TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

SPECIAL MEETING

MINUTES – APRIL 10, 2006

 

 

A Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 10, 2006 for the purpose of interviewing candidates for various Boards and Commissions.  Chairman Santarsiero called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Mr. Caiola called the roll. 

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:                           Steve Santarsiero, Chairman

                                                            Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                            Greg Caiola, Secretary/Treasurer

                                                            Grace Godshalk, Supervisor

                                                            Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

Others:                                                 Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

 

 

VIRGINIA TORBERT

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Ms. Torbert is interested in serving on the Citizens Traffic Commission.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if Ms. Torbert had anything further to add aside from what was included in her resume and cover letter, but Ms. Torbert had nothing further at this time.  Mr. Santarsiero asked why she was interested in the Traffic Commission.  Ms. Torbert stated she has been coming to the Township meetings for a long time and has called for the creation of such a Commission.  She stated she has a personal interest in this issue as she has trouble getting out of her own driveway.  She has also heard at the meetings discussions on the traffic issues which have arisen out of various developments and she felt the Township should look at traffic in a comprehensive manner.  She noted particularly the Lindenhurst Road issues.  She has attended the meeting of the group which Ms. Sue Herman is involved in.  Ms. Torbert stated she has also heard that Lindenhurst Road is not the most dangerous road in the Township despite the fact that so much time was being spent on discussing Lindenhurst Road.  She stated she feels there are many roads in the Township which need attention and has an interest in the Township having such a Commission and serving on it.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked where she feels the most dangerous areas are located.  Ms. Torbert stated she feels the whole area of I/95 is a hot spot as well as the area where Taylorsville meets Dolington Road.   She is also aware that the entire length of Stony Hill Road is another area.  She is also aware of various developments being cut throughs in the Township and she feels this is an area where they need to develop information.  She also noted the Yardley Hunt area and Yardley-Langhorne Road.  Mrs. Godshalk stated for many years they had reviewed on the Road Tours areas brought up by Mr. Coyne that need improvements and

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upgrading.  She stated sometimes there is matching money available but oftentimes there is not.  She stated they must determine how much Lower Makefield taxpayers’ money should be given to fixing State roads.  Mrs. Godshalk asked if the farmer who comes to

Ms. Torberts’ property from other areas has difficulty getting into her property with his equipment, and Ms. Torbert stated he does.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should look into this as they want to keep faming in the community.  Mr. Smith asked what

Ms. Torbert feels will be the role of the Commission. Ms. Torbert stated initially she feels they should be an information-gathering Commission and then prioritize and help the Supervisors.  She stated they could also be a forum for people to use rather than going to the Board of Supervisors as some people may not want to have to wait to speak at a lengthy Supervisors’ meeting.  Mr. Smith stated he has found that the information from Ms. Herman and others has been quite helpful and he would like to see the information portion be a key part of this Commission.  He would also like recommendations on what they can do to remedy situations.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the way the Resolution was worded was for the Commission to prioritize the problems and then come back to the Board of Supervisors with recommendations on ways to solve the problems and help identify funding sources.  He stated they should also keep in mind the issue of State and local roads and how to put pressure on the State to move more quickly than they have with respect to improving State roads.  Mr. Smith stated during his recent campaign, every neighborhood had concerns with traffic which were different from concerns being expressed in other neighborhoods.  Ms. Torbert stated there may be some common ways to resolve problems.  She stated she has done some research and found that if you have a certain type of engineer in your Township, you can change speed limits on your own.  Mr. Smith stated when they had the Edgewood Village meeting, one resident indicated she was not in favor of the project as she felt it would keep her from getting up to I-95 quickly; however, he feels most people in the Township would be in favor of traffic calming and slowing down the traffic.  Ms. Torbert stated she feels this is correct for their own neighborhoods, but in the morning when they are trying to get to work, they may not want to have traffic slow down so it will be a balancing act.  Mr. Santarsiero asked given Ms. Torbert’s background working in Washington D.C., what aspects of that experience can she bring to bear on this Commission.  Ms. Torbert stated she feels she has the ability to work with all different kinds of people and ability to deal with the public.  She stated she also has experience dealing with bureaucracy. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they did intend to create traffic zones which may or may not work based on the people applying for the Commission.  He stated this will be on the Agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors as Mr. Majewski has prepared a map which they will consider as proposed zones for the Traffic Commission. 

 

 

 

 

 

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MARGARET FINE LEVY

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Ms. Levy is interested in serving on the Economic Development Commission.   He asked if she had anything further to add to what she submitted in  her cover letter and resume.  Ms. Levy stated she also works part-time as a consultant primarily doing legal research and packaging mortgages.  She stated she feels her strengths are in this area.  She stated she was the head of the Housing Development Commission in Pittsburgh and still has contacts, although she has not done this for many years.  She stated she lived in Lower Makefield from 1986 to 1997 and then moved out for five years.  They moved back to the Township in 2002.  Mr. Santarsiero asked what she sees from an economic development standpoint as the challenges to the Township.  Ms. Levy stated when they moved out of the Township, they moved to Hopewell which had upped its Zoning to two acre zoning and this quelled the growth.  She stated in Lower Makefield Township it seems they have chosen not to do much in the way of economic development.  She would like to be a part of whatever happens in this area and do research, etc.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked what she feels they should be doing better or differently to encourage economic development.  Ms. Levy stated she feels they have not been overly encouraging economic development.  She stated she feels they should go out of their way to encourage economic development.  She stated she would be in favor of corporate development and more community-oriented development.  Mr. Caiola asked if she is familiar with the Edgewood Village plans, and Ms. Levy stated she was not at the meeting, but has followed it.  Ms. Levy stated her children are now older and she feels she will now be able to attend more evening meetings.  Mrs. Godshalk noted an area on Stony Hill where she felt a small corporate center would have been appropriate but stated they often find that their hands are tied since when the land is zoned a certain way, developers want to proceed with what they  have a market for.  She stated she discussed this with Matrix and Bellemead and they indicated they did not have any clients. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels part of the way would be to be ahead of the developers and market the land before a developer comes in.  She stated this would be true for Edgewood Village as well.  Mr. Caiola stated he does agree that marketing the sites in the Township is important.  He stated it would be similar to a Chamber of Commerce. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated this is why they felt there was a need for this Commission to try to keep themselves ahead of the curve and to market the Township.  Ms. Levy stated in her work in Pittsburg they were able to get a lot done because they could anticipate needs and approach developers.  She stated in her work in Philadelphia, this was not permitted.  She stated working one-on-one with the developers and being able to respond to their needs was extremely effective. She would like to now do this in Lower Makefield Township.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RICHARD DAVINO

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Davino is interested in serving on the Citizens Traffic Commission.  He asked if there was anything beyond what was already provided, he would like to add, but Mr. Davino had nothing further to add at this time. 

Mr. Santarsiero asked the major challenges to the Township from a traffic perspective.

Mr. Davino stated he feels they need to get rid of some of the jogs in the road.  He stated there are not really any good direct routes to get from the north to the south.  He stated some of these are on the Master Plan for eventual improvement which would create a facsimile of a north/south system.  He stated a lot of this is caused by offset intersections which are not only inconvenient and cause congestion, but are also dangerous.  He stated more attention should also be paid to the planning of intersection designs when they approve Subdivision Plans.  He noted his position as the Director for Environment Design Traffic Operations and Safety for Region 3 of the Federal Government.  He stated he has seen some things built in the last seven to nine years in the Township and if the configuration had been submitted to his staff for consideration for Federal funding, they would have been eligible for improvement.  He stated they could then have been done for less money or better for the same money.  He stated sometimes it is better to have a fresh set of eyes review projects.  Mr. Smith asked what specific project does he feel could have been done better.  Mr. Davino noted Oxford Valley/Stony Hill Road west on Oxford Valley Road when you get to the intersection with Stony Hill Road and there is an “S” curve.  He stated the radius going north to come east on Oxford Valley Road is too small.

He stated going south on Stony Hill Road in the northwest quadrant when you reach the intersection, the curve to go west on Oxford Valley Road is approximately 130 degrees and the curbing is out too far, and you can see from the tree line which has been  cleared for sight distance purposes that there was more room and the radius should have been bigger.  Mr. Smith asked if they made a mistake on Lindenhurst Road.  Mr. Davino stated he feels there is a feeling that there should be a Northern By-Pass and this would require significant land that could otherwise be open space.  He stated Lindenhurst Road is a State highway and there is marginal room for much of the length.  He stated they may have to intrude on six houses, and if they wanted to do that in a technically more efficient way, they should widen Lindenhurst Road even if it required taking houses for fair market value plus the incentives that are offered and avoid the need to consume open space to create a new road.

 

 

SUE HERMAN

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Ms. Herman is interested in serving on the Citizens Traffic Commission.  Mr. Santarsiero asked why she was interested in serving on this Commission.  Ms. Herman stated she has two children and two months after moving into her home, a loaded quarry truck had to swerve around a stopped School bus on Lindenhurst Road.  Mr. Santarsiero asked what she sees as some of the challenges.

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Ms. Herman stated she feels the goal for Lower Makefield should be to try to achieve what the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission discusses in their recent report.  She stated their goal is to maintain mobility, create calm activity, and insure safety.  She feels they should do this on every level of roadway and feels that they can achieve this.  She stated she is a member of the RRTS, and this is what they discuss. 

She stated she is also a member of the Regional Citizens Committee which is a sub-Committee of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission which is an advisory Committee comprised of community volunteers who are interested and knowledgeable in traffic.  She stated they have made a difference on the regional level and are a watchdog on the DVRPC Board.  She stated she feels that Lower Makefield should also strive to maintain mobility and insure safety.  She stated she has had many leadership positions that she feels would make her a good candidate for being on the Commission.  She stated she initiated the community effort against the proposed entrance into North Park through her neighborhood.  She also was co-President of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education for a year, and they educated parents in the Pennsbury Gifted Program on relevant issues in both public meetings and newsletters.  She stated she also worked with the Pennsbury Superintendent and his staff to optimize effective programs and prevent program cut-backs.  She stated she likes to be creative and push the envelope and work with other people to see if they can make a difference.   She noted a number of other programs she was involved with at Pennsbury and in Scouting. She stated she also likes to take people’s strengths and run with them.   She feels this group can also work on public relationships to try to get people to slow down, and they could consider branching out to other Townships on programs as well.   Mr. Smith asked her opinion on Lindenhurst Road, and Ms. Herman stated she is opposed to a northern by-pass that brings heavy commercial traffic through residential areas.  She stated she does agree that there is a need for a very efficient north/south route for that kind of traffic, but feels it should go on existing expressways and arterial highways. 

 

 

DREW FERRARA

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Ferrara is interested in serving on the Economic Development Commission.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if he had anything further to add to what he had already submitted.  Mr. Ferrara stated this would be his first time serving on a Committee of this kind.  He feels as a Realtor he can bring a different perspective.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they would like the Committee to look at the entire Township and see where they can get ahead of the curve so that when a developer comes along, it is a development that the Township would like and is a use that makes sense for the Township in the long run.

Mr. Santarsiero asked what Mr. Ferrara sees as steps they could take in Lower Makefield Township to spur economic development that makes sense for the Township. Mr. Ferrara stated they do not have much land left so they should make good decisions for the land that is left.  He stated with regard to Residential, he is not sure that 55 and over is a good use in the future as demographics change, despite the current demand.  He stated he does

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have a general knowledge of the ebb and flow of the real estate marketplace and what would make Lower Makefield a desirable place to live and keep property values up; and his input would be geared toward this and what would be best for the Township and the residents.  Mr. Santarsiero asked what he feels would accomplish this goal with respect to Edgewood Village.  Mr. Ferrara stated he does not have input at this point but he has read of the conceptual idea - that being a Village that is pedestrian friendly and a blend of retail/residential.  He would need to see how they propose to have sidewalks, etc.  He stated he likes the idea of doing something other than letting haphazard development take place but feels they should balance the rights of property owners to develop according to the Ordinances.  Mr. Caiola asked as a Realtor when he speaks to people about moving into Lower Makefield, what are they looking for.   Mr. Smith asked that he answer this in light of balancing this with economic development.  Mr. Ferrara stated the School District is the first thing.  He also noted ease of living and functionality of the general area – well, thought-out development and planning and traffic in conjunction with growth is of interest to people moving into the area.  He stated he also has to sell what is surrounding Lower Makefield as well. He stated they also need to consider the ease of living in the Township such as a good blend of conveniences, options for residential real estate, and a good blend of uses.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels part of their economy is their transfer taxes that they get from corporate people who move in and out; and whatever they can do to attract people to live in the Township, helps the Township.

Mr. Smith asked how he feels about the original Matrix project compared to what they are now proposing.  Mr. Ferrara stated he feels it was interesting how the residents had a say in this.  He stated he feels anytime they can eliminate big box stores and that type of commercial development not far from an area where there are already vacant stores, it is a good idea.  He stated he was surprised as a Realtor how the populace was able to change the Zoning.  He stated he is pleased to see that they are getting more residents involved in the decisions-making.  He stated he is not sure what will happen with 600 age-restricted condos in the future due to changing demographics and stated he is not sure how it was set up and whether there is the ability to change the age restriction if the market dictates that first-time homebuyers need to buy those properties. 

 

 

HELEN BOSLEY

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Ms. Bosley is interested in serving on the Golf Committee.  He asked if she had anything further to add other than what she had submitted, and

Ms. Bosley thanked the Board for the opportunity to appear before the Board.  She stated she has attended a number of the Golf Committee meetings.  Mr. Santarsiero stated it is in everyone’s interest to see that the Golf Course succeeds, and he asked how the Golf Committee can work with the Township toward that end.  Ms. Bosley stated the Golf Committee provides oversight in terms of the management company and in bringing external ideas.  She stated with respect to long-term success, she feels there are issues that face every large project.   She stated they need to consider how to adequately

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maintain the Golf Course.   She stated the Committee can also help make it a success and be diligent in terms of how they do that vis-à-vis the competition, programs, and build on their reputation.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if there is something specific they should do at the Course over the next few years, and Ms. Bosley stated she would like to see some additional outreach programs in terms of women golfers.  She stated she has put forth a number of ideas in terms of the demographics of the surrounding area and economic conditions.  She stated the private clubs are almost pricing themselves out of the market and she feels there is some feeding that the Township can do in terms of making programs attractive to some of those individuals.  Mr. Smith asked the percentage of male and female golfers using the Course, and Ms. Bosley stated it is 7% females.  She stated this may be a place to build.  She stated Lower Makefield is a great place to golf and it is a challenging Course.  Mr. Caiola asked if she has strong feelings about utilization of the buildings.  Ms. Bosley stated it would be interesting to have a good feasibility study on the new building to see what could be done without detracting from the needs in terms of the carts, etc.  She stated with regard to the other building there is a problem because it is right in the middle of the Golf Course; however, long term they may want to consider if it could be used as a corporate meeting place and they would then go out and play golf.  Mr. Smith noted the banquet facility at Northampton, and asked if they should consider a feasibility study on adding something to the existing building and allow a banquet facility at the Golf course.  Ms. Bosley stated she is open to this idea, but they need to look at the protections and feasibility of this.  She stated the existing view and the open space makes it a lovely venue.  She would be open to something additional it if made long-term economic sense for the Township.  She stated she has not been privy to some of the financial information to determine if this would be economically worthwhile. 

Mr. Stainthorpe noted Ms. Bosley has been attending Golf Committee meetings for approximately one year and asked how she feels the Golf Committee should define its role in terms of oversight versus strategic planning.  Ms. Bosley stated she does not understand where any of the numbers are vis-à-vis the management company and how it operates.  She stated she feels there is a role to be played by the Golf Committee in terms of a strategic plan with a five to ten year forward-looking plan.  She stated she does not feel they can always rely on the Management Company in terms of having this perspective.  She stated they have great people in terms of knowing how to run a Golf Course and she feels they should be trying to maintain the Course.  Mr. Smith noted

Ms. Bosley’s background and asked if she would have any interest in serving on any other Committees.  Ms. Bosley stated she would consider this although she has not attended any of the other meetings, and she has been attending he Golf Course meetings.  She would consider the Economic Development Committee or the Budget Commission.

 

 

JEFF SHANKS

 

Mr. Shanks apologized for not attending the prior Interview meeting as he was called out of town on short notice for business.  Mr. Santarsiero noted Mr. Shanks is seeking

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re-appointment to the Sewer Authority.  Mr. Santarsiero asked how he feels about the possibility of potentially selling the sewer system.  Mr. Shanks stated he feels they need to weigh pluses and minuses and make a determination based on this.  He stated he appreciates that there is the potential for a large check to the community but from a citizen’s standpoint he is concerned with the potential for ramping up the costs and the Township can control this to a certain degree based on whether they sell it to a profit versus a non-profit organization.  He stated he has served on the Sewer Authority for two years.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked if they keep the system, what does he see as the long-term work they will need to do to keep it viable and affordable.  Mr. Shanks stated if they keep it, there will be a cost impact to the community.  He stated to have your own system is very costly and it will continue to cost significant dollars to maintain the system.  He stated they do have a fairly viable system that has been upgraded so that if they are going to sell it, now is the time to do so since they will get the most money for it.  He stated if they keep it, it will continue to be a continuing maintenance issue for the community. 

Mr. Santarsiero asked to what extent can they keep control of the system if they keep it, noting that recent increases they had to impose were due to matters being dictated to them by outside forces.  Mr. Shanks stated they have to have preventative maintenance.  He stated if they put off maintenance, it will eventually cost more.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they must also consider who they would sell to, as if it is someone closer by, they may have more of a chance of influencing.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they will have to pay whether they own the system or not.  She noted a property she owns in another area where the costs are much higher than she is paying in Lower Makefield.  Mr. Smith stated he feels a study will show what others have sold their systems for and the contracts they developed.  They must also consider the possibility of diminishing returns.

Mr. Shanks stated they should recognize that they will need to properly educate the community on the reasons why or why not they should sell the system.  Mr. Smith noted Mr. Shank’s background and questioned why he did not interview for the Environmental Advisory Council.  Mr. Shanks stated at the time he wanted to give back something to the community and there was an opening on the Sewer Authority.  Mr. Shanks also stated he would be willing to help with the Golf Course on the hydrology issues. 

 

 

DANIEL DOTSON

 

Mr. Dotson was not present this evening for his interview for the vacancy on the Golf Course Committee.

 

It was agreed to schedule another Interview meeting for Monday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m.  There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

                                                           

Greg Caiola, Secretary