Board of Supervisors
Minutes of August 28, 2013
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on August 28, 2013 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Secretary Ryan W. Gallagher and Philip Calabro and Robert Ciervo, members. Also in attendance were: Kurt Ferguson, Township Manager, John Torrente, Township Solicitor and Maureen Grieg, Township Engineer.
Call to Order : Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order with a moment of silence followed by an invocation by Pastor Doug Dwyer of Addisville Reformed Church and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Changes to the Agenda: Mr. Ferguson announced that the Technology Committee report has been added to the agenda, discussion of New Haven development’s lights and the Beneficial Bank Preliminary as Final Plan have been removed at the request of the applicants.
Swearing in of Probationary Patrol Officer Joe Camp: Chief Pasqualini announced that Joseph Camp would take the Oath of Office to join the Newtown Township Police Department. Officer Camp is a graduate of Council Rock High School, Bucks County Community College, Penn State University with a BS in Criminal Justice and has most recently been a member of the Temple University Police Department. He is a Newtown Township volunteer firefighter and a former Township Public Works summer employee. He will join the force to replace Sergeant Hartman.
Judge Donald Nasshorn administered the Oath of Office to Officer Camp. On behalf of the Board of Supervisors and the Township, Mr. M. Gallagher congratulated Officer Camp.
Historical Architectural Review Board: HARB member Harriet Beckert reported that at its meeting of August 14, 2013, HARB finalized its new Certificate of Appropriateness guidelines and application. The members also reviewed and recommended approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for Farmers Insurance, 213 North Sycamore Street. The Board of Supervisors had approved signage for Farmers but the next day the Farmers Insurance Company changed its logo and colors, so the applicant had to return for a new approval.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve a certificate of Appropriateness for signage for Farmers Insurance, 213 N. Sycamore Street, as described in a memo dated August 21. 2013. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Resident Paul Kati, a resident of Crown Pointe development and a retired engineer, expressed concern about the possible building of a sewage treatment plant near his home. He asked if a plant would be included in the updated Act 537 Plan as an alternative. He and residents of his community are very worried about the impact of a sewage treatment plant on the health, safety, environment and finances of the community if the plant is built.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he had attended the most recent Newtown Sewer Authority meeting at which the plant was discussed. The Authority is charged with finding ways to manage sewage and is considering a new plant. The plant would need the support of the Township Supervisors but this is very early in the process of discussion and review. The Township has a number of unanswered questions, particularly dealing with outstanding obligations the Authority has to Bucks County Water and Sewer. Once information has been provided on outstanding bond and finance obligations, our engineer, Michele Fountain, will proceed with updating the Act 537 plan.
Mr. Ferguson confirmed that he has been trying to assemble the necessary financial information. Although he does not yet have a dollar amount, it is his understanding that bond obligations run through the year 2035.
Mr. M. Gallagher noted that once Ms. Fountain begins to work on the Act 537 Plan, which update has been ordered by the DEP, it would take up to one year to complete. It is not known whether the update will include a sewage treatment plant. The Act 537 Plan will be discussed at public meetings throughout the preparation period and any decision on including a sewage treatment plant would take place at an advertised public meeting. At this time a sewage treatment plant is not being considered as part of the Act 537 update.
Mr. Kati said that it was his understanding that there is the possibility of a hydraulic overload of the Neshaminy interceptor in Bensalem. Newtown is only one small contributor to this interceptor, with many larger municipalities also contributing. He is concerned that the Newtown Sewer Authority is only considering the new plant as an alternative. He is encouraged that other alternatives will also be explored.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that there is a potential overload at the pumping station in Bensalem, impacting Newtown and other municipalities. DEP has been very cautious in allowing new building permits to be issued. Bucks County has submitted a corrective action plan, but at this time there is no timeline for discussing the updated Act 537 plan at public meetings. When it is discussed it will be an advertised agenda item.
Mr. Kati said that the proposed sewage treatment plant is also in close proximity to Chandler Hall where many chronically ill senior citizens live. This is of great concern to all. It could also place a substantial financial burden on senior citizens whose life savings are invested in their homes at Chandler Hall.
Resident Karen Barton, a resident of Crown Pointe development, asked that the entire process of considering a sewage treatment plant be made as transparent as possible. She asked that public notices be posted to keep residents informed.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Supervisors’ agenda is always posted on the Township Web site. He understood that the Crown Pointe Homeowners Association is actively meeting to keep residents informed of the issue.
Ms. Barton said that she is very concerned that once the sewage treatment plant is included in the Act 537 Plan as an alternative, it cannot be removed and must be implemented as an alternative.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Supervisors would not move forward on the Act 537 Plan until the outstanding obligations of the Sewer Authority are known. If the costs are prohibitive, the plant would not be considered as an alternative.
Ms. Barton said the she believes there is a lot of misinformation. She would like residents to be active participants in discussion and for accurate information to be shared with residents. She asked whether the Sewer Authority or the Board of Supervisors decides whether the plant would be built. She said that the members of the Sewer Authority are not obligated to anyone in the Township.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the DEP has required an updated Act 537 plan. Newtown’s plan was last updated in 1993, before any of the sitting Supervisors were on the Board. The entire process is new to the Board and it will be sharing information as it becomes available. The Supervisors will make the decision as to whether a plant is included as an alternative in the Act 537 Plan.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Board must consider the State’s mandate to update the Act 537 Plan and all alternatives must be considered. With so much outstanding information it is impossible for the Board to say “yes” or “no” to the proposed sewage treatment plan. This is still very early in the process. He noted that the Sewer Authority, though not elected officials, is appointed by the Township Supervisors and Borough Council.
Ms. Barton said that she is very concerned that the Sewer Authority has already decided that the new plant is the best alternative. Members are already touring other plants.
Resident Allen Gamble urged the Board to continue to be transparent in its dealings with the public. He is a resident of Walnut Ridge and is concerned about drainage issues at the rear of his development. An adjoining property fronting on Swamp Road has been subdivided and the new houses to be built will direct run-off toward the culvert for Walnut Ridge’s stormwater management. He has spoken to Township Engineer Michele Fountain about this and she said that everything is in order, but he recently received a notice from the Township that one of the new properties is seeking a variance to increase impervious surface. He and all of Walnut Ridge are opposed to this but are dismayed that the hearing will take place on a Jewish Holiday and some neighbors will not be available to attend and participate in the hearing.
Mr. Garton said that the Board could request the Zoning Hearing Board to postpone or reschedule its hearing date.
Mr. Ferguson asked whether there is a timeline for continuing Zoning Hearing Board applications. He was concerned that if a hearing is not held in a timely manner the application would be deemed approved.
Mr. Garton said that this is not the case.
Dr. Ciervo noted that this Zoning Hearing Board application is not referenced in Mr. Garton’s Solicitor’s Report. He asked Mr. Garton to contact the Zoning Hearing Board solicitor to see if the application can be rescheduled.
Resident Mariana Ault said that she has been involved in a series of meetings to discuss the future of the Newtown Swim Club. There have been some discussions about bringing a YMCA to Newtown. Mrs. Platt, owner of the Swim Club, has attended the meetings and has indicated that her family would not be interested in changing its plans to sell the property to a developer. The group also understood from Mr. Ferguson’s report at the last meeting that purchase of the club by the Township would not be feasible. She wanted to know what the timeline for redevelopment of the property would be, especially in light on ongoing issues with the Sewer Authority issuing new EDU’s. She is concerned about possible neglect of the property after it is sold and before construction begins. She also asked about the zoning and whether variances are needed to develop the property. She had heard that the plans will have twice as many units as are permitted by the zoning.
Mr. M. Gallagher explained that the plans are being submitted as a PRD; the tentative review will take place in September, after which the plans will be revised and resubmitted for final land development approval. Once the plans are approved, permits can be issued for demolition and new construction. He did not know whether any new EDU’s would be issued. The property, zoned R-2, can be developed in a number of ways including approximately 30 single family homes or 64 mobile homes. Townhouses are only permitted as part of a development with a mix of housing types. The Board will be reviewing a PRD plan with 56 townhouses and no other types of housing.
Ms. Ault asked whether a traffic study has been submitted.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the traffic study would be required at the time of final land development. The owner of record is responsible for maintenance of the property.
Mr. Ferguson said that while the Township does not have specific maintenance ordinances, there are requirements to keep the weeds down and to keep the property safe and the buildings inaccessible.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the DEP has halted issuance of new EDU’s but both the Township and the County are working to resolve this problem. An updated Act 537 plan is part of the DEP requirements.
Villas Clubhouse Plans
Mr. Ferguson explained that Mr. McGrath has submitted a plan for a clubhouse to CKS for review. The new plan changes the original plan slightly, making the building a little larger and changing the dimensions of the various rooms inside the clubhouse to better reflect the demand of users. A covered walkway has been removed. The facility still has an indoor pool and a tennis court. The recreational impact fee is calculated at $16,422.
Joseph McGrath and Patrick Flanagan, developers, confirmed that both an indoor pool and outdoor pool are part of the clubhouse facility. The plan approved in 2007 was very much a concept plan and had not been fully engineered. The outline from the Shadybrook development was used. Based on their experiences at this and other developments, they have revised the plan somewhat to better address the needs and desires of the residents.
Dr. Ciervo asked what the cost to build the facilities will be.
Mr. Flanagan said that financing is in place for the clubhouse. The business has seen some hard times and some amenities had been postponed, but that seems to have passed and they are ready to begin. Funding is in place for the clubhouse as well as for completion of paving, sidewalks, landscaping, etc.
Mr. Calabro asked whether the funding is set aside for the entire project so that it cannot be moved for other expenses. He asked whether there is any guarantee.
Mr. Flanagan said that the funds are set aside specifically for the completion of the clubhouse.
Dr. Ciervo asked for some guarantee or written confirmation from the bank before the Supervisors would consider any changes to the original plan. He asked which bank would be financing the clubhouse.
Mr. McGrath agreed to forward a letter confirming the cash escrow funds to the Township Manager. Financing is with Firstrust Bank.
Mr. M. Gallagher moved to approve an amended plan for the Villas clubhouse subject to the conditions that a grading plan be submitted to the Township Manager and receipt of a letter from the project’s bank confirming funds for the clubhouse. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Charlie Beale, representing the Villas Homeowners Association, said that the Homeowners Association has been in close touch with Mr. McGrath for some time and the residents are eager to move forward on construction of the clubhouse. All of the residents approve of the changes to the original plan, as it still provides all of the amenities originally promised. He asked the many Villas residents in attendance to stand and confirm their approval of the plan. (Approximately 40 people stood and said yes to their assent to the plan.) Mr. Beale thanked Mr. McGrath for his efforts to resolve residents’ concerns over the clubhouse.
The motion passed 4-0.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Planning Commission: Secretary Peggy Driscoll reported that at its August 20, 2013 meeting, the Commission reviewed three Zoning Hearing Board applications. Kevin and Andrea Sweeney, 40 Maple Lane, requested an increase in impervious surface to 8.9% where 8% is the maximum permitted to install an above ground swimming pool. The Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this application as the increase in impervious surface is de minimis and this is a very large lot surrounded by other very large properties.
Attorney Don Marshall represented David Smolczynski, 135 Swamp Road, who is seeking an increase in impervious surface to 19.71% where 12% is the maximum. The applicant wishes to build a house on the property while maintaining the existing circular driveway. The Commission agreed with the applicant that some method of turn-around is necessary for safety and there is a hardship in that the driveway will be 97 feet long. The Commission recommended that the Supervisors not oppose this application if the applicant attempts to reduce some of the impervious by use of porous pavers or a redesign of the turn-around area. It was noted that the proposed seepage pit for this lot would accommodate additional run-off. The property backs to Walnut Ridge open space and Tyler Park.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether there is anything in writing confirming that the stormwater management is adequate.
Mrs. Driscoll said that during the meeting Ms. Fountain only confirmed that she is familiar with the site and that the plans will be adequate.
Attorney Don Marshall came to the podium and stated that the plans have been redesigned to locate the house closer to the road, eliminating some of the driveway length, bringing the impervious to about 15%. He does not yet have the fully engineered plans, but would provide them to the Township shortly. He had not conferred with his client on a continuance because of the holiday.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether the applicant would use porous pavers.
Mr. Marshall said that the applicant would reduce the amount of paving rather than use porous pavers, which can become impervious over time. By relocating the house a large portion of driveway can be eliminated.
Mr. Calabro said that he was concerned that the Board may want to oppose this application but if the Zoning Hearing Board does not reschedule it, the Board would miss the opportunity to review and consider its position.
Mr. Marshall said that he would recommend that his client not oppose a delay. He said that if the Zoning Hearing Board opens the application and continues it, no re-advertising would be necessary.
Mr. Garton suggested that the Board could consider sending the solicitor to oppose the application if it is not postponed or continued.
Dr. Ciervo moved to send the solicitor to oppose the Zoning Hearing Board application of David Smolczynski, 135 Swamp Road , if the hearing is not postponed to another date which does not conflict with Jewish Holidays. Mr. Calabro seconded.
Mr. Gamble asked when the meeting would take place.
Mr. Garton suggested that he would speak to the Zoning Hearing Board solicitor and Mr. Gamble could contact the Township Manager to learn whether the meeting would be rescheduled.
The motion passed 4-0.
Mrs. Driscoll reported that the Commissionreviewed the application of Peter Briscoe and Joanne Benze, 28 Sibelius Road, for increased impervious surface to 22.56% where 20% is the maximum to accommodate an already existing patio and walkway. The applicants explained that in 2002 their landscaper installed the patio without necessary permits, unbeknownst to them. They are now in the process of selling their home and learned that a variance would have been necessary and are attempting to correct the situation. The Commission recommended that the Board not oppose this application, as the patio has existed for over ten years without any problems with drainage or run-off.
The Commission reviewed the conditional use application of Lookout Lane Enterprises, LLC/College Nannies and Tutors, 277 N. Sycamore St for use C-3, Commercial School, for a childcare and tutoring business. Childcare would take place in the customers’ homes. The site on Sycamore Street will be used as offices and for one-on-one tutoring. The Commission recommends that the Board approve this application subject to certain conditions including compliance with the Boucher and James review letter dated August 13, 2013.
Attorney John VanLuvanee represented the Rose Group for an amendment to the Conditional Use approval of Corner Bakery Café for uses E-5 and E-6 eating place and eating place/take out. The applicant wishes to modify the conditions of approval to allow music to be piped onto the patio area. This would be the same recorded background music as is played inside. The Commission recommended that the Board approve this amendment, subject to certain conditions, including that the music not be audible beyond 30 feet of the patio or at the property line, whichever is less and that music be extinguished at 9:00 PM and that no outdoor PA system be installed.
The Commission began its review of current sign ordinances and agreed to focus on a few areas which have consistently been either difficult for the Codes Officer to enforce or have seen frequent variance requests granted. We expect to review these areas in more detail at upcoming meetings: signs within 1000 feet of the Bypass; size and height of permitted signs in the business and commercial districts, especially where multiple tenants are located at the same address; length of time temporary signs can be displayed; use of banners, flags and sandwich boards along roadways without proper permits; use of temporary flashing electronic message centers.
Technology Committee: Chairman Kyle Davis reported that the Technology Committee has been researching office software systems and recommends that the Township adopt Google Apps for Government for software, document storage and e-mail hosting. The Committee also recommends that the Township contract with Cloud Sherpas to manage the migration. There are many advantages to this change including easy access to the Township system from off-site, easier integration of administration documents with public access to those documents, superior back-up and disaster recovery, ease of administration of user accounts, increased productivity and cost savings. The Committee estimates that the Township will save $17,000 in the short term and an additional $4500 each year. There are also soft cost savings for employee time and increased productivity, savings in electricity and HVAC. The Committee feels this is an excellent solution to some issues with document storage and management and should be implemented as soon as practicable.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that this has been discussed for some time. He is eager to move forward.
Mr. Ferguson said that he has attended some meetings with staff and the Committee and agrees that this could be a very good move. He noted that some servers would still be needed, particularly for sensitive police documents.
Mr. Davis said that this recommendation is for day to day use by administrative staff.
Dr. Ciervo said that the Board is just receiving this information. He asked Mr. Ferguson if he has had time to review this and is comfortable with the Board acting on it.
Mr. Ferguson said that he is not an expert on IT, but he and the IT staff did attend the meeting with the Technology Committee and Cloud Sherpas and sees some advantages to the switch. The staff was also very comfortable with it.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the staff has been involved in discussions with the Technology Committee; the Township’s committees, boards and commissions have been using Google docs as part of the paperless initiative for more than a year and have been very comfortable with it. This is the next step in our attempts to upgrade use of technology.
Mr. Ferguson asked whether the change would involve new g-mail addresses rather than the current e-mail addresses @twp.newtown.pa.us.
Mr. Davis said that as part of the transition the staff would have new e-mail addresses @newtownpa.gov.
Mr. R. Gallagher thanked the Technology Committee for the work they have done on this project. He said that since the Board began using Google docs, it has also changed the way he does business at work. The savings will be significant over time. He also has learned that the cities of Pittsburgh, Boston and Los Angeles are using Google for government with great success. He asked about the role of Cloud Sherpas.
Mr. Davis explained that Cloud Sherpas will handle the migration seamlessly so that there is no down time and will provide support and instruction to staff. They have migrated over two million users. Once the transition is complete, our contract with Cloud Sherpas will end.
Mr. M. Gallagher moved to authorize the Township Manager to enter into a contract with Cloud Sherpas to migrate the Township’s technology to Google for Government and to the new domain name. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Delancey Court – Amendment of Final Plan: Attorney Ed Murphy and Greg LeGreca of Toll Brothers were in attendance to ask the Board to approve an amendment to the final plan for Delancey Court to eliminate the tennis court. Mr. Murphy explained that Toll Brothers has spoken to the Homeowners Association, holding a meeting with residents to discuss this. A vote was taken; Toll Brothers and the bank did not participate in the vote. Of 54 eligible votes, 52 were cast, with 47 votes favoring eliminating the tennis court. Other amenities were discussed and those will be incorporated into the new final plan.
Mr. LeGreca said that the residents voted to substitute the clubhouse plan with concept plan #2, which has been submitted to the Township. The final design of concept plan #2 has not been voted on by residents but was developed to be consistent with the amenities the residents did vote for. Toll Brothers will work with the Township Engineer on an escrow plan.
Mr. Garton suggested that if the Board is in favor of the change they should vote to eliminate the tennis courts from the final plan and replace it with concept plan #2, subject to approval by the Delancey Court Homeowners Association and review by the Township Engineer and creation of an escrow plan. The plans would need to be amended and then recorded.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether any residents wish to speak about the proposed change.
Resident Keith Fugazi said that the originally proposed tennis court does not fit comfortably into the allotted space. All of the residents voted and most favored eliminating the tennis court, replacing it with other amenities. Only five votes were in support of the tennis court. The residents are very eager to move forward on construction of the clubhouse.
Resident Sy Nankin said that he has been a resident of Delancey Court for six years. He purchased his home specifically because tennis was offered as a recreational amenity. He presented a series of advertisements for other Bucks County 55 and over communities, noting that all offer tennis courts. He does not support removing the tennis court from the plan; he finds the reasons offered to be very weak. He also questioned whether the vote count is accurate, as he is aware of other homeowners who favored leaving the tennis courts in the plans.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Township does not certify homeowners association votes, but takes the associations at their word.
Mr. Nankin pointed out that the tennis courts are featured in the original literature for the development as well as in more recent Toll Brothers literature.
Mr. Fugazi said that six years ago a different developer created the plans for the amenities. Since that time the residents have been eagerly awaiting the clubhouse and are grateful that Toll Brothers has taken over the development and is ready to move forward. The area allotted for the recreational amenities is not large enough for both the clubhouse and a tennis court. The tennis court would be larger than the clubhouse. The Homeowners Association held an honest vote and the tallies are accurate.
Mr. Calabro asked whether Continental Property Management was involved in the voting process. If so, they will have recorded the votes.
Mr. Fugazi said that Continental was present and collected and tabulated the votes.
Resident Barbara Nankin said that the Delancey Court community will have 120 homes. She does not feel the voting is legitimate if fewer than half of the homes participated. The proposed replacements do not have the same value as the tennis court, which would have cost about $50,000. This is a younger, affluent community and many residents are still very active and involved in sports. Only 45 of a proposed 120 home development voted to remove the tennis courts.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that he is less concerned about future purchasers, who will buy homes without the promise of a tennis court. He is concerned that the current residents have been waiting for their clubhouse.
Resident Maureen Tribert said that the residents are also concerned about the aesthetics of a fenced tennis court squeezed into a small space directly adjacent to the clubhouse windows. The other proposed amenities will be much more attractive and will enhance community interactions.
Resident Susie Filene said that she has been looking forward to the construction of the community clubhouse for six years and feels that the elimination of the tennis court will increase the attractiveness of the pool area.
Dr. Ciervo said that this is an unusual situation; the original plans were approved by a prior Board of Supervisors. If even one resident wants the tennis courts to remain, this becomes a very difficult decision for this Board, however a large majority of the current homeowners have voted on the concept #2 plan, which looks very lovely.
Mr. R. Gallagher said that the Board tries to support the will of the majority of residents, and almost all favor eliminating the tennis court from the plan. Newtown has many underused tennis courts and the proposed bocce court looks very nice as an alternative.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that perhaps the Homeowners Association could approach Newtown Grant for permission to use its tennis court.
Dr. Ciervo moved to amend the final plan for Delancey Court to remove the tennis court and replace it with concept #2 plan and to develop and execute an escrow plan for the new plan. Mr. R. Gallagher seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo noted that there are public tennis courts at the middle school and Bucks County Community College. Phase 2 of Veterans Park had included tennis courts. He urged residents to become involved when Phase 2 is being implemented in the future.
The motion passed 4-0.
Dennis and Lucinda Burkett, 43 Copperleaf Drive, PRD Variance: Mr. Garton opened the PRD hearing.
Attorney James Sutton represented the applicants. He explained that Mr. and Mrs. Burkett wish a variance to add a roof to an existing wooden deck, increasing impervious surface by 420 square feet, 33.9% where 25% is the maximum permitted and a rear yard setback of 14.86 feet where 30 feet is required. The covering is necessary as the sun makes the deck unusable in the summer. Letters of support from surrounding neighbors were included with the application. The property backs to open space. The application was reviewed by the Planning Commission which recommended approval subject to compliance with the CKS review letter.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to grant a PRD variance to Dennis and Lucinda Burkett, 43 Copperleaf Drive, Kirkwood development to build a roof over an existing deck resulting in 33.9% impervious surface and a rear yard setback of 14.86% subject to the conditions that:
Dr. Ciervo seconded.
Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo asked whether this is a new deck.
Mr. Burkett said that it was not part of the original house, but was added later.
The motion passed 4-0.
Newtown Place, Cambridge Lane – Modify PRD approval: Mr. Garton opened the hearing. He explained that the applicant seeks to amend the PRD approval to build a swimming pool and clubhouse. The plans were reviewed by the Planning Commission, which recommended approval.
Attorney Don Marshall represented applicant Peter Clelland. Also in attendance was engineer Mark Haver of Pickering Corts & Summerson. Mr. Marshall explained that Mr. Clelland and his partner recently purchased the rental properties at Newtown Place, consisting of 110 townhouse units and 40 garden apartments. They wish to make the facilities more attractive by adding a clubhouse/rental office and an outdoor swimming pool for use by residents of the rental units and their guests.
Mr. Marshall said that the project would need some relief including a front yard setback of 11 feet from the street and 50 feet from the adjacent dwelling units, pool in the front yard, and parking within 10 feet of property line. Although some parking area would be used for the clubhouse, new spaces would be added within the development for a net gain of 14 parking spaces. No additional parking spaces are needed, as the pool is for residents only and is a very short walking distance from all units. There will be some disturbance of steep slopes.
Dr. Ciervo asked how the owners will monitor use of the pool by residents only.
Mr. Clelland said that the property manager will issue club member cards and guest passes, which will be checked by the lifeguard on duty.
Mr. M. Gallagher asked who owns the tennis courts in Newtown Place.
Mr. Marshall said that the homeowners association owns the tennis courts. BET Investments, owners of the rental units, have a participating vote in the homeowners association.
Mr. Calabro asked whether there are other clubhouses or pools in Newtown Place.
Mr. Clelland said there is no clubhouse or pool; some of the single family homes have pools.
Dr. Ciervo asked whether the homeowners association had reviewed this plan.
Resident Warren Dallas, president of the Newtown Place Homeowners Association, said that the association reviewed and had no objections to the plan.
Dr. Ciervo moved to grant the application by BET Investments to revise the final Planned Residential Development (“PRD”) dated February 13, 1986 for the premises located at Bucks County Tax Parcel No. 29‑11‑240, Parcel C, with plans prepared by Pickering, Corts, and Summerson dated May 13, 2013, with no revisions, comprised of eleven sheets, and a Stormwater Management Report also prepared by Pickering, Corts, and Summerson dated May 24, 2013, with no revisions, pursuant to Section 803B.15.9.c. of the JMZO , subject to the following conditions:
a. Section II.A.1 – A waiver is recommended from Section 508.2 of the SALDO to permit the parking stalls to be located within 50 feet of the curb line on Cambridge Lane.
b. Section II.A.1 – A waiver is recommended from Section 1304 of the SALDO requiring traffic impact fee as long as the pool and club house are not rented to non-residents.
Mr. R. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Police Chief Henry Pasqualini reported that the department had responded to 1329 calls in the last month including 102 medical emergencies, 54 suspicious circumstances and 8 struck deer.
Dr. Ciervo said that there had been a recent incident of a naked man running through the streets. He asked how this type of call is handled.
Chief Pasqualini explained that in this case, the individual was transported to Doylestown Hospital for a mental health evaluation. When this type of call comes in, it seems that the individuals have failed to take their prescribed medications. They are taken for evaluation and usually admitted for observation.
Mr. Ferguson asked the Chief to discuss the new radios.
Chief Pasqualini explained that the Department has been working with the County on financing the federally mandated narrow band radios. This is a very large undertaking and the County will be floating a bond to help the municipalities comply with the mandate. The rate is 1.7% over seven years.
Mr. Ferguson said that the Board had already authorized the expense of $273,239.32 for police and $40,070 for EMS. $268,313 of that amount is financed. The first payment was already made on July 15, 2013 in the amount of $40,664. There are two promissory notes in the Board packets for the financing. Mr. Garton has reviewed them and recommended some clarification of wording.
Chief Pasqualini said that he would need $8000 in the budget for installation of the radios, not covered by the financing.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve purchase and financing of narrow band radios for the Police and EMS departments through Bucks County. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Chief Pasqualini said that the radios have already been received at the County and transition will be seamless.
Mr. Calabro said that Chief Pasqualini has recently been named President of Bucks County Police Chiefs Association. He offered congratulations.
Treasury Report: Mr. Ferguson reported that the current balance in the general fund is $3,413,537. The Township is ahead over $800,000 in collection of earned income taxes, real estate taxes and real estate transfer taxes.
Other Manager’s Business: Mr. Ferguson reminded the Board that it will need to consider the Newtown Yardley Road TIP project by the end of September. As this project was developed by a previous traffic engineer over ten years ago, perhaps it should be discussed at a work session.
Mr. Ferguson reminded the Board that it should plan to consider the permit fees for Goodnoe Elementary School’s expansion project on an upcoming agenda.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Dr. Ciervo moved to accept the minutes of August 14, 2013. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Bills: Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve payment of bills totaling $247,265.71. Dr. Ciervo seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to approve interfund transfers totaling $185,000. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Calabro asked whether discussion of New Haven’s lights would be on an upcoming agenda, as it was removed from this agenda.
Mr. Ferguson explained that New Haven’s Homeowners Association withdrew its request for upgraded light fixtures when it learned that it would be expected to contribute to the cost of the new fixtures.
Mr. M. Gallagher asked for an update on Veterans Park.
Mr. Ferguson said that he spoke today with Mr. Burger of Superior Turf, who is optimistic that the rectangular fields will be ready for play this fall. One of the baseball fields still needs additional work, but the fields are about 90% ready. Mr. Burger did urge caution when playing soccer and football in very wet weather.
Mr. Ferguson said that the Park and Rec staff is planning some Halloween events at the park this fall. Perhaps the Board would like to consider some kind of kick-off or grand opening celebration to go along with the other planned events.
The Board agreed that a special event should be planned for officially opening the park. Mr. M. Gallagher said that he is very pleased with the change in the appearance of the park since Superior began its work.
Mr. Ferguson reminded the Board that Superior Turf has been contracted for ongoing maintenance for three years. He will have a more detailed presentation on the fields at the next meeting.
Dr. Ciervo said that the lights on the entrance sign are very dim. He asked if anything could be done to improve the lighting.
Mr. Ferguson said that the lights on the sign are solar powered. He would investigate whether they could be powered by the same line as the parking lot lights, however, he noted that the parking lot lights are not always turned on.
Dr. Ciervo said that this is a beautiful sign built by an Eagle Scout and he would like it better lit if possible.
Mr. Calabro said that there has been a lot of discussion about the Sewer Authority’s consideration of a new treatment plant. As Mr. Garton is counsel to the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, he suggested that the Board consider hiring a conflict attorney for Sewer Authority issues.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that this would be necessary if there is litigation. He was not sure whether a conflict attorney is necessary at this time.
Mr. Garton said that if a sewer treatment plant is not included in the Act 537 Plan, there would not be a conflict. He could provide the Board with a list of some local attorneys who work on sewer issues.
Dr. Ciervo said that at some point the Board will need to discuss the sewer treatment plant as an agenda item and advice of legal counsel may be necessary. He would like to review some options.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that Board would meet in a brief executive session.The meeting adjourned at 10:45 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary