Board of Supervisors
Minutes of June 24, 2009
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on June 24, 2009 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Thomas Jirele, Vice Chairman Robert Ciervo, 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 Alan Crossman of Newtown Friends Meeting. This was followed by and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Special Action: Tina Leck of Leck & Son presented the second annual Recyclebank awards for the top five recycling families in Newtown. Recyclebank’s rewards program partners with local waste haulers and businesses to provide incentives for recycling. In 2009, Recyclebank has helped Newtown residents recycle 925.32 tons of trash. Gary Crane, Dennis Hornung, Roseann Chrostek, Angela Marley and Charles Bates and their families were presented with prizes worth $250 each, contributed by Recyclebank’s incentive partners.
On behalf of the Board, Mr. Jirele thanked the award winners for their efforts and thanked Ms. Leck for bringing the program to Newtown. He urged residents to try to be next year’s recipients.
Walt Leck thanked the Board for working with Leck & Son to bring the Recyclebank program to the Township. He noted that the program has been a wonderful educational tool for the children, who learn the importance of recycling. He also noted that Recyclebank provides accurate numbers for the Township’s recycling grant application.
Public Comment: Resident Karen Katz urged residents to participate in Newtown 21 st Century Voice’s survey at www.newtown21stvoice.blogspot.com. There are still four weeks left in the subscription to the survey.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of the work session of May 18, 2009. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of June 10, 2009. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo asked that on page 2, the penultimate paragraph should read, “…Mr. Jirele noted that when Newtown Plaza recently expanded…”.
Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of June 10, 2009 as amended. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Bills: Dr. Ciervo moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $558,830.59. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Dr. Ciervo 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 4-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Chairman: Mr. Jirele reported that the Newtown Creek clean-up event has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM at Greene Street, behind Newtown Bicycle Shop.
Board Members: Mr. Calabro reported that he had attended the Firemen’s Parade on June 13 in Newtown. The parade was completed before the rain storms came.
Dr. Ciervo announced 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
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidlerreported that at its June 16, 2009 meeting the Planning Commission reviewed a two phase plan for expansion of the Lockheed Martin site on 52.25 acres at 100 Campus Drive in the OR Office Research District and recommended preliminary as final plan approval for Phase I, which will include construction of a 16,616 square foot conference center with stormwater basin, an 800 square foot chiller expansion and a 19,045 square foot High Bay PIM with modification to existing stormwater basin. The Commission recommended that the Board grant preliminary plan approval for phase II, which will include a three-story 40,974 square foot office building and a two story, 40,974 square foot office building with revisions to the existing parking lot. Both recommendations are subject to certain conditions. The Commission recommended granting some technical waivers, which the Township Engineer agrees are appropriate. The members discussed a waiver of the requirement to provide sidewalks and have recommended that, since this will be a secure facility, a sidewalk along Campus Drive would not be appropriate and so recommended to postpone consideration of this requirement until Phase II, at which time the Board might consider a fee in lieu of sidewalks to be used to expand the Township trail from its current terminus at Silver Lake to the public parking field at that park. The Commission recommended postponing consideration of a traffic impact study until Phase II, as the applicant has indicated that Phase I of construction is for use by the current employees, only. The Commission recommends that 211 parking spaces remain in reserve.
In its ongoing discussion of Sycamore Street, the Commission began to investigate a Planned Commercial District or Development (PCD) which might work well on some of the larger properties on Sycamore Street. This use would involve a mix of uses, including two new uses, a modified large retail use and a multi-family residential use. Also considered were performing arts studios and small performance space.
For the modified large retail use, members discussed limiting the size to 12,000 or 15,000 square feet, with certain restrictive performance standards for parking and entrance/egress. For the new multi-family use, the Commission will be investigating possible restrictions on the number of units, size of the individual units, height of building, setbacks and parking. It was the members’ feeling that larger units, for example, at least 1,500 square feet, would be preferable to small, one bedroom units or studio apartments. Performance standards being discussed for the PCD include varying of heights and setbacks to create an appearance of multiple buildings, a minimum and maximum length for buildings as a percentage of the frontage and certain architectural requirements in keeping with the historic district.
The Commission also began discussing creating some common areas or improving existing areas in the Sycamore Street vicinity. There is a parcel of open space near the Newtown Presbyterian Church which could possibly serve as a walking connection from Village at Newtown to the Acme/Promenade site. Township Engineer will research current ownership and use of the property, which appears to be neglected and overgrown. The Solicitor and Engineer will begin drafting a sample ordinance for the PCD using existing ordinances in neighboring historic communities as a guide.
The Commission expects to have preliminary recommendations on uses and performance standards for the TC district by the end of August.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Fidler explained that the Commission had considered possible standards for large buildings or for PCD’s that would allow larger square footage or height than is currently permitted for only a certain percentage of the building, or possibly allowing additional height in relation to setbacks, which might help to create a more varied façade. Some of the considerations discussed were based on input from residents who were voicing opinions on the Promenade plan.
Mr. Schenkman said that the PCD is an interesting idea, which could allow both the Township and developers more flexibility, but he questioned the reason for limiting residential units to large units only.
Dr. Ciervo expressed similar concern. He suggested that there could be an interest among younger individuals and couples to have smaller, more affordable options. Many younger people who have grown up here want to remain in Newtown. He urged the Planning Commission to consider smaller apartments or garden apartments to fill the housing needs of younger adults.
Mr. Fidler said that the discussion had been driven in part by input from residents, who have expressed interest in downsizing for empty nesters. There is also a desire to have a more stable residential presence on the street. There had been lengthy discussion of residential arrangements such as boarding or rooming houses, which have always been a permitted use; members were concerned about creating short term residential units. Mr. Fidler said that the Commission will be revisiting residential uses; he will convey the Board’s interest in exploring the concept of smaller units. Perhaps when considering multi-family uses, a certain percentage could be set aside for small units.
Mr. Calabro agreed that there is a need for smaller units, for young people as well as for mature adults who are downsizing. He asked whether methods of ownership were discussed. Co-op apartments are offered in some areas; this could be considered. He also asked about the sizes considered for larger retail uses.
Mr. Fidler said that ownership of residential units had not yet been explored. The proposed Promenade anticipates condominium ownership. The Commission has been considering larger than currently permitted retail spaces, possibly between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet for the larger lots. As an example, he noted that CVS stores are typically about 12,000 square feet.
Newtown Veterinary Hospital Expansion, 107 Penns Trail – Request for Waiver of Land Development: Mr. Garton explained that Newtown Veterinary Hospital is seeking to add a 500 square foot addition to be used for employee daycare.
Attorney T. J. Walsh represented the applicant, Dr. Timothy Ireland. Mr. Walsh explained that the Township had recently approved the veterinary hospital’s move to the Business Commons. The 10,000 square foot building was retrofitted for the hospital, but there was no expansion of the building at that time. The property has 38% impervious surface. A variance was granted for some 9’X18’ parking stalls.
Dr. Ireland explained that there are currently seven children of employees attending daycare on the premises. He has five expectant mothers on staff who will be bringing their newborns to the center within the year. There is already a 600 square foot area assigned to daycare. With the new addition there will be an ability to separate infants from toddlers. Although the parents are on site, which means that the facility does not have to meet all of the state standards, he is attempting to be up to the state code at the facility. He has one full time and two part time employees for the daycare facility. In response to Board questions, Dr. Ireland said that with the addition of 500 square feet he will meet state codes for the number of children he anticipates to have on site.
Mr. Schenkman asked that Dr. Ireland provide a report to the Board explaining what the state requirements are and how this facility is attempting to meet those requirements.
Dr. Ireland said that his office manager has the guidelines and will provide them. She had attended meetings with the state where she learned that if the parents are on the site, the facility is not required to be fully in compliance with the codes.
Mr. Walsh said that the addition will not have any stormwater management changes. Four parking spaces would be required, but since they are not needed, the applicant would like them to remain in reserve. An area currently a planting bed could be held as reserve parking spaces.
In response to Mr. Jirele’s question, Mr. Garton said that the daycare is an accessory use, since it is for employees only.
Mr. Schenkman moved to grant a waiver of land development to Newtown Veterinary Clinic, 107 Penns Trail, for a 500 square foot addition to be used for employee daycare subject to the following conditions:
Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked about entrances for children and outdoor play areas.
Dr. Ireland showed the employee parking and employee entrance on the plan. Children are brought directly from the entrance, down a short hallway to the daycare room. They never come in contact with medical gases or chemicals or with the animals. The area currently fenced in as a playground is where the new room will be built. Once completed a new play area will be fenced in. There will be an emergency exit from the daycare area.
The motion passed 4-0.
Lockheed Martin, 100 Campus Drive – Preliminary and Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Don Marshall and Timothy Stout and Christopher Hager of Langan Engineering were in attendance to review this two phase plan for expansion of the Lockheed Martin site on 52.25 acres in the OR Office Research Zoning District. The applicant is seeking preliminary as final plan approval for Phase I, which includes construction of a 16,616 square foot conference center with stormwater basin, an 800 square foot chiller expansion and a 19,045 square foot High Bay PIM with modification to existing stormwater basin. The applicant is seeking preliminary plan approval for Phase II, which will include a three-story, 40,974 square foot office building and a two story, 40,974 square foot office building with revisions to the existing parking lot.
Mr. Marshall noted that the Phase II portion of this plan, including 211 parking spaces held in reserve, had been approved in 1996; traffic studies were done, fees were paid and road improvements made at that time. The applicant is seeking to renew that approval, The Zoning Hearing Board had granted relief for the setbacks and the height for the new high bay.
Mr. Marshall explained that there is some urgency to the Phase I approval in order to fulfill a large government contract. This phase includes the chiller expansion, the high bay PIM, for which Zoning Hearing Board relief has been granted, and the 16,616 square foot conference center. The conference center is for existing employees and for meetings with visiting representatives of the federal government.
The Board reviewed the CKS letter dated June 9, 2009. Mr. Marshall said that the Codes Department and Solicitor have agreed that the office use is an accessory to the research use. The loading area is satisfactory because all deliveries will continue to be made from the same location as currently.
Mr. Marshall said that the applicant is seeking a waiver from SALDO section 517, the requirement to provide sidewalks at Campus Drive during Phase I, with the understanding that the request will be revisited at Phase II. A waiver from Section 522.4.A for a 3:1 ratio on slopes so as not to disturb woodlands and from Section 521.3.B for a 12 inch pipe and a partial waiver from SMO 224 for only new disturbance are also sought.
Ms. Fountain concurred that this these waivers would be acceptable, noting that the 12 inch pipe will connect with an existing 12 inch pipe.
Regarding a comment on accessible parking at the new buildings, Mr. Marshall noted that there are to be no new doors; employees will continue to use the existing doors.
Mr. Marshall reviewed the Carroll Engineering letter of June 8, 2009. He said that the letter references a traffic impact study. He is seeking a waiver at this time, since the Phase I construction will generate no new employees or new trips. The Planning Commission had recommended postponing this. At the time of the original submission, an extensive study had been conducted resulting in improvements to Campus Drive and an additional lane added to the Bypass. Impact fees were paid for Phase I and the applicant had agreed to use the counts from that study for Phase II, but paying the current rate. He suggested that Langan and Carroll discuss an appropriate impact fee for the high bay.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Garton explained that the applicant has modernized the plans to be more in keeping with current standards. Some engineering upgrades have been made to Phase II. While the original preliminary plan approval on Phase II has not expired and would continue indefinitely, the applicant is cautiously seeking to reaffirm that preliminary approval, and he would recommend that the Board consider the request.
In response to questions from the Board, Joseph DeMarzio of Lockheed Martin said that the proposed conference center is for current employees and government customers for meetings. There are no overnight accommodations. The existing cafeteria will provide any meals; no additional kitchen facilities are planned.
Mr. Hager noted that the new Phase II plan is 3000 square feet smaller than the original Phase II.
Mr. Jirele said that he understood why the applicant does not want to install sidewalks on Campus Drive but he said he would prefer to collect a fee in lieu at this time, since there is no date on Phase II, possibly to extend the trail from the terminus at Silver Lake park to the parking lot. Lockheed Martin employees would enjoy the trail during their breaks from work.
Mr. DeMarzio said that Lockheed would not want to pave the trail, but would pay a fee in lieu. Mr. DeMarzio would need to consult with security about having a trail near the facility. There are Homeland Security concerns with an extended trail road coming close to the facility. There had been some discussion of using the Silver Lake parking lot as a possible staging area for construction, but that will not be needed.
Mr. Marshall noted that the applicant has paid the Park and Recreation fees for the entire Phase I and Phase II; he will provide the decision letter. There had been a fee plus the conveyance of 4 acres of land to the Township. The traffic impact fee had been paid on Phase I only. The Phase II traffic impact fee will be calculated at the current rate.
Mr. Garton said that confirmation of payment would be a condition of any approval. The applicant would still pay a Park and Recreation impact fee for the new Phase I construction. A new traffic study will not be needed for the new Phase I; there will not be an increase in the population at the facility so a manual will be used to calculate a fee.
Mr. Schenkman asked about the length of the contract for which the new Phase I is being built. He also asked about the number of conferences to be held at the new conference center.
Mr. DeMarzio said that there is a ten year government contract and there are also some 5 year commercial contracts. Phase II will depend on the economy; additional contracts would be needed. There are usually about two conferences each year, lasting about 7 to 10 days.
Mr. Calabro asked if current off site employees will be moved to the new buildings.
Mr. DeMarzio said that the new facilities are for testing only. Employees currently working in the area would remain at their off site locations. This will be a 24 hour facility, with a second shift and some smaller third shifts, all with staggered hours.
Dr. Ciervo said that he was not sure whether to waive the requirement for a traffic study.
Mr. Garton said that the new Phase I would not involve any additional trips; the Township would do better using a manual. Langan’s and the Township’s engineers would calculate an appropriate fee without a study
Dr. Ciervo moved to grant grant Preliminary as Final Land development approval for Phase I and Preliminary Land Development approval for phase II the plan of Land Development of LMC Properties, Inc. for the premises located at Campus Drive, being known as Bucks County Tax Parcel No. 29-10-75-4, prepared by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, comprised of Sheets 1-40, dated May 19, 2009, with no revisions, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
Zoning: The high bay building and chiller building expansions will continue to use the existing loading berths.
Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance: With the comment that Paragraph 4 is a waiver request.
Stormwater Management: With the comment that Paragraphs 4, 5 and 12 are waiver requests.
General Comments: With the comment with respect to Paragraph 6 that Users of the High Bay expansion will continue to use the existing entrance in front of the PTB building, which has the required accessible parking spaces.
With the comment that Paragraph 2 is a waiver request.
The following waiver requests were recommended for approval, in part:
The following waiver requests were recommended for approval, in full:
Lastly, the Planning Commission approves the use of the reserved parking spaces.
Mr. Calabro seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Jirele said that these plans had been sent to officials in Lower Makefield and an invitation had been extended for the Lower Makefield officials to comment on the plans. It appeared that no one from Lower Makefield wished to comment.
Mr. Garton said that all approvals from other government bodies would be identified in the approval.
The motion passed 4-0.
Reports of Officials
Berkheimer Agreement: Mr. Garton explained that the Board is being asked to approve the Local Services Tax Agreement, which would appoint Berkheimer Tax Administrators as the Township’s collector of the local services tax. The Agreement is consistent with other agreements employed by Berkheimer and includes language related to the official designation as tax collector, identifies the duties of the Township and Berkheimer, establishes compensation and other miscellaneous terms. Once an agreement is approved, the Board must approve resolutions appointing Berkheimer as Tax Hearing Officer, appointing a liaison with Berkheimer and approving the cost of collection schedule. Berkheimer has been operating without a contract for the local services tax; the rate paid is 1.9%. Berkheimer is required by law to allow the Township to conduct an audit at the township’s own expense. The agreement is similar to the current agreement for the earned income tax.
Mr. Schenkman asked whether there are other providers or whether the Township Tax Collector could do this.
Mr. Garton said that the Township’s tax collector does not have the support staff to handle this. This does not have to be addressed this evening.
Mr. Jirele suggested asking the administration to investigate other providers and make recommendations.
Mr. Schenkman moved to table discussion of the Berkheimer agreement. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Goodnoe Dairy Bar: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize execution of decision for Goodnoe Dairy Bar conditional use approval. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
2009 Roadway Improvement Program: Mr. Calabro moved to accept Bray Brothers’ bid for the 2009 roadway improvement program for $344,745.50. Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked why bidder number four was so much higher. Ms. Fountain said that firm does not normally do municipal work. The Township has worked with Bray Brothers before and has been satisfied.
Mr. Boyle noted that the bid amount is under budget.
The motion passed 4-0.
Old Business: Dr. Ciervo asked when the skateboard ordinance would be on the agenda for discussion again.
Mr. Jirele reminded the Board that they had asked the Park and Recreation Board to discuss this first.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether there had been any further discussion of signage for Township owned open space.
Mr. Jirele noted that the Township Manager had updated the Board at the last work session.
The meeting adjourned at 9:43 PM.