TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MINUTES - FEBRUARY 1, 1999
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 1, 1999. Chairman Strahle called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. noting that the Board had been meeting in Executive Session since 6:30 p.m. to discuss personnel and legal matters.
Board of Supervisors:
William Strahle, Chairman
Wesley Hackman, Vice Chairman
Frank Fazzalore, Secretary/Treasurer
Scott Fegley, Supervisor (left meeting in progress)
Grace Godshalk, Supervisor
Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Jan Gouza, Township Engineer
Charles Ronaldo, Chief of Police
Mr. Art Florack stated he is a member of the Lower Makefield Township Senior Citizens Group but would like to make a statement this evening as a member of the community who is still interested in a Community Center for Lower Makefield Township. He thanked the Board for their efforts in this regard. He stated even though the Referendum failed, it did get over 4,000 votes and there is still a pressing need for a Community Center. He stated he will continue to try to promote a Community Center. He stated it had been suggested that they try to get donations, and he would agree that if the Board of Supervisors decides to proceed with construction of a Community Center, he and his wife will donate $1,000 toward equipping the Center.
Mr. Hackman stated the Community Center was discussed at the last meeting and he agrees that there is a growing need and would be willing to work on this.
Mrs. Mary Borkovitz stated she is the Executive Director of the Lower Makefield Society for the Performing Arts and is present to report that yesterday they had a world class pianist perform at the Township, and there were 150 people in attendance and they ran out of space. She noted this was on Super Bowl Sunday. She stated an original work was performed by this artist for the first time and a number of people came from surrounding communities who were amazed that such a program existed in the community. She stated the Music Critic for the Trenton Times attended and will be reporting on the concert in the paper this week.
Ms. Elizabeth Christopher stated she has attended a number of the recent meetings in support of the Chief of Police and to voice her opinion that hiring a Public Safety Director is unnecessary. She still feels this way and would ask that the Board re-consider this use of Township funds and put those funds to some other use, possibly a Community Center. She stated possibly the Referendum did not pass since the plans were not finalized and the voters did not know what they were actually voting for.
Ms. Jean Sheridan stated her family has lived in the Township for five generations. She read in the paper that $70,000 was to be paid to a new Public Safety Director and asked if this figure includes benefits. Mr. Hackman stated it does not. Ms. Sheridan stated possibly the new employee will also need a vehicle, office equipment, and a secretary. She suggested that the Board put this matter up for a vote in the May election and let the taxpayers decide how they want their money spent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the January 18, 1999 Minutes as amended.
DISCUSSION AND MOTIONS ON RIVER ROAD SANITARY SEWER PROJECT
Mr. Tom Zarko and Mr. Ken Kulmer of CKS were present with Henry Hoffmeister, Sewer Administrator and Mr. Richard Gauck of the Sewer Authority. Mr. Zarko stated the project has been extensively reviewed by the Sewer Authority and presented to the Board of Supervisors on several occasions at prior meetings. Mr. Zarko stated because of cost concerns they were asked to look at a low pressure system which would involve the installation of individual grinder pumps that would discharge into a common force main as opposed to a conventional system. The proposed system would include a gravity system for the first five properties and grinders for the remaining properties. An overhead was shown of the properties involved. Mr. Zarko noted where the common force main would extend at the rear of the properties.
Mr. Fazzalore asked about easements, and Mr. Kulmer stated they would need eleven easements. Mr. Strahle asked if there are manholes in the traditional sense, and
Mr. Kulmer stated the only manhole would be out in River Road and there would be none in the rear yards. Mr. Zarko stated there would be clean-outs where there are bends in the force mains. Mr. Strahle asked if this route involves any front yards, and Mr. Kulmer stated it goes out one front yard and this was noted on the overhead. Mr. Fazzalore asked if the owners would be responsible for the clean-outs. Mr. Zarko stated the common force mains and gravity mains would be owned and maintained by the Township. The grinders would be maintained by each property owner. Mr. Fazzalore asked if the Sewer Authority would inspect these, and Mr. Hoffmeister stated these would be on private property and it would be up to the individual property owners to maintain and call someone if there is a problem. Mrs. Godshalk asked about the proper maintenance schedule for such a proposal. Mr. Zarko stated they would have to remove grease build up once every one or two years. He stated they have been told it is between eight and ten years for service calls for this type of unit. Mr. Hackman asked if the force main could not go down River Road for three more lots. Mr. Kulmer stated there is significant vegetation that would need to be disturbed in order to do this. Mr. Zarko stated they also tried to stay out of the PennDOT right-of-way to cut down on costs.
Mr. Fegley stated he understands that the proposal being discussed was approved by a majority of the Sewer Authority but in reading the Sewer Authority Minutes, it appears there was quite a bit of disagreement on whether this was the most desirable way to proceed and in fact it appeared there was a better route which would have required the
Township to contribute an additional $150,000 in addition to the $150,000 already agreed to by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Gauck stated there was a difference of opinion on the two systems - the one being a low pressure system which would require homeowners to have individual mini pump stations they would have to maintain versus a conventional gravity system in concert with a pumping station out of the floodplain of the Delaware River. He noted what they are proposing are systems which would not be out of the floodplain. He stated he voted in favor of the conventional system and not this system which is being proposed. He feels the conventional system, while it would cost significantly more up front, would be the preferable system in the long term. He feels this is an inappropriate expenditure of capital monies when the conventional system can be installed even though it would initially cost more money. Mr. Fegley asked the advantage of the conventional system. Mr. Gauck stated in a power outage, they would have all these individual low pressure systems without power versus a conventional system with one municipal system which would have a stand-by generator. He is also opposed to all of the individual systems in the floodplain versus one system out of the floodplain.
Mr. Hackman stated this proposal was considered because the residents indicated they could only afford a certain amount of money. He stated it appeared that the conventional system would have cost each individual $25,000 per lot as opposed to this lesser amount for the system now being proposed. Mr. Gauck stated this is why he recommended that Lower Makefield Township make a higher contribution toward the project because he does not feel this area was well served by prior planners.
Mr. Zarko stated when the conventional system was discussed by the Board of Supervisors, the Board indicated they would make a contribution toward the project.
Mr. Fazzalore stated he felt that the Board indicated they would not make a contribution if they proceeded with the individual grinder pump system. Other Board members present disagreed. Mr. Hoffmeister stated both proposals were reviewed at a prior joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and Sewer Authority and at that time there was no commitment made by the Board of Supervisors on a specific monetary contribution. It was sent back to the Sewer Authority to investigate further. Later a monetary contribution was discussed but no decision was made by the Board of Supervisors as to the type of system.
Mr. Hackman stated when the Board of Supervisors approved the $150,000 contribution, they were talking about a pump station system that cost between $600,000 and $700,000. Mr. Koopman agreed with Mr. Hackman’s recollection. Mr. Hackman stated they then looked at the low pressure system and he put together some figures for several different systems and indicated at that time that since the total cost to build the system was going to be substantially less than a conventional system, he felt the Board of Supervisors would have to again review the contribution they were going to make. In the budget he used a zero contribution as the Township’s contribution so they would show this as the worst case. Mr. Fazzalore agreed with Mr. Hackman’s recollection but added he does feel a contribution should be made by the Township.
Mr. Fegley stated it appeared that the Sewer Authority was in agreement that the conventional system was the right way to go assuming $300,000 from the Township was available. Mr. Gauck agreed with this comment. Mr. Fegley stated if this is the recommendation from the Sewer Authority and the sewer engineer and since it is the most environmentally sound way to proceed, he feels the Township should contribute $300,000.
Mr. Strahle asked how many lots are involved and the status of whether some of the open lots are buildable. He noted the more lots which are included, the less it would cost for each individual. Mr. Zarko stated there are twenty-nine parcels; however, one lot owned
by the State cannot be assessed. He noted of the twenty-eight remaining lots, there are homes on twenty-two, and six are vacant. Mr. Zarko stated they felt that three of these vacant lots were buildable but the other three were not. They discussed this with the Township Solicitor today and he indicated he had additional information on this matter.
Mr. Koopman stated all of the lots are non-conforming lots, but the property owners could attempt to obtain a Zoning Variance from the Zoning Hearing Board. He stated he feels there is a reasonable likelihood that the owners of the three properties could obtain a variance as long as there were no substantial adverse effects on the health, safety, and welfare. It would not seem building on these lots would impact the height of the flood in the area. Mr. Koopman asked if it would be economically feasible for someone to build on these lots since the homes would most likely have to be built in stilts or a substantial amount of fill would have to be brought in since they are about nine feet below flood elevation. Mr. Koopman stated they may be able to talk to the three property owners involved about their intentions for these vacant lots.
Mr. Strahle stated they must also make a determination whether everyone is willing to grant an easement. Mr. Koopman stated the Board of Supervisors indicated in October that all property owners would have to grant the easement and all residents expressed a willingness to do so.
Mr. Hackman stated a Township contribution of $50,000 would equal about $2,000 in relief per lot. Mr. Fazzalore asked to what amount they are trying to keep the cost for the homeowner, and Mr. Gauck stated they are trying to keep it at $16,000. Mr. Fazzalore stated he reviewed the year end statements and it appeared the Sewer Department did well and there was enough money to make a $300,000 contribution. Mrs. Godshalk stated there has also been discussion on a possible sewer rate increase. Mr. Hoffmeister stated they will most likely discuss this in April or May. Mr. Fazzalore stated given the amount in the Sewer fund, he would have to be convinced that a rate increase was necessary.
Mr. Gauck stated the Sewer Authority has asked for some additional information as well on a rate increase. Mr. Fazzalore asked what will happen when the next group comes to the Township for public sewers. Mr. Hackman stated he is not convinced that the less costly system may not make the most sense economically for the Township and the residents.
Mr. Gauck stated they are putting the burden of maintaining the pump stations on the individual homeowners. Mr. Gauck stated he feels it is the Township’s responsibility to maintain the infrastructure. Mr. Hackman stated he is concerned with the increased costs and maintenance to the Township for additional pump stations.
Dr. Zip Zimmerman stated he does not need to hook up because his property is two acres and his on-site system is sufficient. He asked what happens north of Woodside Road if this pump station is put in. Mr. Hackman stated he asked this question up front and it seems the answer he received was that those houses would not naturally flow to this pumping station. Mr. Zarko stated the Upper River Road area can be served either through this pumping station or the Clearview Estates side. Mr. Gauck stated the low pressure system could not do this. Mr. Zarko stated they would have to install a parallel force main along with it.
Mr. Hadfield stated twenty years ago there were some oversights made. He feels the residents would be in favor of a system that would cost between $14,000 and $16,000 but not with a system that would cost over $20,000.
Mr. Andy Constantini stated he was under the impression the low pressure system was recommended by the Sewer Authority but is now hearing that they would prefer the conventional system. He stated even if they increased the Township contribution to $300,000 it would still not be economically feasible for him. He stated a number of communities have these individual pumps and they seem to be working well.
Mr. Tom Oliver stated $15,000 is a lot of money to come up with and he feels the purpose of government is to bear the cost by many people. He feels they are being penalized for an error made many years ago. He stated he would like to see more of a contribution from the Township.
Mr. Strahle asked the cost to the individual homeowners for the system now being proposed with no contribution by the Township. Mr. Hoffmeister stated the cost for the entire system is $220,000. He stated there would also be additional costs to each homeowner to connect. Mr. Koopman stated with a low pressure system and no Township contribution he felt on the average the cost would be $18,000 to $19,000 each. Mr. Hoffmeister stated costs range from approximately $12,400 to $22,000 for the system they are now discussing depending on the individual lot. Mr. Hoffmeister stated
Mr. Constantini’s property would involve a gravity system and without any Township contribution his share would be $12,347 versus Mr. Hadfield’s property with the low pressure hook up would be $18,972. Mr. Koopman stated it appears Mr. Oliver’s costs would be approximately $24,000. Mr. Hoffmeister stated the residents have worked together with the Township to put together a system where everyone benefits.
Mr. Fazzalore stated if the Township donated $150,000, Mr. Constantini’s costs would then be approximately $6,000.
Mr. Constantini stated there are disparities in the costs for each property owner and asked if they could not make more of a contribution to those whose costs are at the high end of the scale so that it is fair for everyone. Mr. Koopman stated he feels this would be very complicated and is not the approach that was previously discussed.
Mr. Hackman moved and Mr. Fazzalore seconded to approve the low pressure system.
Mr. Fegley stated the Sewer Authority has unanimously endorsed the gravity system as the most engineeringly and environmentally sound method to sewer this area and the Board of Supervisors should consider not just what is cheaper but what is best. He would prefer going with the conventional system and have the Township contribute $300,000.
Mr. Strahle stated Mr. Zarko seems to indicate that both systems operate equally as efficiently and he would like to proceed as soon as possible since there are health and safety risks with the current systems.
Motion carried with Mr. Fegley voting no.
Mr. Hackman moved and Mr. Fazzalore seconded to contribute $100,000 toward the capital expense of the common line.
Mr. Fegley stated he felt they had discussed $150,000. Mr. Hackman stated $100,000 is roughly 45% of the cost of the common line.
Mrs. Godshalk moved to amend the motion that they charge a hook-up fee of $700 as opposed to the current fee of $1700, since these are homeowners and not developers.
Mr. Hackman would not agree to this amendment.
Mr. Oliver stated the Board is now transferring more costs onto the homeowners.
Mrs. Peg Zimmerman stated she recalls that the Township helped property owners in the past so that they did not have to go out and get their own financing and this was done by some type of allocation. Mrs. Godshalk stated in the past if people were not able to pay, they placed a lien on the house and low interest loans were made available and she would be in favor of doing this again. Mr. Oliver asked how he will be assessed, and if he will be assessed the same as someone with a conventional system. Mr. Hackman stated he provided numbers on this in the past. Mr. Oliver stated if they went with the conventional system, they would be able to finance this at a low interest rate. Mr. Hackman stated this should not change with this system. Mr. Bill Jones stated the $5,000 for each grinder pump is no longer part of the common system and will not be able to be financed as part of the common system. He noted the costs are going down for the Township and the residents are taking on this burden. Mr. Hackman stated the conventional system costs more than twice as much as this system now being proposed and will be less for all residents.
Mr. Constantini stated he understands the Township contributed 40% toward the cost of the last sewer project. He again suggested that the contribution be adjusted on a sliding scale since the property with the highest cost is paying double what he is going to have to pay and he does not feel this is fair to those other homeowners. Mr. Hackman stated the common system is being shared equally. He stated each individual homeowner will then have a different cost depending on their individual property.
Mr. Strahle stated they have not yet decided when people will be required to hook up although they will be assessed the common costs immediately.
Motion to approve contribution carried unanimously.
Mrs. Godshalk moved and Mr. Fegley seconded to give a $1,000 discount on the tap-in fee. Mr. Fegley asked if they have the legal authority to do this. Mr. Koopman stated he feels they have the legal authority to waive a portion of the fee. Mr. Hackman stated he feels this is a bad precedent to set. Mrs. Godshalk stated these are taxpayers not developers, and she feels the Board should give them this discount. Mr. Hackman asked if they are going to give other residents this discount as well. Mr. Fegley noted the Makefield Lakes situation which, while it did not involve sewers, did involve a problem those residents were having, and the Township advised them they were not going to spend any money on private property. He stated the Board now appears to be doing this by proceeding with this discount on the tap-in fee. Mrs. Godshalk stated in this case, they are facilitating tapping into a Township system which will increase the Township’s number of customers. Mr. Koopman stated at Highview Estates they did not offer this reduction in the tap-in fee.
Motion did not carry as Mrs. Godshalk and Mr. Strahle were in favor and Mr. Fazzalore, Mr. Fegley, and Mr. Hackman were opposed.
Mr. Koopman stated the Board must decide if they will have to pay the assessment immediately or, as the Sewer Authority has recommended, that the Township defer payment of the assessment for eight to ten years at an interest rate of 4% to 6%.
Mr. Fazzalore moved that they charge the current interest rate the Township is paying and if the Township has to pay an increased interest rate, their interest rate will raise at the same time. There was no second.
Mr. Hackman stated he felt it should be the interest rate at the time the system is built.
Mr. Hoffmeister stated at Highview Estates, the time period was five years and the interest rate was 9%, with the individuals paying this every November.
Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried that they finance at a rate of 5% up to a maximum of ten years.
Mr. Koopman noted the recommendation of the Sewer Authority regarding time of connection.
Mr. Fegley moved and Mr. Hackman seconded that all properties having a C or F rating on their on-lot system will be required to connect to the system within six months of the completion of the system. All homes, regardless of rating, must connect immediately if they are sold.
Mr. Leonard Franckowiack stated there are a minimum number of people who must be tied in for the system to work. Mr. Zarko stated the system will function if there is just one hook up for a short period of time.
Motion to approve carried unanimously.
PRESENTATION OF PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR I95/332 LOOP RAMP
Mr. Pasquale Dougherty and Ms. Francine Arnold representing McCormick, Taylor & Associates, Inc. were present with Elaine Elbish, Project Manager for PennDOT.
Ms. Elbish stated Mr. Andrew Warren had intended to be present this evening; however, he had an emergency situation involving Route 1.
Ms. Elbish stated the project came about in coordination with the Township and the County and the project is currently on the Twelve Year Plan. They started meeting in 1997 on the ramp design and have had a number of meetings since that time. Currently they are in the environmental phase and they have completed a number of historical reports and a point of access study. Mr. Dougherty noted the number of alternatives which were considered, and these were shown on the overhead. He stated they identified a problem with the left turn heading north to Scudders’ Falls Bridge from Newtown. Alternatives considered to correct this problem included putting in a double left turn lane and widening out the ramp to accommodate two lanes of traffic. They had McMahan Associates do some traffic counts and they found with this alternative 2017 projects traffic would still operate at a Level of Service F.
Mr. Strahle noted a large part of the back up is due to the fact that I-95 backs up from the Scudders’ Falls Bridge and unless they do something about the Bridge, it will still be backed up and operate at a Level of Service F. He asked if there is anything on the Twelve Year Plan to address this. Mr. Dougherty stated at this time no widening of the Scudders’ Falls Bridge is planned. Ms. Elbish stated there are I-95 improvements planned which may include the Bridge but these are years down the road. Mr. Fazzalore stated he was told improvements to I-95 did not include the Bridge, and Ms. Elbish stated the Bridge would have to be a separate project. Mr. Hackman stated he has read there is thought being given to putting in another bridge across the Delaware River near Bristol. Mr. Dougherty stated the current proposal is to build an interchange and run I-95 across the Turnpike Bridge.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she also saw a crossing of the Delaware proposed near U.S. Steel.
Ms. Elbish stated there are always highway projects in the development stage, but she is not certain that anything is proposed for that at this time. She stated she would look into what projects are being considered.
Mr. Dougherty stated they also looked into a loop ramp making a free flow right-turn so people would not back up onto Stony Hill Road. This was shown on the overhead.
He stated this appeared to work well. Mr. Strahle asked the distance from Mirror Lake Road, and Mr. Dougherty stated it is over 1,000 feet. He stated this permits more stacking in the left turn lane to the Philadelphia area. Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels the light will still stop traffic going east on 332 and there will still be a major bottleneck. She asked if they are not concerned with people from Lower Makefield going to Philadelphia.
Ms. Elbish stated they have done calculations on future traffic. Mr. Dougherty stated the intersection on the Stony Hill Road side did not have serious level of service problems.
Mr. Dougherty noted they looked at other variations, one of which, Alternate 3, eliminated the ramp in the northeast quadrant and made people coming from Yardley turn left onto the new ramp.
Mr. Dougherty stated they recommended proceeding with Alternate 2. The loop ramp will take thirty acres in the configuration now shown and the recommendation was to reduce the ramp so they made another variation and this is now their current recommendation which is called 2A modified. The shaded area is the take from the Township-owned land (Patterson Farm.) Mr. Fazzalore stated it appears there has been a considerable reduction in the taking, and Mr. Dougherty stated it has gone from 30 acres to 18 acres.
Mr. Fazzalore asked if the ramp is safe as designed. Mr. Dougherty stated it is designed for 30 miles per hour. Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel the trucks go 30 miles per hour. Ms. Elbish stated the ramp is based on current design standards.
Mr. Fegley asked the impact this will have on traffic coming off of I-95 northbound into Lower Makefield. He stated he feels they will be backing up traffic trying to get off of
I-95. Mr. Dougherty stated cars turning left from Newtown Township will have free flow and will not stop at the traffic light. Cars getting off of I-95 at this interchange, will come off outside of this loop. There will be a traffic light relocated from the existing ramp for left turns off of the ramp. The shaded area shown includes the right-of-way.
Mr. Hackman stated there is a problem between this interchange and Lindenhurst Road. He stated Newtown Township is planning additional O/R and Lower Makefield has O/R in the area. He asked how they will solve these problems. Mr. Dougherty stated they hired McMahan Associates who came to the Townships and reviewed the development plans and put these into the projections for 2017. He stated at the peak hour, the count in 1997 was 842 vehicles turning left from 332 onto I-95 and projected in 2017 are 1340 vehicles.
Mr. Hackman asked the Level of Service currently, and Mr. Dougherty stated it is F. By 2017 they feel they will have a Level of Service C with these improvements.
Mr. Fazzalore stated Newtown Township plans to synchronize the lights on the By-Pass and asked what this will do to the traffic flow. Mr. Dougherty stated he feels it is almost synchronized now; but others disagreed. Mr. Dougherty stated there is another PennDOT project that will be done to make the signals synchronized which he feels will happen soon.
Ms. Elbish agreed to find out when this will occur. Mr. Hackman stated he feels this will result in more of a back up at I-95. Mr. Dougherty stated they plan to have a free flow right turn movement assuming I-95 is not backed up.
Mr. Dougherty stated they have identified some wetlands which they will impact with the proposed design. They also found the Patterson Farm is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Properties and the Township has purchased the property for the purpose of open space/parkland. Therefore, they did an impact study on the Patterson Farm. Mrs. Godshalk stated this study would have had to be done whether the Township had purchased the property or not, and Mr. Dougherty agreed. Mrs. Godshalk asked if there will be a specific study on the Agricultural Security District, and Mr. Dougherty stated PennDOT’s chief counsel has ruled they do not have an agricultural impact. He stated because this project is an extension of existing ramps, it is a specific category. Mr. Peter Bertold from the PennDOT environmental office stated there is a form which must be filled out with a set of items which must be included. There are a certain number of points (160) and if you are over that, you must look at additional alternatives. If they are at 160, they are clear. Mr. Bertold stated he has not yet filled out the form.
Mr. Francine Arnold, a historic preservation specialist for the project, stated Section 106 is the law protecting historic buildings. They went out in April, 1997 and completed a study on the three properties as noted on the overhead. She noted the John Brown Farmstead and the Joseph Satterwaith Farmstead were eligible for the National Register, but the Torbert Homestead was not eligible. She stated the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission concurred with their findings. The second step was to access effects. She found that the original design would have had an adverse effect on both Homesteads.
Ms. Arnold stated after the ramp was reduced, they reviewed the effect of this and they have reduced the take on each property. There was also discussion on landscaping and vegetative plantings to block the view from the new construction and she is reviewing this to see if this could have a "No Adverse" effect. She has not yet submitted the report but feels it will be a "No Adverse" effect. Mr. Fegley asked what landscape measures they have considered and asked about landscaping in the middle of the loop. Ms. Arnold stated they have only considered briefly the landscape measures and they have considered trees which would provide a buffer year round. Mr. Fegley asked about the center area. It was noted this area is a detention basin. Mr. Fazzalore stated they would also be blocking the view of the farm as well, and Ms. Arnold stated this is correct but you cannot see the farm now because of the vegetation. Mr. Strahle asked what they will do with the crops when the construction is taking place. Mr. Dougherty stated there are ways to stop encroachment so that they do not impact the farmland. The construction is wholly within the right-of-way. He stated sometimes the contractor will make a separate deal with the property owner regarding storage sheds, etc. Estimated construction time is one and a half construction seasons. Ms. Elbish stated they feel construction could start in the year 2000.
There was discussion as to when discussion first took place on this project. Ms. Elbish stated it was at Lower Makefield’s request twelve years ago. Mr. Gunkel stated it was recommended in the 1987/88 Wilbur Smith Report and was put on the Twelve Year Plan in 1990.
Mr. Hackman stated there are traffic problems in the area which start from I-95 around Newtown Township in several directions. He is concerned that Lower Makefield is giving up open space to accommodate this traffic but they are not addressing problems on some of the other roads, specifically Newtown Township’s proposal for Concept Way. The Lower Makefield Township Board of Supervisors have wanted to meet with the Newtown Township Board for over four months and have not been able to arrange a meeting. He would like this project they are currently discussing to be included in the overall solution to all the problems, and he will not agree to sign off on any one particular piece. Mr. Strahle stated he has had a phone call in to the Newtown Board Chairman since last week, and he has not received a return call. Mr. Fedorchak stated he has tried since October 29, 1998 to arrange a joint meeting. A few weeks later there was contact between himself and
Mr. Hopkins, the Newtown Township Manager. At that time Mr. Steil was also involved in trying to arrange a meeting, and Mr. Fedorchak felt it was understood the two Boards would meet on Thursday, December 3 to discuss a number of issues. There was further communication and it appears as if there was a misunderstanding, and Mr. Hopkins and Newtown Township were not looking for a meeting between the entire Boards, but wanted a meeting where there was a single representative from each Board in attendance.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she felt it was only to be the Township Managers, engineers, and Public Work Directors. Mr. Fedorchak stated there was discussion about this meeting and Mr. Fedorchak indicated to Mr. Hopkins that this was not acceptable to the Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors. On December 1, 1998 Mr. Fedorchak sent another letter suggesting four dates when they could have a joint meeting of the Boards and they did not receive any response back from them until the most recent discussion and what appeared in the newspaper. Mr. Hackman stated there are problems which should jointly be addressed; and until all the issues are addressed, he is not in favor of moving ahead on this individual portion. Mr. Hackman stated he wants to solve the regional problems, and this involves more than just this interchange.
Mr. Fazzalore asked if the Lower Makefield Township Board will not agree to the ramp, what PennDOT would do at that point. Ms. Elbish stated if the Township is not in favor of proceeding with the project and the County agrees the funds should be used elsewhere, then PennDOT will walk away from the project.
Mrs. Godshalk complimented PennDOT on the scaled down plan but still feels it is too large a ramp and is not the answer to the situation in the area. She stated they are much more built up than they were two years ago and there is much more traffic backing up to make the turn going south to I-95. She also feels they should address the other regional issues. She feels people will still be waiting to get through the lights. Ms. Elbish stated they have to evaluate the entire interchange and they will not jeopardize another area. They feel they are improving the existing conditions. Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels this is a "Band-Aid" approach.
Mr. Fegley stated he feels everyone agrees there is a problem and this project will not be the cure for everything in the region and there will still be problems at other intersections. However, he does feel this particular project could at least improve some of the traffic conditions and feels it is wrong for Lower Makefield to say that since they could not resolve the regional problems, they should not improve this portion. He feels over time, with cooperation from Newtown Township, they can get the other issues resolved as well.
Mr. Hackman stated 99% of the traffic using this loop is coming from Newtown
township and west. He would like to see Newtown Township work with Lower Makefield to help resolve problems at other interchanges as well. Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not feel there is one thing they have been able to agree on with Newtown Township and this is why she would not want to vote on this at this time. She feels the meeting tonight should encourage Newtown Township to meet with Lower Makefield as they have previously promised.
Mr. John Torbert stated he felt at previous meetings it was indicated that the intersection of Stony Hill and Mirror Lake Road and the ramp were graded Level of Service F.
Mr. Dougherty stated it is F now. Mr. Torbert asked about the one at Stony Hill Road.
Mr. Dougherty stated they do not have an answer about that at this time. Mr. Fazzalore stated in their report he feels all those intersections were rated F. Mr. Strahle stated F means you may have to wait more than two minutes, although those at the end of the line may have to wait five minutes. Mr. Torbert stated they mentioned improvements to I-95 and asked what those improvement involved. Ms. Elbish stated currently they are considering a maintenance project. Mr. Fazzalore stated he has read that they will rebuild the road from Philadelphia to Scudders’ Falls Bridge with additional lanes and they were not only talking about resurfacing. Ms. Elbish stated that is in discussion but she is not sure of the status. Mr. Torbert asked if the traffic study referred to trucks versus cars and noted the traffic making the left onto I-95 is mostly cars before 9:00 a.m. but there are large trucks after that time and he is concerned if the ramp is too short, the trucks will turn over.
Mr. Dougherty stated they did count trucks but during peak hours it is mostly cars lining up to make the left. The loop is designed to handle trucks at 30 miles per hour. Mr. Torbert stated the trucks do not go 30 miles per hour. He stated nothing has been said about the impact on his property since his driveway is only a very short distance from the ramp. He stated he feels his driveway will be blocked. Mr. Dougherty stated the proposal is to have a two-phased traffic signal. The signal will work more efficiently. He stated he does feel the line will back up during the peak hours, but feels it will be less than it is today.
Mr. Torbert stated they are having the majority of their problem because Scudders’ Falls Bridge is at gridlock. Mr. Dougherty stated if the loop ramp is installed there will be a free flow movement and this should alleviate problems he is having with people turning around in his driveway.
Mr. Torbert questioned why no one ever contacted his family. Mr. Dougherty stated they did send an initial letter. Ms. Arnold stated she did speak to Mr. Torbert’s father in 1997. Ms. Elbish stated they had to contact the Township because their property is involved in Section 106 as a historic property. Mr. Torbert asked if they will increase the size of 332.
Mr. Dougherty stated they will contact Mr. Torbert about this in the future. Ms. Elbish stated it is too early in the process at this point, but they will contact Mr. Torbert.
Mr. Greg Winters of Clydesdale Circle stated it appears they did not account for where the cars are going and it now appears that the cars are going to I-95 which is creating back ups which the study did not address. Mr. Winters stated they must meet with Newtown Township to consider all the problems.
Mr. Scott Cramer of Willow Wisp stated he feels this is moving the traffic problems closer to Lower Makefield. He stated Lower Makefield Township people want to go west on 332 and North or South on I-95 and they should consider a solution to this difficult area which has caused numerous accidents. Mr. Cramer asked how they could determine that the proposal they are discussing will have "No Adverse" impact. Ms. Arnold stated to assess the effect there is certain criteria they must look at. The property in the center of the loop is not part of the historic area. Mrs. Godshalk stated it appears they are moving the traffic closer to the historic properties. Ms. Arnold stated she is still uncertain as to the final determination. They will still need to have a Memorandum of Agreement in which decisions will be made to include interested parties and they will have to write out what they believe will be a satisfactory mitigation. She stated the alternative now being considered has less of an impact than did the original design. Ms. Arnold stated I-95 is already running past the Patterson Farm.
Mr. Tom Condesendi of Willow Wisp asked if they would receive future notice of meetings and was advised they would be advised. He stated they should also consider the impact of noise and lighting to surrounding neighbors.
Mr. Tom Jennings of Farmore Court asked that they take into account the Mirror Lake Road intersection. He stated he feels they should continue to work on this project and take action as opposed to those who have taken no action.
Ms. Irene Koehler stated Newtown Township told them at previous meetings that if they built out the total O/R area, there would be an extra 7600 cars a day. Mr. Dougherty stated when they referred to 1300 cars, they were discussing peak hour volume and not the total number of cars.
Mr. Ralph Thompson stated if they go to the east end of Scudders’ Falls Bridge there are circular ramps which have been in operation for a long time and they do not take up even half the space that this option they are considering takes up and there have not been serious accidents.
Ms. Diana Radcliff of N. Dove Road asked if they are preventing themselves from doing anything on Mirror Lake Road in the future because of this project. Mr. Fegley stated he does not feel the scope of the project involved consideration of the intersection of 332 and Mirror Lake Road. He feels this would be a discussion for an entirely different project. He stated he feels there are plans at some point in the future to align Creamery and Mirror Lake Road so it is a "T" intersection. Ms. Radcliff stated she feels it should be addressed as part of this project since it is too close to ignore. Mrs. Godshalk stated they have applied for a permit for a traffic light at this intersection. There will also be a right turn lane to go on Mirror Lake Road and a traffic light to make turns safely. Chief Ronaldo stated they feel this will be done shortly - possibly in March.
Mr. Mike Cavanaugh stated he has resided in Newtown Township for twenty years and he does not feel Lower Makefield is responsible for the problems and feels Newtown Township has not addressed the problems they are experiencing. He stated the traffic on
I-95 going to the Scudders’ Falls Bridge is what is creating the problem. He stated they are simply moving the problem with this solution. He stated PennDOT did a good job at Cornwells and asked if any consideration has been given to doing something similar at this location since it would already be PennDOT property and they would not have to do any environmental studies.
Mr. Leonard Franckowiack asked if the PennDOT representative was familiar with Concept Way, and Ms. Elbish stated she is not completely familiar with it. Mr. Franckowiack reviewed the proposal for Concept Way. He stated Newtown Township has indicated the problem of increased traffic at Lindenhurst Road is Lower Makefield’s problem.
Mr. Franckowiack stated as long as Newtown Township gets the ratables, they do not care about the traffic. Ms. Elbish stated as part of the project, they will have to discuss issues with Newtown as well.
Mr. Strahle expressed concern with the safety issues because of the gravel trucks which have been forced onto Lower Makefield Township rural roads because the bridge at Eagle Road does not support the truck traffic.
Ms. Chevan Barrett of Heather Ridge stated they sent PennDOT over one hundred letters requesting PennDOT to meet with them on Concept Way. She stated she never received a response to the two letters she personally sent. She asked that PennDot meet and discuss these issues with the residents.
Ms. Gail Lockland from Newtown Township stated Mr. Hopkins was directed by the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors to send to the Township Manager another traffic study with regard to Concept Way.
Ms. Elbish apologized for not knowing more about Concept Way and will take the information back to PennDOT that the residents would like to have a response.
Mr. Fazzalore thanked Ms. Elbish for the presentation and stated they should recognize that they have not "killed" the project, but want to work further on it.
DISCUSS TOWNSHIP ENGINEER’S 1999 PROJECT STATUS REPORT
Mr. Gouza stated they put this together approximately one week ago. Mr. Strahle stated they will review this and discuss it further at a future meeting.
PROPOSED ACCESS TO FAYTOL TRACT - APPROVE CONCEPT
Mr. Hackman suggested they table this and review it on the Spring Road Tour.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels it will be too late since Toll Bros. is finishing their work there. She stated she feels when they are there with the machinery, they should get this matter resolved. Mr. Gouza stated if the Board of Supervisors agrees to the concept, they would then go back to Toll Bros. and ask to what extent they might participate.
Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the concept.
AUTHORIZE TOWNSHIP ENGINEER TO PREPARE SPECIFICATIONS AND GO OUT TO BID FOR HANDICAP RAMPS
Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to authorize the Township Engineer to prepare specifications and go out to bid for installation of handicap ramps in the budgeted amount of $20,000.
PUBLIC HEARING AND APPROVAL OF ACT 537 SEWAGE FACILITIES PLAN
Mr. Zarko stated the highlights of the Plan note that the Township has done a good job since 1976 with its sewer planning and the system is adequate to address current and future needs except for the Black Rock Road Station where they are recommending an infiltration study. They also noted potential problems with capacity in the Inter-Municipal Agreement with Yardley Borough but are recommending that they wait on this aspect.
They have also considered six areas where public sewers should be extended. Of those six, Edgewood Village Historic District and the River Road/Robinson Place area were prioritized in light of discussions with the Health Department and residents. The 537 has been advertised for discussion this evening and all review comments have been received.
Mr. Hackman moved and Mr. Fazzalore seconded to approve the Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan with the Resolution number to be added at a later time.
Mr. Fazzalore asked why all six areas were not recommended to be sewered in the next five years. Mr. Zarko stated they had discussions with the Health Department which indicated these two area were the areas with the worst problems. Mr. Fazzalore stated his area also has serious problems as do other areas on the list. Mr. Hoffmeister stated the law requires that they address a short program and a long program and they have indicated that these two areas have immediate problems. He stated in Mr. Fazzalore’s area it could be less than ten years.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she has a problem with bringing sewers to an area that is not developed. She stated if it is to be developed, the developer should pay for the sewers. She is also against sewers in Edgewood Village since it will result in a number of homes being ripped down in order for public sewers to go in. Mr. Hackman stated if there is a health hazard, he feels they must address it. Mr. Zarko stated the Health Department specifically indicated they were pleased that Edgewood Village was identified in the five year portion of the plan because of the problems there. Mr. Zarko stated for the areas identified which are not developed, they would recommend that the developers install the sewers.
Mrs. Godshalk stated public sewers are a detriment to the historic preservation of the Village. She feels people with problems should be able to deal with those problems on their own. Mr. Hoffmeister stated the Health Department has identified Edgewood Village for the last twelve years. Mrs. Godshalk stated she would like to see individual reports. She stated people she knows who live in the Village do not know of anyone who has a problem. Mr. Hoffmeister stated there are residents who have a problem. He noted approximately eleven years ago a number of people from the Village came to the Township and stated there was a problem but they did not want to inform on their neighbors. He stated any renovation of a malfunction must be done according to the current regulations. He does not feel putting sewers in an area will be a detriment to the area. Mrs. Godshalk stated the Bucks County Village Handbook advises against this.
It was noted the Sewer Plan has not been updated since 1976.
Motion carried with Mrs. Godshalk voting no. Mr. Fazzalore was not present for the vote.
TABLING OF PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER AMENDMENT TO THE ZONING CODE RELATING TO STORMWATER MANAGEMENT, EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL AND GRADING (ORDINANCE NO. 321)
Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to table this matter to the next meeting.
Mr. Doherty asked if his office could be advised of any questions the Board may have prior to the next meeting so they can be prepared to address them, and the Board agreed.
RITE AID PLAZA - APPROVAL OF DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present. Mr. Strahle stated he read in the paper that Rite Aid has decided to switch over one of its drug stores to a drive-through and asked if they have any intention to do this at this location. Mr. Murphy stated this is their intention and it has been shown on the plan since the plans were first submitted. Mr. Strahle asked about hours of operation, and Mr. Murphy stated they will operate as is the standard practice in the Township.
Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fegley seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Development Agreement for the Rite Aid Plaza.
DISCUSSION OF JOINT MEETING WITH NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP TO DISCUSS MUTUAL TRAFFIC CONCERNS
Mr. Fedorchak agreed to contact Mr. Hopkins again tomorrow about setting up a joint meeting.
DISCUSSION OF COUNTY OPEN SPACE LAND ACQUISITION GRANT
Mr. Fedorchak stated he met with the County Open Space Board to discuss the Patterson Farm and they unanimously approved it. He stated on Wednesday, February 3 the County Commissioners will be meeting at the Dublin Star Diner and he will be attending that meeting at 10:00 a.m. and anticipates they will formally approve the Grant application. All Supervisors were invited to attend.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPEALS
Mr. Hackman stated the Zoning Hearing Board was unable to meet at their last scheduled meeting due to lack of a quorum.
There was discussion on the Special Exception request filed by Janelle Chambers, 1297 Lindenhurst Road for a home occupation for massage therapy. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels a time limit should be placed so she does not operate 24 hours a day. Mrs. Godshalk stated they should check into the permitted hours for other home occupations.
No action was taken on the Scott & Denise Wilson, 505 Keating, variance request.
UPDATE ON POLICE PISTOL RANGE REQUEST AND APPROVAL OF $800 CONSULTING FEE
Chief Ronaldo stated they located a firm which will do a study on the range for $800.
Mr. Strahle stated while he is in favor of this, he felt Chief Ronaldo and Mr. Fedorchak were going to meet on the entire issue and the work could be done all at one time. He felt the design from the NRA was for a complete overhaul. Chief Ronaldo stated it was very difficult to get someone to agree to work on this and this was the only firm which would agree to come and do the work. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels the cleaning is a separate job. Mrs. Godshalk stated this proposal is just for the clean up. Chief Ronaldo stated they will come in and tell them what they have to do to get the lead out, address the berm and the canopy, and resolve the problems with the wash out.
Mr. Fegley moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to approve $800 for the consulting fee.
Mr. Fegley left the meeting at this time.
Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Strahle stated the Newsletter is at the printers.
Mr. Fazzalore stated the Pool Board will meet this Thursday and will discuss the renovations to the Snack Bar. This matter should be on the next Board of Supervisors’ Agenda.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 p.m.
Frank Fazzalore, Secretary