where 21 would be required based on full build out of 30 seats.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Goodnoe said that the building had at one time been a bank with a drive-thru window, but there will not be drive-in service at this time. In response to Mr. Calabro’s questions, Mr. Goodnoe said that the shop will occupy the former beauty salon on the property. There will possibly be benches placed outside, but there will not be outside table service. The family ice cream plant will manufacture the same Goodnoe ice cream; the ice cream menu will be the same as at the old restaurant, including the atomic sundae. The opening is planned for July 4.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve Goodnoe’s Dairy Bar’s application for conditional use for an E-5 eating place at 4 South Sycamore Street in the TC, Town Commercial Zoning District, tax map parcel #29-011-106 , subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: In response to Mr. Jirele’s questions, Mr. Goodnoe said that the site has 47 parking spaces, with the prior certificate of occupancy for this building assigning 38 spaces. There is a dentist office and a residential apartment in the other building on the site.
Mr. Calabro asked whether there would be any conflict with the E-5 use and take out of ice cream.
Ms. McGrath said that there is nothing in the ordinance to specifically exclude take out.
Mr. Czajkowski noted that take out has been ancillary to the restaurant use and is considered part of the basic use.
Mr. Sensibaugh said that use E-6, which specifically references drive-in and take out restaurants, is prohibited in the TC district.
Ms. McGrath said the Board is considering an application for use E-5.
The motion passed 5-0.
Amendment to Collective Bargaining Agreement: Ms. McGrath explained that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Police Department provided in Article 21 that the Township and PBA would meet to discuss promotional criteria for promotions to any Bargaining Unit rank. Those ranks would include Corporal and Sergeant. As a result of discussions between the Chief of Police and the PBA, an amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement has been prepared outlining the criteria and the parameters related thereto. The Board will need to approve the amendment to incorporate protocols with respect to promotion.
Chief Pasqualini said that he worked with Mr. Czajkowski to draft the amendment which has a fair process for a promotion policy, which weighs exam results, 40% for the written exam and 55% for the oral interview. For 2009, 5% will be awarded for seniority, after which the 5% will be “chief’s points’. The written test will be the International Public Management Association for Human Resources test or another certified and accredited test. To be considered for promotion, an applicant will have completed at least five years of service as a police officer in Newtown Township.
In response to questions from the Board, Chief Pasqualini said that he would forego “chief’s points” for the first year as he gets to know the members of the department. The procedure would produce a list of eligible candidates for promotion to Corporal, a new position, and Sergeant. The list will last for three years unless the Township and PBA agree otherwise. He reviewed the use of seniority points, as factored into the raw scores. Oral interviews would be conducted by the police professional organization which conducted the chief search. This is in the budget under professional services.
As the Board members reviewed the draft agreement they expressed some confusion on the use of word “rank” as it was used sometimes to indicate position in order of score and sometimes to indicate rank within the department. The word “seniority” seemed also to be used to mean in some places position within the department and in other places length of service.
The Board questioned whether there would be a certain threshold score for consideration.
Chief Pasqualini said that a threshold had not been considered because it might discourage someone who tested poorly in the written portion to continue on to the oral exam.
Mr. Jirele said that he had concerns about the Board being forced to promote someone who is poorly qualified if there is no threshold for promotion.
Chief Pasqualini assured the Board that the force is made up of very high caliber officers who would provide a good pool of candidates for promotion.
Among other concerns that the Board expressed with the agreement as written were a lack of explanatory language in the opening paragraphs and a requirement to be in good standing, without any disciplinary issues for a given number of years. The Board asked the Chief to address the issues of language regarding rank and seniority as well as the other issues discussed and to return to a work session in July.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked whether seniority would take into account years of service in another police department.
Chief Pasqualini said the intent of the agreement is to promote from within. New hires all must start as officers, regardless of prior service in other departments. This is standard practice in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Bintliff Ritchie said that perhaps use of the word “tenure” for years of service might better differentiate “rank” from “position on list”.
Crawford Office Building Release of Maintenance Bond Security: Mr. Schenkman moved to release the maintenance bond security cash escrow. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
PADEP New Stormwater Requirements: Ms. Fountain reviewed a memo outlining new stormwater requirements for the Township’s Stormwater General Permit, which allows the Township to discharge stormwater runoff to surface waters. It also requires municipalities to develop, implement and enforce a stormwater management program to reduce the discharge of pollutants to protect water quality and to satisfy the water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. The permit was to have expired after five years but had been extended for two separate one-year terms. The PADEP has recently published draft requirements for the next permit period. Public comment of the draft requirements will be accepted until July 6. After the permit requirements are finalized, each municipality must submit a Notice of Intent for coverage under the permit. The new permit must be in effect on March 9, 2009. The three main parts of the new draft requirements are Stormwater Management Program, TMDL requirements and 2009 Stormwater Ordinance.
Ms. Fountain noted that the new TDML requirements state that each municipality must include at least two of seven listed control measures:
A required change to the stormwater management is that the ordinance will require many more stormwater management plans (grading plans). The suggested exemption is anything under 1000 square feet of impervious coverage, where the current ordinance requires plans for anything over 5000 square feet.
No cost estimates have yet been generated for these new requirements, however, Ms. Fountain expects that the cost could be significant for the Township to meet the new TMDL requirements when the Neshaminy Creek TDML study is approved and for the Township to map its entire storm sewer collection system.
Mr. Czajkowski said that the Bucks County Consortium has hired an attorney to put comments together. There is some question on the science used for the TMDL. There might possibly be some legal action on the part of the consortium.
In response to questions from the Board, Ms. Fountain said that legislation for this is the Clean Water Act. Newtown Township falls within the Philadelphia urban area. This is for the Township’s permit, not for developers.
Dr. Ciervo asked Ms. Fountain and Ms. McGrath to research whether fees can be collected form developers to help with costs. He asked whether it would be possible to institute a stormwater impact fee.
Ms. Fountain confirmed that the Bucks County Consortium would attend the public hearings.
Old Business: Mr. Calabro asked that the old and new Newtown Corporation bylaws, with changes highlighted, be circulated among the Board for discussion at a work session.
Mr. Jirele said that he is concerned about the possibility that with the new bylaws the Board of Supervisors would relinquish its right to appoint members to the Newtown Corporation Board.
Mr. Calabro said that it is his understanding that the Township would appoint fewer Board members, with Newtown Corporation appointing 5 members, the Township and Borough each appointing 3.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30 PM.