Board of Supervisors
Minutes of May 28, 2014
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors met on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Ryan Gallagher, Secretary/Assistant Treasurer Kyle Davis and Phillip Calabro and Jennifer Dix, 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 and an invocation by Monsignor Michael Picard of St. Andrew’s Church, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Resident John D’Aprile said that he noticed the “Newtown” sign at the intersection of Sycamore Street and the Bypass has fallen down.
Eagle Scout Proposal: Park and Recreation Director Kathy Pawlenko introduced Barry McAndrews of Boy Scout Troop 280, who would like to map the trails in Clark Nature Center. She said that the Park and Recreation Board met with Barry and recommends that the Supervisors approve his project.
Eagle Scout candidate Barry McAndrews explained that he would like to repair the entrance bulletin board at Clark Nature Center, making it waterproof. He would then create a park map with legend, outlining the trails and other park features. He would install sign posts at the various trail intersections and engrave the signs with GPS coordinates.
Mr. Davis asked about Mr. McAndrews’ membership in a Holland Boy Scout Troop.
Mr. McAndrews said that he is a Newtown resident, but was directed to the troop at St. Bede’s, since St. Andrew’s Church did not have a Boy Scout troop.
Mr. Davis moved to approve the Eagle Scout project of Barry McAndrews at Clark Nature Center, as outlined. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Davis asked whether any permits are required and if so, would permit fees be waived.
Mr. Garton explained that the Codes Department would determine whether any permits are required since the project involves replacing existing signage. The Township usually does waive fees for Eagle Scout projects in the parks.
Mr. M. Gallagher thanked Mr. McAndrews for volunteering to do his project to improve a Newtown Township park.
Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler thanked Planning Commission Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby for his many years of service to the Commission. He will be greatly missed as he steps down to take a position on the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Fidler reported that at its May 20, 2014 meeting, the Commission reviewed five Zoning Hearing Board applications. The applications of Luis Flores and Rui Perriera, 595 and 617 Linton Hill Road, involved a shared driveway to 595 Linton Hill Road and a number of variances for disturbance of floodplains, riparian buffers, wetlands and woodlands to subdivide 595 Linton Hill Road into three lots. The plans have been revised a number of times to incorporate recommendations of the Planning Commission, including the shared driveway. The Commission members feel that the need for relief for this environmentally sensitive property would be further reduced if the lot were subdivided into only two, rather than three, lots, however, the Commission recommended that the Board not oppose the applications, but rather leave the decision to the Zoning Hearing Board. John and Mary Ellen Mangano, 204 St. Andrews Place, seek increased impervious surface for a kitchen addition and patio. The members agreed that the Board should not oppose this application. Christopher & Suzanne Terry, 533 Taylor Avenue, seek increased impervious surface to build a kitchen extension. The property is non-conforming and also requires a special exception. The Commission was concerned about ongoing flood problems in this development and recommend that the Supervisors not oppose the application, but suggested that some stormwater management be installed to address run-off and that the rear yard neighbor provide a letter of support, as the addition will be very close to the property line.
Attorney Kelly McGowan and Compass Sign Company representative Phil Doorley were in attendance to review the application of Beneficial Bank at 34 South Sycamore Street for relief to have five signs where two are permitted and for size and height relief. The sign package includes two monument signs, a wall sign and two logos on the chimney. The Commission members agreed that the chimney signs were not necessary; some members felt that only two signs, one facing each roadway, were sufficient. The members were not opposed to the increased size or height. There was some concern about the lighting and appearance of the signs, which will be visible from the historic district. The Commission urged the applicant to learn the historic district’s sign requirements and attempt to conform to the HARB standards as much as possible. The Commission also suggested that the applicant seek input from the Sycamore Street Community Association. It is the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the Supervisors oppose the application for five signs.
Mr. Garton said that he had been contacted by Ms. McGowan, who indicated that in response to the Commission’s recommendations, the applicant is seeking to continue this application and revise it.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that if the application moves forward for the five signs, he would like the Township to participate in opposition at the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. M. Gallagher moved to send the solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board to oppose Beneficial Bank’s current application. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to approve the Planning Module for Newtown Townhome PRD; it has been signed and returned it to the Codes Department. Mr. Fidler said he believed the one nay vote was on principle, from a member who was not supportive of the development, but did not have a specific concern about the sewer plan.
The Commission reviewed the preliminary as final plan and conditional use application for Univest Bank, 15 Swamp Road for a 2200 square foot branch bank with associated parking, landscaping and stormwater management and recommended that the Supervisors approve both, subject to compliance with the review letters of our professionals.
The Commission has scheduled a discussion on signage with representatives of the various business organizations for its June 17, 2014 meeting.
Board of Supervisors Reports
Mr. Davis congratulated the American Legion on the success of its Memorial Day parade. He also mentioned that he attended the Little League old time game at Pickering Field. This is an annual game played by old rules with old uniforms.
Mr. R. Gallagher extended congratulations to the graduates of Bucks County Community College. He also urged residents to register for the Park and Recreation Summer Camps; over sixty different camp options are offered at newtownfun.com
Mr. Davis announced that Piccolo Trattoria will once again sponsor the First Fourth fireworks display this year.
Mr. M. Gallagher thanked all who helped to clean up election signs so quickly after the primary election.
Beneficial Bank, 34 South Sycamore Street: Mr. Garton reminded the Board that it had recently approved Beneficial Bank’s land development. He asked the members to approve the development agreement, which does not include signage.
Mr. M. Gallagher moved to approve the development agreement with Beneficial Bank, 34 South Sycamore Street. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 3-2, with Messrs. Calabro and R. Gallagher voting nay.
Reports of Officials
2014 Roadway Improvement Program: Ms. Fountain reported that the bids for this year’s Roadway Improvement Program were opened last week with Bray Brothers having the low bid of $502,555 for the base package and three add alternates.
Mr. Gallagher noted that this bid includes all of the add alternates and was still within the Township’s budget.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to award the Township’s 2014 Roadway Improvement Program to Bray Brothers, in the amount of $502,555. Mr. Davis seconded.
Discussion of Motion: Ms. Fountain noted that the program includes portions of Marigold Drive, Newtown Yardley Road, Wrights Road, Fountain Farm Lane, N. Skyview, Skyview and Parkview Ways, Terry Drive, Davis Lane and Ascot Lane. The add alternates include Saxony Drive and portions of Newtown Yardley Road. $19,500 will be paid from the general fund with the remaining $483,050 coming from liquid fuels funds.
The motion passed 5-0.
Brookshire Estates, Certificate of Completion #1: Mr. Davis moved to authorize escrow release in the amount of $296,946.75 for Brookshire Estates Certificate of Completion #1. Mrs. Dix seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Planning Module for Walden Square (Newtown Townhome PRD): Ms. Fountain explained that the planning module will handle 13,558 gallons per day; 56 EDU’s. The Board must pass a resolution and forward the Planning Module to the DEP.
Mr. R. Gallagher moved to adopt Resolution 2014-R-8, Walden Square Planning Module. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Calabro voting nay.
Plan Expiration Report: Mr. Ferguson said that the Newtown Mobile Home Park must remain on the report until the Township receives a withdrawal letter; he expects this when the PRD plans are filed with the County.
Mr. Calabro asked about the NAC.
Mr. Ferguson said that he believed this project is completed.
Treasury Update: Mr. Ferguson said that the real estate transfer tax income is slightly lower than had been projected for the first quarter, but he attributed this to slow sales during the very rough winter. The current general fund balance is $3,626,626. He noted that this is comparable to 2013’s general fund.
Newtown Yardley Road Speed Limit: Mr. Ferguson reminded the Board that it had discussed reviewing the speed limits for Newtown Yardley Road. Mr. Garton had found that the Township had conducted a similar review in 2009 and had set the speed limit at 40MPH but had not posted appropriate signage. He asked if this would be an acceptable speed limit; if so he would place correct and consistent signs on both sides of the street.
Mrs. Dix said that a portion of the road is posted at 35 MPH and another section is 45 MPH. She would favor making the entire length up to the Borough a 35 MPH speed limit. There are more homes on the street now and a new traffic light will be installed shortly and she would like to see a consistent speed limit. There are no other 40 MPH speed limits in the Township.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the TIP project should be starting soon, which includes a number of traffic calming measures, so he would not want to pass an ordinance reducing the speed limit until the Township has had an opportunity to see whether the TIP has an impact on traffic.
Mr. Ferguson said that the engineering details, including lane widening, turning and deceleration lanes, should be available later this year with construction beginning in 2015.
Mr. Davis said that he favors a 40 MPH speed limit until the TIP improvements are evaluated.
Mr. R. Gallagher said that since the Board had begun discussing this, he has tried to drive along this portion of roadway at different times of day. He found himself traveling safely at 40 MPH, which seemed to him to be a natural speed. He favors leaving the speed limit at 40 MPH, noting the issue had been brought to the Board’s attention because of discrepancies in signage, which should be addressed.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that there is consensus among Board members to leave the speed limit at 40 MPH.
Other Business: Mr. Calabro said that he was driving on Penns Trail and noticed that a portion of the NAC pool area patio is very close to the fence and the road. He asked whether this patio is within the correct setbacks.
Mr. Ferguson said that the Codes Department is aware of this. The NAC has filed an application with the Zoning Hearing Board for setback relief.
Mr. Calabro asked whether the patio can be used while awaiting a hearing.
Mr. Ferguson said that the patio can be used during the time until the hearing. The application will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on June 17 and it is scheduled for the July Zoning Hearing Board meeting. The required setback is 75 feet from the ultimate right-of-way. The patio is only 8 feet from the right-of-way.
Mrs. Dix asked if it is typical to build something before getting zoning relief.
Mr. Ferguson explained that the building permit application was denied because of the setback; the applicant elected to apply for zoning relief.
Mrs. Dix asked if the project is close to its impervious limit.
Mr. Ferguson said that he believed the impervious surface was below the maximum and he had asked the engineer to review the stormwater management and it was found to be adequate.
Minutes, Bills Lists and Reports
Minutes: Mr. Davis moved to accept the minutes of the regular meeting of May 14, 2014. Mrs. Dix seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Bills: Mr. Davis moved to approve bills totaling $265,673.31. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Calabro voting nay.
Mr. Davis moved to authorize interfund transfers totaling $175,000. Mr. M. Gallagher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that the Board would be remaining for executive session to discuss matters of personnel.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary