Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of August 13, 2009

 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on August 13, 2009 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Vice Chairman Robert Ciervo, Secretary-Treasurer Michael Gallagher, 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: Vice Chairman Ciervo called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence and an invocation by Pastor Gerry Newswanger of First Baptist Church of Wycombe. This was followed by and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski announced that the Police Report would be removed from the agenda and the Sarcone Deli Conditional Use would be moved up on the agenda.

Public Comment: Resident Jay Sensibaugh thanked Mr. Schenkman for attempting to show the interim supervisor interviews on video. The public and the press should have had an opportunity to see the prospective candidates.

Dr. Ciervo noted that the Board had not discussed holding televised interviews. The interviews were advertised and open to the public and the press.

Mr. Gallagher noted that he had considered whether to televise the interviews but found the costs of about $900 to be prohibitive.

Mr. Schenkman said that he had only briefly discussed the possibility of televising the meetings with Mr. Gallagher who had referenced the very high cost.

Resident Brandon Wind said that he wanted to thank Tom Jirele for his almost twelve years of service to Newtown Township. His non-partisan efforts and his leadership will be missed. He suggested that the Board consider re-instating the second public comment at the end of the meeting. Many residents find it difficult to arrive for the 7:30 start of the meeting.

Mr. Gallagher, Dr. Ciervo and Mr. Schenkman agreed that the Board should discuss re-instating the second comment.

Special Actions

Elected Auditor Vacancy: Mr. Gallagher moved to nominate Neil Poppel to fill the vacancy as elected auditor. Mr. Calabro seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman said that this is a well deserved appointment.

Dr. Ciervo said that he fully supports Mr. Poppel and thanked him for his willingness to serve the Township.

The motion passed 4-0.

Judge Donald Nasshorn administered the oath of office to Mr. Poppel.

Board of Supervisors Vacancy: Mr. Gallagher moved toappoint Brandon Wind to act as interim supervisor. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher noted that Mr. Wind has experience as a Planning Commission member and has indicated that he would not be interested in seeking the endorsement to run for Supervisor in the November election.

Dr. Ciervo said that many good people had been interviewed. Mr. Wind would be an asset to the Board because of his experience as an attorney and his knowledge as a Planning Commission member. Mr. Wind is already very familiar with the recent review of the Sycamore Street TC district zoning as well as the proposed redevelopment of the Acme site.

Mr. Wind thanked the Board for the very transparent process of public interviews. For the most part, political concerns were kept out of the procedures.

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

Mr. Gallagher moved to appoint Matt Benchener to act as interim supervisor. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher noted that Mr. Benchener has been a member of the Financial Planning Committee and has an understanding of the Township’s budget.

Dr. Ciervo said that Mr. Benchener’s skills would be an asset to the Board. During his interview he made some very specific suggestions for reducing costs.

Resident Joseph Caracappa said that he has known Mr. Benchener for a number of years. Mr. Benchener had worked summers in his law firm during college. He would be an excellent choice for the Board of Supervisors because of his expertise in finance.

Resident Steven Rose said that he has known Mr. Benchener for one year. He admires Mr. Benchener’s drive and enthusiasm and his passion for the community. He would be an excellent choice for the Board.

Resident Chris McCluskey spoke in support of Mr. Benchener’s nomination and enumerated his many outstanding qualities and urged the Board to appoint him interim supervisor.

Resident Matt Benchener thanked those who spoke on his behalf. He urged the Board to take the decision of selection of a supervisor seriously because this year’s tax revenue appears to be about 10% below what had been anticipated and the budget preparation will be an important issue in the coming months.

Resident Jim McCrane said that while all of the candidates are very worthy, he would urge the Board to consider Glen Beasley, who has been a Township volunteer for many years and is currently the chairman of the Financial Planning Committee. He has been working on predicting Township revenues and expenses for over a decade. He has no political ambitions and would seamlessly slip right in to begin working with the Board.

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

Mr. Schenkman moved to appoint Glen Beasley to act as interim supervisor. Mr. Calabro seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman echoed Mr. McCrane’s comments, noting that Mr. Beasley has served the Township’s committees, boards and commissions for over thirty years. He has the time and the commitment to be an excellent addition to the Board of Supervisors.

Dr. Ciervo agreed that Mr. Beasley interviewed very well and his skills would be beneficial to the Board, however he feels the two previously nominated candidates would be stronger.

Resident Joanne Bintliff Ritchie said that she had attended most and had reviewed tapes of all of the interviews. She has worked many years in human resources. She feels that Mr. Beasley is the most qualified and had strong commitment to the community and the skills necessary to be an excellent supervisor.

The motion failed 2-2, with Dr. Ciervo and Mr. Gallagher voting nay.

Mr. Calabro said that he would like to nominate Nancy Crescenzo to the Board because she has been a dedicated “watchdog” for the community for a number of years. She is up to date on all of the issues facing the Board in the coming months and she is very knowledgeable about the people of Newtown and would represent them well.

Mr. Calabro moved to appoint Nancy Crescenzo to act as interim supervisor. Mr. Schenkman seconded. The motion failed 2-2 with Dr. Ciervo and Mr. Gallagher voting nay.

Mr. Garton explained that if the Board is unable to agree on a suitable candidate for supervisor, within 15 days the vacancy board must be convened and the vacancy board chairman will cast a vote. This will be a special advertised meeting, not an agenda item at a regular meeting. It will take place on August 26, 2009 at 7:30 PM before the regular meeting is called to order.

Mr. Gallagher thanked all of those who interviewed for the position. The Board members all learned a great deal by hearing of different perspectives on the issues facing the Board in the coming months. He thanked Judge Nasshorn for waiting to administer the oath of office had the Board agreed on a candidate.

The Board agreed with Mr. Gallagher and asked those who had applied to stay involved as there are openings for volunteers on other Township committees boards and commissions.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Schenkman moved to accept the minutes of July 22, 2009. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Bills: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $1,067,063.44. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $440,917.75. Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Solicitor’s Report

Sarcone’s Deli/Kathleen Cassalia – 2100 South Eagle Road; Conditional Use: Mr. Garton said that the applicant is seeking conditional use approval for use E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place/take out. The application has been advertised on July 30 and August 6, 2009 in the Newtown Advance. The Planning Commission has reviewed and recommended approval of the application.

Engineer John Anderson and applicants Kathleen Cassalia and Peter Cassalia were in attendance to review the plans. Mr. Anderson noted that the space has formerly been occupied by Quiznos Subs and by My Girlfriend’s Kitchen, both take out restaurants. The parking is as per the shopping center’s shared parking.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve Sarcone Deli’s application for conditional use for an E-5 a eating place and E-6 eating place/drive in at 2100 South Eagle Road in the PC, Planned Commercial Zoning District, subject to the following conditions:

  1. That the applicant comply with the CKS Engineers, Inc. review letter dated July 24, 2009
  2. That the proposed use satisfies the specific requirements applicable to the proposed use under Sections 1301 B 803 of the JMZO,
  3. That the maximum number of employees will be 5,
  4. That the hours of operation will be 8:00 to 10:00 PM, Monday through Sunday,
  5. No hazardous, flammable or explosive material shall be stored or used in the building,
  6. No noxious, hazardous or offensive impact upon surrounding areas be created by the proposed use by reason of dust, odor, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise, or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise,
  7. No drive through window will be installed,
  8. All signage must comply with Township zoning ordinances,
  9. The premises shall be ADA compliant
  10. A copy of the lease is to be provided
  11. All review fees must be paid.

Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked whether the applicant would like to ask for extended hours or additional employees in the event that the business is very successful.

Ms. Cassalia said that there will not be more than five employees. This number accommodates overlapping shifts of part time workers. The restaurant is a franchise of a South Philadelphia deli; bread is brought to Newtown for the sandwiches from downtown. It will not arrive before 8:00 AM and will no longer be fresh after 10:00 PM.

Dr. Ciervo questioned the use E-6, as he believed this was for drive-in.

Mr. Garton explained that the E-6 includes both take out and drive-in. Because of the location the applicant has agreed not to have a drive in window.

Ms. Cassalia said that there would be a few tables for customers who wish to eat their sandwiches in the shop, but the bulk of the business is take out.

Resident Karen D’Aprile said that she is familiar with Sarcone’s in Philadelphia and is thrilled to see them opening in Newtown.

Resident John D’Aprile said that he grew up near the original Sarcone’s. He is very excited about the new location. He commented on the wonderful fresh bread.

In response to Dr. Ciervo’s question, Ms. Cassalia said that the bread would be brought up each morning for the sandwiches. At this point there were not plans to sell the bread separately, but that might be reconsidered, as it appears there is a demand.

The motion passed 4-0.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Board Members: Dr. Ciervo said that he has reviewed the reserve fund balances with the Finance Department. On December 31, 2007, the balance was $2.8M; on December 31, 2008, the balance was $3.0M; on June 30, 2009 the balance was $2.906M. The Board had agreed to allow the Township Manager to dip into the reserve if necessary.

Mr. Czajkowski said that this has not been necessary yet.

Mr. Gallagher noted that the earned income tax revenues, as of July 2009, were down $40,000 over last year. He said that this is a good sign, although the Township might feel the impact of the economy more in 2010.

Dr. Ciervo noted that the approved 2008 budget had been $10.67M, but the new Board of Supervisors had re-opened the budget in early 2008 and reduced it to $10.09M. Over all, spending has gone down.

Mr. Schenkman noted that these are budgeted numbers, not actual numbers.

Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler reported that the Planning Commission has had numerous discussions about the E-5 and E-6 eating place uses, primarily because the drive-in, while permitted in the E-6, is not necessarily a part of every E-6 application. The Commission has considered whether to remove “take out” from the E-5 use or possibly placing a limit on the percentage of take out to be permitted with an E-5.

The Planning Commission continued its discussion of Sycamore Street by considering the addition of two new uses, a mixed use and a Planned Commercial Development (PCD). The new mixed use would combine two or more already permitted uses on any lot within the TC district, regardless of lot size. It was noted that there are already a number of non-conforming mixed uses on the east side of Sycamore Street already. As part of this discussion, the Commission reviewed an existing provision for a fee in lieu of parking. As currently written, no specific dollar amount is attached to the fee, nor does the provision dictate the number of parking spaces which can be addressed by a fee. This is left to the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. It was the Commission’s consensus that the current provisions should remain in the Ordinance.

The Commission discussed possible performance standards for the PCD, which would be a new use in the current TC District, not a new zoning district. The PCD would be permitted on lots larger than two acres. It would contain a mix of two or more uses that are permitted in the TC district. The PCD would have more than one building, not one large building. The PCD could have a 30 foot height restriction on the portion of the structure built at the streetscape setback, but the Commission considered allowing a height of up to 40 feet for portions set back farther from the streetscape/sidewalk setback. The current Ordinance describes the front yard setback as 20 feet from the right of way or the average setback of the adjacent buildings. At least some portion of the PCD structure should be at the streetscape or minimum setback, to prevent plans with deeper setbacks with front yard parking in order to qualify for the additional height. For buildings with greater than 100 feet of frontage, the members suggested that the setback should be varied but has not yet recommended any specific interval for the staggering of the setback. For side yard setbacks for the PCD, the members agreed that 10 feet would be recommended. This would be 10 feet on each side of the property. A minimum distance requirement of about 10 feet between the multiple buildings in the PCD was also recommended.

The current impervious surface ratio for the TC district is 80%. The Commission discussed whether to reduce that amount for a PCD, with the possibility of regaining the 80% or even possibly bonus impervious through providing certain energy efficiency measures such as LEEDS certification or green roofing or by installing public amenities such as pocket parks, band shells and fountains. The Commission agreed to leave the impervious surface at 80% but wanted the Supervisors to be aware of the conversation leading to this recommendation.

In discussion of the mix of uses for a PCD the Commission would like input from the Supervisors on whether to require a portion to be residential. Requiring a residential component could be beneficial to the downtown in that it provides round the clock presence and vitality and would help reduce some of the parking demand, as residential parking requirements would be lighter than commercial and would work well in a shared parking arrangement.

Looking ahead, parking requirements are still to be reviewed, after which the Commission hopes to have a completed draft of recommendations to serve as a guide in discussion with the Supervisors at a joint meeting.

Mr. Schenkman noted that in limiting the PCD to 2 acres, the Acme site would be left out.

Mr. Fidler said that there is not a magic number for this, but most of the lots that might be subject to redevelopment in the TC district are about 2 acres. The smaller lots on the east side of the street are somewhat protected by the restrictions of the historic district.

Mr. Schenkman said that there are only a few key issues that the Planning Commission would seek Board input on. He urged the Board to place a joint conversation with the Planning Commission on a work session agenda in September.

The Board will soon be considering the adoption of the new Joint Comprehensive Plan. When the Planning Commission reviewed this Plan in December of 2008, the members had agreed by a vote of 7-1 that the Board adopt the Plan, but to also “….undertake an effort to consistently and accurately classify Township roads.” Mr. Jirele had agreed to work on this effort in 2010. As the Board considers adoption of the plan, the Planning Commission would like to remind the Board of concerns about roadway classifications.

Open Space Plan Adoption: Mr. Garton explained that the Board has received the revised open space plan from Bucks County Planning Commission. A resolution adopting the plan will be required if the Board is to participate in the County Open Space Program. This is not necessary for the grants available for the “natural areas” program, a separate fund.

Mr. Gallagher said that the plan can be amended to react to changes within the Township. It has flexibility.

Mr. Schenkman commended the Open Space Committee for the hard work that went into drafting the plan. He particularly commented on the priorities set forth, which will be an aid in evaluating open space for preservation.

Dr. Ciervo said that on page 12, there is a list of goals and objectives and page 32 references a worksheet which is not included in the copy. He expressed some concern about this worksheet which gives weighted values to certain features.

Mr. Gallagher explained that in creating the list of goals and the worksheet for evaluation, the Open Space Committee attempted to avoid appearing to target a particular parcel. The County requires that some kind of evaluation sheet be included in the plan. This one was created by the Environmental Advisory Council to rank the environmental aspects of the open space parcels.

Mr. Schenkman said that the worksheet would be beneficial as a framework for evaluation and will keep emotion out of considerations.

Dr. Ciervo said that he has some concern with the ranking of the goals, particularly the low rank for preservation of farmland. He said that he would prefer that the goals be weighted equally.

Mr. Garton explained that the worksheet would not be the decision maker but only a help in guiding decisions.

Mr. Gallagher said that there had been some discussion of keeping the Open Space Committee. The Committee had been formed as an ad hoc committee with representation from the Board, Planning Commission, EAC and Park and Recreation Board. The Committee’s charge had been to revise the open space comprehensive plan. The majority of the members of the Committee preferred not remaining active, leaving open space preservation to the Board of Supervisors with consistent input from the Planning Commission, EAC and Park and Rec Board.

As the Board continued to discuss the goals and the two guiding principles of sustainability and respect for the rights of property owners, Mr. Gallagher noted that the Bucks County Planning Commission was excited about this portion of the plan and has used it in discussion with other municipalities.

Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that he had been part of the Committee. He noted that the weighted worksheet was to be used for environmental aspects only. However, when evaluating a parcel, other factors come into consideration, such as willingness of property owners to cooperate with the preservation effort, historic significance, public access, possible recreational use as well as the preservation of farming. He noted that the plan does not have a table of contents and many referenced attachments are not included. He also suggested that the plan be placed on the Township Web site so that residents and Township volunteers would have an opportunity to review and comment.

Dr. Ciervo agreed that the draft is somewhat incomplete. He also agreed that it should be made available to the public on the Web site. He continued to express concerns about the weighted system of evaluation.

Mr. Gallagher noted that the plan must be adopted by December 2012, so there is time for the Board and public to review and comment further.

Mr. Gallagher moved to table consideration of adoption of the Open Space Comprehensive Plan to September 9, 2009. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Land Development

Newtown Athletic Club Request for Waiver of Land Development: Mr. Garton explained that the applicant has requested that the Board waive land development process for a proposed two-story addition with a 1681 square foot footprint to its facility.

Mr. Gallagher said that he is not inclined to consider this request for a large addition without the applicant being in attendance to discuss it.

Mr. Gallagher moved to table consideration of the NAC request for a waiver of land development to a future meeting no later than the last meeting in September. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Reports of Officials

Manager

Liquid Fuels dot Grants – Resolution to Authorize Electronic Access to PennDOT Systems: Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2009-R-21, authorizing electronic access to PennDOT systems. Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Czajkowski explained that there are about 12 reports to be filed. There is not additional cost to the Township.

The motion passed 4-0.

PA Conservation Works! Energy Savings LED Street Light Grant Resolution: Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2009-R-22 for the PA Conservation Works! Energy Savings LED Street Light Grant. Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr.Czajkowski said that this application was made with Doylestown. There is a 10% match equaling $25,000, coming from the streetlight maintenance fund. While the match is not required, those applicants providing some matching funds are given more favorable consideration. The money saved in energy costs will recoup the match in about 18 months. A sample light is being installed at Norwood Avenue and Sterling Street. These lights can be programmed to dim late at night and in the early morning.

The motion passed 4-0.

Other Business: Mr. Czajkowski provided samples of open space signage for the Board to consider placing at Township preserved open space locations. The cost is about $689 per 2’X3’ sign. About 5 signs would be needed.

Patel Residence, 430 Durham Road – Request for Extension to Fulfill Requirements of Temporary CO. : Mr. Garton reminded the Board that a condition of Zoning Hearing Board relief had been that Mr. & Mrs. Patel refurbish the exterior of their existing house to match the appearance of the new house built on their property. The Patels have sought an extension to complete the work. Their neighbor, Mr. Jefferson, has objected to the appearance of the old house and has asked for additional buffering to shield the old house from his view across the street.

Mr. Patel explained that the CO for the new house has been issued and he was given only 30 days to complete the refurbishing of the exterior, which he says is insufficient. He would also like some guidance from the Township as to exactly what is required.

Dr. Ciervo read from the Zoning Hearing Board decision dated March 23, 2007, which states that the accessory structure will be “modified so as to have the same exterior finish as the new residence.” In addition the Patels are to “plant additional buffer plantings be provided along Durham Road frontage at the reasonable direction of Newtown Township.” Dr. Ciervo takes that to mean that the exterior should be the same color and the same materials as the new house.

Ms. Fountain said that 5 Norway Spruce trees have been planted along Durham Road, 2 in front of the new residence and 3 on the other side of the driveway. She has agreed that these plantings satisfy the intent of the decision. She said that she has met with Mr. and Mrs. Patel and Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson to attempt a resolution. Mr. Jefferson does not want to see the old house at all; he is asking for a full buffer. That is not the requirement of the Zoning Hearing Board decision.

Mr. Gallagher asked Mr. Patel whether he would attempt a compromise with his neighbor, perhaps sharing the cost of some additional buffer plantings.

In response to Mr. Calabro’s question, Ms. Fountain said that the buffering provided does meet the requirements of the decision. It asks for buffering along Durham Road, not necessarily only in front of the old house.

Mr. Jefferson said that he does not think the buffering is adequate. He looks directly across at the old house. He objects because it now looks incongruous next to the new house. He said that if the Patel family has been granted the variance to have the two houses on the property, the old one should be completely buffered. He does not object to the granting of an extension if the old house is sufficiently buffered. He claimed that he had not been notified of the Zoning Hearing Board application, or he would have objected at the time.

Dr. Ciervo reviewed the Township’s record of mailing to Mr. Jefferson’s address, attempting to learn whether the mail is undeliverable since his address is 413 Durham Road possibly leading to some confusion because Durham Road is also known as Route 413.

Mr. Jefferson assured the Board that this is his mailing address but he did not get any letter about the Zoning Hearing Board application.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Township can document that notification had been sent. It had also been advertised. The Board must decide now whether to grant an extension to Mr. and Mrs. Patel to allow them time to refurbish the exterior of the old house. It appears that if the neighbors can resolve their issues regarding the buffering, Mr. Jefferson would not object to the granting of the extension.

Mrs. Patel said that she has complied with the requirement to buffer the Durham Road frontage. She is now seeking guidance on the exterior of the old house and asking for an extension. She asked whether the exterior has to be the same or similar and whether the roof must also be the same. Their roof is only a few years old. She complained that the development next to her property has been left messy and incomplete and she would like that addressed.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Board must decide whether to grant the extension to make the old house exterior, including the roof, look the same as the new house, meaning the same color and same exterior materials.

The Board discussed whether to consider adding the requirement of additional plantings as a condition of granting an extension. They also discussed an appropriate length for the extension.

Mr. Garton explained that without the extension the veterinary clinic in the old house would lose its CO.

The Board members all indicated that if some agreement could be reached with the neighbors, they would be inclined to grant an extension of one year. They urged Mr. and Mrs. Patel and Mr. Jefferson to take a break and discuss this privately, then return to the meeting.

After a short break, Mr. and Mrs. Patel and Mr. Jefferson returned. No compromise had been reached. Mr. Patel said that because he has a veterinary clinic on the property he does not want to completely obstruct the view of the house from the road.

Mrs. Patel asked for a clear definition of what must be done to the exterior of the house to comply.

Mr. Garton said that it must be the same color and materials. The Township Manager would send a letter outlining exactly what would be expected to comply with the Zoning Hearing Board.

The Board briefly discussed a fee schedule for an extension.

As it was clear to the Board that a compromise could not be reached, Dr. Ciervo suggested giving a 90 day extension to complete all exterior refurbishing to the satisfaction of the Township.

Mr. Schenkman said that with a 90 day extension, if all work were not complete, Mr. and Mrs. Patel would be in much worse shape as they would be in violation.

Dr. Ciervo moved to grant a 90 day extension to comply with the Zoning Hearing Board decision requiring the refurbishing of the exterior of the existing house, including matching the roof. The motion failed to be seconded.

After lengthy discussion of possible compromises, Mr. Gallagher suggested tabling the decision on the extension for two meetings. During that time, Mr. and Mrs. Patel could work with contractors, getting estimates for costs and a time table. They could also attempt to work with a landscaper to find some inexpensive trees to create more buffering. At the end of that period they will return to the Board and present a plan for landscaping or they will have a timeline for completion of the exterior. The Board could then decide whether to grant an extension.

Mr. Garton explained that the Patels would have 27 days to either resolve their differences with Mr. Jefferson or do the façade work if the Board decided to table the consideration of the request.

Mr. Gallagher moved to table consideration of a request for an extension on the temporary CO until September 23, 2009. Mr. Calabro seconded.

Discussion of notion: Dr. Ciervo said that he has misgivings about postponing the decision. If no work has begun by the meeting in September, it will be too late to complete work before winter.

Mr. Schenkman said that when the Patels return, they will have either satisfied the Zoning Hearing Board requirements or will have a plan and timeline in place. If not they will be in violation, as the CO has already expired.

The motion passed 3-1, with Dr. Ciervo voting nay.

Approval of Land Development Waiver Agreement for the Bucks County Association for the Blind: Mr. Calabro moved to approve the waiver of land development for the Bucks County Association for the Blind. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Mr. Gallagher abstaining. (Mr. Gallagher briefly left the room during this vote.)

Engineer’s Report: In response to Dr. Ciervo’s question, Ms. Fountain explained that the Council Rock North artificial turf field installation had been delayed, not by permit difficulties with the Township but with DCCD permits.

Traffic Engineer’s Report: Andrew Brown of Carroll Engineering was in attendance to review the Act 209 Transportation Impact Fee Agreement. Carroll Engineering proposes to update the Act 209 report, which had been completed in 2001, establishes the impact fees to be paid by developers for new PM peak hour trips. With recent changes to proposed land use, completed capital projects and the age of the document, an update to existing Roadway Sufficiency Analysis and Capital Improvement Plan is appropriate.

In response to Dr. Ciervo’s questions, Mr. Brown explained that an impact fee for the plan for the Melsky tract had been calculated when that plan was submitted.

Mr. Garton said that the fee agreement must be updated periodically. Mr. Brown would work with the Township Traffic Impact Fee Advisory Committee. The cost would come from TSA funds.

Mr. Brown said that he was fairly certain that the traffic impact fee would increase as there have been inflation increases to such costs as fuel and asphalt, which would be included in the update.

Mr. Schenkman noted that the cost in Carroll Engineering’s proposal is an estimate of $52,000. He asked if there is any possibility it would exceed that amount.

Mr. Garton suggested that the Board could approve the proposal with a cost not to exceed $52,000.

In response to Dr. Ciervo’s question, Mr. Brown said that the update would take about 6 months.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize Carroll Engineering to conduct an updated Roadway Analysis and Capital Improvement Plan with costs not to exceed $52,000. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Regarding the proposed plan to extend Terry Drive through to the Newtown Bypass with a right in/right out opening, Mr. Brown explained that PennDOT requires extensive justification and approval from the district office. PennDOT has requested that an expanded preliminary traffic assessment be conducted with additional traffic counts and study work be done to justify the proposed project.

Dr. Ciervo noted that in the Carroll Engineering proposal, there is reference to PennDOT’s suggesting limiting access in Newtown Gate. He is reluctant to explore that as a solution to the traffic problems in the Business Commons.

Mr. Garton suggested that the Board contact its state representatives to get support for the proposal, possibly avoiding some of the additional expense.

Mr. Gallagher asked Mr. Czajkowski to contact the state representatives.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize an additional $1500 for traffic count and an additional $23,800 or Comprehensive Point of Access Study, with the understanding that work would not commence without authorization from Township Manager Joseph Czajkowski. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Mr. Brown said that he has studied a possible reduction of speed limit on Newtown Yardley Road. Counts show that 85% of vehicles coming off of the Bypass travel at 44 MPH. PennDOT would allow a reduction to 40 MPH immediately on turning from the Bypass to the next reduction point.

Mr. Garton said that he would work with Mr. Brown on drafting an ordinance reducing the speed limit.

Old Business: Vaughn Deroussyan was in attendance to discuss his request to place stormwater management on German Avenue and use his stormwater basin for additional parking at Newtown Plaza Shopping Center. He said that the estimate for an underground stormwater retention basin was $250,000, which he cannot afford. He showed a map of the area he wishes to use for the basin. The Township had requested use of his basin for other properties’ run-off and he has cooperated with that request.

Mr. Garton explained that the paper street German Avenue, if vacated, would not belong to the Township or to Mr. Deroussyan, but to the neighbors behind Mr. Deroussyan’s property, who own the small strip of land on the other side of the paper street.

Dr. Ciervo said that if Mr. Deroussyan wanted to use that land he would need to work with his rear yard neighbors, not with the Township.

Ms. Fountain noted that Newtown Plaza Shopping Center is already at the maximum impervious surface. A variance would be needed to pave for additional parking.

Dr. Ciervo advised the Board that an executive session would take place after adjournment.

The meeting adjourned at 11:35 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:

Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager


Tom Jirele, Chairman

Robert Ciervo, Vice-Chairman

Michael Gallagher, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Jerry Schenkman, Member