A Reconstruction Project of Newtown Township




8:00 PM

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Ward made a motion to approve the minutes of August 10, 2004 as presented. Mr. Merjeski seconded; the motion carried, with abstention by Mr. McLean.

Members Present: Chairman Vince Lombardi; Members Shannon Wilson, Melva Valenti, John Nejman, Joe Merjeski, Frank Tyrol; Planning Commission Liaisons Shawn Ward, Esq. and Michael Piazza; Supervisor Tom Jirele.

Members Not Present: Member David Burns, Jr.; Rand Jaslow, Borough Liaison; HARB representative Terry McLean; Barry Dinneen, Borough Representative; Planning Commission Liaisons Beth Sanderlin.

Also present: Nelson Shaffer representing Pennoni Associates Inc.; Robert Bebon representing Newtown Presbyterian Church; Tom McLearnon representing Chandler Hall; John Hunter representing Haines & Kibblehouse Inc.; and township resident Ronald Weaver.

Call to Order: Chairman Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:09 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Ward made a motion to approve the minutes of June 13, 2004 with the following correction: page 2, section C, first paragraph – change “undergrain” to “underdrain.” Mr. Shannon seconded; the motion carried, with one abstention. The date of the next meeting was corrected on the agenda to Tuesday, September 14, 2004.

Construction Site Tour Discussion

Mr. Merjeski noted that some appliances were sticking out in the walkway, such as trip wires, and suggested marking them for safety. He noted that there were eight light pole foundations not according to plan. Mr. Lombardi said that the electrical contractor requested light poles be moved back from the curb to the back of the concrete walkway, to keep the width of the sidewalk. He said that the original plans called for lights to be placed at the curb to create a corridor down the roadway, with arms for banners. It had been recommended that the lower banner arm be removed for safety reasons; Mr. Lombardi suggested that if the light poles were placed on the property side of the sidewalk that the lower banner arms be retained. Mr. Lombardi said that placement of the lights on the property side of the sidewalk would not retain the desired look of the street as originally designed. There were differing opinions on the light pole placements. He noted the safety issue regarding sidewalk width, and said that placement should be consistent. Mr. Jirele suggested that there be a paper trail to track and clarify any design changes.

Mr. Ward questioned the relocation of a sewer grate near the church. Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Jirele assured him the matter had been resolved.

Mr. Jirele was concerned that additional stone be added at the entry to the driveways for safety. Mr. Lombardi said that Mr. Shaffer had suggested that stone be added up to the first joint of the outside of the curb cut, due to the tight turn; the Committee agreed. Mr. Merjeski noted that the same situation existed at Barclay and Sycamore Streets, with a difficult turning radius, and suggested moving the sign back. He also suggested that the “road closed” sign be tipped over at night for less confusion.

It was noted that there was an accident at this point last week. Mr. Lombardi reported that there have been several accidents along the construction area; the Community Relations Committee will request that the police give the committee any accident reports between Center and Barclay Streets to determine if any accidents were due to poor turning radius, site distance, or other factors.

Mr. Merjeski asked if the depressed curb area between St. Andrews Church and Del Purscell’s property should be that wide; he said there is a crosswalk located there. Mr. Shaffer said he would look into the matter. Mr. Jirele noted he remembered prior discussion of a wide area for truck unloading.

Mr. Lombardi said that the area near the Kurtz property was nearly finished. He noted that at the curb cut there was a 2 x 4 with stone, and asked if this would remain permanently. Mr. Hunter said it was part of temporary construction. Mr. Shaffer said the 2 x 4 was placed to help protect over the winter months.

Mr. Lombardi said there have been concerns of underground fixtures that are elevated above the surface of the ground. Mr. Shaffer said they would need to be more diligent to watch these didn’t pose a safety hazard. Mr. Shaffer said that the job supervisor would be primarily responsible for safety concerns on the site; Mr. Lombardi suggested reviewing the H & K safety plan. It was clarified that the safety committee consisted of Chair Joe Merjeski, Vince Lombardi, Dave Burns and an additional person. Mr. Merjeski said he was frustrated that the contractor seemed to not feel accountable for any issues or problems that have arisen, and said that concerns were addressed more promptly and with more sensitively by the utilities companies during utility work. Mr. Merjeski said he was concerned with H & K’s attitude, since residents are affected by the construction.

Community Relations Sub-Committee (CRC) Report

Mr. Lombardi distributed and reviewed notes from a meeting on July 27, 2004 with project contractors, to discuss daytime work, and meetings on August 3, 2004 and August 4, 2004. He said they were concerned with the rules of day concrete work, including lack of access to the church and various businesses; he said they had been told that no access would be denied. As a result of these meetings, a meeting of the Community Relations Sub-Committee was convened. It was clarified that property owners were contacted; Mr. Lombardi said there were no complaints, but that the committee had concerns over the lack of access. Mr. Merjeski said there should be some kind of plan to keep the businesses operating and their customers and pedestrians safe; he said the committee is challenged to make sure everyone knows their rights. Mr. Merjeski said that property owners should always have access to their property.

Mr. Lombardi said they decided to divide up the list of affected property owners and businesses, with each CRC member contacting the owners to determine any special needs they might have and to answer any questions. Mr. Lombardi said the committee would like to know from the contractor what problems might be encountered before approaching property owners. Mr. Ward advised the Committee that they should not provide any technical or legal advice to property members, but should only act as liaisons.

Mr. Ward moved to authorize the Community Relations Committee to assign among its members affected property owners of upcoming or scheduled construction work, to discuss or assess any special needs so as to provide needed safeguards; community Relations members will be guided by provisions of the contractor, including but not limited to the “rule of the road,” aka traffic and safety control members, as adopted by the Sycamore Street Committee on May 9, 2002; assigned CRC members should be present at any meetings between the property owners and/or tenants and any contractors and their representatives; CRC members are authorized to meet with H & K project directors to obtain briefings as to unique problems presented, to discuss specifics with affected property owners, and/or business, tenants or occupants; CRC members shall not provide nor offer to provide any advice to property owners, etc., rather act only as a liaison or member of the committee. Mr. Piazza seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Special Announcements - None


Status Reports

  1. Bypass Left Turn Lane Project


    Mr. Shaffer reported that repaving should take place by Labor Day, and the entire project should be complete by Thanksgiving, including grading and seeding. He said that all lanes should be open by then. Mr. Shaffer said the left turn lane sign had been installed, but would be relocated for better visibility.
  2. East Coast Concrete Request 

    Mr. Shaffer said he was still waiting for an acceptable credit for the pouring of the forms during the day from East Coast; they must do the work at night until an acceptable credit amount is submitted.

    East Coast has requested that they be allowed to install the crosswalks in the spring after the paving, saying they are concerned with the crosswalks being dinged by snowplows over the winter and not being as clean at the time of the final paving. Mr. Shaffer said this should be acceptable, as long as there is no increase in the cost.

    Mr. Piazza moved to allow East Coast to install crosswalks at the end of the project in the spring, on condition that there would be no price increase. Mr. Ward seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

  3. Haines & Kibblehouse

    Mr. Shaffer said he gave them a copy of the “rules of the road” and they agreed there would be weekly meetings as required between property owners and construction people. He said there were concerns that he felt could be resolved. He noted that committee involvement was key. Mr. Shaffer said he didn’t think that the contractor had changed any rules, but that they hadn’t handled various situations as the committee would have.

    Mr. Shaffer reported that H & K had made a request in an attempt to make up some time on the project lost to weather conditions. Mr. Hunter from H & K explained that they had asked for permission to do the side of the road in three working days (36 hours), with 10-foot travel lanes; two lanes would be open. They would work a night shift, a day shift and a second night shift, with removal of old material at night, delivery of materials during the day, and paving work the second night. Mr. Tyrol said they needed more assurance of safe conditions during such work.

    Resident Ron Weaver suggested that any day work that could be completed before the start of the school year would be in the best interests of the residents. He asked who supervised the workers during the nighttime hours, and said he had not observed anyone overseeing work in the middle of the night.

    Mr. Lombardi suggested that Mike Pfeiffer from H & K meet with the CRC committee to explain the proposal; Mr. Shaffer said the meeting would need to take place fairly soon.

    Mr. Tyrol made a motion to authorize the CRC to meet with Haines & Kibblehouse to discuss their proposal for accelerated work for Phase 1B, based upon reasonable assurance that the trenching, filing and binding could be completed within 36 hours section 1B, and provided that Phase 1A is completed to the binding coat. Mr. Ward seconded the motion, which carried unanimously. A meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible. It was consensus of the committee that CRC was authorized to make a decision on behalf of the entire Sycamore Street Committee after that meeting. Mr. Lombardi will give an update to the Supervisors.

    Mr. Shaffer said that that H & K has requested they be able to link inlet stations 16 through 20; Mr. Shaffer said this would be advisable, to solve run off problems.

    Mr. Wilson made a motion to authorize the CRC review and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors regarding the linking of inlet stations 16 through 20, station 41. Mr. Ward seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

  4. Newtown Creek Restoration – Tri State Engineers Progress on Final Plan

    Mr. Shaffer reported that Tri-State has received five bids for bank restoration. He said they have gone through all the documentation and contacted references provided, and have recommended to the Board of Supervisors through Robert A. Pellegrino to award the bid to InterGeo Services, at a cost of $185,586. Mr. Lombardi expressed concern that someone investigates the company’s track record for work involving trees along the stream bank.



Township resident Ron Weaver asked who was responsible for maintaining the travel portion of the road from Barclay Street to Durham Road, H & K or the township. Mr. Shaffer said he would need to review the contract, but thought it was H & K who was responsible for various maintenance issues, including snowplowing. Mr. Weaver said he asked them several months ago to fill some potholes, and was told by the Township Manager not to make the request again, as there might be additional charges assessed. He suggested that the road needed to be better maintained. Mr. Weaver said he spoke with Armour Electric regarding hazards presented by bolts left after the removal of signal posts, but they hadn’t followed up. Mr. Weaver suggested that the committee needed to take a closer look at the construction site for safety concerns; he suggested that it was imperative to get signals reinstalled and crosswalks painted before school started. He also suggested putting a police officer at the site. Mr. Weaver said that road maintenance should include road markings. Mr. Merjeski assured Mr. Weaver they would like the site to be as safe as possible.

Mr. Weaver said that the work zone signs were very confusing, and that the Sycamore Street Project had never coordinated work area signs with PennDOT.

Next Meeting: The next meeting is scheduled for August 14, 2004. The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm on Sycamore Street, and will continue at 8:00 pm at Chandler Hall.

Mr. Lombardi asked if there was any objection to an emergency meeting being called for the Sycamore Street Committee if the CRC recommended such a meeting; Committee members had no objection. It was suggested that the traffic safety sub-committee be reactivated; Mr. Lombardi suggested that it and the CRC be combined, as membership and duties overlapped. Mr. Merjeski suggested that the street should be walked more frequently than once a month to check for safety concerns.


On motion by Mr. Ward, and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 11:00 PM.


Respectfully submitted,


Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary