NEWTOWN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
LUNCHEON MEETING AT GOODNOE FARM DAIRY BAR
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2002
APPROVAL OF THE NOVEMBER MINUTES: Mr. Terry moved to approve the minutes of November 7, 2002 as presented. Mr. Worthington seconded; the motion carried.
Present: Richard Weaver, Thomas Harwood, Don Harris, Judy Setar, Linda Mitchell, John Bissert, Rita Cummins Sappenfield, Belinda Buras, Hal Roberts, Barbara Anne Fowkes, Scott Little, Lin Myers, Dave Callahan, Evan Lambros, Alesia Schaum, Bill Schaum, Nancy Crescenzo, Paul Salvatore, Paul Lewis, Doug Terry, Jesse Terry, Jim Worthington, speaker James Siodlowski - PennDOT.
CALL TO ORDER – Chair Weaver called the meeting to order. Self-introductions were made by those present.
CODES DEPARTMENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT REPORT
Mr. Harwood distributed and reviewed the report for October 2002.
APPROVAL OF THE OCTOBER MINUTES: Mr. Roberts moved to approve the minutes of October 3, 2002 as presented. Ms. Buras seconded; the motion carried.
LOWER BUCKS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Ms. Kruse was not present, but Linda Mitchell reported that Congressman Jim Greenwood would be giving his annual report at the Chamber on December 9, 2002. Space is limited, so those interested in attending should contact the Chamber to make reservations.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION - No report.
NEWTOWN BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION - Linda Mitchell
Ms. Mitchell announced that the association is in the middle of its membership drive for next year, and invited Council members to attend the next general meeting and breakfast on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 at 7:30 am at Goodnoe’s.
Ms. Mitchell also reported that the next Chamber Business Card Exchange would take place on November 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at First Union National Bank.
SYCAMORE STREET No report.
SUBCOMMITTEE Concerned with a YMCA in Newtown - Doug Terry, Chair. No report.
Ms. Dunleavy said she would be contacting Ms. Kruse regarding the final draft of the membership brochure, and reported on printing quotes for printing and bulk mailing the brochure. She said she would confirm figures, but that having the brochure printed, folded and sealed with adhesive discs by the printer and mailing at first class rates might be the most inexpensive way to handle the mailing.
Ms. Dunleavy reported that the mailing list for a Newtown community map would not be used for any purpose other than contact with Newtown businesses and mailing of the brochure. The Council made no decision regarding the project.
Mr. Terry said he was scheduled to attend the next BOS work session, where he would be presenting a proposal to increase the impervious surface allowance in the OLI and Industrial Park to 60%. He will also raise the issue of the exclusion of medical use from the rest of the Industrial Park and ask for an explanation of the Board’s decision for the exclusion. He asked the BDC to endorse his appearance and the issues.
Impervious Survey Allowance
Mr. Terry said a survey had been done of surrounding municipalities outside of the Jointure, including Northampton, Buckingham and Lower Makefield, regarding impervious surface allowances. Most of those surveyed had an allowed impervious surface of 60-75%. Mr. Salvatore and Mr. Worthington questioned whether a larger percentage should be requested. Mr. Salvatore suggested that the proposed allowed percentage should be greater than 60%, saying that Newtown was losing business to other locations such as Bristol. Mr. Jesse Terry suggested the percentage should be 65-70%, as the price of property was too high to leave land under-utilized. Mr. Terry said he has suggested that the BOS should be proactive in bringing businesses into Newtown. Those present supported Mr. Terry’s proposal of increased allowable impervious surface in the Industrial Park.
Vacancies in the Industrial Park were noted; Mr. Salvadore reported that the Economic Structuring Committee of the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation was creating a database of businesses in Newtown. Mr. Harris said that perhaps other needs should be addressed to supplement business, such as banquet and/or convention facilities, hotels, etc.
Conditional Use Process
Mr. Lambros said he thought that there was some confusion regarding conditional use issues that may deter business from coming to Newtown, and asked why conditional use is required in the Industrial Park. Mr. Harwood said that usage needed to be determined in order to determine various requirements for issues such as parking. Mr. Terry felt that the conditional use process could be improved, as it takes a long time and scheduling of the various steps is difficult. In deference to the scheduled speaker, it was decided to put discussion of the conditional use process on next month’s agenda.
SPEAKER: Jim Siodlowski, District VI Maintenance, PennDOT
Mr. Siodlowski said his department is now preparing for winter, and noted that they will put down a light salt brine in the roadways this winter to prevent early icing; this will result in less use of salt in the long run. He described the projects now underway in our area:
v Route 413 Langhorne to Newtown - This project had been postponed until the Bridgetown Pike Bridge was completed. He said the work
would begin after approval from the Langhorne Borough Historical Society regarding cutting down several trees. Keeping traffic flowing during
construction is a concern.
v Route 332 over Neshaminy Creek - The project bid will go out late next summer; construction will be in 2004. Traffic will remain open.
v Double left turn lanes at Buck and Richboro Road intersections
v Swamp Road - Mr. Siodlowski said he is also the Disaster Recovery Coordinator for the area. He said that Swamp Road is a vital corridor,
especially as there are not many north-south roads in Bucks County. He said that the roadway is in rough shape, and that the bridge needs repair
badly. They have begun design on that structure, so as to have the design work finished and ready when the need for repair becomes crucial. Mr.
Siodlowski said that recently Wrightstown Township passed a resolution requesting that PennDOT not replace the bridge until they are ready to
“correct” the entire corridor.
Mr. Siodlowski described the lengthy 4-stop process involved in the Swamp Road construction project:
§ Impact study - on farms, business, traffic, etc.The study goes to the public for feedback; this step is finalized with a record of decision
from federal authorities.
§ Preliminary design - is completed, including engineering and determinations of properties affected and required right of ways. After appropriate
approvals, final plans are drawn up.
§ Funding is pursued through the DDRPC.
Mr. Worthington asked if the culvert might collapse before the corridor project could be completed, and asked about liability issues. Mr. Siodlowski said he was unfamiliar with liability issues, and that they could only be prepared for culvert problems by having the design plan prepared. He clarified that PennDOT has fast tracked the Swamp Road culvert for design only. Mr. Siodlowski said that as an emergency services and maintenance person, he wants all roadways open and accessible to truck and other traffic.
Mr. Worthington said that their study of the Industrial Park is progressing slowly, as it is difficult to find the appropriate contact to speak with and some are unwilling to give input. He said he felt that the BDC should discuss current business concerns such as Stockburger, Sycamore Street, the conditional use process, and the Acme site. Mr. Salvatore concurred, and felt that it was important for the Council to give feedback to the Board of Supervisors. He said he thought that the failure to develop roadways in an attempt to deter development had backfired and deterred business as well. Further discussion of the Stockburger issue was desired, and the issue will be put on next month’s agenda.
The focus of the next meeting will be discussions regarding the Stockburger proposal and the conditional use process.
The next luncheon meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 5, 2002 at the Goodnoe Farm Dairy Bar at 12:00 PM. The cost is $10; please RSVP by December 2, 2002 to the recording secretary (contact information is included on the attached agenda).
ADJOURNMENT: Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:40 pm.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary