NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE
A Reconstruction Project of Newtown Township
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2004
Approval of Minutes:
Mr. Merjeski made a motion to approve the minutes of September 14, 2004 with the following corrections:
Mr. Piazza seconded; the motion carried, with abstention by Mr. McLean.
Members Present: Chairman Vince Lombardi; Members Shannon Wilson, Melva Vittoriano, John Nejman, Joe Merjeski, Frank Tyrol; HARB representative Terry McLean; Planning Commission Liaisons Shawn Ward, Esq. and Michael Piazza; Supervisor Tom Jirele.
Members Not Present: Member David Burns, Jr.; Rand Jaslow, Borough Liaison; Barry Dinneen, Borough Representative; Planning Commission Liaisons Beth Sanderlin.
Also present: Nelson Shaffer representing Pennoni Associates Inc.; Tom McLearnon representing Chandler Hall; John Hunter representing Pennoni Associates; and township resident James Kurtz, business owners Robert and Sandy Thomas.
Call to Order: Chairman Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:04 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.
Construction Site Tour Discussion
Mr. Wilson asked if there was any ordinance or provisions for in-kind replacement of street elements if damage occurred; the Committee was concerned with language that would provide for replacement of damaged streetscape, such as stamped concrete, curbing, trash receptacles or streetlights. Mr. Shaffer noted that the specifications would need to be detailed so that repairs would coordinate with the existing elements. Mr. Lombardi said that several extra streetlights would probably be purchased in case of future damage; Mr. McLean noted that some lights are modular so a part could be replaced as necessary. Mr. Jirele said he would take the issue to the Township Solicitor and Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Lombardi noted that 7:00 p.m. may be too late, past daylight hours, to conduct the walking tour before the Committee meetings, and asked if the committee would consider meeting for the site tour only on a Saturday morning instead to walk the construction site. A walking tour of the site was scheduled for Saturday, October 9, 2004, beginning at the St. Andrews School Parking lot at 9:00 a.m. The regularly monthly meeting will remain on its scheduled date of Tuesday, October 12, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. at Chandler Hall.
Community Relations Sub-Committee (CRC) Report
Mr. Lombardi reported that on September 7th the Community Relations Sub-Committee met at the Ford dealership to discuss issues related to residents/property owners who will be affected by construction. He said that there was a degree of nervousness since the sewer work from the Acme site to (paper) Green Street would be beginning soon; Mr. Merjeski said that people were concerned that the necessary barricades would be confusing and problematic and that phases seem to be beginning before prior stages were completed. Mr. Merjeski said that many issues were worked out with the engineer and contractor at the meeting, and that a new construction foreman, John Cooper, and a new project manager, Dennis Hullman, had been assigned to the Sycamore Project. Mr. Shaffer said that agreement was made that Phases I, II, A, B & C would all be completed before the start of Phase III; he clarified that all roadway work and sewers would be completed between Washington Avenue and the Bypass before the last phase was begun. The final paving coat on the full length of the street will be the last step of the project, to be completed in the spring. Mr. Merjeski said that he felt very good about the meeting, that the contractor seemed to want to work with the committee, and that the level of dialogue was excellent; they agreed to regular meetings.
Ms. Vittoriano noted that people were only concerned with the appearance and convenience of the street, and suggested that the clearing of barricades, the installation of plantings and the completion of stages would help residents be more patient throughout construction. Mr. Shaffer distributed some photographs that could be shown to residents that illustrated the progress of the construction. Mr. Ward reported that he had heard positive comments regarding the curb cuts and stamped concrete sidewalk. Mr. Kurtz said that the construction workers seemed very considerate, and suggested that additional steel plates be procured to cover graveled areas, as they had run out of plates near his property.
Mr. Lombardi said that H & K had received their first check since March, and that the Board of Supervisors had approved two additional payments. Mr. Shaffer said that the contractor stages things before work, bringing in needed supplies, and that prompt completion could be facilitated if the Committee would give some latitude to the project inspector to allow the contractor to come in and finish some driveway adjustments as needed during the day; the Committee concurred. Mr. Lombardi noted that Mr. Dilks will move his equipment to facilitate construction work and that Sean Frawley from Stockburger said they had a second access to their property. Mr. Lombardi said that informing affected property owners before construction would facilitate work as well.
Mr. Lombardi said they would meet with the contractor Wednesday morning, September 15th at 7:30 a.m. to discuss how often they would meet (either every one or two weeks), as well as other issues. He asked that Committee members contact him with any issues to be brought up with the contractor.
- Bypass Left Turn Lane Project
Mr. Shaffer reported that the project should wrap up by the end of October; landscaping is yet to be done. Ms. Vittoriano said that the dual left turn land is not marked at Sycamore Street and felt it was quite confusing; Mr. Shaffer said that markings and signage still needed to be finalized. Mr. Shaffer said that the additional turn lane and increase in length should be able to handle twice the traffic as present.
- East Coast Concrete Request
Mr. Shaffer clarified that permission for day work by East Coast would need to be renewed with the start of each phase. Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Shaffer agreed that the daytime work had gone very well thus far. Mr. Merjeski suggested that if the next pouring went well the committee should evaluate extending the daytime work request; the decision was deferred until the completion of Phase II.
- Haines & Kibblehouse
Mr. Lombardi noted the suggestion made during the site walk that the concrete pads under benches match the adjacent sidewalk. Mr. Ward made a motion to approve the matching of concrete pads under benches to the adjacent sidewalk. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Mr. Shaffer said that near Barclay and the Bypass the cables would hit the new streetlights, and that poles would be shifted to the curb edge of the sidewalk. He suggested that, since the old concrete sidewalk in this section would need to be torn up, stamped concrete sidewalk be installed. Mr. Ward made a motion to replace existing concrete sidewalks on the east side of Sycamore Street from Barclay Street to the Chandler Hall sign with stamped concrete. Mr. Merjeski seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Mr. Shaffer said they hope to fund the change with street enhancement funds; he will speak to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Shaffer suggested that since budgeting is going well, the Committee might like to see the existing concrete sidewalks on the west side of the street replaced with stamped concrete, making all the sidewalks along Sycamore Street stamped concrete. He said he would investigate whether this could be covered by the enhancement funding; he said he would ask PennDOT about the sidewalk, since their approval would be required. Mr. Ward made a motion to request from PennDOT approval for new curbing and the replacement of existing concrete sidewalks with stamped concrete on the west side of Sycamore Street. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Mr. Shaffer noted that some brick pavers at Sycamore Center were loose and would need replacement.
- Newtown Creek Restoration – Update
Mr. Shaffer said they met with the three affected property owners. He noted that the bids had come in good relative to the funds available; they walked the embankment to see how restoration might be extended. Mr. Shaffer said they reached verbal agreement with the residents, and that as soon as easements were signed the project would begin; the project should be completed by the end of October. Mr. Shaffer said that Tri-State would check the price for sidewalk and curbing near the stream bank restoration to see if money could be saved from the Sycamore Street project funding.
NEW BUSINESS – None.
Robert and Sandy Thomas, owners of Carriage House Collection on Sycamore Street, were present. Mr. Thomas asked if the storm drain in front of their driveway could be moved; Mr. Shaffer said the inlet is to be relocated to the right. Mr. Thomas said there is a ravine on the border of his property and asked who owned/is responsible for the ravine; Mr. Lombardi said that Newtown Investors is responsible for its maintenance. Mr. Tyrol noted that stonework near that location needed repair; Mr. Shaffer said that fencing would be installed there. Mr. Thomas said that the wall would be an issue, and Mr. Tyrol said someone should check the stream embankment near the Thomas property; Mr. Lombardi said he would view the site.
Mr. Thomas asked if the new sidewalk could go right up to his building; Mr. Shaffer clarified that the sidewalk would abut his building and go up to the driveway. Ms. Vittoriano said she had contacted East Coast regarding work on her property; Mr. Shaffer noted that anything beyond the right of way is not part of the Sycamore project.
Mr. Shaffer said they had asked PennDOT to mark the location of poles. He said they are relocating a pole that would have been in the middle of the sidewalk, and proposed sliding another pole (further up the street) next to the curb to eliminate a strain pole. Mr. Shaffer said he would attempt to eliminate any poles possible and to relocate as needed to best advantage, to eliminate clutter.
Next Meetings: The next meeting is scheduled for October 12, 2004. The meeting will begin at 8:00 pm at Chandler Hall. The site walk will be at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 9, 2004, beginning at the St. Andrews School Parking Lot.
On motion by Mr. Ward, and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary