NEWTOWN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
LUNCHEON MEETING AT GOODNOE FARM DAIRY BAR
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2005
Approval of the Minutes: Mr. Lufkin moved to approve the minutes of the December 1, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Roberts seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Present: Mary Ann Broderick, Tom Harwood, Brandon Wind, Hal Roberts, Robert Michaud, Chris Ortwein, Chip Bromley, Don Harris, Deborah Gould, Robert M. Pellegrino, Tangela Randolph
Call to Order: Mr. Harwood called the meeting to order in the absence of Chairman Weaver.
Codes Department Business Development Report
Mr. Harwood presented his report, covering November. He noted the Newtown Rental Center addition and subdivision request, which involves the moving of an historic house.
Approval of the Minutes
Mr. Roberts moved to approve the minutes of the November 3, 2005 meeting as presented. Ms. Broderick seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Bucks Chamber of Commerce
No report. Information and further detail about all LBCCC events is available on the website: www.lbccc.org .
Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation
Ms. Ortwein distributed postcards announcing holiday events, and noted the information regarding the new Byers’ Choice custom made kindle on the reverse of the postcard; all proceeds from kindle sales will go towards marketing Newtown. She reviewed the upcoming events, noting Aha! Friday on December 1st. Ms. Ortwein said she was excited about the partnering of the Main Streets program with the Newtown Business and Professional Association and the Newtown Borough Retailers Association. She noted two new businesses soon to open in Newtown, Blossom and the Grotto.
Ms. Ortwein reported that the JDNC Economic Restructuring Committee has been looking at the mixed use on State Street and part of Sycamore Street, and questioning if zoning is most optimum for business use. They have spoken to Lynn Bush of the Bucks County Planning Commission and a member of the Commission will attend a future committee meeting.
Ms. Ortwein noted that First Night Newtown will be held at a new time this year, running from 4:00 to 9:00 pm, with fireworks at 9:30 pm. Entertainment will include a portion of the Russian Children’s Circus, who will give two performances. Ms. Ortwein noted that the complete schedule and information could be found on the website: www.firstnightnewtown.com.
Ms. Ortwein reported that a grant had been received for the initial investigation of signage, and that a second grant had applied for to proceed with signage; they should hear if the application was accepted around mid-December. Ms. Ortwein noted that there had been a piece by George Stephanopoulos on “World News Tonight” where Mr. Stephanopoulos had interviewed people from Bucks County, including at Becky’s Deli on State Street.
Newtown Business and Professional Association
Mr. Wind noted that NBPA was sponsoring Breakfast with Santa and co-sponsoring other holiday events. More information about the association and its events is available at the NBPA website: www.newtownbpa.org.
Economic Development Commission
Mr. Pellegrino said the EDC was meeting quarterly; the next scheduled meeting would be held two weeks from today. He said that with upcoming changes in the Board of Supervisors he was not sure of the future of the committee; there might be a change of purpose or in the meeting schedule. He said the committee might look at issues such as zoning on Sycamore Street.
Mr. Pellegrino reported that Sycamore Street was nearly completed; he said the contractors have been slow to wrap up the project. He said the township budget was scheduled for adoption on December 14, noting the Board had held several budget hearings. He noted that a reserve fund had been set up for the development of the Woll Tract; the project will cost approximately $4M.
Mr. Roberts asked about the street corners near 7-11, noting they were not very wide; Mr. Pellegrino said this had been done intentionally to slow traffic and make the area more pedestrian friendly. Mr. Pellegrino said that traffic should move more smoothly once the closed loop system was completed this spring.
Newtown Business Commons Association
Mr. Pellegrino said the Newtown Business Association met last week and is setting up their first annual meeting, possibly to be held January 27, 2006. He said they are looking to set up a business card exchange, business fair, and increased promotion. Mr. Pellegrino said the association is working with JDNC to coordinate signage; he noted that Homeward Suites has offered to fund monument signs.
Mr. Harris said a residential re-occupancy inspection program had been proposed, to be performed upon re-sale or re-rental. He said the program is included in the 2006 township budget. He noted that about half of the communities in Bucks County have this program, and that the purpose was to be proactive regarding safety issues, inspecting specific things such as dryer vent systems, electrical panels, wiring, outlets, smoke detection systems and garage doors for code compliance and safety. Mr. Harris said the proposed fee would be $100, to cover inspection costs, and the fee would be the owner’s responsibility. Mr. Roberts said that the key to the success of the program would be the turnaround time and attitude of the inspectors. Ms. Gould suggested public education so that people would understand the purpose of the program and how it would work. Mr. Harris clarified that Emergency Services would perform the inspections and that commercial re-inspections are currently done annually; he said by requiring inspections on resale safety could be better ensured. Mr. Harris said he hoped the program would be adopted in December and begin in January or February.
The next scheduled BDC meeting will be Thursday, January 5, 2006.
On motion by Mr. Roberts and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.
Leslie Dunleavy, Recording Secretary