Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of August 26, 2009

 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on August 26, 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, Jerry Schenkman, members and Interim Supervisor Matthew Benchener. 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 8:00 PM with a moment of silence and an invocation by Pastor Christopher Edwards of Northampton Presbyterian Church. This was followed by and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski announced that Judge Nasshorn would administer the oath of office to the new Board member. This would be followed by a reorganization of the Board.

Special Action: Judge Donald Nasshorn administered the oath of office to newly appointed interim supervisor Matthew Benchener.

Mr. Benchener thanked the Board for affording him this opportunity to serve the community.

Reorganization of Board: Mr. Gallagher moved to appoint Dr. Ciervo to serve as chairman. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro and Schenkman voting nay.

Dr. Ciervo thanked the Board for this opportunity and hoped he could follow the example Mr. Jirele had set of building consensus among the members.

Dr. Ciervo moved to nominate Mr. Gallagher to serve as vice-chairman. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Calabro voting nay.

Mr. Gallagher moved to nominate Mr. Schenkman to serve as treasurer. Mr. Schenkman declined to accept the nomination.

Mr. Gallagher moved to nominate Mr. Calabro to serve as treasurer. Mr. Calabro declined to nomination.

Mr. Gallagher moved to nominate Mr. Benchener to serve as treasurer. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro and Schenkman voting nay.

Public Comment: Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that he was very disappointed with the Board’s selection for interim supervisor, when other candidates with much more experience, including one applicant who had been a resident for 31 years and has served on various Township Committees and is currently chairman of the Financial Planning Committee, had also sought the appointment. He said that he felt this had been a politically motivated decision.

Resident Karen D’Aprile said that she was very disappointed with the Board’s selection of interim supervisor when so many extremely capable candidates had applied. She also felt the appointment had been politically motivated.

Resident Dennis Fisher said that he was disappointed with the Board’s selection for interim supervisor when so many better qualified candidates, who would have served as caretakers, were overlooked.

Paul Salvatore of Newtown Borough said that the decision not to vote to appoint Brandon Wind, who had indicated that he would not seek the endorsement for the upcoming election, had also been politically motivated. He noted that recently appointed interim auditor Neil Poppel is on the ballot for auditor in the upcoming election.

Resident John D’Aprile said that although Neil Poppel is on the ballot for the fall election, he was also the only applicant for the interim position. He said that he felt the Board had put party politics over the best interests of the Township with the interim supervisor appointment.

Dr. Ciervo reminded those in attendance that the first nominee for the interim supervisor position, Brandon Wind, failed to get the needed three votes to act as a caretaker supervisor. He had subsequently removed his name from consideration. Mr. Benchener was the only applicant to discuss specific ideas for saving money as Township revenues flatten.

Mr. D’Aprile said that a supervisor should know the Township better than someone who has lived here only 13 months.

Resident Mick Petrucci announced that the Newtown Business and Professional Association will be hosting its annual golf outing to benefit the Bucks County Housing Group at Northampton Valley County Club on September 17, 2009. Players and sponsors are needed. For more information see www.newtownbpa.org. NBPA’s third annual business expo will be held on October 7, 2009 at Newtown Athletic Club. Information is on the NBPA Web site.

Jason Earle of Yardley said that the Board needed to appoint the best possible candidate. Because Mr. Earle works with Mr. Benchener, he knows Mr. Benchener will be a good supervisor who will be fiscally responsible.

Mr. Benchener said that he understands the residents’ concerns about his appointment. He wants to work in a bi-partisan way to hold spending. He urged the residents to come to the meetings and see that he is taking this position very seriously.

Mr. Gallagher reminded those in attendance that it has always been Board policy not to allow the podium or the dais to be used for politics.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of August 13, 2009. Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh asked that page 1, paragraph 4 read, “…. Interim supervisor interviews…”

Mr. Gallagher amended his motion to include the suggested change. Mr. Schenkman amended his second and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Benchener abstaining.

Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the work session of July 13, 2009. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Benchener abstaining.

Bills: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $160,228.21. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $180,000. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Solicitor’s Report

Zoning Hearing Board application, Mr. & Mrs. Dean Miller, 3 Poppy Court: Dean Miller reviewed his application for an increase in impervious surface to 33.78% to expand an existing paver patio. The current impervious surface is 30%.

The Board passed this application to the Zoning Hearing Board without comment.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Bard of Supervisors: Mr. Gallagher reported that the Technology Committee is working on recommendations for the new administration building and will have a presentation at the September 9, 2009 meeting. The Committee is also close to completing its work on a more interactive Park and Recreation Web site.

Mr. Benchener reported that the Financial Planning Committee has been working to identify ways to reduce spending to close the gap on declining revenues.

Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler reported that the Commission voted to name Sue Beasley and Robert Whartenby as co-vice chairmen to complete the term of recently resigned member Jim Ott.

The Commission reviewed the plan of Rosebank Winery, 258 Durham Road, for development on a 10.1928 acre site in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District to build a 6,210 square foot, two story addition to an existing barn, a wooden deck between the existing stone barn and the proposed winery and a wooden deck to the existing events and promotions building. The plans propose to restore a portion of the existing parking area to grass and landscaped area and to add a 0.50 acre orchard. The applicant plans to move the existing retail and wine production and storage to the new building and to move events to the existing retail building. The existing tent area will no longer be needed.

The Commission recommended that the Board grant preliminary plan approval subject to certain conditions. The Commission recommended that waivers be granted for the parking area in order to preserve the agricultural appearance, but agreed that the applicant should work with the Codes Department and Township Engineer to develop a plan for temporarily delineating parking, either by chalk lining the area or using traffic cones to indicate aisles and stalls during large events. The Commission also wanted the Board to be aware that there were conditions attached to the stipulation agreement governing the tent. The Board might want to review these and keep some conditions, particularly those governing parking and traffic.

Dr. Ciervo asked whether the tent would still be used.

Mr. Fidler said that the applicant has indicated that the tent would no longer be needed, but has indicated a willingness to keep some of the other conditions in the stipulation agreement, particularly regarding parking, traffic and noise.

Mr. Garton explained that the stipulation was court ordered; it could be reviewed and amended to eliminate provisions for a tent on the property.

Mr. Schenkman said that at one time the Board had discussed creating a tree bank to collect fees when granting waivers from tree requirements. Funds in the tree bank could then be used for trees on public property elsewhere in the Township. He asked that the Board consider this idea further.

In its continued discussion of Sycamore Street’s TC District, The Commission discussed possible bonuses and incentives for developers of Planned Commercial Developments (PCD’s) such as shared parking. Members considered asking developers to contribute to certain amenities in the immediate Sycamore Street area, or creating a fund for nearby recreational amenities. Among ideas discussed were the creation of small pocket parks along Sycamore Street, enhancement of the creek area and pedestrian access to the creek and to Newtown Borough either by pedestrian bridges or improvements to existing bridges to better accommodate foot traffic.

The Planning Commission has some concerns about its, and the Board’s, vision for the appearance of Sycamore Street and is eager to meet with the Board to discuss this. HARB Liaison Harriet Beckert has provided the Commission with old photographs of State Street in Newtown Borough, which at one time had been a street lined with large residential lots with single family homes. Those homes still exist with storefront additions and with newer buildings erected in what had once been side yards (infilling), creating the current streetscape of attached buildings with front yard setbacks at the sidewalk line.

Once the Commission has a clearer picture of the direction the Board envisions, particularly regarding infilling along the street, perhaps a planning consultant should be retained to help with concepts such as public amenities, infilling, side yard setbacks and pedestrian access, before any work is done by the solicitor and engineer on drafting an ordinance.

Mr. Schenkman said that he had forwarded some literature from the Bucks County Planning Commission to both the Board and Planning Commission as an aid to discussions of Sycamore Street. He said that he has been in attendance at the Planning Commission meetings and agrees that at this point Board input is needed. He suggested that a joint meeting be placed on the September 14, 2009 work session agenda. This could be a lengthy discussion.

Park and Recreation Board: Chairman Andrew Levine reported that the Park and Recreation Board and Department have been working with the Technology Committee to develop a more responsive Web site which will allow on-line registration for camps and programs. Because the School District has greatly limited the amount of paper distributed to children, the Park and Recreation Department has had to adapt to new and different ways to communicate with the community about upcoming programs and events. This new Web site should address this problem and will also help with some of the Department’s workload.

Mr. Levine reviewed the status of construction of the Woll tract. He noted that work is ahead of schedule, with delivery of the pavilion expected tomorrow. It is hoped that the fields might be seeded this fall, making them available for play even sooner than originally anticipated.

Mr. Levine presented plans for a configuration for a skate park. Once the Board approves a plan, a group of interested residents will begin a fundraising effort to offset some of the costs. The American Ramp Company park shown in the plan is meant for the average skateboarder. Equipment is bolted and can easily be reconfigured or moved. The ample empty space between fixtures will allow for future expansion. The plans have been reviewed by a number of children in the community who will be users of the park and all have agreed to the appropriateness of the equipment chosen. The cost of the equipment will be about $62,000. This cost does not include the pad site preparation or fencing. The Township’s insurance carrier has indicated that fencing, a site supervisor or signed liability waivers are not required. Mr. Levine noted that a skate park has been in the Township budget and many children and adults have given their time to bring this to fruition over many years. He implored the Board to support the project.

Dr. Ciervo thanked Mr. Levine, the Park and Recreation Department and Board and the committee of interested children and parents for their efforts. He said that the Township is about to close on property next to the all purpose field behind Staples, an ideal location for skate boarders to use the park, close to the schools and other amenities, right in the center of the community.

Mr. Levine said that in considering the pricing, he would like to use community volunteers for installation. American Ramp would send a supervisor to aid in the installation.

Mr. Gallagher said that the concern of some of the Board has always been funding. He asked what portion of the cost could the Board expect to be absorbed by fundraising.

Mr. Levine said that Newtown Corporation has agreed to allow the fundraising effort to be part of its 501(C)(3) non-profit status. The Township budget has $60,000 allocated to the park. He said that he is concerned about setting a precedent with fundraising as the community’s organized sports are not expected to pay for fields or contribute a percentage of construction costs. He acknowledged that parent volunteers do help with field maintenance and additional amenities. He will apply for a grant from the American Ramp Company, and is hoping for a corporate sponsorship. With installation, he expects the total cost to be about $67,000 and he guessed that perhaps about $10,000 could be raised through contributions.

Ms. Fountain said that she had asked for an estimate for the pad as part of the road program and she would review her notes to determine an approximate cost.

Mr. Levine said that he had hoped that the cost of the pad could be donated. The Public Works Department would be able to prepare the site. The Park and Recreation Director has some concerns about safety and had asked that fencing be included, which could cost several thousand dollars.

Mr. Schenkman asked Mr. Levine about plans for fundraising. He asked whether Mr. Levine needed a certain percentage of the costs right away to make a down payment and sign a contract.

Mr. Levine said that he would be seeking corporate sponsorships and direct donations. He had also considered asking the Township to participate in a matching fund, with a 4 to 1 ratio.

Mr. Benchener said that he has concerns about non-essential spending. While he understands that the skate park would be funded from a Park and Recreation Capital Fund, the spending would impact available funds for open space. He would expect 20-30% to be funded privately.

Mr. Levine reminded the Board that this project has been in the budget and postponed for many years. A great many people have worked hard on the plans because the Township had budgeted the money and expressed a commitment. If the Board is no longer willing to fund this project, he asked that they say so and efforts would cease.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Board has committed $60,000 in this year’s budget and should be able to meet that commitment. The Park and Recreation Capital Fund has $325,000 with more money expected from other construction projects this year.

Mr. Schenkman suggested that Mr. Levine see if American Ramp offers any internal financing. He also suggested that Mr. Levine find out whether a 25% deposit could be made with additional payment at a later date, so that the equipment order could be placed.

The Board discussed whether to commit only a portion of the needed funds to cover the initial deposit and whether to include a requirement for fencing.

In response to Mr. Garton’s question, Mr. Levine confirmed that American Ramp is under state contract and bidding would not be necessary.

The Board discussed a matching fund plan, with the Township matching 4 to 1 up to $60,000. The community would need to raise $15,000, which should cover some of the other costs associated with the site.

Mr. Garton suggested that a motion approving the design should be made. Any funding plan should be a separate motion.

Dr. Ciervo moved to approve the American Ramp Company skate park as presented for a site behind Staples along the Newtown Bypass. Mr. Schenkman seconded.

Discussion of motion: Resident Mike Iapalucci said that he has been working with other residents on the fundraising efforts. It is his understanding that Newtown Corporation would help with the tax exempt status provided the fundraising were kept simple. He said that the group working on this project had discussed some other fundraising ideas such as contribution levels and acknowledgement of contributors on plaques at the park. He also said he was not sure the fence was necessary.

Resident John D’Aprile said that the Township has budgeted for this for many years and it should be built. There are many children in the community who will use and enjoy the park; it is very much needed. He asked how long it would take to be installed once approved.

Mr. Levine said that it would take about six weeks to order the equipment and prepare the site and one week to install the equipment.

Mr. Gallagher expressed some concern that if fundraising were very successful, additional money would be used to add equipment rather than to offset costs to the Township. He said that he would want Board approval on any purchase orders.

Mr. Levine said that would be an acceptable condition. He would always expect to have to return to the Board if there were changes to the plan.

The motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman moved to commit to a matching grant with the Township matching $4.00 to every $1.00 donated by any private individual or corporate entity up to $60,000. Any purchase orders must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman said that an advance of the first $16,000 could be made to place the order for equipment.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Newtown Corporation should only have to track the donated funds; the Township would keep track of the matching funding.

Reports of Officials

Manager

Major & Mastro, LLC – Audit Report: Linda Major was in attendance to review the Township’s 2008 audit. Ms. Major explained that the audits were performed in accordance with the general auditing standards of the United States. It is the opinion of Major and Mastro that the financial statements present fairly the respective financial position of Newtown Township. In a letter to the Township dated June 18, 2009, there had been a reference to a deficiency in internal control which was in a software program. This has been corrected.

Mr. Gallagher moved to acknowledge receipt of the report and correspondence of Major and Mastro, LLC, for the year ending December 31, 2008. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Police Report

Police Chief Henry Pasqualini reported that the Police department had responded to 1,609 calls, which included one arson and 318 traffic citations. He urged residents to continue to report any suspicious activities they observe.

In response to Board questions, Chief Pasqualini explained that abandoned 911 calls are mostly misdialed numbers, but the Department must still investigate. All such calls are responded to.

Chief Pasqualini reported that, since Mr. Schenkman had questioned the number of suicides and suicide attempts early in his tenure with the Township, he had reviewed all reported cases and found that they range from young people to terminally ill older people. He does not feel it is a public health issue. His Department has worked closely with Council Rock School District to address these concerns through prevention.

In response to Mr. Benchener’s questions about the Department’s request for video equipment for DUI cases, Chief Pasqualini said that the Township’s number of cases are within range for the entire county. The equipment requested would be used for liability and training purposes.

Solicitor’s Report

JMZO 2009-01 – TC District Revision Ordinance – Authorization to Advertise: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that this amendment would remove uses E-10, Service Station and E-11, Automotive Sales from the uses permitted by conditional use approval from the TC Zoning District. Both Wrightstown and Upper Makefield have already authorized advertisement.

Mr. Benchener asked if the enactment of this ordinance would impact those uses already in existence on Sycamore Street.

Mr. Garton explained that existing service stations and automotive sales businesses would be permitted to remain as non-conforming uses. If, however, the owners wished to make changes or expand, a variance or special exception from the Zoning Hearing Board would be required. There would be additional difficulties should the properties be sold. There is no financial impact if existing uses continue unchanged.

Mr. Schenkman said that when this ordinance was first discussed there had been some concern about changes on Sycamore Street and the possible revision of the existing TC zoning was far away. At this point, as the Planning Commission is closer to making recommendations for Sycamore Street this ordinance no longer seems urgent. He also had concerns about making things more difficult for long time businesses.

Mr. Gallagher said that he agrees with Mr. Schenkman. With the formation of the Sycamore Street Community Association and the work the Planning Commission is doing, it would seem more prudent to address this as part of the larger TC District revisions.

Dr. Ciervo said that it was his impression that there was concern that these uses might expand on Sycamore Street if not removed.

Attorney Steve Harris, representing the Sycamore Street Community Association, urged the Board to withdraw consideration of this proposed ordinance. With him this evening were Dave Byrne, Mr. Wiggins, Sean Frawley, Frank Tyrol, Shawn Ward, Vince Lombardi and Melva Vittoriano, all business owners on Sycamore Street, all urging that this ordinance be withdrawn. The existing automotive and service station businesses would be greatly burdened by becoming non-conforming uses. The ordinance’s sunset provision adds to the burden of the property owners. Mr. Harris noted that JMZO 2004-18 would prevent Super station, as gas and retail sales are prohibited at the same location. This is also the only location in the Jointure where automotive sales are permitted. Removing this use could open the Jointure to a challenge. He reminded the Board that auto sales were added to the TC district in response to a challenge.

The Board did not act on JMZO 2009-01.

Clearwire US, LLC – 103 Penns Trail – Conditional Use: Mr. Garton explained that the applicant is requesting conditional use approval for co-location of a communications antenna, use I-1, and communications equipment building, use I-2, at the existing tower facilities. The plans have been reviewed by the Planning Commission, which recommended approval. The application had been advertised on August 6 and August 13, 2009.

Attorney Nicholas F. Talvacchia, representing the applicant, explained that Clearwire is a provider of wireless internet. Clearwire will install 3 antennae and 3 dishes at a height of 96 feet on an existing 115 foot tower. An equipment cabinet will be installed within the existing compound. The site is surrounded by a 6 foot fence with 1 foot of barbed wire. As a tenant of the site, the applicant is asking to not be required to install an 8 foot fence.

Mr. Garton and Ms. Fountain agreed that the principle use had already been approved with a non-conforming 6 foot fence. This would be satisfactory, as Clearwire is a co-location.

In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Talvacchia said that this would be a subscription service available in early 2010. He did not know whether a discounted service would be available to the Township.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve Clearwire US, LLC’s application for conditional use for use I-1, Communications Antenna and use I-2 Communications Antenna and Equipment building, at 103 Penns Trail in the LI Light industrial zoning district, tax map parcel 29-10-95-1 , subject to the following conditions:

  1. That the applicant comply with the CKS Engineers, Inc. review letter dated June 29, 2009
  2. No additional fencing would be required.
  3. No employees will be at the site.
  4. The hours of operation will be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  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 parking is required.
  8. No signage shall be on site.
  9. The applicant shall supply a true and correct copy of the lease as a condition of the approval.
  10. A copy of the FCC license shall be provided.
  11. The applicant must provide a certificate of insurance evidencing general liability coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and property damage coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence covering the communications tower, communications antennae and communications equipment building, naming Newtown Township as an additional insured thereon.
  12. The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.  
  13. All review fees must be paid
  14. That the proposed use satisfies the specific requirements applicable to the proposed use under Sections 1301.B and 803 of the JMZO.

Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Talvacchia said that there is battery backup for the equipment.

Skate Park – Condemnation Resolution Related to Acquisition of Skate Park Property: Mr. Garton explained that the Board has entered into an agreement of sale with the owner of Newtown Shopping Center for the conveyance to the Township of a parcel of land of approximately 0.68 acres. The Board should adopt a resolution of condemnation to avoid the obligation to pay transfer taxes on the purchase. This is a friendly condemnation.

Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution of Condemnation, R-2009-23. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman moved to declare the Township’s commitment to the owners of Newtown Shopping Center that this condemnation will not adversely impact the open space calculations for the Shopping Center. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Garton reminded the Board that while the transfer of land was made to the Township without charge, the Township had agreed to bear the costs of transfer, which included a new survey, bank counsel, title search, recording of deeds and reimbursement of already paid County, Town and School taxes, a total of $7047.77. The consolidation with Township owned property at this location will be recorded tomorrow.

Lockheed Martin Development Agreement: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a development agreement with Lockheed Martin. For Phase I Preliminary/Final land development. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Upper Silver Lake Road Vacation: Mr. Garton reviewed the history of the closing of Upper Silver Lake Road, beginning with the approval of the Wiltshire Walk development in 2002, at which time a condition of approval had been the closing of Upper Silver Lake Road. While the road was physically closed to traffic, no action was taken to vacate the road pursuant to the provisions of the Second Class Township Code. The road has fallen into disrepair and is impassable to vehicular traffic. On April 25, 2008, the Board voted to proceed with the vacation the Township’s public rights to the road by prior to doing so directed that an emergency access, utility and pedestrian easement be secured from abutting land owners. The Homeowners Association of Wiltshire Walk development refused to execute the easement. Accordingly, descriptions of easements were revised so that it was no longer necessary to secure an easement from Wiltshire Walk as all necessary land would be secured from the other adjoining property owner. That easement was secured and recorded. As a condition of the development of the Villas at Newtown, the developer was required to make certain improvements to Upper Silver Lake Road which the Township later identified as a 12 foot emergency access way. The Township could not proceed with the hearing related to the adoption of the Ordinance necessary to vacate that portion of Upper Silver Lake Road until such time as work was completed. During the pendency of the completion of work, the Wiltshire Walk Homeowners Association and other individuals filed a complaint of Mandamus requesting that the Court direct the immediate repair of that portion of Upper Silver Lake Road that was no longer available for public use. The Complaint was premised on a provision of the Second Class Township Code that imposes an obligation on the Township to maintain public streets. The matter was conferenced with the Court but no public hearing was conducted. The Court then entered an Order directing the Township to immediately commence repairing the road on the notion that although the Township has the right to “temporarily” close the road, 7 years is more than “temporary”. The Board will need to decide whether it desires to appeal the Decision of the Court to the Commonwealth Court. In the absence of appealing, the Township will need to proceed immediately to prepare plans and put out for public bid the restoration and repair of that portion of Silver Lake Road. If it is the intention of the Board to eventually conduct public hearings and adopt an ordinance to vacate the street, then it would not make sense to complete the work necessary to open the road. A hearing could

be conducted after adequate notice within 45 days of completion of the work by the developer of Villas at Newtown.

Mr. Benchener said that he is a resident of Wiltshire Walk and has recently become aware of this issue. He would not want to make a partisan decision but would want to balance the rights of the Wiltshire Walk residents with those who were party to the agreement to vacate.

Mr. Calabro said that he is offended by statements that insinuate that some of the Board are not acting in the best interests of the community.

Mr. Gallagher said that a commitment had been made to vacate this road. He asked about the costs of appealing versus complying with the court order.

Mr. Garton explained that an appeal would cost about $1000. It would buy time to allow for the vacation process.

Dr. Ciervo asked about costs associated with work to open the road within 30 days as ordered.

Ms. Fountain said that the road would need an 18 foot paved cartway. There is no stormwater requirement and requirements for sidewalks could be waived. Meeting the Township’s requirements for paving could prove very expensive.

Mr. Calabro asked whether there would be consequences if the process of repairing were begun but not completed within 30 days, as the Order requires.

Mr. Garton said that a motion could be filed to find the Township in contempt, but the motion might not be successful if it could be shown that the Township is making a good faith effort to comply.

Dr. Ciervo moved to appeal the order to repair and open Upper Silver Lake Road. Mr. Benchener seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman questioned whether instead of an appeal, the Township could suggest a more reasonable time frame to complete the necessary work, perhaps opening the road in a safe way, with restricted access.

Mr. Calabro suggested speaking to the attorney for Wiltshire Walk about a more reasonable time for completion.

Mr. Gallagher suggested seeking an appeal with 120 days to consider the question and either vacate or complete repairs.

Resident Joan Baiocchi of 109 Upper Silver Lake Road sad that two different Boards of Supervisors have voted to vacate this road. It is not safe and it has failed inspection. She urged the Board to appeal the decision of the Court and to proceed with the vacation.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that it was his understanding that the Planning Commission had recommended that the developer of the Villas would upgrade that portion of the road. The Township should not have to pay the costs for repair,

Ms. Fountain said that she has reviewed all approvals and the only requirement is for the Villas to fix the road for emergency access.

Resident Nelson Baiocchi said that the Villas has not been completed. There are drainage concerns. Cars are passing through the closed section. There are dangerous sight distances around curves; driveways exit onto the curve in the road. He is concerned that if the road is repaired for opening it will be a huge expense to the Township and it will still be a dangerous road. He urged the Board to appeal the decision and vacate the road.

The motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro nd Schenkman voting nay.

Engineer’s Report

Grainhouse Developers, 11 Penns Trail – Certificate of Completion #4 and Approval of Letter of Credit: Ms. Fountain explained that the developer wants to use its existing letter of credit instead of posting a maintenance bond. Mr. Garton has prepared the agreement.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize an agreement for a letter of credit in lieu of a maintenance bond for Grainhouse Developers. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize escrow release in the amount o $35,571.54 to Grainhouse Developers. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

109 Pheasant Run Certificate of Completion #3: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $52,694.83 to 109 Pheasant Run. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Hidden Valley Tract Final Certificate of Completion: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $9,248.47 to Hidden Valley Tract. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Old Business

Mr. Gallagher said that the Board had briefly discussed instituting a fee for an extension on a Certificate of Occupancy.

Mr. Garton said that the Township solicitor and staff would have to review the current ordinance and recommend a revised ordinance with fee schedule.

Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Schenkman asked that this be investigated further.

Mr. Gallagher noted that at the time that the Board reorganized, a treasurer had been appointed instead of secretary/treasurer.

Mr. Gallagher moved to change Mr. Benchener’s title from treasurer to secretary/treasurer. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Dr. Ciervo asked Mr. Czajkowski about signage for the Township’s open space.

Mr. Czajkowski reminded the Board that he had provided photographs of some other municipalities’ signs along with prices at a previous meeting. He would forward that information to the Board again.

Mr. Schenkman said that he would like to investigate a tree bank to collect fees in lieu of trees.

Mr.Czajkowski said that Upper Makefield has a tree fund for fees in lieu to be used on Township property where it would not be appropriate to developers to plant on the development property. He would review that and forward information to the Board.

Mr. Gallagher suggested that a similar fund for fees in lieu of sidewalks could be collected.

The meeting adjourned at 12:05 AM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:

Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager


Robert Ciervo, Chairman

Michael Gallagher, Vice-Chairman

Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Jerry Schenkman, Member