A Reconstruction Project of Newtown Township




8:00 PM

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Ward made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 11, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Merjeski seconded; the motion carried, with abstention by Mr. Piazza.

Members Present: Chairman Vince Lombardi; Members Joe Merjeski, Shannon Wilson, John Nejman, Frank Tyrol; Supervisor Tom Jirele; Planning Commission Liaison Shawn Ward, Esq..

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

Also present: Nelson Shaffer representing Pennoni Associates Inc.; Robert Bebon representing Newtown Presbyterian Church; John Hunter representing Pennoni Associates; business owner Robert Thomas; Dave and Fran Heller.

Call to Order: Chairman Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:06 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Merjeski made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 14, 2004 meeting as presented. Mr. Wilson seconded; the motion carried unanimously.

Special Announcements



Status Reports

  1. Bypass Left Turn Lane Project – Nelson Shaffer
    Mr. Shaffer reported that a final field walk was scheduled for today. He said there was a punch list and that he would have more information next month.
  2. Newtown Creek Restoration – Update – Nelson Shaffer
    Mr. Shaffer reported that the top tier of block and stone between tiers of block are in place. He said that there are some changes being made to the fence to reflect the angles of the wall, which will provide increased area for plantings. Mr. Shaffer said the walls are functioning the way they were intended and that the contractor was good to work with. He noted that the sidewalk, curbing and landscaping would be finished in warmer weather. Mr. Lombardi suggested that plantings be installed in the stone between the upper and lower walls to eliminate a striped look. Mr. Merjeski expressed concern for safety in the area, due to unstable conditions as a result of recent heavy rains; Mr. Shaffer said that the fence should be installed next week, weather permitting. The project sign is still to be installed.
  3. Community Relations Committee Report – Joe Merjeski
    Mr. Merjeski said that, in response to Jerry DeYoung’s remarks at the December Committee meeting, Mr. Ward and Mr. Lombardi visited his residence after the December holiday celebration to inspect damage to Mr. DeYoung’s house. While they were there, the contractor replicated the situation, which included breaking up blacktop with a backhoe; Mr. Lombardi said that Mr. DeYoung had a point, and that he and Mr. Ward had experienced the vibration caused by the work. Mr. Shaffer stated that following discussions with Bob Pellegrino, Mr. Lombardi, a structural engineer from Pennoni Associates and a representative from H & K met at Mr. DeYoung’s house; Pennoni Associates agreed to place three crack monitors on the house, to be monitored monthly. Mr. Shaffer said that they will be able to monitor regular conditions now, to be compared to conditions when construction resumes this spring. Mr. Lombardi said that the contractor could not eliminate the use of the compactor, as PennDOT has regulations regarding the compaction of soil, but that they are now putting saw cuts into the blacktop areas before using the backhoe to break the areas up, resulting in diminished vibration.
    Mr. Lombardi noted that the contractor had been very responsive after being approached after the December Committee meeting by redirecting lights away from the homes. Mr. Shaffer said that they can consider additional dampening measures, and that how the older homes are affected depends on if the building was built on stone or dirt.
  4. Haines & Kibblehouse – update/look ahead
    John Hunter reported that they would continue work on the drainage issues and architectural barrier wall near 7-11. He said that Armour is continuing to check locations for street lights. Mr. Hunter said that construction is weather dependent now, and that the curb and sidewalk work might be possible in late February; they like a 5-day window of above freezing weather for concrete work. Mr. Shaffer said that sewer work was now being done up near Acme. Mr. Lombardi noted that the inlet near the crosswalk at Bill Marsh Ford looked slanted; Mr. Shaffer said that the angle was intentional because of the bump out there. Mr. Hunter reported that the streetlights had been ordered and all cable has been pulled along Phase 1 and the right side of Phase 2; Mr. Merjeski said he hoped the lights were up soon for safety, as the road was very dark.
    Mr. Lombardi said that there were still problems at the CITGO station. He said that 28 Sycamore trees needed to be relocated/replaced and that the new locations needed to be identified; PECO had removed Sycamore trees along the street. It was suggested that some be installed by the detention basin; Mr. Shaffer said they will be finding new locations. Mr. Jirele noted that Newtown Grant may be looking for street trees. Mr. Hunter said there is no news regarding the planters.
  5. Acme Site Update
    Mr. Lombardi said a selling price of $1.65M had been negotiated for the Acme site and summarized the proposals for development of the site presented at the recent Board of Supervisors work session:
  1. Allan Smith – one building, streetscape parallel to the street, three stories with retail and office on the first floor and residential on floors 2 and 3. Retail space = 23,000 sq. ft. Parking = 142 spaces, with 98 in the rear and 44 underneath the building.
  2. Omni Group– two buildings, three stories, retail on the first floor and residential (8 condos and 18 apartments) on floors 2 and 3. Retail space = 13,000 sq. ft. Parking = 115 spaces.
  3. Pearl Properties – this proposal was beyond the scope of the Acme Visioning committee, and included relocation of the Ambulance Squad and 39 garden apartments, 13 on each of three levels on Eagle Road. On Sycamore – streetscape parallel to the street, three floors with retail on first floor and 14 residential units each on floor 2 and 3. Retail space = 30,000 sq ft. Parking = three levels with a total of 228 spaces.
  4. Elliot Building Group – two buildings, three stories, with retail on first floor and the 2nd and 3rd floors to be connected. Retail space – 23,000 sq. ft. Office space – 45,000 sq. ft. Elliott would plan to eventually use the building for their corporate headquarters. Mr. Lombardi noted that an earlier proposal was more modern; this plan was a more appropriate design.

Mr. Lombardi said that two proposals fit the visioning committee’s vision, and that the proposals would be discussed further at the BOS work session on January 19, 2005. Mr. Lombardi noted the parking elements: Elliott proposed a two level concrete parking garage, Allan Smith proposed surface and underground parking, Omni proposed surface parking, and Pearl proposed three levels of parking. Mr. Jirele reported that the proposal by Pearl Properties has been rejected by the BOS as too intense. It was reported that one more proposal would be reviewed by the Supervisors.


Mr. Shaffer said he had requested that McMahon look into a left hand lane northbound on Sycamore to turn into the Acme site.


Mr. Thomas asked about the small ravine/ditch along his property line; Mr. Shaffer said that they found no easement along the swale and the bottom of the pipe along the ditch had deteriorated. Mr. Shaffer said he had the inspector look at the pipe and they found the arch of the pipe was beginning to give way and spill materials into the stream channel. Mr. Shaffer said that the pipe needed to be repaired, and that PennDOT might extend the contract to allow for the pipe replacement, possibly at 80-20 cost to the township. He said they needed to figure out the most cost effective way to complete the repair, which might involve doing the work under detour rather than during the night. Mr. Shaffer said the pipe should be addressed now, and should take approximately a week to complete. Mr. Lombardi suggested they review the situation to see what the project would involve, and said that he would want to know well in advance if the road needed to be closed for the repairs. He said that if two gangs worked around the clock that the project might be completed quickly. Mr. Merjeski noted that closing the road would greatly impact the area.

Mr. Shaffer said that with a limited budget they must consider the most cost effective way to repair the pipe, and said they are looking into the condition of the pipe at the time of the turnback of the road to the township. He said they would like to take care of the pipe in February, and then finish the curb and sidewalk in the spring. Mr. Shaffer said they are hoping to save the stone wall over the pipe near the street as well as the stone structure along the ravine. Mr. Shaffer said he would bring options back to the committee; Mr. Lombardi noted that the issue could be discussed further at an upcoming meeting between the Community Relations Sub-committee and H & K.

Next Meetings: The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2005.


On motion by Mr. Ward, and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary