Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors

Minutes of October 13 , 2010

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on October 13, 2010 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman, Robert Ciervo, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Schenkman and Philip Calabro and Michael Gallagher, members. Also present were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer..

Call to Order: Chairman Robert Ciervo called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 PM with a moment of silence and an invocation by Sister Francesca Onley of Holy Family University. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Czajkowski said that a proclamation naming October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been added to the agenda.

Special Actions

Council Rock Newtown Little League: On behalf of the Board of Supervisors and the Township, Dr. Ciervo congratulated Council Rock Newtown’s 12 year old Little League Team on its recent victories as District 30 champions, Pennsylvania State Champions and runners up in the Mid-Atlantic region. He asked the boys and their coaches to come to the podium as he read a proclamation congratulating the team, noting that the boys had also been awarded the Bob Watson Sportsmanship Award.

St. Mary Medical Center – Presentation of AED: On behalf of St. Mary Medical Center’s Safe Kids Program, Kim Evert presented Council Rock Newtown Little League and Newtown Township Park and Recreation Department with an automated external defibrillator (AED) for use at Chandler Field. Dr. Ciervo, Coaches and Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko thanked St. Mary’s for this generous, life saving, donation.

Public Comment: Resident Jay McGuigan announced that Tara McGuigan of Newtown will be the only Philadelphia regional participant in the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition at the Eagle’s game on Sunday.

The Board wished Ms. McGuigan good luck.

Resident Jay Sensibaugh said that he is concerned that if 2010 spending requires additional use of the reserve fund, it will require a change in the ordinance.

Dr. Ciervo said that it was his understanding that the amount held in reserve is a board policy. It had been a policy to hold 15% in reserve but that had been changed to 10%.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that he understood it to be an ordinance. If the Board were to go below the 10%, when would that be known by the public and when would it be advertised?

Dr. Ciervo said that should the reserve go below 10% it would be advertised in advance. He did not think this would occur.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that some municipalities borrow money to meet budget until taxes are collected. Does Newtown Township have a line of credit to do this, should it become necessary.

Mr. Schenkman said that the reserve is currently at $1.2 million.

Dr. Ciervo said that the Township does not have such a line of credit.

Resident Joanne Bintliff Ritchie announced that this coming weekend is the three day, sixty mile walk to raise awareness of breast cancer. Many teams from Newtown Township and Borough will be participating. Each participant is required to raise $2300. She thanked the NAC for allowing her to sell raffle tickets to raise her participation share. For additional information and for a route map, visit www.the3day.org. She urged residents to go out and cheer participants along the route to boost spirits. She thanked the Board for passing a resolution acknowledging October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports

Minutes: Mr. Schenkman said that he would like to change the minutes of September 22, 2010, page 3, where Eric Kaufman, the Gilmore & Associates traffic engineer, discussed the safety and traffic calming of a traffic light on Durham Road at the intersection with Stoopville Road. He asked that the minutes show that Mr. Kaufman said that the light would impact neither safety nor traffic calming.

Dr. Ciervo said that he remembered that Mr. Kaufman said that the light would be safer for cars making left turns.

Mr. Benchener said his recollection was that it was not very unsafe but the light would make it safer.

After some further discussion, Mr. Gallagher suggested that the Board and recording secretary review the video to determine whether any corrections or additional details should be included.

Mr. Schenkman said that on page 8, he would like the minutes corrected to show that Mr. Benchener had drafted the Patrick Henry resolution with some assistance from him, but that it was not jointly drafted.

Mr. Schenkman moved to table approval of the minutes of September 22, 2010 to the October 27, 2010 meeting. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Bills: Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize payment of bills totaling $82,884.00 This amount does not include payment to Begley Carlin for work regarding the Sewer Authority. Mr. Schenkman said that he was asking Mr. Garton for some further clarification, to avoid any conflict with work done for the County Sewer Authority. Mr. Gallagher seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Garton said that he has spoken to Mr. Schenkman and will provide a more detailed invoice for his review.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that the totals and the summary sheet are different for the general fund.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the totals show a total for checks written. The summary includes a $37,847.72 wire transfer.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that the total general fund, reported at $665,588.71, seems to show that the general fund is $500,000 short.

Mr. Schenkman explained that the money discussed earlier as the general fund is the projected remainder after all expected revenues are collected and all expected expenses are paid.

Mr. Gallagher said that the Township is expecting to be about $300,000 over on earned income tax for the year, based on the amounts already collected.

Mr. Czajkowski reviewed the revenue percentages for the first three quarters, comparing them to last year. He pointed out that the collected earned income tax is already at 82% of the budgeted amount, the real estate transfer tax is better than last year and better than the budgeted amount. The salaries and benefits are exactly where expected but other expenditures are generally at 67%. Income and expenditures are not in a straight line as money comes in and goes out; some funds only pass through the Township, such as state contributions to the pension funds.

Mr. Schenkman said that he does not have the paperwork in front of him but would provide Mr. Sensibaugh more detailed information.

Mr. Sensibaugh said that the pension numbers seem less than were reported in the minutes.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the minimum municipal obligation, the Township’s contribution to the pensions, as reported in the minutes, is for next year. The amount to be paid this year, about $900,000, includes a State contribution and did appear as a budget item.

Dr. Ciervo said that this contribution was part of the budget that was passed last December. If the Township continues to collect its revenues and continues to meet expenses, the year will end with 14% in the reserve.

The motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $357,641.58. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Chairman

Appointment of Pension Consultant: Dr. Ciervo explained that the Board has been considering a change in pension management consultants and issued a request for proposals. The Board reviewed the 14 responses and conducted interviews.

Mr. Schenkman moved to appoint Grant Kalson of Dehab Associates as pension consultant for 2011. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo said that Dehab will charge a flat fee while other firms interviewed charged a basis point percentage. Dehab will charge $18,000 for the first year and will discount future years. With a flat fee, the Township will be better able to budget for pensions. Mr. Kalson will work with our Board to oversee a team of managers and to revise our pension investment policy statement.

Mr. Sensibaugh asked whether this firm has been interviewed by the Financial Planning Committee or the Pension Committee.

Dr. Ciervo said that all interviews were conducted in executive session. It is a decision of the Board of Supervisors. Dehab manages a number of other municipal and institutional pensions in Pennsylvania, including PMRS, the State pool of pensions. This is a local firm with offices in Washington Crossing.

The motion passed 3-1-1, with Mr. Gallagher voting nay and Mr. Benchener abstaining.

Pension Discussion: Dr. Ciervo said that the Board will need to review and revise the pension investment policy statement and he would also like to consider some changes to the form of the pensions. Looking ahead he suggested that new non-union employees be offered a defined contribution plan similar to a 401K. He would also like to reconsider the retirement age. Of particular concern is the gap between the retirement age and the age to qualify for Medicare and social security. The Township must provide healthcare for retirees not yet of age for the Federal programs. He suggested that the Township discuss a change to retirement age to age 65. Dr. Ciervo said that the three unions have contracts with defined benefits. Only the police make contributions to their plans. He would like to consider requiring some employee contribution to the other two pension funds when contracts are again negotiated.

Mr. Benchener agreed that he favored a defined contribution plan, as the taxpayers have too much risk with a defined benefit plan.

Mr. Gallagher said that he agreed with the concept of a contribution plan and would like to see the Township moved toward this.

Mr. Schenkman said that public pensions will eventually disappear. It has been a tradition that public employment offered generous benefits but as governments are struggling with budgets, this imbalance must be corrected by some kind of contribution plan. He warned though, that many employees will need some guidance and education with a 401K style plan. It is his hope that the pension consultant will be able to provide an education program for employees.

Mr. Benchener said that most mutual funds offer some targeted funds and education for investment.

Mr. Calabro said that he does not object to the discussion or to considering a change but he does not feel prepared to vote on any change this evening.

Mr. Garton said that the Board members will need a document to review for future approval.

After polling the Board, Dr. Ciervo said that there is consensus to move toward a 401K style pension for new, non-union hires. He asked about a change in the retirement age to age 65.

Mr. Garton said that he was not sure that the Board could make a change in the retirement age for vested employees. He urged the Board to discuss the proposed changes with the labor solicitor, especially when considering changes to the benefits of current employees.

Mr. Gallagher said that he would like the Board to develop a whole plan with goals set to work with the unions and the non-union employees to eventually eliminate any disparities.

Dr. Ciervo asked the manager to work with the labor solicitor to develop a document for new, non-union employees.

Mr. Garton said that this will require an ordinance and will have to be advertised.

Mr. Schenkman said that he agreed with Mr. Gallagher that the Board should develop a whole policy with some flexibility, eventually moving all to a 401K style plan and a retirement age tied to the Federal retirement age.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Dr. Ciervo said that he would like to pass a resolution acknowledging October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Congress has passed a resolution every year since 1992. He read the resolution aloud and noted that his mother had died of breast cancer and Upper Makefield Supervisor David Kulig had just lost his wife to this disease. He extended the Township’s condolences to Mr. Kulig.

Mr. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2010-R-17, proclaiming October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Other Board Members: Mr. Gallagher reported that he, along with some other supervisors and members of the Planning Commission and the community had attended a sound test at LaStalla Restaurant last week. Owner Marc Massa had extended apologies to the Township and residents for any inconvenience he had caused. While the equipment seemed effective in keeping sound at a reasonable volume which could not be heard very far beyond the property line, many in attendance expressed some concern that once approvals have been granted, the sound would no longer be monitored regularly and volume would be increased again.

Mr. Schenkman said that he agreed with Mr. Gallagher’s report. He did note that there also appears to be an issue with the requirements of the license from the Liquor Control Board which must be resolved.

Mr. Garton noted that because of the delay with sound testing the LaStalla Conditional Use Hearing has been postponed until October 27, 2010.

Dr. Ciervo reported that the Skate Park construction has begun.

Mr. Czajkowski confirmed that concrete is to be poured within the next week and equipment, once delivered, would be installed immediately. He expected all to be ready for the grand opening on October 31, 2010.

Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidlerreported that at its September 21, 2010 meeting the Commission met with Engineers Greg Elco and Luke Teller of Langan Engineering, Linda Mitchell and Eve Krieger of NAC to review plans for an 11,550 square foot expansion to the existing facility, with associates parking, access drive improvements, landscaping and stormwater management facilities. The existing access on Blacksmith Drive is proposed to remain and the existing entrance on Penns Trail is to be removed. A new access is proposed from Pheasant Run. The proposed land development includes the consolidation of three tax map parcels, already owned by the NAC.

The plan proposes 35 new parking spaces where 221 would be required by the Ordinance. Representatives of the NAC have indicated that the addition is meant to provide more floor space for current members, but does not anticipate a large increase in membership. The Commission suggested that if a variance is sought for reduced parking, the applicant should provide some documentation of current and past membership numbers as well as daily usage patterns to establish that parking is adequate now and the new floor space will not require 221 parking spaces. The Commission also suggested that the applicant show that the required parking could be held in green unless or until it might be needed. With spaces held in green the Commission would not object to a zoning variance for parking. The applicant will also seek a variance for loading berths, which the Commission would support, as all deliveries are made to the main building. The Commission was supportive of a number of waiver requests, including a waiver from the requirement to provide street trees on the Bypass and Penns Trail. We suggested that the trees be placed along the new access driveway instead. The Commission voted to recommend that the Board grant preliminary land development, subject to a number of conditions and was very supportive of the new access plans which will eliminate the Penns Trail entrance. The proposed plan should alleviate some traffic back ups in all directions at the intersection of Penns Trail and the Newtown Bypass.

At the October 5, 2010 ,meeting the Commission reviewed a PRD variance of Ross and Karen Altman of 34 Greenbriar Lane to construct a front porch and to expand a rear sunroom resulting in a front yard setback of 40.4 feet where 42.74 feet is required and a rear yard setback of 13 feet where 15 feet is required. As these proposed improvements are de minimis and will enhance the neighborhood, the Commission voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant the variances, subject to the condition that the applicants comply with the September 14, 2010 review letter of CKS Engineering.

The Commission discussed the application of LaStalla for a revised conditional use to permit outdoor entertainment. The members have read of a provision of the Liquor Control Board which prohibits sound beyond the property lines as a condition of liquor licenses and had some concern about the license of LaStalla and some possible conflict between Township approvals and Liquor Control Board regulations, so recommend that the Solicitor review LaStalla’s license application and license.

Mr. Schenkman said that in considering this possible prohibition of noise there might be some concern about conflicts between the Township’s noise and nuisance ordinances and the LCB regulations. He said that perhaps the Solicitor could investigate this further as the Planning Commission had discussed noise and nuisance from other businesses which are not licensed by the LCB, but might have “bring your own bottle” and live entertainment. It should also be noted that in some instances the LCB is spotty in its enforcement and Township controls should also be in place. He suggested that the Board address the conditional use of LaStalla but also at some future date discuss the concerns of noise and nuisance in a broader context.

Mr. Benchener expressed some concern about setting a standard for noise which might be in conflict with the LCB.

Mr. Garton explained that the LCB only controls those operations which have liquor licenses. Municipal regulations would have separate criteria and consequences which would not pre-empt the LCB authority.

Environmental Advisory Council: Chairman Jay McGuigan said that at the September 22, 2010 meeting he had presented the Board with the research done by the EAC on wildlife management and the EAC’s recommendations for a management program. The EAC favored the proposal of Eccologix, which would involve both an archery hunt and sharpshooting.

Dr. Ciervo asked whether an Eccologix program could be conducted in conjunction with the annual Tyler Park hunt. He is very concerned about damage caused by wildlife at the Clark Nature Center. He noted that he had read the research which showed that the Township has seen a 22% increase in deer/vehicle collisions every year for the past nine years. It is his understanding that this would need to be an ongoing project, not a one time program, as the herd would regenerate quickly after only one hunt.

Joe Nitterour and Eric Schade of Eccologix said that they could coordinate with Tyler Park’s hunt, which is held in December. Eccologix’ hunters could be ready to work in conjunction with this event.

Mr. Benchener asked for a comparison of expected results with only an archery hunt or with the combination.

Mr. Schade explained that if archery alone is used, the game commission does not permit baiting, making archery far less effective. In order to conduct a sharpshooting hunt, the game commission requires that a public archery hunt also be conducted before a depredation permit is issued.

Mr. Gallagher asked about costs for an effective program.

Mr. Nitterour said that Upper Makefield has had very successful results after a three year program at $43,000 per year with no cap on the number of animals culled. Upper Makefield had a dramatic drop in the number of vehicle accidents.

Mr. Schade explained that an archery hunt would be conducted from late November to January; the sharpshooting season begins in February.

Mr. Schenkman asked the number of archers expected to participate.

Mr. Schade said that the land will be evaluated and participants would be screened but he estimated that the five Township properties included in the proposal would probably require about 15-20 hunters. He explained that this is a true effort to control the herd, not a two day recreational hunt. A bow hunt would cost $750 for the season.

Mr. Gallagher said that perhaps the Board could authorize the bow hunt with the goal of including the sharpshooting in the 2011 budget, since the season does not begin until February.

Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize a $750 expenditure for an archery hunt coordinated by Eccologix and with an intention of including up to $20,000 in the 2011 budget for a sharpshooting hunt with a goal of creating a wildlife management program. Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Gallagher noted that he feels the matter is urgent as the number of deer/vehicle accidents has been dramatically increasing and Newtown Township has recently seen a fatality in one such accident.

Mr. Benchener said that he would prefer to separate the motions. He would prefer to see some numbers from the archery hunt before committing to the sharpshooting program.

Mr. Gallagher said that he would like to give Eccologix the ability to move forward with the archery and with the planning for the sharpshooting. Permits and licenses will be required, which Eccologix will have to plan for before the start of the new year.

Mr. Gallagher withdrew his motion. Mr. Gallagher moved to hire Eccologix for an archery hunt in 2010 for $750 and to instruct the Township Manager to add up $20,000 to the 2011 budget discussion for a sharpshooting program.

Dr. Ciervo seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro said that he was not comfortable adding another $20,000 to next year’s budget when last year so many worthwhile projects needed to be cut from the budget, including contributions to local libraries. He acknowledged that there has been an increase in the number of accidents, but he noted that the one fatality had other contributing factors. Next year’s budget has not been drafted yet and he objected to prioritizing this project in advance. He also noted that there is no guarantee of success.

Dr. Ciervo said that this is a matter of public safety, which should be a priority over the Board’s contributions to private, non-profit entities.

Mr. Nitterour said that while there is not a guarantee of the success of the sharpshooting, Eccologix offers a “per deer” price, which would be a good start to a successful program.

Mr. Benchener said that while he agrees that this is a public safety concern and he supports the archery component, he does not support the motion as framed because he is uncomfortable making a commitment outside of the budget season. He would prefer to first begin reviewing the budget and also evaluating the effectiveness of the archery hunt before committing additional funds.

Mr. Schenkman agreed with Mr. Benchener. He also urged caution in how the Board responds to public safety concerns. He said that even with the program there will still be deer and still be accidents.

Mr. Gallagher noted that Upper Makefield has experienced a 99.97% drop in accidents since it began its program; Newtown has had 800 reported accidents in the past eight years.

Mr. Calabro said that the EAC report indicated that the deer disburse when hunting begins. Is it possible that the success in neighboring Townships is the result of the herd migrating to areas without hunts?

Mr. McGuigan said that he has mapped the accidents occurring in Newtown and they are primarily along Durham Road, far from Upper and Lower Makefield.

Mr. Schade said that the herd will disburse to a neighboring property when hunting begins and return when it is safe. They do not migrate very far into another town.

Mr. Calabro asked whether Eccologix has worked with more humane ways to control the herd.

Mr. Schade said that the game commission does not support “trap and transfer,” and there are no approved contraceptives.

Mr. Czajkowski confirmed that non-lethal methods have been discussed but none are approved by the game commission.

Mr. McGuigan said that the only non-lethal method which has been somewhat effective is fencing, which is very expensive. The EAC did review all of the non-lethal methods and found none to be effective.

Resident Dorothy McCrane said that the community is overdeveloped; deer are destroying the parks because they have nowhere else to go. She does not want her tax money to be used on hunting to cull the herd. She said that culling the herd is not effective because of a rebound effect. The smaller herd is better nourished and will have twins instead of single births, replenishing the herd. This information was on a “friends of animals’ Web site. She urged reducing speed limits and educating the public on being alert to deer. She suggested better use of the flashing lights on deer signs. She urged the Board to reject this proposal.

Resident John D’Aprile said that he supports the proposal; the herd needs to be culled as the number of accidents is rapidly increasing. This is a matter of public safety.

Mr. McGuigan said that the EAC did invite “Deer Friends” to make a proposal for non-lethal methods. He also noted that recent scientific research does not support the “compensatory rebound effect.” Studies supporting this were conducted in Florida more than twenty five years ago.

Dr. Ciervo said that while he was growing up in Newtown hunting was more prevalent and the herd was culled by sportsmen. Our surrounding communities are facing similar concerns and are addressing those concerns.

The motion failed 2-3, with Messrs. Benchener, Schenkman and Calabro voting nay.

Mr. Benchener moved to approve the Eccologix proposal for an archery hunt through January 2011 for a cost of $750. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Calabro voting nay.

Dr. Ciervo thanked the EAC for its work and said that he would ask to discuss the sharpshooting proposal as part of the 2011 budget discussion.

Joint Newtown Traffic Committee/Halloween Pedestrian Safety Week: Mrs. Bintliffe Ritchie, representing the Traffic Committee, explained that the Committee, working with Borough and Township Police Departments have planned some educational and enforcement activities focused on the business districts to call attention to pedestrian safety. Posters have been placed in shops reminding the public to be aware of pedestrians crossing throughout our downtown.

Mr. Schenkman suggested incorporating trick-or-treat bags into next year’s program.

Mr. Schenkman moved to adopt Resolution 2010-R-18, proclaiming the week of October 25 through October 31, 2010 as Newtown Halloween Pedestrian Safety Week. Mr. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Land Development

Newtown Athletic Club Fitness Addition, 209 Penns Trail – Preliminary Plan for Land Development: Engineers Greg Elco and Luke Teller of Langan Engineering, and Jim Worthington of the NAC presented plans for an 11,450 square foot expansion to the existing facility, with associated parking, access drive improvements, landscaping and stormwater management facilities. The existing access on Blacksmith Drive is proposed to remain and the existing entrance on Penns Trail is to be removed. A new access is proposed from Pheasant Run. The proposed land development includes the consolidation of three tax map parcels, already owned by the NAC.

Mr. Elco presented a series of aerial photographs outlining the four lots owned by the NAC, noting the three, TMP’s 29-10-137, 29-10-138 (Dunmore building), 29-10-139-1, to be consolidated. TMP 29-10-140 will have an access easement for a driveway. The total acreage is 12.5 acres. Mr. Elco pointed on the photographs to the location of the proposed 11,450 square foot fitness addition. The Penns Trail entrance will be returned to grass and the entrance closed. The new entrance will be on Pheasant Run. The proposed use will remain as C-6, athletic facility. The plan will require a variance to provide only 35 new parking spaces where 221 are required and to park within 20 feet of a right of way and eliminate the loading berth requirements for the Dunmore Building.Waivers are sought to not require sidewalks and street trees on Penns Trail and on the Newtown Bypass.

Mr. Elco said that the Planning Commission had discussed keeping some of the required parking spaces in green. There are 486 parking spaces already existing. With the proposed changes, 85 spaces are to be removed and 115 new spaces added, a net gain of 35 parking spaces. There are already 71 spaces held in green and they can be activated if needed.

Mr. Worthington said that he would activate the parking if the Township saw that it was needed. His business would suffer without adequate parking and he would hope that after many years of working together the Township would trust him on the parking matter.

Mr. Worthington said that he would like a variance for parking rather than holding spaces in green on the undeveloped portion of the property. He does not expect to see an increase in membership with this addition and is prepared to provide testimony at the Zoning Hearing Board about the usage patterns for members.

Mr. Elco reviewed the waiver requests:

  • Eliminate sidewalks; no sidewalks currently exist on Penns Trail and the site has adequate internal sidewalks around the buildings.
  • To allow parking areas closer than 20 feet from the outside wall of the nearest building.
  • Eliminate street trees for all land development along existing streets that abut land development
  • Allow excavation with a face steeper than 4:1.
  • Allow edges of slopes to be a minimum of 5 feet from the property lines in order to permit normal rounding of the edge;
  • Allow pre-development rate of run off to be calculated with meadow as the existing condition.

Mr. Elco noted that some of these waivers had been granted in the past for other plans which were not developed. The applicant has agreed to the conditions of the Planning Commission letter and will comply with the review letters of the consultants, except where variances and/or waivers are required.

Mr. Garton expressed some concern that the applicant is seeking land development approval before going to the Zoning Hearing Board for relief. While it is appropriate to discuss the plan, it is unusual to grant an approval without variances in place.

Mr. Worthington said that without the variances, he will not move forward with the plan at all. He said that he would like to ask for a waiver of the traffic impact fee, as this proposed change will not generate new traffic. Without the waiver he cannot move the existing entrance driveway.

Mr. Gallagher said that when the Board discussed this at a work session it had been his understanding that the Township would benefit more from moving the NAC entrance away from the Penns Trail/Bypass intersection. He asked whether the other driveway at the Dunmore entrance would also be removed.

Mr. Worthington explained that the Dunmore building has a physical therapy office in front. The entrance and 15 parking spaces will remain, but there is no internal access from the rear parking to the front of the building. The spaces would only be used by the therapists’ patients. Those 15 spaces are included in the total parking space count.

Mr. Worthington reviewed the plans for the addition, explaining that this will be an expansion of the fitness center, with two-story atrium style ceilings. The fitness center will provide a more spacious setting and allow him to remain competitive. His membership is currently 3500 units; ten years ago it had been 4000 units. He briefly discussed marketing of the addition, saying that he is not priced competitively, when compared to large chains of health clubs. His members are looking for a higher level of service.

Mr. Benchener said that he is a member of the NAC, and uses the facility at what would be considered peak times. The parking lot is never filled to capacity. He agreed that the proposed addition is more for retention that for expansion of member base.

Mr. Gallagher agreed that it would not be to the NAC’s benefit to be under-parked. The location is such that parking cannot spill over onto other properties.

Mr. Schenkman asked about the width of the new entrance and suggested possibly moving the Dunmore entrance farther from the intersection with the Bypass.

Mr. Elco said that the new entrance and driveway will be 25 feet wide. It would probably be possible to move the Dunmore entrance. The parking spaces will be 10X18 feet. It is possible to make some of the parking spaces smaller. If all of the spaces are built, it will bring the impervious surface above 65%.

The Board discussed the traffic impact fee, which Ms. Fountain confirmed would be $121,095. Dr. Ciervo asked whether a 4-way stop sign would be needed at the Penns Trail/Pheasant Run intersection.

Ms. Fountain said that it was Carroll Engineering could revisit this intersection for improvements after full build out of the park.

Mr. Elco agreed that the intersection is functioning well no, at a level of “A”, but might at some future time require a stop or traffic signal if there were full development of all available parcels. Carroll’s study for this expansion found that the AM trips would be an “A” and PM would be a “C.” A four way stop would rate a failing grade for the intersection with this expansion.

Mr. Schenkman said that he was not prepared to waive the full impact fee.

Mr. Benchener pointed out that the applicant is not required to close the Penns Trail entrance and if the fee is not waived he will not move the entrance. The move will be better for the Township, as it alleviates back-ups from the Bypass. He said that he was not advocating for the applicant but for the Township, which will benefit by the closing of the entrance.

Mr. Gallagher agreed that the Township could not gain as significant a benefit using the $121,095 fee.

Mr. Worthington noted that if at some point he decided to develop his empty lot, there would be a fee paid.

Mr. Calabro said that any future changes, which might impact traffic, would generate new fees. This particular project will not generate new traffic, and he would be inclined to agree to a waiver of the fee.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the preliminary plan of Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Fitness Addition at 209 Penns Trail, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Numbers 29-10-137, 29-10-138 and 29-10-39-1 to be consolidated and 29-10-140, prepared by Langan Engineering, comprising Sheets 1-33 dated June 2, 2010, with no revisions, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:

  • Subject to the waivers secured and the previous variances granted, the Plans shall be revised to comply with the following professional consultants’ review letters:
    • July 14, 2010 correspondence from CKS Engineering, except for the following comments, which shall be resolved as indicated:
  • Section I, Zoning Issues, Paragraph #6; a variance must be secured from Section 803.C.6.5.;
  • Paragraph #11, a variance from Section 1001.F.6 must be secured to allow parking less that 20 feet from the street right-of-way;
  • Paragraph #12, a variance must be secured from Section 1002, to eliminate the requirement for additional loading berths.
    • July 12, 2010 correspondence from Boucher and James;
    • July 15, 2010 correspondence from Carroll Engineering;
    • July 2, 2010 correspondence from  Bucks County Planning Commission,
    • July 7, 2010 correspondence from Newtown Emergency Services Department.
  • The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of any variances, conditional uses and/or special exceptions granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.
  • The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
  • The applicant shall supply and execute all financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
  • Applicant shall provide a “will serve” or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
  • The applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
  • All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted) and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  • The applicant shall comply with all storm water management ordinances and the Township Engineer recommendations and the applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township’s professionals.
  • No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  • All traffic impact fees shall be waived.
  • The applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants as to the notes of the plan.
  • All review and professional fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid.
  • The Developer shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the Property from impinging upon nearby intersections.
  • Any signs shall be subject to and comply with Township sign ordinances.
  • A fee in lieu of open space as recommended by the Park and Recreation Board shall be paid;
  • The Plan shall be ADA compliant.

The following Waivers are deemed granted to Developer from the SALDO as follows:

  • Section 514.9, prohibiting parking areas closer than 20 feet from the outside wall of the nearest building.
  • A partial waiver of Section 517.4 requiring sidewalks along all existing streets with the recommendation sidewalks are installed along the internal access driveways only.
  • Section 530.A.3, 530.1 and 530.3, requiring street trees for all land development along existing streets that abut land development. The Planning Commission recommends that the required trees be placed along the internal access driveway or elsewhere within the property.

The following Waivers are deemed granted to the Developer from the Township Stormwater Management Ordinance:

  • Section 522.4A, requiring that no excavation or fill shall be made with a face steeper than 4:1.
  • Section 522.4.B, requiring edges of slopes to be a minimum of 5 feet from the property lines in order to permit normal rounding of the edge;
  • Section 521.5.B, requiring the pre-development rate of run off to be calculated with meadow as the existing condition.

The access point for the Dunmore building is to be moved farther north on Penns Trail.

Mr. Calabro seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Mr. Schenkman thanked the Board for the detailed review. He had not been at the work session and had not understood fully the benefit of relocating the entrance to Pheasant Run.

Engineer’s Report

Homewood Suites, Certificate of Completion #2, Final: Mr. Gallagher moved to approve a final escrow release to Homewood Suites in the amount of $48,449.11 subject to the following conditions:

  • All invoices are to be paid;
  • A maintenance agreement in a form satisfactory to the Township solicitor has been executed; and
  • All conditions of the Conditional Use Decision for the E-22 use have been satisfied to the satisfaction of the Township.

Mr. Gallagher seconded.

Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo asked about the signs which had been a condition of approval.

Ms. Fountain said that the Business Commons Association is working on locations for the signage.

Mr. Schenkman said that there is ongoing discussion and it is as yet unresolved.

The motion passed 5-0.

2010 Roadway Improvement Program, Pay Estimate #2, Final: Mr. Gallagher moved to authorize payment to Harris Blacktopping in the amount of $164,751,04. This is the final payment. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Manager’s Report

Bucks County consortium Salt Bids: Mr. Gallagher moved to accept the bid of International Salt Co., LLC for road salt at $50.83 per ton delivered. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Electricity Purchase Request: Mr. Czajkowski explained that PECO Energy has requested approval form the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to increase electric and natural gas delivery rates beginning January 1, 2011. Separately, electric generation rate caps are set to expire on January 2, 2011 after having been capped for 14 years. The costs of both delivery and generation are expected to increase as a result.

Mr. Czajkowski said that he has done some extensive research and is recommending that the Township join the Municipal Utility Alliance (MUA), formed by the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities (PLCM) under the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Act for the purpose of acting as a consultant to local governments and municipal authorities in bidding and purchasing utility products and services. MUA has partnered with Constellation NewEnergy to supply electricity to members through individual contracts for electricity generation and to PECO as the conveyor. By joining, the Township will be able to get a longer contract. Constellation is offering a one, two and three year contract. He provided detailed information packets on the organizations and the rates being offered to the Board. He noted that a resolution would be needed to join MUA.

Mr. Gallagher asked if PSATS was doing something similar.

Mr. Czajkowski said that this can be postponed. He does not know PECO’s final numbers yet. He does not know what PSATS will do. He recommended the three year contract because it is difficult to know how high rates might go.

Dr. Ciervo said that the two year rate appears to be more competitive.

Mr. Schenkman asked whether the independent bid would be much higher.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the 3-year contract is lower than the Township is currently paying. The rate offered could change. All of the independent bids were higher.

Mr. Garton suggested that Mr. Czajkowski contact Central Bucks School District, which has contracted with a consultant. He might get some additional information.

The members agreed to review the information and revisit this matter at a future meeting.

Mr. Czajkowski said that the Public Works Department has installed a pad for the windmill.

Police Report: Lieutenant Glen Forsyth reported that the police had answered 1518 calls in the past month including 13 theft investigations, 338 citations, 45 traffic accidents and 10 struck deer.

Mr. Benchener said that he has heard complaints from residents that the police force has been reduced.

Lieutenant Forsyth said that there have been some retirees in recent years, but there have been new hires so the number of officers is the same as in 2005. When Captain Moorehead retired, the Chief elected to hire a patrol officer to take his place, putting an additional policeman on the streets and eliminating the administrative position.

Solicitor’s Report

Ross and Karen Altman, 34 Greenbriar Lane, PRD Variance: Mr. Garton explained that the Altmans were seeking a variance to install a front porch and expansion of an existing sunroom with an encroachment of 2.34 feet into the front yard and 2 feet into the side yard setback. The Planning Commission had recommended that the Board approve this variance.

Mr. Schenkman moved to grant a PRD Variance to Ross and Karen Altman for relief of a side yard setback of 2 feet and a front yard setback of 2.34 feet, subject to the condition that the applicant comply with the review letter of CKS Engineering dated September 14, 2010. . Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Printmail Systems Inc., Waiver of Land Development: Mr. Schenkman moved to approve a waiver of land development agreement with Printmail Systems Inc. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 3-0-2, with Messrs. Gallagher and Benchener abstaining.

Wiggins Tract, Amended Conservation Easement: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins had discussed a needed revision in the conservation easement at a work session some months ago. The Wiggins’ want to construct a home and sheds for their horses and some additional agricultural improvements. This document will clarify and restate the restrictions with respect to the impervious surface ratio. Mr. Garton noted that the impervious is well below the maximum permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Gallagher moved to approve the amended conservation easement for the Wiggins tract. Mr. Schenkman seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Old Business

Mr. Gallagher said that the Wiggins tract has appeared on projected expenditures for active recreation on a number of budgets. He would like this removed on next year’s budget.

Dr. Ciervo said that it is his understanding that the Park and Recreation Comprehensive Plan is to be updated this year. The Park and Recreation Board will be forming a committee and working with consultants. He is certain that this will be addressed.

Dr. Ciervo announced that the Board had met in executive session to discuss personnel matters prior to this evening’s meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 11:50 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary

 

Attest:

Joseph S. Czajkowski, Township Manager


Robert Ciervo, Chairman

Matthew Benchener, Vice-Chairman

Jerry Schenkman, Secretary/Treasurer

Philip Calabro, Member

Michael Gallagher, Member