NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE
A Reconstruction Project of Newtown Township
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2004
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Merjeski made a motion to approve the minutes of March 9, 2004 with the following corrections:
Ø at the bottom of page 2, change “contractor” to “consultant”
Ø change “stream bed” to “stream bank”.
Mr. Nejman seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Members Present: Chairman Vince Lombardi; Members John Nejman, Frank Tyrol, Melva Vittoriano, Shannon Wilson; HARB representative Terry McLean; Planning Commission Liaison Shawn Ward, Esq.
Members Not Present: Joe Merjeski; Rand Jaslow, Borough Liaison; Planning Commission Liaisons Beth Sanderlin and Michael Piazza; Barry Dinneen, Borough Representative; Planning Commission Liaison Beth Sanderlin.
Also present: Planning Commission Liaisons Beth Sanderlin and Shawn Ward, Esq.; Nelson Shaffer representing Pennoni Associates Inc.; John Paul Lautenschlager, Focus on Newtown - Courier Times; Robert Bebon, Newtown Presbyterian Church; George Stockburger IV; Planning Commission Liaisons Beth Sanderlin and Shawn Ward, Esq.; Tom McLearnon representing Chandler Hall; Jim Kurtz, Jay Kravitz.
Call to Order: Chairman Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:04 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Nejman made a motion to approve the minutes of February 10, 2004 as presented. Mr. Tyrol seconded; the motion carried.
Mr. Lombardi distributed sample pages from the website www.sycamorestreet.org, the home page and schedule page, noting that the last posting was 3/1/04. Consensus of the committee was that the schedule information was adequate, short and sweet.
Mr. Lombardi reported that the temporary lights were being hung and connected. He said there had one complaint of noise at 11:00 pm. He said that house numbers would eventually be listed in the online schedule, as well as other landmarks to indicate where along the street construction will take place.
Mr. Shaffer presented the rolling schedule that indicates construction activity with exact locations and dates. He showed the mapping of the work on the street. Mr. Kurtz asked if the same construction element would be done all the way down the street or if all elements would be completed on each segment. Mr. Shaffer replied that it would be a combination, depending on the requirements of the construction element, such as continuous pouring of concrete sidewalks. He estimated that there might be construction in front of a specific property a total of about five times in the course of the project. Mr. Lombardi said that plans are to divide the road into thirds, allowing for traffic flow in two lanes while construction takes place in the third. He noted that this might change, but should not present a problem as long as PennDOT keeps everyone informed.
Mr. Shaffer said there will be a list of items being done that will become fuller as work progresses, and said that the contractor is required to keep the township informed. Mr. Lombardi said that every attempt would be made to post future work, two weeks out, on the website. It was suggested that signs be posted along the street to inform people about the website; Mr. Shaffer suggested that they could ask the contractor to post such signs, which would be helpful as well for the contractor to keep everyone informed. Mr. Lombardi said he would appreciate any recommendations regarding the schedule or any part of the project, noting that things should go more smoothly if they are started properly.
Public Comment: None.
Mr. Lombardi referred to the memo from Mr. Pellegrino to the Board of Supervisors, dated 2/27/04, which had been distributed regarding work on Buck Road, Richboro Road and the Bypass. Mr. Lombardi said he was initially upset when he read that the intersection of Richboro Road & Sycamore Street was to be closed for work on the intersection. Mr. Pellegrino said work on a left hand turn lane would be done on the Borough side of the Bypass between Sycamore Street and State Street. He said they thought they could convince the state to leave one lane open at Sycamore Street throughout the construction. Mr. Pellegrino said he and Mr. Shaffer are working with Morrissey, PennDOT and others involved to work out the traffic/detour/construction issues.
Mr. Stockburger asked about an overview picture of the intersections and work involved; Mr. Pellegrino said they could provide it to him, noting that the plans are quite thick. Mr. Pellegrino noted that approximately $2.6M was being funded by the state for these road improvements. He said it would take some time to work out all the details with PennDOT, noting that keeping a lane open during construction at the intersections would lengthen construction time. Mr. Stockburger asked if there was any way to help, such as contacting the state regarding the planned road closure. Mr. Shaffer felt that such contact might confuse the issue; he and Mr. Pellegrino advised the committee and interested parties to wait and said they would inform the committee of who to call if/when the time came. Mr. Shaffer noted that night work would give an advantage to the discussions regarding other road closures, and urged the committee to give Mr. Pellegrino and him time to speak with PennDOT.
Mr. Kurtz said that people wouldn’t distinguish who is closing the road and may mistakenly attribute the closing to the Sycamore project. Mr. Pellegrino said that the intersection project is set to run from March 17 through October 30 and road closures would probably occur in July or August. Noting that work on Sycamore would be further away from the Bypass by summer, he said that since intersection work would be done at the far end of Sycamore it might be apparent that the intersection project was responsible for any road closures. Mr. Pellegrino suggested that additional details about the project could be posted on the website along with an explanation of both the Sycamore and Bypass projects.
Mr. McLearnon was disturbed that the road might be closed. Mr. Stockburger said he hoped Mr. Shaffer appreciated the depth of concern over road closures and its importance to residents. Mr. Nelson said he was confident they would be able to work out changes, and said he would ask if work sequencing could be changed to avoid road closures. Mr. McLearnon asked of residents knew about the intersection project; Mr. Pellegrino suggested putting information on the Sycamore Street website and said they would write something up for inclusion on the township website. Mr. Stockburger suggested also posting information on the township cable channel 23.
Mr. Shaffer reported that they are in the process of working on streambed restoration and that Tri-State was the contractor. He said they hope to have the streambed done in time to work parking back in across from the church. Mr. Shaffer said that when Tri-State has presented alternatives he would bring their plans to the committee; he said they are probably looking at maintaining railings.
Mr. Stockburger asked about State Street improvements; Mr. Lautenschlager noted that Borough Council had not yet voted on any plans. Mr. Ward said that the Planning Commission had been following the various road projects and was never informed of any road closings. Mr. Lombardi noted that the utility work would not be as deep as previously done and should only go about 4’ or 5’ deep. Ms. Vittoriano asked for more detail about the Buck Road intersection work; Mr. Shaffer clarified that the two intersections, Richboro & the Bypass and Sycamore & the Bypass, would not be closed at the same time. Mr. McLearnon expressed concern over emergency vehicle access.
Next Meeting: The next meeting is scheduled for April 13, 2004.
On motion by Mr. Ward and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary