Board of Supervisors
Minutes of July 11, 2012
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on July 11, 2012 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Ryan W. Gallagher and Philip Calabro and Robert Ciervo, members. Also in attendance were: Kurt Ferguson, Township Manager, Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer.
Call to Order : Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order with a moment of silence. This was followed by an invocation by Father Heckman of St. Mark’s Orthodox Church and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Ferguson noted that a street name change had been added to minor approvals.
Public Comment: Resident Mick Petrucci, president of Newtown Business Association, congratulated all who participated in a very successful 1 st Fourth celebration, and announced that Newtown Township has won, for the fourth year in a row, the annual Borough v. Township softball game with a score of 22-14. He noted that despite the extreme heat, the parade was well attended. Other festivities were moved from Saturday to Sunday because of storms. He thanked the 1 st Fourth Committee, Joe Gordon, Paul Salvatore, Margo Gordon and Dick Weaver for all of their hard work.
Mr. Petrucci welcomed Corner Bakery Café, which opened in Newtown Township this morning, renovating and retrofitting an empty building.
Mr. Petrucci announced that the NBA annual antique and classic car show would be Sunday, May 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM on State Street in Newtown Borough.
Newtown Artesian Water Company, Proposed Well Site: Mr. Garton explained that Newtown Artesian would like to place a well site on the Tanner property on Washington Crossing Road. For this project, the Water Company will be seeking a waiver of land development.
Brenden Brett, attorney for the Water Company said that Newtown Artesian provides water for Newtown Borough and Township and portions of Middletown Township. A new well will be needed to keep costs low and avoid purchasing from a third party provider. A number of sites have been tested and the drill test at the Tanner property showed sufficient water quality and quantity. The Water Company would like to move forward with drilling and constructing a pumping station. He noted that last year Newtown Artesian had discussed possibly drilling on Township owned open space but had met with Mr. Garton and acting manager, Police Chief Pasqualini on June 21 of this year to discuss the location at the Tanner property.
Mr. Benchener asked whether this well is in addition to wells discussed on Township property.
Mr. Brett said that this well site would be sufficient and additional wells on Township open space might not be needed for a number of years.
Mr. R. Gallagher asked about placing this utility on private property.
Mr. Brett said that a perpetual deed of easement would be granted to Newtown Artesian by the property owners, the Tanners. A small portion of the protection area around the well is on the property owned by the former restaurant across the street, near its parking lot. The property owners would be compensated for the easements.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether a conservation easement of this size would impact the base site calculations of the property owners. He expressed concern that this could impact the property owners’ allowable impervious surface.
Mr. Garton said that the agreement would be recorded; the permitted impervious surface would be reduced as per the zoning ordinance.
Mr. Brett confirmed that the property owners, and future owners would be aware. He has also spoken to Mr. Garton about the appearance of the small building surrounding the well. The Water Company will cooperate with Township suggestions on its appearance.
Mr. Calabro asked whether the well would have any impact on the Township’s open space, which is adjacent to this property.
Mr. Brett said that this would not impact the surrounding properties. The Water Company’s engineer would discuss this in more detail.
Caroline Edwards, a land use attorney for the Water Company, said that the proposed well would require a 30 X 22 foot building and a stone driveway. It is a very limited use, but would require some zoning variances for impervious surface. This property is already non-conforming and would require a special exception for any new building. Newtown Artesian is asking for a waiver of land development because the scope of the project is so small and land development can be very expensive. The Supervisors would have opportunity to review the plans in detail when they review the application to the Zoning Hearing Board, however full review by the Supervisors and Planning Commission does not seem good use of the Water Company’s financial resources.
Ms. Fountain noted that because the size of disturbance is less than 1000 square feet, no stormwater management is necessary.
Mr. M. Gallagher asked whether the well would impact wells of nearby neighbors. He noted that many homes on Winding Lane and Waterford Place and the immediate surrounding neighbors have well water.
Scott Hughes, engineer on this project, said that the site and the surrounding area’s wells have been pump tested. Both the DEP and the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will need to approve the well, but the tests show that it will not impact nearby wells. The Tanner well will be impacted but that property will be provided with public water. Tests were done on the Wiggins, Mardot Village and Roberts properties. Over a dozen wells were monitored.
Mr. Garton noted that the Water Company has an obligation to connect properties if they are impacted by the well. He suggested that if the Board is of a mind to grant a waiver of land development, a motion is needed. That motion should include as conditions: that the applicant receive the necessary zoning relief, that the applicant sign a waiver agreement with the Township, that the appearance of the building meet with the approval of the Supervisors and that all costs incurred are the responsibility of the applicant.
Mr. Mooney, a resident of Twining Bridge Road, asked whether the water table would go down. He is concerned that tests have not been conducted during draught conditions and might not show the impact the well would have on the water table. He asked how many gallons the well would pump.
Mr. Hughes said that the well was pump tested at 200 gallons per minute. The DRBC has limits on the southeastern Pennsylvania protected area. This is part of the Core Creek Basin; the well would take between 5-10% of the basin.
Mr. Ferguson asked Mr. Hughes to explain what a measurable impact on wells would mean.
Mr. Hughes said that if a surrounding well has a certain pump setting and after this well begins pumping, the surrounding well’s pump setting has to be lowered, that would be a measurable impact. Where performance is impacted, it is considered a measurable impact.
Mr. Mooney asked how many gallons per year the new well would pump.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the well will pump many millions of gallons, but the Water Company is responsible to owners of existing wells if they are impacted.
Mr. Garton reminded the Board that the Township does not have jurisdiction over approving the well, only over the land development for the well building.
Mr. Benchener said that he is not sure that formal land development is necessary for this project, as it will require review for zoning relief and the approvals for the well itself will come from the State.
Dr. Ciervo said that he would be reluctant to waive land development without first knowing what variances are needed and what the impact on impervious surface will be.
Ms. Edwards said that the Water Company will be seeking a special exception and variances for an increase of impervious surface 3.2% above what is permitted, a lot size of less than 2.5 acres and relief from the requirement to screen and buffer the well building. The Water Company would want the building visible from the street for security reasons.
Mr. Garton suggested that since some of the Board members have reservations about granting a waiver of land development, this question could be postponed until the Board has had an opportunity to review the Zoning Hearing Board application.
Newtown Walk Street Name Change: Resident Daniel Doorley said that in May the future residents of the street now called Worstall Alley all agreed, via e-mail, to a change of the street’s name to Garrett Alley. Toll Brothers agreed to the name change and the name Garrett was suggested by the president of the historic society.
Mr. Garton explained that the name change will create some issues in the Township, as Worstall appears on the GIS, on building permits, emergency providers’ maps and the Post Office. All would have to be changed.
Resident Lisa Peterson of 205 Worstall Alley said that she did receive the e-mail and agreed to the change prior to purchasing her home. However the name was not changed at the time of settlement. She has changed all of her mail to Worstall Alley; her drivers’ license shows Worstall Alley; her mortgage lists the property as Worstall Alley; her checks have been printed with Worstall Alley. In addition, Toll Brothers has placed a metal plaque with her address, Worstall Alley at her front door. At this time, to change the name to Garrett Place would be hardship for her. No other residents have settled yet, but some are very close to settling and if the name were changed they would face similar problems. She asked the Board not to approve the name change.
Mr. Ferguson reminded the Board that a name change can create public safety problems for police, fire and EMS.
Resident Chris Mallon said that he also agreed to the name change by e-mail. He did not care what the street name would be, but he is now scheduled to settle on his home on Worstall Alley in early August. His mortgage company has this name on all documents. To change the name now would be a great inconvenience.
Mr. Benchener said that he did not think this is something the government should be involved in.
Mr. M. Gallagher noted for the record that he had heard by telephone from a few future residents who favor the name change.
Mr. R. Gallagher said that he did not know enough about the name change to make an informed decision.
Dr. Ciervo asked how many houses will have this address.
Ms. Peterson said that nine homes would be involved.
Mr. Calabro said that while nine homes are on the street, there is currently only one resident/owner; the name change will be onerous to her. He had heard that the reason someone wanted to change the name is because Worstall is difficult to pronounce, however nobody has struggled with the name through the three meetings when this has been discussed. He did not favor the name change.
Mr. Garton said that Toll Brothers will not change the name; they have left this to the Board of Supervisors.
Dr. Ciervo reminded the Board that it had already voted not to change the name unless the name of Newtown Walk development was also changed.
Mr. M. Gallagher explained that this was discussed again at the June 21, 2012 meeting but was tabled in order to get more information on why the name should be changed.
Ms. Peterson said that it had been her understanding that Toll Brothers was not in favor of changing the development name and had already made plaques with “Worstall Alley” addresses for the fronts of all of the houses.
The Supervisors did not act to change the name of the street and it will remain Worstall Alley.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Park and Recreation Board: Amar Kulkarni and Sanjay Shetye of Spartans Cricket Club and Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko were in attendance to discuss allowing Spartans to place a cricket pitch in a Township park. Mr. Shetye said that the Board had given permission for Silver Lake Park but Superior Turf visited that site and found that it would not fit without coming dangerously close to the Bypass. He returned to the Park and Recreation Board and that Board suggested Roberts Ridge Park. Superior Turf has found there is adequate room for the pitch. He presented plans for the pitch on the flat area below the playground and pavilion, away from the road. He noted that the circular area has a 135 yard diameter with a 22 yard pitch. The pitch would require some clay to be added to level it.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he did not recall the Supervisors having any objection to other park locations but had favored Silver Lake for its visibility, which would promote the sport.
Mr. R. Gallagher said that he uses Roberts Ridge Park often and sees that the area chosen is in frequent use by children playing tee ball and by dog walkers and Frisbee players. If it were to become a dedicated sports field, it would be missed for its passive recreation value.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the Park and Recreation Board is very supportive of the location, but wanted to be sure surrounding neighbors were made aware of the proposal in advance.
Mr. M. Gallagher suggested that Council Rock School District be notified, as attendees might use the Goodnoe School parking areas. He asked if any other locations had been considered.
Mrs. Pawlenko said the Park and Recreation Board had also considered Phase II of Veterans Park, in the location tentatively marked for tennis and basketball. She noted that the Spartans have agreed to escrow funds to restore the area to grass if Spartans do not continue to use the pitch.
Dr. Ciervo said that if the area in Veterans Park is big enough and does not interfere with the area set aside for Noah’s Playground, he would favor Veterans Park. It has adequate parking and would be a very nice enhancement to the park.
Mrs. Pawlenko said that the playground would be on the other side of the paved path from the cricket pitch in Veterans Park.
Mr. Kulkarni asked what the next steps should be; would Spartans return to the Supervisors if the space is large enough.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Spartans and Superior Turf would work with Township Administration to move forward. Mrs. Pawlenko would be his contact with the Township. The Supervisors are fully supportive of the plan for Veterans Park.
Board of Supervisors: Mr. M. Gallagher thanked all who participated in the 1 st Fourth parade and events despite the heat. He was very proud of the Township v. Borough softball game victory and thanked all who played.
Mr. M. Gallagher noted that the Corner Bakery Café opened this morning and it appears to be a big success, as a large crowd had assembled for its opening at 6:30 AM.
Mr. Calabro commended Dr. Ciervo for his annual Run over Cancer 5K run on Saturday morning. He understood that the fundraising effort has been very successful
Dr. Ciervo thanked the Police and Ambulance, Council Rock School District and Tyler Park for their help in making the run a success. He said that the event raised over $37,000 and he thanked all who participated or sponsored the event.
Reports of Officials
Penns Trail Storage, Final Certificate of Completion: Dr. Ciervo moved to release escrow in the amount of $79,994.50, with $52,469.30 released to Penns Trail Storage and $27,525 held in escrow for the maintenance period. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Ms. Fountain noted that the developer would like to use a letter of credit for maintenance.
GreenStraw Smoothies, LLC: Mr. Garton asked the Board to formally approve the Conditional Use decision for GreenStraw Smoothies. The decision has been modified to require that the applicant coordinate deliveries with other businesses in the shopping center.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve the conditional use decision for GreenStraw Smoothies, LLC. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Burns Auto Repair, Inc. 19 N. Sycamore Street: Mr. Garton explained that Burns Auto Repair had been granted variances for signage in April of 2011. Due to some personal matters, Mr. Burns did not act on the variance and is now requesting that the Board of Supervisors grant a one year extension of the variances. All conditions set forth by the Zoning Hearing Board would still apply.
Dr. Ciervo moved to extend the variances granted April 19, 2011 for Burns Auto Repair, 19 North Sycamore Street for a period of one year. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Corner Bakery Café: Mr. Garton explained that the Corner Bakery Café would like to modify its conditional use approval to extend its hours to 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM seven days a week.
Dr. Ciervo moved to approve a modification to the conditional use approval for Corner Bakery Café, 3 West Road to extend its hours of operation seven days a week from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Garton said that the applicant is also seeking to amend its approval to include patio seating. This has been advertised for a public hearing on July 25, 2012. The patio was part of the Zoning Hearing Board approval but not part of the conditional use. The patio will not be used until after the amended approval hearing.
Dr. Ciervo said that he would like the Tyler Walk and Cliveden homeowners associations to be notified.
Mr. Ferguson confirmed that notices would be sent to adjacent properties; this is done for all conditional use hearings.
Dr. Ciervo also asked that the Board consider #15 of the conditional use approval, which deals with parking and traffic calming, at the July 25 meeting. He would like to be sure that customers who park on the Acme side of West Road are safe crossing over to the Café.
Mr. Garton reminded the Board that the applicant has placed $47,000 in escrow to address traffic concerns.
Ms. Fountain said that she has seen the Corner Bakery Café’s phase II traffic plan, which includes sidewalks and raised crosswalks.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he did notice that a new path has been installed to the property line with Village at Newtown in anticipation of walkers.
Grease Ordinance Revision: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that some months ago there had been a grease spillage onto Sycamore Street. This prompted the Municipal Authority and the Township’s Public Works Department to suggested that the Township enact an ordinance to allow for control, inspection and maintenance of grease traps in restaurants to lessen the impact of grease and oil on the Township’s sanitary sewers. Mr. Garton asked the Board for a motion to advertise this ordinance.
Mr. R. Gallagher asked about the cost to businesses to install the required grease interceptors.
Mr. Garton explained that this ordinance addresses maintenance and inspection of existing grease traps by the Sewer Authority, an ongoing procedure. Restaurants already have these traps.
Mr. Benchener moved to authorize advertisement of a Grease Ordinance Revision. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Mooney asked whether the health department is already inspecting these traps.
Mr. Garton said that this does not fall under the health department’s purview. This ordinance will allow the Sewer Authority to inspect the traps. Only if an existing system fails would a restaurant have to install a new grease interceptor.
Ms. Fountain said that the interceptors are sized to the business and usually only fail if not regularly cleaned and maintained.
Dr. Ciervo asked if the ordinance includes any penalties.
Mr. Garton said that there is a progressive penalty if a situation is not corrected.
The motion passed 5-0.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. M. Gallagher moved to approve the minutes of the special joint meeting of Newtown Township, Newtown Borough and the County Commissioner held on June 21, 2012. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Dr. Ciervo abstaining.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of June 21, 2012. Mr. Benchener seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Dr. Ciervo abstaining.
Bills: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve payment of bills totaling $248,624.58. Mr. M Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $403,413.22. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Resident John D’Aprile welcomed new Township Manager Kurt Ferguson and invited him to attend the master board meeting of Newtown Grant’s Homeowners Association.
Mr. Garton announced that the Board had met in executive session to discuss matters of litigation and would remain after the close of the meeting for an executive session to discuss matters of litigation.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary