NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE
A Reconstruction Project of Newtown Township
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE
TUESDAY JULY 12, 2005
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Mr. Merjeski made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 12, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Nejman seconded. The motion carried with Mr. Bowe and Mr. Piazza abstaining.
Members Present: Chairman Vince Lombardi; Members Melva Vittoriano, Shannon Wilson and John Nejman; Joe Merjeski, Frank Tyrol; Planning Commission Liaison Shawn Ward, Esq.
Members Not Present: Members David Burns, Jr., Borough Liaison Rand Jaslow (due to meeting conflict with Council meeting); HARB representative Terry McLean; Planning Commission Liaison Beth Sanderlin and Michael Piazza; Supervisor Tom Jirele
Also present: Nelson Shaffer representing Pennoni Associates Inc.; Bob Bebon representing Newtown Presbyterian Church; Tom McLearnon representing Chandler Hall; Sandi Thomas; Del Purscell.
Call to Order: Chairman Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:10 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Wilson made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 2, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Merjeski seconded; the motion carried, with abstention by Mr. Ward.
A. Bypass Left Turn Lane Project – Nelson Shaffer
Mr. Shaffer said the project is winding down, with a few details to wrap up.
B. Newtown Creek Restoration – Update
Mr. Shaffer reported that the creek project is 99% complete, with the final site walk yet to be done. He said that the landscaping looks great, thanks to Shannon Wilson’s efforts and the resetting of the fence was a great improvement; he noted that the contractor had been wonderful to work with.
C. Community Relations Committee Report – Joe Merjeski
Mr. Merjeski reported that his experience working with Valley Seeding had been terrible, and that they had been filling in areas with clay, bottles, glass and other debris and had just thrown down seed on top of the clay. He said that finally they had thrown down 3” of straw. Mr. Merjeski expressed safety concerns, noting that mowing could disturb debris, and suggested that the township should stop Valley Seeding’s work before serious problems arose. Mr. Lombardi agreed with Mr. Merjeski’s assessment, saying that fill on his property had included weeds, stones and crabgrass. Mr. Merjeski asked about the requirements for fill; Mr. Shaffer said that PennDOT approves the fill and doesn’t require screened topsoil. Mr. Shaffer said that the fill was more like roadway fill than yard fill and said that Mr. Pellegrino would need to speak with Valley Seeding to request better topsoil.
The Committee felt it was a bad idea to continue to install a bad mix of materials; Ms. Vittoriano said if the debris were removed she would get topsoil herself, and Mr. Merjeski said some residents had been working on their yards when additional debris and straw was added. Mr. Wilson said that the contractor should be required to move at least the larger rocks. Mr. Shaffer said that the debris issue would be included on the punch list and would need to be resolved before the final inspection. Mr. Ward suggested getting an independent soil sample with regard to soil quality. Mr. Shaffer said they should see what the township could do to resolve the problem.
Mr. Ward made a motion that the committee recommend the township put a halt to any further topsoil placement by Valley Seeding, pending resolution to the soil content issue. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously by the Committee.
Mr. Merjeski noted that the bump out on the northeast end of the project, near Yardville Bank, had a lot of weeds, and asked who would maintain the grassy areas along the street; Mr. Ward said he hoped that the shopping center would maintain the area. Mr. Merjeski suggested approaching property owners about maintenance. Mr. Lombardi said he has met with Mr. Pellegrino last week to review the site and said they discussed trying to communicate with people on the street to field any small problems. He said they thought of sending around a flyer giving contact information and asking if there were any problems that needed to be addressed but were reluctant to open the door for petty grievances. Mr. Lombardi said that people needed to know that they have a place to go with problems. Mr. Shaffer suggested that the Community Relations Committee should reach out to address concerns. Mr. Purscell said he thought the committee already knew what the issues were and that if there were any real problems someone would have spoken up.
Mr. Bebon suggested that the committee do a walk-around, which would be announced to residents along the street, and said that people might be apt to come out and speak to someone at that time. It was suggested that a flyer be distributed announcing the time for the walk-around and that the walk be done on a weekend. Mr. Shaffer noted that the on site workers from H & K and he have attempted to resolve problems as they arise in the field. He suggested that the committee walk the site independently in August and put together a list of issues, saying that some issues may be able to be addressed before the final inspection.
Mr. Ward made a motion to direct the Community Relations Committee to develop a program for a walk through site inspection, with appropriate notice to property owners, to determine the length and extent of any concerns and how they shall be addressed by the committee. Mr. Merjeski seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by the Committee.
D. Haines & Kibblehouse –
E. Acme Site Update
Mr. Lombardi said that the Elliott Building Group would be developing the site; work should begin as soon as H & K has left the site. Mr. Tyrol suggested that they should ask H & K to demolish the building while they are still here.
Mr. Lombardi suggested Monday, August 22 as the date for the ribbon cutting to dedicate the street and celebrate the end of the Sycamore Street project. He said that Mark Schweiker, governor at the time the grant was approved, would try to be available; he said he would like to contact the present governor as well. Mr. Purscell said that he gave the township a 10’ slab of marble with the thought it could be used for the top of a bench in the area where the commemoration might be held. Mr. Lombardi said that the Township HARB has asked that something be done to commemorate Elinor Campbell; a committee of HARB will design and fund a plaque.
Mr. Ward made a motion that Monday, August 22, 2005 be tentatively scheduled for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Sycamore Street. Mr. Nejman seconded the motion, which was unanimously approve by the Committee.
Mr. Purscell commended the committee for a job well done, noting that Mr. Lombardi and the committee had worked very hard. He noted that there had been minimum disruption along the street and that most contractors had been helpful. He noted a number of items he had observed that the committee might wish to address:
Mr. Purscell suggested that the committee review the redefinition of rights of way along the street; Mr. Lombardi said the issue is being looked into.
Ms. Thomas asked when the area in front of her business would be completed; Mr. Shaffer said she should meet with H & K to finalize details and discuss options.
Mr. Shaffer said he is trying to meet with someone from Armour Electric to discuss the lighting of the streetlights. He said that the traffic light at Jefferson Avenue would flash for 7 days before becoming operational, and that when the traffic lights are on they would be synched in the closed loop system. Mr. Shaffer noted that traffic lights in the Borough would become part of the closed loop later.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9, 2005.
On motion by Mr. Tyrol and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary