TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MARCH 20, 2000
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 20, 2000. Chairman Hackman 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 legal and personnel matters. Mr. Hackman asked for a moment of silence in memory of former Lower Makefield Township Fire Chief John Ziaylek.
Mr. Hackman asked that all residents remember to complete their Census information.
Board of Supervisors:
Wesley Hackman, Chairman
Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
Ms. Mary Borkovitz representing the Performing Arts Society stated she is a thirty year resident of the Township and is in favor of the Community Center. She noted she feels there is a need for meeting space in the Township and a need to provide activities for the young and old residents in the Township. Mr. Hackman asked that Ms. Borkovitz provide a copy of her written comments to the Township and the newspapers for their information.
Mr. Paul Gunkel stated he has discussed use of the school facilities for meeting space with a representative of the Pennsbury School District Administrative staff who indicated the school facilities are often available to the community if booked in advance.
Ms. Sue Herman stated she supports the Community Center and feels it will help promote intermingling of the elderly and young people in the community.
Mr. Allan stated he is involved with many programs and the school facilities are often not available. He encouraged Mr. Gunkel to share some of his expertise with the young people in the community. Mr. Gunkel stated he feels this can be done at other facilities already existing in the Township.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels there has been significant progress in the Township over the past thirty years providing recreation opportunities for the residents and she feels the Township should do what they can to help the young people in the community.
Mr. Fazzalore stated while he does not disagree with the concept of a Community Center he is concerned that they are not telling the public everything. He stated the Township is planning to have a wrap-around bond and he does not feel this is how they should proceed and feels they should proceed with the bonds for this project as they have with bonds in the past. He stated wrap-around bonds will create a problem for a future Board since they will not have any borrowing capacity. Mr. Hackman stated the Bucks County Courier Times did print a listing by year of what the debt for the Community Center will be so he does feel the public has been advised. Mr. Fegley stated he did not recall that there was any extensive discussion as to how they would finance the Community Center since it has not yet been approved. He agreed that the Bucks County Courier Times did print an extensive article on the financing. He feels the Referendum has been well publicized. Mr. Fegley stated he is concerned that certain elements do tend to distort the truth and noted specifically a flyer that was distributed in the Township objecting to the Community Center which contained a number of distortions.
Mr. Len Franckowiak stated he has been present at every Supervisorsí meeting and Mr. Fazzalore has raised an issue tonight that he never heard before. He is concerned that this information is just being brought out now and that there may be other issues they do not know about.
Mr. Hackman stated except for the Patterson Farm, the Township will be debt free in eight to nine years. He stated the reason they are wrapping around the bond is to spread out the cost.
Ms. Irene Koehler noted the construction of a restaurant near the Hampton Inn. The Board advised Ms. Koehler that the building under construction is a bank. No restaurant has been approved at this time. Ms. Koehler stated she hopes the Board of Supervisors will continue to keep the hours of operation for retail establishments that they have in the past.
Ms. Janet Wassum asked if the taxes will go down when the Township is debt free, and Mr. Hackman stated they will unless the Township borrows more money.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mr. Fegley seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of March 6, 2000 as corrected.
PRESENTATION OF 1999 AUDIT REPORT
Mr. Edward Furman was present with Mr. William Taylor, Finance Director. Mr. Furman provided a summary report and stated his report is unqualified. He noted cash in the General Fund was up over $500,000 and the Fund balance is up close to $400,000. He stated the Township is showing a balance well above average and is strong financially. He stated there are several pages of footnotes on the Pension Plan. The Plans are sound on a long-term basis.
Mr. Fazzalore noted in past years there were notes to the Department Heads including items to take care of, and Mr. Furman stated they are issuing separate letters to the Department Heads.
Mr. Furman stated their firm handles approximately fifteen Townships and Lower Makefield Township is near the top as it relates to monthly reports and accounting records.
Mr. Hackman noted the Cash Balance in the General Fund is up $500,000 for a total of $2.5 million and the Fund Balance is up $400,000 to $2.3 million He stated the Township is in excellent financial shape. He feels the Township records are outstanding, and he thanked Mr. Taylor and his staff for doing an excellent job. Other Board members concurred.
Mr. Fazzalore stated he is still somewhat concerned with the long-term financial situation that the Township will face in the future.
REVIEW OF PENNDOTíS TRAFFIC STUDY OF LINDENHURST/STOOPVILLE ROADS AND MOTION TO AUTHORIZE TRAFFIC STUDY TO BE DONE FOR WARRANTS FOR A TRAFFIC SIGNAL AT WOODSIDE ROAD AND TWINING ROAD
Mr. Jim Yeager of Parsons Brinckerhoff was present. Mr. Yeager stated PennDOT completed the truck study they were asked to do as it relates to the quarry truck traffic.
Mr. Yeagerís firm was asked to look at that PennDOT study to see if they agreed with their methodology and what could be done with the information. Mr. Yeager stated PennDOTís study took a rigorous look at the roadways in the area following their procedures. They look to find any fatal flaws in the roadways and how they accommodate trucks. They then determine whether the road is suitable to handle heavy trucks. They looked at the accident history of the roadways including how trucks contributed to the accidents. They look at the geometry of the roadway, traffic speed to see if there is a difference between automobile speed and truck speed, and traffic volumes. Their conclusion was that none of the roadways were unacceptable for truck traffic.
Mr. Yeager stated he had always felt that the quarry trucks were using Lindenhurst Road more than other roads. He stated they have shown the location of the quarries on a map along with the various routes the trucks may use to get to I-95. He has also shown the total trucks and the number of quarry trucks using the various roads. He stated they have found the quarry trucks are fairly well distributed among the various routes that are available to serve them, and Lindenhurst and Stoopville really have the lightest amount of total traffic of all the routes which were studied.
Mr. Yeager stated there was concern that the PennDOT study was done while there was construction on Stoopville Road. They looked into the exact dates the road was closed, and the counts were done at a time when the road was actually open. He did find out that the Stoopville Road signs were up earlier than the actual construction took place but he feels the trucks with their CB system recognized that the road was really open. He stated there may have been a slight decrease in the amount of traffic, but he does not feel it was significant on Stoopville Road. He stated they also did a count themselves on Lindenhurst Road when they looked at CAU, and there was no significant difference.
With regard to the accident information, Mr. Yeager stated PennDOT pulled all accident data for the last five years. They did not find any of the roadways were above the State-wide average for accidents. They also looked further to see which accidents were related to truck traffic, and the numbers showed that the trucks were not the primary cause of accidents on any of the roads.
Mr. Yeager stated the State also looked at the speed of the roadway to see if truck traffic should be prohibited because of speed differentials. He stated with the exception of the By-Pass, the traffic was traveling at a rate of speed significantly higher than the posted speed. He noted specifically truck traffic average was 45 miles per hours and car traffic was 48 miles per hour on Lindenhurst Road. Mr. Yeager stated a traffic engineer would look at these figures and recommend that the speed be increased on Lindenhurst Road; however, he would not recommend this due to other conditions on the road such as the frequency of driveways. Mr. Yeager stated they should continue the speed enforcement that is currently taking place on these roads. He is concerned that the speed study was done at Autumn Drive and feels further north on the road traffic is probably going at even higher rates of speed. He stated speed was also exceeded by cars and trucks on Stoopville Road although the trucks were only three miles per hour above the speed limit on average.
Mr. Yeager showed photographs which were taken at various locations showing the geometry and land use limitations on the roads that were included in the study.
It was noted that 413/Durham Road is a principal arterial road and is meant to handle more traffic than a collector road, and the figures they have shown do support hits.
Mr. Yeager stated one of his associates did a run from one of the quarries taking three different routes. The Swamp Road alternative was 9 miles, Durham Road was 12 miles, and Stoopville/Lindenhurst Road was 11 miles. He stated the State has not found any reason to deny access to any of the roads for trucks. He stated the timing of the lights on the Newtown By-Pass will help encourage trucks to use this if the timing can be made more attractive to them.
Mr. Yeager stated the Township could look at the warrants for a traffic signal at Lindenhurst Road and Quarry Road and change this to a three way-stop sign which would add a delay.
Mr. Fegley asked if they found any errors in PennDOTís findings other than the monitoring location at Autumn Drive. Mr. Yeager stated he does not feel this is an error since this is the place where safety is most compromised. He stated he was surprised that they identified a fifteen ton weight restriction on the Swamp Road Bridge but did not comment on what could be done to improve this to eliminate the restriction.
Mr. Yeager stated they found that the empty trucks are using Swamp Road as they head back to the quarry since they are then below the weight limit. Filled trucks are also using it when they are below the weight limit so they are assuming that the trucks do chose to use Swamp Road as their shortest route when they are able to use it.
Ms. Karen Freedman from Lindenhurst Road stated the truck numbers being shown are from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. there are a significant number of trucks coming down Lindenhurst Road which is affecting the qualify of life of the Lindenhurst Road residents. She feels someone should look into this. She stated they have a video tape showing traffic from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Mr. Yeager stated he would be interested in seeing this tape and then would add those figures into his report. Ms. Freedman asked if he would agree that Swamp Road has as dangerous conditions as the south end of Lindenhurst Road, and Mr. Yeager stated PennDOT has indicated that each of the roadways is capable for handling truck traffic. With regard to the alignment issue, Swamp Road has significant horizontal and vertical curvature in the area of the Bridge similar to those at Lindenhurst Road at its southernmost section.
Ms. Irene Koehler stated she disagrees with the numbers being shown by PennDOT. She stated the detour signs were up in August. Ms. Koehler asked if they could get the numbers from the quarry owners as to how many trucks leave the quarries and then look at the breakdown. She stated she feels the numbers being shown are too low. Mr. Hackman stated the conclusion is that the roads are in such a condition that they should not be closed to truck traffic. He noted quarry trucks make up only 25% of the total truck traffic. Mr. Fegley stated their independent consultant has indicated that the PennDOT study was a good study. Ms. Koehler stated she does not feel the PennDOT figures are correct and Mr. Yeagerís study was based on the PennDOT figures. Mr. Fegley stated Mr. Yeager has indicated he did not feel there would be a significant difference even if the detour signs were not up. Mr. Fegley stated the study tells him that they need to increase their enforcement efforts, and he feels they have started to do this. He stated they have shown it is not just the trucks which are speeding. The cars are speeding as well. He added that accident data shows that the trucks are not causing the majority of the accidents. Acting Chief Bainbridge stated he concurs that the trucks are not significantly over the speed limit.
Ms. Claudia Fountaine of Lindenhurst Road stated she travels on Stoopville Road and the detour signs were up for a very long time and people were finding other routes. She feels the counts should not have been done at the time the signs were up.
Ms. Sue Herman stated she reviewed the PennDOT truck accident figures and found there were seven accidents on Lindenhurst Road involving heavy trucks. Mr. Yeager stated when they looked at accidents as a whole, Lindenhurst Road was below the State-wide average. Ms. Herman stated at the north end of Lindenhurst Road the speed the vehicles are traveling is 60 miles per hour; and she feels there should be discussions regarding reducing the speed limit, installing traffic lights, and installing stop signs. Mr. Yeager stated the PennDOT report did discuss advance warning devices.
Mr. Hackman noted the bridge in front of his home on Lindenhurst Road will be replaced and the road will be improved which will permit cars and trucks to travel at even higher speeds. Mr. Fegley stated this is why he feels enforcement is key.
Mr. Herman stated Representatives Steil and Conti indicated they would have State Police come out to help with enforcement, and Acting Chief Bainbridge was asked to look into this.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she also discussed traffic lights at Woodside and Twining Roads and she feels they should authorize a study on this.
Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to authorize a traffic study be done for warrants for a traffic signal at Woodside and Twining Roads.
APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION #1055 - DEDICATION OF LOST TREE
Mr. Garton stated the Township staff has indicated this is ready for dedication. Mr. Fegley moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 1055 - Dedication of Lost Tree (Wyndham II).
DISCUSSION OF SCAMMELíS CORNERS
Mr. Garton stated that last Monday the Township staff received a call from residents that the owner of the Scammelís Corners property was cutting down trees. Shortly thereafter, the Solicitorís office was contacted and a Cease and Desist Order was served on the contractor who was doing the work. The worked stopped Monday afternoon. On Wednesday morning the Township learned that the work had started again and a request for a temporary injunction was sought from Judge Alan Rubenstein who was the Judge assigned to this matter. They waited until 5:00 p.m. and did not get to see Judge Rubenstein. They then went to the Court Administrator and asked for another Judge to be assigned but they refused to do so. They then learned that the Judge did not want to sign the Order without a hearing. The Township asked for a hearing to be held Thursday morning and were refused. They have been advised that the hearing will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at 50 E. Court Street. Mr. Garton noted the Police have no jurisdiction over this since this is a Civil matter. Mr. Garton added that the tree removal has continued. The Township staff reacted very quickly as did the Solicitorís office but they did not get cooperation at other levels.
Ms. Lynn Landes stated the property has been clear cut although you cannot see this clearly from the road. She stated the property owner had done this in 1998 as well and had the residents been notified of this, they could have done what they did today which was get the media out to the site.
Mr. Garton stated fines can be imposed and the owner can be required to replant large portions of the site.
Mr. Fegley stated he is very concerned with the judicial system as it relates to this issue. He stated he will want to see this developer kept to the highest standards when the property is developed.
Mr. Hackman stated he understands that the developer plans to come in shortly to request permission to demolish the buildings on the property.
Mr. Paul Krupp asked if they know the landowner, and Mr. Garton stated it is the same landowner who was before the Township Board previously.
Mr. Fegley stated under the Ordinance the developer can remove only 30% of the woodlands. Since he has now leveled the property, the developer will indicate that there are no woodlands. Mr. Fegley stated he plans to look at the way the property stood before the developer started cutting. He is sure that there are aerial photos of the property as it was prior to the cutting, and he will consider 30% of those woodlands and not as the property is today.
Mr. Krupp asked if it is important that the residents attend the Hearing, and Mr. Garton stated it is absolutely important that they be there and ask to testify.
Ms. Janet Wassum of Princeton Drive stated her property gets water from the Scammelís Corners property, and she is very concerned about the additional water that will now be coming from this property noting that no silt fence has been installed. The Township engineer was asked to contact the Conservation District regarding this matter. Ms. Frick stated she contacted them today, and they will be on the site Friday.
Ms. Maria Bechis stated they have to file a soil and erosion plan before they do any work and they have not done so. She stated it is also possible that the Scammelís Corners property owners trespassed on neighboring properties when doing this cutting since no demarcation was done. She stated aerial photos and satellite photos are available to show what was on the site before the cutting. She stated they not only cut the tees, they also disturbed the entire site. Ms. Landes stated the neighbors and the media have pictures of the site as well.
Ms. Wassum stated the last time he cut down trees on the property was over the Fourth of July Holiday and he was fined at that time. She asked if these fines were paid, and Mr. Fedorchak agreed to look into this.
Mrs. Godshalk asked if a demolition permit has been requested. Ms. Frick stated a demolition permit was issued in late July which was reviewed by the Historic Commission for removal of some of the smaller buildings. They have not filed any other permits. Mr. Doherty stated he was on the site discussing this matter with the contractor, and they are now looking to demolish everything.
DISCUSSION OF SPRING LANE/HILLSIDE LANE REHABILITATION PROJECT RESIDENTSí MEETING
Mr. Fedorchak announced that the date of the meeting to discuss the Spring Lane/Hillside Lane rehabilitation project will be Wednesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Allan, Mr. Fazzalore, and Mr. Hackman indicated they would be able to attend. Mr. Hackman stated letters will be sent to the residents involved.
Ms. Gaye asked who will be at the meeting; and Mr. Fedorchak stated in addition to himself and the three Supervisors, a representative of the Water Company, the Township engineer, and a representative from the Sewer engineer will be in attendance. Ms. Gaye stated she reviewed the 12/7/99 report from PCS and does not feel any work can be done because there are no topographicals. Mr. Hackman stated the meeting to be held on April 12 is a preliminary meeting only. Ms. Gaye stated she would like to have a copy of Mr. Gouzaís report prior to the meeting so she can have an outside consultant review it. Mr. Fedorchak agreed to make available whatever information the Township has. Mr. Hackman noted the meeting being scheduled is only the first step in a very lengthy process.
Ms. Helen Richardson asked if it would be appropriate to have someone from PennDOT involved, and Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels Mr. Gouza and Mr. Zarko will be able to handle any questions at this point.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF OXFORD ROAD BRIDGE RIBBON CUTTING
Mr. Fedorchak announced that the Oxford Road Bridge Ribbon Cutting will take place on Tuesday, March 21 at 4:00 p.m. Mr. Fedorchak stated Yardley Borough has paid 20% of the cost of the project as required.
APPROVAL OF MARCH 6 AND MARCH 20, 2000 WARRANT LISTS AND FEBRUARY PAYROLL
Mr. Fegley moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the March 6, 2000 and March 20, 2000 Warrant Lists and February, 2000 Payroll as attached to the Minutes.
Mr. Hackman stated the Pool Coordinator has advised him that membership numbers are ahead of the last two years at this same time of year.
Mr. Fegley stated the expanded Environmental Advisory Council met for the first time this month and they are working on a number of project including putting together a Grant proposal for the Falls of the Delaware which is County/Morrisville Water Filtration Plant property located in Lower Makefield Township.
APPROVAL OF TOWNS AGAINST GRAFFITI INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT
Acting Chief Bainbridge stated in 1999 they used the services of the TAG Program six times. It was noted the Township gave no money in 1998, $5,000 in 1999 and have budgeted $2,500 in 2000. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels $5,000 is expensive for using them only six times in 1999 but does recognize the need to support other communities. Acting Chief Bainbridge stated the only Township exposure is for public property since the Graffiti Ordinance requires businesses and property owners to remove any graffiti that is on their property. Mrs. Godshalk stated TAG does do fund-raising and has corporate support.
Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Towns Against Graffiti Intergovernmental Agreement.
APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 1054 GRANTING RIGHT-OF-WAY FOR BELL ATLANTIC TO PROVIDE FIBER OPTIC TELEPHONE SERVICE TO THE ANTENNA LOCATED ON TOWNSHIP PROPERTY.
Mr. Fedorchak noted the route Bell Atlantic plans to take. Mrs. Godshalk asked if there will be any edifices on Edgewood Road, and Mr. Fedorchak stated there will not.
Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Fegley seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 1054 granting right-of-way for Bell Atlantic to provide fiber optic telephone service to the antenna located on Township property contingent on reviewing the plan.
APPROVAL OF POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT
Mr. Garton stated they have been discussing a Police Contract for some months, and Mr. Fedorchak has four copies which have been ratified and approved by the Police Benevolent Association following lengthy negotiation sessions.
Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Police Benevolent Association Agreement - January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2001.
Mr. Fazzalore stated he has been studying the Mercer Airport situation and has found some disturbing information. He feels the Township should try to take out an injunction on the expansion of the Airport based on safety and environmental concerns. He feels the Township should join BRAM. Mrs. Godshalk stated the impact studies will be presented in March or April. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels the radar should be installed on both ends of the runway so that planes can take off and land toward Princeton. He asked the Solicitor if the Township can take out an injunction against the expansion of the Airport. Mr. Garton stated he has very limited experience in this area but will look into it.
Mr. Hackman announced that the Commonwealth Court has upheld the Bucks County Court decision with regard to the Troilo Subdivision, and he offered his congratulations to Mr. Koopman for his work in this matter.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.