NEWTOWN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
LUNCHEON MEETING AT GOODNOE FARM DAIRY BAR
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2005
Approval of the Minutes: Mr. Bishop moved to approve the minutes of the February 3, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Roberts seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Present: Dick Weaver, Hal Roberts, Thomas Harwood, Don Harris, Sue Britsch, Wayne Bishop, Kent Lufkin, Dan McCloskey, Linda Mitchell, Stephen Schreiber, Brandon Wind, Mark Byelich, Doug Terry, Walter Leck, Christina Ortwein.
Call to Order: Mr. Weaver called the meeting to order at 12:04 PM.
Codes Department Business Development Report
Mr. Harwood distributed and reviewed the report for January 2005. He noted that a Quizno’s Restaurant was applying for an eating place use in Village at Newtown, and that the Crawford Building (159 N. Sycamore Street) and the Newtown Athletic Club pool addition were on hold. He said that a new zoning classification is being proposed for the Fidler/Roberts Tract and is scheduled for the Planning Commission on 2/15/5. Mr. Harwood said that the ZHB hearing for Brandywine Realty, seeking a variance and special exception to construct a bridge and public road in the floodplain, was continued.
Approval of the Minutes
Mr. Byelich moved to approve the minutes of the January 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Bishop seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Mitchell noted the following events:
¨ Thursday, February 10 Percolator Program and General Membership Meeting
8:00 – 9:99 a.m. @ King’s Caterer’s
Program – Investment Strategies
¨ Wednesday, February 16 Business Card Exchange
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @ Firstrust Bank of Yardley
¨ Wednesday, March 16 Business Expo
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. @ King’s Caterer’s
You need to be a member to participate.
¨ March 1 8:00 a.m. Breakfast meeting
Speaker: Linda Mitchell: Schmooze or Lose - How to Work a Room
Information and further detail about all LBCCC events is available on the website: www.lbccc.org.
Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation
Main Streets Manager Christina Ortwein distributed handouts. She described some of JDNC’s projects:
¨ They are looking at marketing, viewing New Hope and Doylestown as competition to the downtown retail area. She noted that Mr. Weaver has joined the Economic Restructuring Committee.
¨ A Guide to Doing Business in Newtown
¨ Business recruitment
¨ Workshops focusing on retail and business processes, to be conducted by Mark Craig, Action International
¨ Acme Site development – JDNC is considering economy and design, and which proposed development plan best fits the vision and design criteria established. Ms. Ortwein said that they considered the Acme site proposals and felt that the proposal by Allan Smith best fit the criteria and the site. She said they considered a number of issues, including the proximity of the site to the historic district, building materials, and inclusion of a residential component.
Ms. Ortwein said that she did not consider the shopping centers as competition for the downtown retailers, as the shops downtown are specialty stores; she said the goal is to make Newtown a destination.
Mr. Leck said that parking has always been a problem in Newtown and said a shuttle from parking areas into town had been suggested years ago. He said there was a big problem with extra snow piled up on State Street after the recent storm, and said he could see no reason that the extra snow couldn’t be removed; he said this has been a problem for years. Mr. Leck suggested closing the street(s) briefly for snow removal, noting that the diminished width of the road was unsafe. He said that times for trucks and service vehicles to access the downtown area needed to be reviewed, to help streamline traffic. Mr. Leck said that the new constructed narrower section of road at 7-11 on Sycamore Street was problematic; he noted that the Sycamore Street project looked good thus far.
Newtown Business and Professional Association
Ms. Mitchell distributed a flyer listing some of the upcoming NBPA events, including Welcome Day. Ms. Mitchell said the Business Card Exchange will be on Tuesday, February 8, 2005, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Federated Lending. The General Membership meeting will be held Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Temperance House, and will feature the annual presentation of Welcome Day plans. She announced new NBPA officers for 2005: President Paul Salvatore, and herself as 2nd Vice President and Marketing Chair. She said there was still time to join NBPA, noting that one could join and pay online; joining by the February meeting will qualify members to be included in the membership directory. The association website: www.newtownbpa.org.
Ms. Mitchell said they were sending a letter to businesses announcing their new product, a “Community Mailer” that will highlight NBPA businesses. This mailer would be initially mailed to everyone in Newtown, then only to new residents and businesses. Ms. Mitchell said that NPBA members would be automatically listed and that they could also place ads and/or coupons in the 4-color booklet. She noted that the marketing committee and NS Print have been working on the project. She said that information about this product is not available online yet; call her for more information. Ms. Mitchell also noted that there is a new corporate partners sponsorship available, and that the annual car show would be combined with the Newtown Borough Retailers Association Summer Festival.
Economic Development Commission
Mr. Weaver reported that Mr. Schreiber had hosted the last Commission meeting and noted that the new Law School Admissions facility was quite spectacular. He said that, as of yesterday, eight members have committed to serve on the board of the Business Commons Association; they will look for additional board members. Mr. Weaver said things are moving along and that bylaws have been drafted to serve as template. He said that they are planning a celebration/open house event, like the event planned for Teletronics, at the Old France building property to highlight the new incoming Convention Center/Hotel plans.
Ms. Mitchell said she has spoken to Ms. Kruse, who will assist in ad sales. There was no further progress to report.
Ms. Ortwein distributed a flyer about JDNC’s aha! Fridays, to be held the first Friday evening of each month; February 4 marks the first event, which will feature the Art of Chocolate and will include celebrations and ribbon cuttings for two new downtown businesses – Kathleeens’ and Zebra Striped Whale. She said that the evening will also launch the new logo, to be featured at the cake cutting at 6:00 at Zebra Striped Whale. She invited everyone to attend.
Mr. Roberts suggested that the downtown parking issue be given to an architectural school class to work on, as they are always looking for projects and the students might come up with new ideas. Ms. Ortwein said they were working on the parking issues with Borough Councilors Bob King and Don Smith; she said that the issue should be seriously addressed. Mr. Weaver said that extra parking was needed for the Brick Hotel and Temperance House and that valet parking had been discussed.
Mr. Weaver said that the Barnes & Noble proposal for the Acme site was reviewed by the BOS. He said that Barnes & Noble would not want to develop the project if they couldn’t have at least 275 parking spaces, and noted that the project had no residential component; he wondered if people would come in to B & N but wouldn’t necessarily then come into town or go to other retail establishments. Mr. Leck expressed concern that corporations like Barnes and Noble don’t contribute anything back into towns in which they are located.
The next scheduled BDC meeting will be Thursday, March 3, 2005. The speaker for the meeting will be Dawn Knisley, Bucks County Maintenance Manager.
On motion by Mr. Schreiber and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Leslie Dunleavy, Recording Secretary