MINUTES - MARCH 19, 2001

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 19, 2001. Chairman Fazzalore called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. noting that the Board had been meeting in Executive Session since 6:00 p.m. to discuss personnel, legal, and real estate matters.

Those present:

Board of Supervisors:

Frank Fazzalore, Chairman
Grace Godshalk, Secretary/Treasurer
Fred Allan, Supervisor
Wesley Hackman, Supervisor


Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager
Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police


Scott Fegley, Supervisor


Mr. Roger Bridenback, 210 Elm Avenue, stated there was an Appeal by Mr. William Hess to construct a home at the end of Birch Avenue. The Zoning Hearing Board denied this, and Mr. Hess has taken an Appeal. Mr. Bridenback asked that Lower Makefield Township be represented at these Appeals and asked that the Township advise the residents who live in the area of any legal proceedings that are taking place. He stated they do have a list of the interested residents which he provided to Mr. Fedorchak this evening. Mr. Garton stated the Board has authorized that the Township Solicitor appear.

Ms. Linda Abate, 1211 Birch Avenue, stated since the Variance was denied, Mr. Hess has continued operations at the property and is creating problems with dumping. She submitted a complaint to Mr. Fedorchak this evening. She stated in August he cut down trees and brush and left it on the property. He is now dumping debris on the unopened potion of Birch Avenue. She stated he has been seen doing this for the past month.

Mr. Fedorchak agreed to look into this matter.


Ms. Sue Herman stated at last week’s Newtown Township Board meeting, they were advised by the Newtown engineer that PennDOT is pushing back the bid for the closed-loop system, and she feels they will miss this year’s construction season. Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to write a letter to PennDOT expressing displeasure with the delay of the closed-loop system and asking that they shrink the construction period accordingly. Ms. Herman stated Newtown Township also wrote a letter to PennDOT asking that a speed study be done on Stoopville Road. She asked if Lower Makefield will also do this as well. Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to send a letter to PennDOT supporting Newtown’s request for a speed study to be done on Stoopville Road and in addition moved to send a request for a similar study on Lindenhurst Road. Ms. Herman provided a copy of the Newtown letters to Mr. Fedorchak this evening.


Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to contact Bucks County Planning Commission for a proposal to update the Master Plan.


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. John Genovesi, engineer, and Monsignor Shoemaker were present.

Mr. Garton stated when the Board approved the Final Plan on January 15, 2001, they were concerned about the extent of the storm drainage system and the number of trees that would be impacted. The Township engineer met with the applicant’s engineer to see if they could redesign the storm drainage system to save some of the trees.

Mr. Genovesi presented the revised Plan which was compared to the approved Plan. One basin has been eliminated, and they have enlarged the existing basin more than previously shown. The have relocated one of the basins at Sandy Run up the hill out of the wooded area and made it slightly smaller. They are able to preserve approximately two more acres of woodlands.

Mr. Hackman asked if there are significant water problems in the area at Sandy Run Road. Mr. Genovesi stated he has not seen this when he has been on site during rain storms.

Mr. Hackman stated the slopes are required by Ordinance to be four to one and they are taking it to three to one. Mr. Genovesi stated this is only in one small area which he showed on the Plan. Mr. Doherty stated the large detention basin has now come closer into compliance with the current Ordinance than it was on the previous plan.

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to authorize and approve the Revised Final Plan subject to conditions imposed previously and subject to final engineering of the Plan set forth this evening and in accordance with the 3/2/01 letter from the Township engineer. Mr. Murphy agreed to the conditions of approval.


Mr. Murphy was present. Mr. Garton stated the Board previously approved this plan for a different use. The Board approved the Amended Final Plan on November 20, 2000. Subsequently the applicant made some minor amendments to the plan which have been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission and were reviewed by Mr. Garton this evening.

Mr. Allan moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Revised Amended Final Land Development Plan dated 10/10/96, last revised 12/6/00 subject to:


Continued compliance with all prior approvals;


Approval of two additional waivers requested - one with regard to lighting and one with regard to slope which they will try to address in the field.


Subject to the Planning Commission letter dated 2/16/01.

Mr. Murphy agreed to the conditions of approval.


Mr. Hackman stated Mr. Murphy had been asked to provide to the Board a plan showing all the entrances in the area of the DeLuca property as they relate to Floral Vale.

Mr. Murphy agreed to look into this. Mr. Hackman also noted Clearview Estates and asked the status of the bikepath. Mr. Murphy stated the Township was to require some additional right-of-way. Mr. Murphy agreed to look into the status of this project as well.


Mr. Allan stated this matter was reviewed and approved by HARB. Mr. Allan moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for 1666 Edgewood Road - Makefield Chiropractic.


Mylars were signed following the meeting.


Mr. Denis Shiels from the Cable TV Advisory Board was present with Ms. Brenda McCullough, Mr. Ted Christian, and Mr. David Breidinger representing the applicant.

Mr. Breidinger stated he met with Mr. Paul of the CATV last Friday. The Board of Supervisors had requested a letter from Comcast affirming a date when Comcast would provide digital cable service and high speed modem and he does have this letter this evening which was presented to Mr. Fazzalore and Mr. Garton. Mr. Breidinger stated Comcast would be the parent company owning the franchise of Broadband Levittown, Inc. They are looking at closing this deal as quickly as thirty to sixty days from now. As of Thursday of this week, they will have completed all of the transfer approvals with the exception of Lower Makefield Township. They would ask that the Board rescind the previous denial of the transfer. They will move expeditiously, within twelve months of the close of the deal, to provide the additional services. They also have for the Board members a packet of information on those services. Mr. Breidinger stated they also acquired the Suburban Cable franchises in Bucks County less than a year ago and moved quickly to provide the services to that infrastructure.

Mr. Hackman stated the Board is concerned since promises were made in the past that were not kept. He asked if Mr. Shiels was satisfied with what had been provided. Mr. Shiels stated he is now satisfied since they have put their promises in writing.

Mrs. Godshalk stated people have been asked when these services will be provided. She stated the Township requires escrow funds, performance bonds, etc. from developers to guarantee compliance and asked if they would agree to supply this as well. Mr. Breidinger stated this is required under the Franchise Agreement and they would be willing to include these additional services in the Performance Bond. He stated they would like to begin rolling out the services in late Fall.

Mr. Allan stated he would like them to reimburse the Township for monies due them because of services that were to be provided to the constituents which were not delivered. He stated they should consider what amount they feel would be fair. Mr. Shiels stated the claim they have is against AT & T - not Comcast. He stated if the deal does not go forward with Comcast, they would then have only AT & T who is not going to provide the services they want. Mr. Shiels suggested that they maintain any claims they have against AT & T but let the deal with Comcast go forward. He stated since Comcast does own shares of AT & T which shall be sent back, they could possibly set up some kind of Escrow Fund.

Mr. Allan asked if there is any idea how much revenue was lost. Mr. Shiels stated Ms. McCullough had indicated a study had been done. Mr. Garton stated this would be very hard to qualify and it would put the burden on the Township. Mr. Hackman asked for the approximate amount of the money that was lost. Ms. McCullough stated shortly after the transfer of TCI and the merger of TCI and AT & T, they did put together an analysis on digital services. The pay back for the launch of digital would have been between five and seven years. She stated a definite revenue certain was not provided. She stated currently the franchise fees are 3% on total gross revenue which is approximately $300,000.

Mr. Breidinger stated those services, if they had been rendered, would be franchise fees which is a tax that is collected from the customer so that there is a pass through. He stated the fees were not collected from the residents. He stated AT & T would have the right to pass this amount onto the customers. He stated Comcast would like the approval to be given so that they can move expeditiously to close with AT & T and then proceed with the additional services to the customers. Ms. McCullough stated Comcast has satisfied every demand made by the Township. She stated she does not feel the residents of Lower Makefield should suffer by not being included because of the issues Lower Makefield may have with AT & T. She stated all the surrounding communities are going to get the additional services.

Mr. Fazzalore asked how much more he will have to pay as a Comcast subscriber.

Mr. Breidinger stated at this point there are no plans to increase rates to the residents for the existing services. They do plan to offer additional services. Mr. Breidinger stated prices do go up as they relate to programming. Mrs. Godshalk asked if they will have a hook up charge for the additional service, and Mr. Breidinger stated they do offer promotions when they first offer the additional services. Mrs. Godshalk asked if they would consider free installation for the digital service. Mr. Allan stated he would vote in favor of the transfer if Comcast would agree to this. Mr. Breidinger stated they would be willing to sit down with the Township to consider a period of time for free installation. There was discussion on the modem for high speed cable, and Mr. Shiels stated this modem costs approximately $120. Mr. Breidinger stated they will provide a free cable modem to all the Schools and the Library in the Township.

Mrs. Godshalk moved and Mr. Hackman seconded to rescind the prior action of the Board and approve the Transfer of Cable TV Franchise from AT & T/TCI to BroadBand of Levittown subject to:


Comcast live with the letter received tonight dated 3/16/01;


Comcast provide a Performance Bond including compliance with the letter dated 3/16/01;


Comcast will provide free installation for digital as it rolls it out for people who apply within ninety days of the roll out.


Comcast will provide free cable modem to the Library, Schools, and the Township Building.

Mr. Breidinger agreed to the conditions of approval.

Mr. Steve Tanglinton, Dolington Estates, stated he would like the residents to receive some additional discounts.

Ms. Sally Conlon asked if this will render their existing television sets obsolete and if they will lose channels, and it was noted it will not.

One woman asked if they can accept this on behalf of the Schools, and Mr. Garton stated the Schools would not have to accept the free cable modem if they do not want it.

Motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Fazzalore noted the Township received a letter from Newtown Township dated March 9, 2001 and stated he is concerned with some of the comments in that letter.

Mr. Hackman stated he questions what will happen to Upper Silver Lake Road.

Mr. Fazzalore stated there was also no definite statement that indicates that the interchange on the By-Pass will be put in. Mr. Fazzalore stated this is why he wanted to have a meeting on Thursday since Mr. Warren had agreed to be present and they could have asked him whether the interchange will be going in. Mr. Fazzalore stated he would like the Township Manager to ask Mr. Warren if the interchange will definitely be going in at the By-Pass and Route 332.

Mr. Allan stated he was leaning toward approving the ramp but now that they have received this letter, he is concerned about doing so. Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel the I-95 ramp should be tied into this agreement since it is a safety issue for the residents of Lower Makefield Township.

Mr. Hackman stated if Newtown Township will not attend a joint meeting this Thursday night, he does not feel they should meet. Mr. Fazzalore stated in the letter from Newtown they have indicated they would like Mr. Steil to call another meeting and would like Lower Makefield to attend this as well. Mr. Allan stated he feels they should involve the residents. Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels every Supervisor should be involved. She stated she also feels the Central Bucks Traffic and Transportation Task Force should be started again and that it should be open to the public with all Supervisors able to attend. Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel anything will take place until after the Election in May. Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel the Task Force was effective.

Ms. Karen Freedman stated she feels they should have the meeting on Thursday.

Mr. Hackman stated Newtown has indicated they will not attend. Ms. Freedman stated the Scudders Falls Bridge seems to be the major problem. Mr. Fazzalore stated all the Bridges are going to be studied by the Bridge Commission. He stated they would also have to construct improvements to the entrance ramps. Ms. Freedman asked that PennDOT be asked to investigate getting traffic east to Route 31 with a major road. She added that if Lower Makefield Township is agreeing to help with regional traffic problems by approving the I-95 Ramp, she feels Newtown Township should also agree to improving Swamp Road. Mr. Garton stated there are residents in Wrightstown who do not want Swamp Road improved. Ms. Freedman stated she is concerned that Lower Makefield always seems to be giving in, and she cannot accept this. Mrs. Godshalk stated they have already dedicated the right-of-way for widening on Swamp Road, and they could make the road safer.

Ms. Sue Herman stated she feels there should be a meeting with the residents, Representative Steil, and Mr. Warren. Mr. Fazzalore asked the purpose of the meeting if Newtown Township will not attend. Ms. Herman stated it would help inform the residents of what is going on. Mr. Fazzalore stated the press is present this evening, and they will keep the residents informed. Ms. Herman stated she appreciates it when the Supervisors keep the residents informed. Ms. Herman asked the status of the appeal that there be no left turn from Newtown Office Commons, and Mr. Garton stated it is not likely that PennDOT will reverse their decision; but they are looking into a way to limit the number of left turns. He stated the applicant, Brandywine, would like to resolve the matter; and the engineer must decide on the number of left turns which would be acceptable. Mr. Yeager is involved in this process as well.

Ms. Claudia Fontaine stated she feels the other issues besides the ramp are also safety issues, and proceeding with the ramp is giving up the only bargaining chip the Township has. Mr. Fazzalore stated they have been trying to get the other unsafe conditions resolved for two years. He stated fifteen years ago the Board of Supervisors decided it was important to install the ramp, and the traffic situation has only gotten worse since that time.

Mrs. Godshalk stated the people going south on 95 also have to pass in front of the traffic that is going east to get on the new I-95 ramp. Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not feel it has been fully engineered.

Ms. Virginia Torbert stated she does feel that they should have a meeting. She feels it should be advertised; and the residents of Newtown and Lower Makefield, and Newtown officials should be invited. She stated she has written several letters to Mr. Steil asking him to get involved, and he has indicated no decision has been made and they will not make a decision until they have a public meeting. She is concerned that decisions are being made without public input. Ms. Torbert stated she feels Newtown Township should be invited even if they decide not to attend. Mr. Fazzalore stated he would not be able to respond to Newtown Township citizens which is why he feels it is important for Newtown Township representatives to be present if there is a meeting. Mr. Allan stated he feels the Newtown Township residents should put pressure on their Supervisors to come to such a meeting.

Mrs. Godshalk stated three years ago they had a meeting at Holy Family College, and they promised the residents there would be another meeting. Since then Newtown Township has not agreed to a meeting.

Ms. Maureen Freedman, Quarry Hill Court, asked if a study has been done since the new ramp was installed at Mirror Lake Road and 332. She stated she does not feel sufficient studies have been done to justify the I-95 ramp. Mr. Fazzalore stated they have done traffic studies, and these are available for review by the public at the Township Building.

Mr. Tom McGowan stated he lives in Newtown and farms the Sterling Farm in Lower Makefield. He stated he feels it is imperative that they have a meeting. He stated this is an important issue, and Newtown Township is only putting it off because it is an Election year. He stated he feels they should send Newtown Township another letter indicating that they are going to have a meeting and that Mr. Warren and Mr. Steil will be in attendance. He stated there is pressure from Newtown Township residents for the Newtown Board of Supervisors to attend. Mr. Hackman stated if Newtown Supervisors do not attend, the Lower Makefield Supervisors would not know what to tell people since, except for the proposed road through the Sterling Farm, everything else is in Newtown Township.

Mr. Hackman stated if they get a commitment from the current Newtown Supervisors, those people may not be in office nine months from now. Mr. Allan stated it may give the Newtown residents an opportunity to find out the opinion of their Supervisors so that they can make an educated decision on Election Day.

Mr. Cooper Winslow stated he does not feel the Bucks County Courier Times does a good job of covering the information since they do not include maps of what is being considered. He stated it appears there is a demand for a public meeting so that the public can be informed of what is being considered.

Ms. Maureen Freedman stated the intersection from I-95 where the ramp would be is very poorly lit and confusing.

Ms. Sue Herman noted the letter written to Mr. Fazzalore from concerned citizens regarding stone moving through the Township and read it into the record. Ms. Herman asked why she did not receive a personal response. Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not personally respond to the letters he receives since he receives a tremendous amount of mail and would not be able to personally respond to them all. Ms. Herman stated she would expect a written response.

Mrs. Godshalk moved to proceed with the meeting as scheduled with Mr. Warren and Mr. Steil attending and that it be advertised in the newspaper. There was no second to the Motion.

Mr. Fedorchak stated they had not yet advertised the meeting for March 22. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels they should get another date from Mr. Warren for sometime in April.

Mr. Fazzalore stated he does not feel they should have a meeting unless Mr. Warren can attend. Mr. Allan suggested that they try to have the meeting the first week in April.

Mrs. Godshalk moved to schedule a meeting at the earliest possible date in April with Mr. Warren to attend. Mr. Allan seconded the Motion with the amendment that the Township Manager be instructed to send another letter to the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors inviting them to the meeting.

Mr. Roeper asked if it would help to have the meeting on neutral ground. Mr. Hackman stated the Township Manager has checked into a number of different locations since if Newtown Township and Lower Makefield Supervisors and residents attend, they will need more room than is available at the Lower Makefield meeting room.

Motion carried with Mr. Hackman voting no.


Mr. Allan moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of the February 19, 2001 Public Meeting as written.

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of the March 8, 2001 Special Meeting as written.


Mr. Doherty stated he would suggest that rather than build the bikepath at this time that the Township accept the $18,000.

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve accepting $18,000 to be put in a fund so it is available when the road is to be built.


Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Consortium Sign Material & Post Bid.


Chief Coluzzi stated this Grant will help Lower Makefield acquire equipment which will help the Police perform more efficiently including GIS. He stated this will require a Township match of $14,000. Mr. Fazzalore stated he understands the Township’s server is only utilized approximately 10% of the time. Mr. Fedorchak stated he was not certain that this was correct. Mr. Fazzalore asked that they look into this. Mr. Fazzalore stated in the past the Board has approved a number of pieces of equipment for the Police Department, specifically lap-top computers, which were not utilized; and he would like to insure that this equipment will be utilized. Chief Coluzzi stated this equipment will help enhance the equipment they already have. Mr. Hackman stated the reason they were not in favor of GIS in the past was because of the amount of time it would take to set it up. He stated it was also questionable who would use it and what the savings would be. Chief Coluzzi indicated it may save 3,000 to 4,000 man hours and they would have to substantiate this as part of the Grant. Mr. Hackman stated consideration must also be given as to how to get the system running and who will keep it running. He stated they should consider ongoing costs since at this time they are only relying on one individual. Chief Coluzzi stated he feels that with sufficient training any Officer should be able to use it.

Mr. Fedorchak stated it is important to keep the operating systems and software running and they need to know who will be doing this job. Mr. Fedorchak stated the systems do tend to be complicated. Chief Coluzzi stated he does not feel it will be hard to operate and the individual they have maintaining it will be able to maintain this system as well. He noted the $14,000 match would be over a twenty-four month period. They would not anticipate approval for at least six months. The $59,000 is paid in progress payments.

He added the application deadline is tomorrow. Mrs. Godshalk asked if they could deny acceptance at a later time, even if it is approved, and Chief Coluzzi stated they can.

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to apply for the Technology/Equipment Grant from the United States Department of Justice.


Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the March 5, and March 19, 2001 Warrant Lists and February, 2001 Payroll as attached to the Minutes.

Mr. Fazzalore stated some of the Department Heads should be advised of his concern that they are already running considerably over Budget.


Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Mill Road Estates Sewer Recapture Agreement.


The Ehrlich matter was noted, and Mr. Garton stated his office will continue to appear in opposition.

The Miller, 868 Sandy Run Road, Variance request to construct a barn was noted.

Mr. Fazzalore moved and Mr. Allan seconded to authorize the Township solicitor to appear in opposition. Mr. Hackman stated he is concerned with how close the structure will be to the neighbors. Other Supervisors were concerned with the proposed height of the structure. Mr. Hackman stated he is also concerned about the future use of the structure.

Motion carried unanimously.

There was discussion on the Giant Food Store, Stony Hill & Edgewood Roads, request to extend hours and to permit accessory outside storage. Mr. Garton stated they are requesting extension of hours on Sunday. Mr. Fazzalore stated he had asked if Mr. McCaffrey received approval to stay open after 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, and was not provided a final answer. Mr. Garton stated the answer is no. Mr. Hackman stated this was not true since the words "unless forced to by competition" were added. Mr. Hackman stated the Kohl’s Supermarket is open until 10:00 p.m. Mr. Hackman stated he feels all the Supermarket hours should be the same. Mr. Garton stated he does not feel Mr. McCaffrey can make the unilateral decision that he is facing competition. He would have to go back to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Allan stated while he is not in favor of opening the shopping centers up twenty-four hours, he does feel they should extend the hours so that they can serve the residents. Mr. Fazzalore stated for every hour extra they are open, there is a Police protection issue to be considered. Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels McCaffrey and Giant should be advised that they can stay open to 10:00 p.m. if the Supermarket at Kohl’s is open until that time. Mr. Garton stated if this is the case, then they will advise the Zoning Hearing Board that the Board of Supervisors has no opposition to the Giant Food Store request to stay open until 9:00 p.m. He stated they can also then advise Mr. McCaffrey that he should go to the Zoning Hearing Board and request an extension of hours.

With regard to the Poulos, 1485 Page Drive, and Dilliplane, 26 Lower Hilltop Road, requests, the Board will continue in opposition pending additional information.

The Board decided to take no action on the Calabro, 270 Shade Tree Court, Variance request.


Mr. Hackman stated the Zoning Officer is often put if a very difficult position when reviewing the Zoning Hearing Board Applications as far as trying to determine the exact amount of impervious surface because frequently the Applicants come in with Plans that are incomplete and inaccurate. They are now trying to get the Township engineer involved in coming up with the Township’s position on the exact number. Mrs. Godshalk stated if the Township engineer has to verify these figures, the cost involved to do so should be absorbed by the Applicant. Mr. Hackman stated the administrative costs involved will be included in the fee, and they may be updating the fees as well. Mr. Garton stated they cannot reject the Applications since the time clock starts when submitted, but getting the Township engineer involved is the right way to proceed. Mr. Hackman stated they may also now include a site review. He stated pictures are also going to be taken by a Township representative.

Mr. Allan stated the improvements have been completed at the Pool parking lot and signage has been installed. He feels this will improve the situation. Mrs. Godshalk stated she had discussed with Ms. Liney the possibility of permitting those with a Senior Citizen membership to be admitted to Pool earlier than 5:00 p.m., and Ms. Liney indicated that she will bring this matter up to the Pool Board requesting that Seniors be permitted to enter the Pool at 4:00 p.m.


Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Kenneth Coluzzi as Emergency Management Coordinator.

Mr. Hackman asked Chief Coluzzi to notify Bucks County that he is the new Coordinator and that they should update their mailing list. Mrs. Godshalk stated they also discussed adding Jim Yates to the Committee, and she asked that Chief Coluzzi consider this.


Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to re-appoint Duane Doan to the Farmland Preservation Corporation.

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to re-appoint Elliott Paul and Denis Sheils to the Cable TV Advisory Council.

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to re-appoint Patricia Martin to the Park & Recreation Board.

There being no further business, Mr. Allan moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m.