TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

MINUTES – DECEMBER 6, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on December 6, 2006.  Chairman Santarsiero called the meting to order at 7:30 p.m.  Mr. Caiola called the roll.  Mr. Santarsiero noted the Board met in Executive Session for thirty minutes discussing personnel and real estate matters.

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:               Steve Santarsiero, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                Greg Caiola, Secretary

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

                                                David Truelove, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Mr. Zack Cohen, a Seventh Grade Student at Charles Boehm, stated he is organizing a project to help Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families called Operation DVD.  He stated he would like to place collection boxes in the Pennsbury Schools and other locations for donations of movie DVDs, music CDs and video games.  Mr. Santarsiero noted the sample box which will be at the Township Building.  He stated he also discussed the project with Mr. McCaffrey who has agreed to have a box at the McCaffrey’s Supermarket.  Information will also be on the Township Website, the Township TV Channel, and in the Township Newsletter.  Mrs. Godshalk suggested that one of the boxes be put in the Library as well.  Mr. Santarsiero thanked Mr. Cohen for the work he is doing on this project.

 

Mr. Sam Conti, representing the Farmland Preservation Corporation, stated the increase in deer and geese populations have had a significant impact on the farmers who are losing as much as 35% of their crop to the deer and geese.  He stated in 2004 they heard of a program whereby the State would provide fencing for the control of deer.  He has obtained information on this program which is administered by the Gaming Association.  He stated they would provide a five foot high, electrified fence.  The farmers would have to allow the land to be available for hunters during the hunting season.  After discussion, it was agreed that they would not proceed with this program because of the danger

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involved with the electrified fence and use of firearms.  He stated at the last Board of Supervisors meeting, Mr. Joe Ardin provided information on his program involving culling of deer and geese.  Mr. Conti stated he discussed this program with the farmers involved, and they are all interested in the program.  He stated Mr. Ardin will be making a presentation to the Farmland Preservation Corporation at their meeting Tuesday.  He stated if they are in agreement, he would propose that all 344 acres of Farmland as well as 130 acres of land adjacent to Heather Ridge and 130 acres adjacent to Bridle Estates be included in this program.  He stated the Township may also wish to include the Patterson Farm.  He asked if there were any objections to this proposal from the Board or legal counsel. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked that they wait until they hear back from Mr. Shissler who was asked at the last meeting to come back with a proposal to hire him to address the deer issue throughout the Township.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he would like to have a plan that is applied uniformly throughout the Township.  He stated if they proceed with retention of Mr. Shissler, he would develop a plan for the entire Township.  He would prefer not doing this on a piecemeal basis before getting the input from Mr. Shissler who is the expert.  

 

Mr. Conti stated he would like to proceed with the presentation by Mr. Ardin since the arrangements have already been made, but they would not proceed with anything further until they hear back from the Board of Superviosrs.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not have a problem with Mr. Ardin making a presentation, but noted the Farmland Preservation Corporation does not have the authority to permit any hunting.  She stated she is concerned with hunting on these properties because of the proximity to residential areas.  Mr. Conti stated it would be bow and arrow hunting. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated this would still be under the regulations.

 

Mr. Smith stated Mr. Conti discussed geese, and this was not considered when they had their discussions with Mr. Shissler; and they were only discussing the deer problem.

Mr. Conti stated Mr. Ardin indicated he would take care of geese as well. Mr. Stainthorpe stated there was a problem with geese at the Golf Course; and it has been handled very effectively with their border collie, Max, who while he does not hurt the geese, his presence causes them to go elsewhere.  He stated this is a modest investment that works. 

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of November 15, 2006 as written.

 

 

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PRESENTATION OF PROCLAMATIONS TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT OFFICERS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the Pennsbury Elementary Schools recently held their Elections for Student Government Officers, and since he knows one of the students recently elected personally, he felt it would be good to acknowledge the service these young people are doing.  He stated he hopes that this is just the first of what will be many experiences for them in public service.  He stated Proclamations will be issued this evening acknowledging their service to their Schools and thanking them on behalf of the Township. 

 

Proclamations were presented to the students present this evening (names attached to the Minutes.)

 

Mr. Caiola acknowledged the Pennsbury School District as well as the parents of the children recognized for molding their children into responsible citizens.  Mr. Stainthorpe congratulated those elected as well as their parents.  He stated this is the first step in becoming involved in being a leader and encouraged them to maintain their interest in helping their community.  Mrs. Godshalk congratulated those elected.  She stated the Elementary Schools have been very generous with regard to the Township Memorial.  She stated she recently went to Edgewood School to pick up a very generous check. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated present tonight are sixteen girls and ten boys and she encouraged everyone, but particularly the girls, to continue to be involved in Government.  Mr. Smith

stated as an attorney he frequently sees a different type of young person so it is encouraging to see this group of young people.  He stated he has also been involved in soccer for seventeen years and it is good to see leadership on the soccer field and in the Schools as well.

 

Mr. Santarsiero invited the children and their parents to remain to see how local Government works and see how people make their voices heard at the level which is closest to the people.

 

 

REPORT ON BRAMM FUND RAISING EFFORTS

 

Mr. Paul Krupp and Ms. Holly Bussey were present.   Mr. Krupp stated a Petition was filed in June challenging the validity of the FONSI.  A mediation Hearing was scheduled in October and an additional Hearing will be held late January.  In the interim, BRRAM has been involved in a fundraising campaign to assist the Township in paying the legal bills.

 

Ms. Bussey stated in late August, the Board of Supervisors requested that they help raise funds to help pay for the litigation.  They had booths at Lower Makefield Community

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Day and Yardley Harvest Day.  They have also had a letter-writing campaign targeting key impact neighborhoods first, and they have written over one thousand letters.  She stated they will present tonight a check to the Township which includes a challenge gift which they were able to exceed.  Ms. Bussey thanked the Lower Makefield Township residents for their contributions.  She stated they will continue to ask the community for their support.   She stated she has forms for donations this evening and contributions can be made on their Website – www.BRRAM.org.  

 

Mr. Santarsiero thanked BRRAM for the contribution.  He stated he was very impressed with their efforts in fundraising.  He stated he received today an acknowledgement for the contribution he made, and it was very professionally done.  He added this is an investment in the Township since if the Airport is ever expanded, it will have a real impact on property values and the quality of life which is why they continue to support BRRAM.

 

Mr. Krupp thanked the Board of Supervisors for taking this approach.  He stated they also have information on this matter on the Township Website.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he will be contacting Congressman-Elect Murphy and requesting his support in this effort as the previous Congressmen have supported BRRAM.

 

Mrs. Godshalk thanked Mr. Krupp and Ms. Bussey for their dedication working for our quality of life.  Mr. Caiola agreed that the work they are doing is critical, and it is important to keep this issue in the forefront. 

 

 

UPDATE ON DECEMBER 5 MEETING WITH GOVERNOR RENDELL REGARDING FUNDING FOR SPECIAL PROJECTS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he and Mr. Truelove along with Representative Steil met in Philadelphia with Governor Rendell and his Chief of Staff.  He stated the meeting was a result of a lot of work by Mr. Truelove who in July met the Governor at an event and mentioned to him that they had severe problems with flooding and needed help to secure funding for a number of projects including one which had been on the books for many years.  This project entails the dredging of the Delaware Canal, repair of one of the locks, and the widening of the culvert underneath the bridge for Black Rock Road.  This work is estimated to cost $2.5 million and the Township does not have these funds.  In 2000 this project was put on a Capital Budget to be performed by the State, but had not proceeded.

After a series of phone calls and e-mails, the meeting was held yesterday. Mr. Santarsiero stated he provided the Governor an overview of the various ideas they are considering to help mitigate the flooding problems and also discussed the need to have the work done on the Canal and the culvert.  He stated the Governor advised that they would get the work

 

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done.  He stated there is some question as to how the funding will take place whether it will all come from the State or partly from FEMA.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he has been asked to be the point of contact for the Township, and he will call the Governor’s Chief of Staff after the New Year to discuss getting the funding finalized so that hopefully the work will be done in 2007.  Although this will not solve all the flooding problems in this part of the Township, it will help this area.  He stated they are appreciative of the Governor’s support as well as the work done by Mr. Truelove and Mr. Steil. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated at the meeting with the Governor he also raised the issue of the proposed work on Scudders Falls Bridge and I-95 between the Scudders Falls crossing and Route 332.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has been planning for a number of years to widen the Scudders Falls Bridge and I-95 for that lane.  He stated they are proposing adding lanes to the Bridge and one lane in each direction on I-95.  He stated while this work does need to be done, the Township is concerned with the impact on the Township.  He stated they are concerned whether they will put in the extra lanes for I-95 outside of the highway or inside in the area between the north and southbound lanes.  He stated although a final design has not been selected, he understands they are in favor of expanding on the inside which would be better for the Township.  He stated they are also concerned with the noise problem.  He stated there is already an existing noise problem.  He stated he and Mr. Smith attended a meeting some time ago when the Bridge Commission representatives discussed the project, and the residents present voiced their concern with the noise.  At that time Mr. Santarsiero indicated the Board of Superviosrs would do what they could to get sound barriers put along that stretch of the highway.  Subsequently, they have communicated this to the Bridge Commission.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he raised this issue with the Governor who understood the need to have those barriers installed.  Governor Rendell indicated he would contact the Vice Chair of the Bridge Commission and urge them to work with the Township on this issue.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the Bridge Commission is comprised of an equal number of representatives from Pennsylvania and New Jersey who are appointed by the Governors of those States.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the Vice Chair happened to be coming into the office to meet with the Governor as they were leaving, and they advised her that they had raised this issue with the Governor; and she reiterated her support for installation of the sound barriers.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they will continue to work on this issue to see that this is done.  Mr. Santarsiero stated while he recognizes that the work on the Bridge and the road needs to be done, if the project does not include sound barriers, he would not be in support of the project.

 

Mr. Truelove noted that the monies that were allocated for the work on the Delaware Canal have now been appropriated.  Mrs. Godshalk stated the funds are to be given to the DCNR who will oversee all the work.  She stated the priorities are the culvert, the dredging, and the repair of Lock 5.  She stated she understands that if there are any funds left, they want to add it to the Brock Creek aqueduct.  She stated Representative Steil initiated this Legislation in 2000 and deserves credit as well. 

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Mrs. Godshalk stated the Trenton Times had an extensive article on Monday about the Bridge widening and noted the Bridge Commission President indicated it will be five lanes going north and four lanes going south.  She stated this will be a new Bridge, not just a widening of the existing Bridge.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they decided relatively early on that they would have to construct a new Bridge, and not simply widen the existing Bridge.  Mr. Caiola stated they are also discussing a walking/bikepath on the Bridge.  Mr. Smith stated at the meeting he attended on the Bridge, they indicated it would cost $1 million a mile for the sound barriers.  He stated there was strong public support at that meeting for the sound barriers.  Mr. Caiola thanked Mr. Santarsiero,

Mr. Steil, Mr. Truelove, and the members of RAFT who have been encouraging the Board to move forward on these projects.

 

Mr. Scott Burgess thanked Mr. Steil, Mr. Santarsiero, and the rest of the Board for what they have done.  He stated five months ago when they started working on this problem, they were not sure what the outcome would be and so far they have gotten more than they anticipated.  He stated RAFT recently had an Executive meeting; and in 2007, they will try to reach out to other communities up and down the Delaware River since the problem goes beyond Lower Makefield Township.  Mr. Burgess stated with regard to the I-95 expansion, he hopes that they will look into how this will impact the River and the Canal.

Mr. Santarsiero stated there are stormwater issues they have in the Township aside from the flood events that must be worked out from an engineering standpoint.  He stated during one of the Road Tours, Mr. Majewski advised that they need to obtain Permits from the Township before the work can be done, so this does give the Township some leverage.  He stated they will also have to take into consideration how the expansion of the highway will impact the floodplain.  He stated early in the new year, he feels they may need to ask that the representatives from the Bridge Commission come in to give an update and what they are looking at in terms of engineering; and the Township engineer could then review this and provide feedback. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated when I-95 was built the stormwater management practices put in place were disastrous.  He stated at one of the meetings with the Bridge Commission representatives, they discussed correcting and improving a lot of these issues. 

 

Mr. Burgess stated as they get into release of the funds to the DCNR, he hopes they will continue to keep in contact to see what can be done to insure that Black Rock Road does not flood out.  He noted this is the main access for emergency vehicles to get into the area. 

 

Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Road, stated his neighborhood also hears the trucks on I-95.  He asked if there is any discussion about extending the sound barriers south of 332 through the community.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Bridge Commission would be paying the cost for these from the Bridge down to 332 and anything further would have to come from PennDOT.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the area noted by Mr. Rubin is not

currently being contemplated as part of the Bridge Commission project. 

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Mr. Santarsiero stated when this project was first being discussed, he indicated that it did not make sense to add lanes to the highway north of 332 and there remain a stretch of highway for approximately five miles that would remain two lanes in each direction as this would result in bottlenecks.  He stated they do not seem to be interested in this probably because the Bridge Commission sees that as too far away from their jurisdiction.  He stated the Bridge Commission is doing the work under a Memorandum of Agreement with PennDOT and NJDOT.  Mr. Santarsiero stated any work south of 332 would have to be done through PennDOT.  He stated while the noise is an issue for the entire length of the highway, their immediate concern was where they were widening the road.  He stated the Bridge Commission indicated that this is the stretch that would be the most heavily-traveled stretch according to their projections.  Mr. Rubin asked if it was arbitrarily decided that 332 northward was the Bridge Commission’s territory, and

Mr. Santarsiero stated it had to do with proximity to the Bridge and because they saw this as a major feeder onto I-95 going north. 

 

Ms. Holly Bussey, 20 Knoll Drive, asked about the projected construction date, and

Mr. Santarsiero stated 2008 was the original date, but they feel this will be moved back.

Mr. Santarsiero stated they previously indicated they would have the final design selected in the fall of 2005, and they now hear it will be selected in the spring of 2007.  He does not feel they will be in a position to begin construction in 2008 or even 2009, and they will have to follow up with them on this.  Ms. Bussey stated she is concerned that there will be an extensive length of time when traffic patterns will change.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the Bridge Commission is mindful of the impact of their crossings on the communities in which they exist.  He stated the last two years they have floated two bond issues totaling approximately $30 million and they have welcomed Applications for funding from Townships that are in the vicinity of the Bridge.  The Township has in the past submitted Applications for funding; and they will be sending out Applications again as there is a chance that some of those which were denied last year, might now be approved.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township did receive a Grant.  Mr. Santarsiero agreed noting this was for the traffic light at Creamery and 332.  He stated many of the other projects they submitted were turned down, and they will re-submit.

 

Ms. Virginia Torbert congratulated Mr. Truelove and Mr. Santarsiero for the work they did getting funds released.  Ms. Torbert stated she had a discussion with a representative from the Joint Toll Bridge Commission to get an update for the Citizens Traffic Commission.  She stated she advised that the current hold up is the round-about issue in New Jersey with regard to Route 29.  There have been ongoing discussions between NJDOT and the Bridge Commission about the design of the round-about.  The representative also indicated the next round of public meetings will be in the spring or summer.  She stated at the next meeting, they feel the preferred alternative will be revealed.  She also indicated they hope to complete the environmental assessment by the fall of 2007 and stated the criteria they will use for the bikepath is the degree of public support.

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DISCUSSION OF PROCESS TO CREATE A MASTER PLAN FOR THE PATTERSON FARM

 

Mr. Jeff Marshall was present.  He stated a study was done of all existing sites in the Township and they were then asked to focus on the Patterson Farm.  He stated over the next few months they would like to put together a Special Committee to look at the issues with regard to Patterson Farm.  He stated in this way they can present all the possibilities for the site. He would then within six months like to come back and suggest uses for the property.  He stated they would first have a brainstorming session, identify specific implications of all the possible functions and potential conflicts, identify key priorities, and make recommendations. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated he has drafted a Mission Statement so the Committee has a starting point.  He stated he feels they want to preserve the cultural and historic landscapes of the property, consider agricultural sustainability, provide for the environmental and social well-being of present and future generations, establish and reaffirm the strong connection between farmland, food, and community, have a strong concern for the economic implications of any decision the Board and community comes up with, and that at this time recreational use of the property will probably be secondary to the agricultural use for the immediate future.  Mr. Marshall stated the broad options include farmland preservation.  He stated there are funding possibilities, and they could look to the County for funding to purchase the development rights from the Township and noted

Mr. Fedorchak has met with the head of the County Ag Preservation Program to get preliminary input.  He stated he feels they should have a vision for the property before they apply for funding through sale of development rights.  He stated they must also look to the farmers of the community as to what farming will be in the 21st Century. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated they must also consider the historic sites, and they are pursuing National Register listing for the properties.  The deadline is December 12 and this will open the door for potential funding and protection, although it may also have some restraints as to what can be done in the future.  He stated they are also looking into the use of non-agricultural open space if it is not viable for farming at some point in the future.  He stated they could also consider linkages to other open space.  They also need to consider the impact any of these uses would have on the adjoining neighborhoods.  He stated they should also consider future potential use for active recreation although this is not being considered in the very near future. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated the Board needs to consider who they would want to have on this visioning Committee.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if he feels this Committee would be a stakeholders committee and if so how “stakeholder” would be defined.  Mr. Marshall stated he does feel it should be stakeholders and this could include those who have an interest in historic preservation, recreation, and farmland preservation. 

 

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Mr. Stainthorpe stated he is in favor of the open-minded approach even if it is involves discussion of items they may ultimately decide not to do.  He stated since it is a short-term Committee, it should include a representative from the Historic Commission, Planning Commission, Park & Recreation, Environmental Advisory Council and citizens at large - possibly neighbors to the property.  He assumes they would have public meetings so that there would be ample opportunity for others to provide input. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he also feels there should be representatives from the farming community as well.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels they could have a plan for the next ten to fifteen years and then a long-term plan in the event that there are not farmers in the area in the future.  Mr. Smith stated he feels someone from the Farmland Preservation Corporation should also be on the Committee.  Mr. Smith asked that Mr. Marshall read the Mission Statement he prepared.

 

Mr. Marshall stated the Mission Statement he has drafted reads as follows:  “The Patterson Farm will be a permanently protected, sustainable resource that will provide agricultural, open space, historic, education, and other benefits to the citizens of Lower Makefield Township. The ultimate use of the farm will be determined by the Township in collaboration with farmers, non-Government organization, and citizens.  The Farm will provide present and future generations education on how food is grown, encourage access to fresh, healthy produce, and provide a place for residents to appreciate the open space and beauty of a working farm.”  He noted he left the one section blank to provide for additional benefits to be determined.  He stated the last sentence is his prejudice while the first sentence is a more general statement. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she was involved in acquiring the property and is aware of the feelings of the community at that time; and she feels it was acquired as open space, historic preservation, and farming for as long as someone was available to farm it with ownership by the Township whose citizens are paying for it.  She stated there has been discussion on use of the buildings and there was discussion about subdividing one of the houses off and selling it to someone who would restore it and use it as a family home.  She stated shortly after the Township spent the $7.5 million on this property, the Township also went out on a Referendum for $7.5 million to purchase additional land.  This Referendum was worded for “farmland preservation, open space, and historic preservation.”   Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels these are the three uses which are most important to those who are paying for the Patterson Farm and the other parcels bought under the Referendum.  She is concerned that people on the Committee may have other interests apart from these three uses. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated while he does not disagree with Mrs. Godshalk, he stated this would provide an opportunity to reaffirm that this is the case.  He stated situations have changed, and the people who are paying for this may have other opinions. He stated his goal is permanently protected open space, but he does not want to presume that he knows what is best for the Township’s greater goals. 

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Mr. Smith stated he does not feel they should pre-judge the report and its findings before they even appoint a Committee.  He suggested they appoint the Committee, have them do the work, and then make comments on the report once it is presented.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated once the report comes back, the Board of Supervisors can accept or reject whatever they choose in the report.  Mrs. Godshalk stated there are Plans for Memorial Park but they do not have the money to proceed with them.  She stated she feels it is safest to just keep the Patterson Farm as open space. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated the Bucks County Commissioners have appointed a second Bucks County Open Space Task Force of which he is a member and they have been meeting on a regular basis.  He stated the next Bond Issue will include more funds for projects that enhance already preserved open space.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they also need more money

to purchase additional land. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels if ultimately a Plan is made for the short and long-term of the farm, and the Township was then able to make Application to the County for the purchase of the development rights to the Farm in a way that is consistent with the Township’s Plan, this would be a revenue stream that the Township could use for the preservation of the Farm.  He suggested that they put this back on the Agenda for the next meeting and decide how the Committee will be set up. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe asked the cost for Mr. Marshall’s services for this, and Mr. Marshall stated it is included in the project they already have underway.

 

Mrs. Godshalk  asked why the County would purchase development rights for land that has already been preserved.  Mr. Marshall stated it is his understanding that the restrictions on the use ended with the passing of the Pattersons.   He stated the Township owns this and he did not see anything that indicated it was only for open space.  He stated the prior attorney had looked into this issue, and the current attorney could do so as well.

Mr. Marshall stated the reason he brought up the idea of the County’s purchase of the Development Rights would be that it would take the decision away from the Township alone and make sure that the goal of keeping it open forever is backed by the Township as well as the County.  Mr. Santarsiero stated approximately seventy acres that was purchased with County funds is already protected, but he understands that the rest of the Farm is not so protected. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked if the County might overturn this fifty years from now. 

Mr. Marshall stated it would be an additional level of protection as currently it is only the Township protecting it, and if the County purchased Development rights it would be subject to a County Easement and the Supervisors.  He feels this would provide more protection. 

 

 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 11 of 21

 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated if the County at some point in the future chose to sell the Development Rights, the Township would have the option to buy them but the Township would also not be forced or required to sell the underlying land. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated it would actually be three Boards since when he is discussing the County, it is actually the County and the State.

 

Mr. Smith stated he would like to be sure that the Committee is in place no later than January, 2007; and Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels they can appoint the Committee in two weeks. 

 

Mr. Smith asked the status of the Satterthwaite House.  Mr. Fedorchak stated they received a $19,000 Community Development Block Grant, and they just recently contracted out for painting the house.  The work had begun approximately one and a half months ago but the contractor has discovered a few additional problems particularly with the porch.  They are looking into this.  They do not anticipate that they will be able to complete the painting this year, and it will be done in the spring.  There are structural matters that need attention.

 

There was no public comment.

 

 

UPDATE ON BLACK ROCK ROAD BIKEPATH STUDY

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they had asked the traffic engineer to report back to the Board in thirty days as to the status of the feasibility study for the construction of a bikepath on Black Rock Road from Westover Road to Glen Drive; and the engineer felt the meeting was next week rather than this week.  This matter will be on the Agenda for the Board’s meeting of December 20.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND MOTION TO APPROVE PURCHASE OF NEW AMBULANCE FOR THE YARDLEY-MAKEFIELD EMERGENCY SQUAD

 

Mr. James McCaffrey was present with Mr. Hank Lawrence.  Mr. McCaffrey stated last year the Rescue Squad responded to 1,411 calls; and this year they have responded to 1,203 through October.  He stated the Squad was in service 99.9% of the time last year, which is commendable and was not done in the past.  He thanked Mr. Lawrence for his leadership.  Mr. McCaffrey stated the Squad employs nine full-time people, eleven part-time people, and they have a budget of $875,000.  He included in a packet presented this evening the Profit and Loss Statement for 2005 as well as the Financial Statement through October, 2006.  He stated of the $875,000, $120,000 comes from the Township,

 

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$15,000 from Yardley Borough, the public supports the Squad through donations in the amount of $135,000, and the balance comes from billings for those who use their services. 

 

Mr. McCaffrey stated of the 1,411 calls last year, 66% of them were dispatched as Advanced Life Support (ALS) and 70% actually were ALS transport.  He stated this is why they are requesting a new ambulance.  He stated currently they have three vehicles – a 1999 van that is not an ALS vehicle, a 1998 box vehicle and a 2001 box vehicle.  He stated the 1998 vehicle has 84,000 miles on it, and they would like to keep it as it has no value to anyone else.  He stated the 2001 vehicle, which the Township purchased for the Squad, has 55,000 miles on it and does get a lot of use.  They intend to sell the van for which they feel they could get between $18,000 and $20,000.  They still owe approximately $14,000 on the 1998 van. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he understands the cost for this would come out of the Bond Issue that was passed last spring, and Mr. Fedorchak agreed.   Mr. Fedorchak stated when they put the Bond Issue together, they were going to spend the funds on sewer rehabilitation, a new fire truck, and the emergency vehicle now under discussion. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe asked how much was put in the Bond Issue, and Mr. Fedorchak stated it was $100,000.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked if they would take advantage of the $50,000 loan from FEMA, and Mr. McCaffrey stated it would be advantageous for them to do so.

 Mr. Stainthorpe asked if this vehicle would be basically the same as the 2001 vehicle, and Mr. McCaffrey agreed.  Mr. Lawrence stated it is still basically state-of-the art, although there have been some minor improvements having to do with the electrical systems. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero thanked the Emergency Squad for the work they do.  He stated this past year his family did need to avail themselves of their services for their son, and it was comforting to know that they were there so quickly and so well trained.  Mr. Smith stated they also provide EMT personnel for the Soccer Tournaments at reduced cost for which YMS is very appreciative. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the van they have is not suitable for the ALS service, and this will give them the capability that any vehicle that goes out would meet their needs; and

Mr. McCaffrey agreed. 

 

There was no public comment.

 

Mr. Fedorchak asked if they intend to purchase the ambulance through the State bid program, and Mr. Lawrence stated this was not their intention and he does not know any organizations in the area that do this.  Mr. McCaffrey stated they do intend to get a number of bids.

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 13 of 21

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the purchase of a new ambulance in an amount not to exceed $100,000 of Township money. 

 

Mr. Lawrence stated in March they will be having a CPR Marathon in conjunction with Bucks County Realtors, and he invited the Board to be trained in CPR.  All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity. 

 

 

MAKEFIELD HIGHLANDS GOLF COURSE PROGRESS UPDATE AND OVERVIEW

 

Mr. Frank Draper, Golf Course Committee Chairman, was present.  He stated the new General Manager this year was Mike Collins who was the golf pro at the Course for three years prior to this promotion.  He stated he has transitioned into the position extremely well and made an immediate impact on a number of operational and personnel issues. 

 

Mr. Draper stated the Course is maturing nicely.  He stated they will have some maintenance challenges to face, and he has had discussions with the Superintendent who has the situation well in hand.  Mr. Draper stated the look and feel of the Golf Course is similar to that of a private facility, which is a difficult process when you have over 41,000 rounds of golf.  Mr. Draper stated all operations are at or ahead of Budget including the Pro Shop, Food and Beverage, and Practice Facility.  He stated they are supported by the community at large as well.  He stated the Practice Facility is an incredible facility, and he has seen members of private Clubs practicing at the facility.  He stated the revenues and expenses are on course, and they were able to reduce the Operating Budget this year by 5%. 

 

Mr. Draper stated the Golf Committee is now working with the Sales and Marketing team at Makefield Highlands in an effort to attract higher end and more profitable outings as well as additional non-golf activities to make use of the facility.  Mr. Draper reviewed some of the repairs done in 2006.   He stated the Golf Committee has been exploring an opportunity with the Philadelphia Section of the PGA which is considering having their headquarters at the Manor House, and they will continue to work on this.  He stated they have developed an Action Plan for making Makefield Highlands an Audubon-sanctioned facility, have been heavily involved in planning the VIP Outing, are in the process of developing a landscape Plan for the long-range future of the Golf Course, and have established a Friends of Makefield Highlands team of volunteers who devote time on the course, greeting the golfers, thanking them for their business, helping to raise awareness, repairing divots, etc.  They have had a good response from the golfers who indicated it was nice to be thanked for their business.  They have also become active with a number of local organizations and businesses to raise awareness of Makefield Highlands for outings and other events as well.  They will continue to investigate other opportunities to

Generate funds and increase the profit margins.

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 21

 

 

Mr. Draper stated Kemper Sports sends out a survey every year, and this year over 90% of those responding indicated that they considered customer service and the condition of the Golf Course to be excellent.

 

Mr. Draper stated the size of the kitchen and equipment cannot adequately accommodate more than four tables if they come in at the same time, and they have asked the Director of Food and Beverage to put together a proposal for improvements.  Mr. Draper stated he feels it would be good to provide an oven and extra griddle in the kitchen.  This would help them accommodate the normal day-to-day activities and also put them in a better position to eliminate caterers from coming in as they could do their own cooking for functions coming to the Course which would increase their bottom line.  Mr. Draper provided information on the costs for these items for the Township’s consideration. 

He feels they would be able to cover their costs within the first year based on the Tournaments alone.

 

Mr. Draper thanked the Board of Supervisors for their continuing support as they go into a successful 2007.  He stated the Golf Committee asked that he let the Board know that the Golf Committee and the entire staff at Makefield Highlands is committed to living up to their motto of “Redefining Public Golf.”

 

M. Stainthorpe stated Mr. Draper’s support has been invaluable and added he has brought real leadership to the Golf Committee.   Mr. Smith stated during the Budget meetings

there was discussion about the Junior program.  Mr. Draper stated the program sells out months in advance, and they will continue to offer this. He stated it is a resource issue as to how much the program can be expanded.  Mr. Smith asked about more involvement of women at the course, and Mr. Draper stated this has been discussed, but they would need a volunteer to lead this charge.  Mr. Smith stated he is concerned about the ability of the Course to handle certain functions.  He asked if it would be possible to enclose a portion of the facility to maximize non-golf use.  Mr. Draper stated they have had extensive discussions on this; and while they could build out, they would need to look at the cost for the expansion versus their return on investment.  He stated they do have room to expand available.  Mr. Smith asked that they continue to look into this.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they did discuss this during the Budget sessions; and she feels the existing patio section could be glassed in, and they could make a new patio area.  Mr. Santarsiero stated  they have discussed this in the past and while he would be supportive of an expansion in the future, he wants to make sure that the Course over a five to six year period is meeting the projections they anticipated. 

 

Mr. Caiola asked if they have seen any recurring concerns by golfers.  Mr. Draper stated the main thing they initially saw was the pace of play was longer than they would like to see.  He stated the average time last year was four and a half hours which is very acceptable and is much better than it was during their initial year.

 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 21

 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated Mike Collins, the new General Manager, has done an excellent job and has a wonderful personality.  She stated the groundskeeper, Jeff Dancott, is also doing an excellent job.  Mrs. Godshalk stated a number of her friends from out of State have played on the Course and have compared it to a private course. 

 

Mr. Smith asked the advantages for Lower Makefield residents to use the Course.

Mr. Draper stated a discount is offered to all Lower Makefield residents during the week and on the weekend.   There are also Senior and Youth rates.

 

Mr. Sam Conti stated the financials year-to-date are significantly different than the Feasibility Study that was done, and he feels it may be appropriate to have a new five-year study done taking into consideration the experience to date. 

 

 

DISCUSSION AND DIRECTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO PERFORM AN INVENTORY OF REMAINING OPEN SPACE

 

Mr. James Bray was present.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the Township has done a good job of preserving open space, but there is still land that could be preserved.  He stated while there are not necessarily large tracts of land which are subject to potential development, there are a lot of smaller parcels of land throughout the Township that could be subject to development.  He stated the Board is concerned that if those tracts are developed, they will have an impact on the Township including an impact on stormwater and the environment and changing the character of the Township.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they have discussed the idea of putting together an inventory of all the property that could be subject to development so that the Board would be able to look at this list and prioritize what they may want to save.  He stated they heard this evening that the County is in the process of putting together an Open Space Bond.  He stated the Township also still has $2 million that they could borrow under the prior Referendum.  In order for the Township to be prepared, he feels it is necessary not only to identify the properties, but to identify whether there are development issues on these properties that make them not as good candidates as others for development such as existence of water courses and other issues.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the Environmental Advisory Council is uniquely qualified to do this inventory and identify the issues on the properties as their members have experience in these areas.  He stated if the EAC does this job, it would also help save the Township money as they would be serving as volunteers.  He stated the Township engineer could then be asked to review this work.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the EAC could draw on existing information in the Township.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated they should also consider the types of soils on these properties and noted this information is available in the Township.

 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 21

 

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to direct the Environmental Advisory Council to perform an inventory of the remaining open space.

 

Mr. Bray stated the EAC is well positioned to do this because two months ago, he was appointed to the Open Space Review Board for the County, and he has a good relation with the County.  He has already received the Open Space Plan for Lower Makefield Township from Mr. Fedorchak.  He stated there will be a significant Bond Issue coming through next year, and he feels this is a good time to get into this.

 

 

AUTHORIZE ADVERTISEMENT OF NATIVE PLANT ORDINANCE

 

Mr. Bray stated in late 2005, he was instructed to draft an Ordinance for the Township mandating the use of native plants in developmental buffers and for street trees that developers are required to install.  In addition, the Township indicated that it would be willing to use native plants in all its facilities.  This would be through a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors. 

 

Mr. Bray stated he is seeking authority to first send the Ordinance to the Bucks County Planning Commission and then to advertise the Ordinance.  He stated if it comes back from the Bucks County Planning Commission essentially unchanged, they would advertise it immediately; however if there are significant changes from the Bucks County Planning Commission, it would have to come back to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  He stated this has gone to the Planning Commission already and it was well received.  All suggestions made by the Planning Commission and Mr. Majewski have been incorporated into the Ordinance.

 

Mr. Bray stated the Ordinance will require developers to use native vegetation in the development buffers.  He stated it has nothing to do with grasses or what individual homeowners plant on their properties.  He stated there are many benefits to the use of native plants, and information on this was provided to the Board of Supervisors previously.  Mr. Bray noted the many people who worked on the Ordinance.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated when they were discussing plants for the Memorial, there was a type of tree that was not considered a native plant, but had been growing in the U.S for 250 years and was not an invasive species.  He asked when a plant becomes a native plant.  Mr. Bray stated this is a judgment call.  He stated native vegetation is defined as vegetation that was here at the time of European settlement.   He stated with other plants they are not certain what might happen as the years go by.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated initially he felt this was for any plantings in a new development including residential yards, etc. that are planted by the developer, but Mr. Bray has indicated this evening that it would only be for buffers.  Mr. Bray stated when he discussed with the attorney requiring developers to put in native plants throughout the development, Mr. Closser felt

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 21

 

 

there could be legal problems associated with this.  He stated there is no guarantee that the homeowners would continue with the plantings.

 

Mr. Smith asked if there were any downsides discussed by the EAC.  Mr. Bray stated he does not feel there were any downsides. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated at Memorial Park they are planning on having an arboretum and there are some trees which were brought to the Country many years ago, and she asked if this would be a problem.  She stated she felt the major problems were with invasive plants which impacted small areas such as gardens and not with trees.  Mr. Bray stated there are a lot of trees which have become invasive such as Norway maples which destroy all the vegetation around it.  He stated there are also many other examples of invasive trees.   Mrs. Godshalk asked it there was something they could do to get a non-native species in an arboretum.  Mr. Bray stated a waiver could be received in a situation like that.  He stated their recommendation would be to go with natives or cultivars.  He stated their plant list has four hundred trees and this does not include cultivars so the list is actually extremely large. 

 

There was no public comment

 

Mr. Bray stated while he would like approval to advertise, he feels it would be based upon what the Bucks County Planning Commission does.  He stated if there are significant changes, they would come back to the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to authorize advertisement of the Native Plant Ordinance.

 

 

APPROVE REQUEST FOR EXTENSION FOR HARMONY LANE

 

Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the request for extension for Harmony Lane to March 7, 2007.

 

Mr. Pat Frain, 16 Delaware Rim Drive, asked about the reason for the request for Extension, and Mr. Stainthorpe stated they are giving them more time to come in with their Plans.   Mr. Fedorchak stated the developer has a number of comments that they need to address, and they are in the process of making revisions.  Mr. Truelove stated the Township is being given an Extension which provides the Township more time to review the Plans which is to the Township’s benefit.

 

 

 

 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 18 of 21

 

 

APPROVE GRANT OF CERTIFICATES OF APPROPRIATENESS

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Certificate of Appropriateness for 674 Stony Hill Road, replacement sign for Marvin Scott & Co., Fine Jewelers

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Certificate of Appropriateness for 705-B Stony Hill Road (Tomlinson Store) Y-Knot Knit Sign.

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve

Certificate of Appropriateness for 1666 Edgewood road (Woodside Chapel) sign for Ernest Cimino, MD.

 

 

SIGNING OF MYLARS FOR CHANTICLEER AMENDED FINAL SUBDIVISION AND KIMBLES FIELD MINOR SUBDIVISION LOT LINE CHANGE WICK, SICHEL & GOLDBERG

 

Mylars for the above were signed following the meeting.

 

 

APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2128 AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE DEP GRANT AGREEMENT INCREASING THE CONSTRUCTION LINE ITEM BY $50,000 FROM $65,987 TO $115, 987 FOR THE BROCK CREEK STREAM RESTORATION PROJECT

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated a few years ago the Township received a $65,987 Grant for a stream bank stabilization project for a portion of Brock Creek.  This summer the project went out to bid, and the lowest bid was $125,000.  He discussed this with Mr. Majewski who reviewed the scope of work with the intent of trying to reduce the project costs. 

Mr. Majewski came back with a cost of $100,000.  The Township then went to the DEP and explained the situation, and the DEP has now provided the Township with an additional $50,000.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 2128.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 19 of 21

 

 

APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2129 AUTHORIZING THE TOWNSHIP MANAGER TO EXECUTE ALL DOCUMENTS AND APPLICATIONS REQUIRED FOR THE HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT PROGRAM

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 2129.

 

 

AUTHORIZE EXECUTION OF A NO-COST CONTRACT WITH DCED FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXTENDING LINDENHURST TRAFFIC CALMING PROJECT COMPLETION DATE

 

Mr. Fedorchak stated the Township received a $250,000 grant and the State has already given the Township the money. He stated they would like to extend the Contract completion date to June 30, 2007.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to extend the date as outlined by the Township Manager.

 

 

ZONING HEARING BOARD MATTERS

 

It was agreed with regard to the Liberty Property Limited Partnership Variance request for the property located at 777 Township Line Road to permit a medical office in the O/R Zone to have the Solicitor participate for the purpose of obtaining further clarification.

 

It was agreed with regard to the Frank Stillitano Variance requests to permit elevation of an existing structure at 193 River Road to have the Solicitor participate for the purpose of obtaining further clarification.

 

 

SUPERVISORS REPORTS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the League of Municipalities met last week and discussed various mutual issues.  Their next meeting will be in January.  He stated the Newsletter is proceeding, and they hope to have a draft of articles out to the Board in the next few weeks.  He stated Mr. Stainthorpe will be contacted about alternative energy issues.

Mr. Santarsiero stated they do not feel the Newsletter will be coming out until after the new year.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she would like to see something in the Newsletter about what homeowners can do about multi-flora rose and other invasive plants.

 

Mr. Smith stated the Historic Commission is having a problem getting a quorum and they need a few new members.  He stated they are going to review the attendance of members. 

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 20 of 21

 

 

They have indicated they would like alternates so that there is not a problem getting a quorum.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated while he does not have a problem with alternates, if there is a consistent problem with certain individuals, they may need to consider whether the correct appointments were made.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this is one of the few Boards that meets in the morning, and it may be better to have them meet in the evening.

Mr. Smith stated he is the Liaison and this is an issue for him although he does try to make as many meetings as he can.  He agreed they may want to consider changing their meeting to a more convenient time.  He noted they are continuing their work on Edgewood Village.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the Bucks County Community College Course schedule has been released, and they have included the Elm Lowne springhouse as one of their historic preservation courses.  She stated people can get credit for working on those repairs.

 

 

APPROVE REQUEST FOR EXTENDED HOURS DURING HOLIDAY SEASON FOR STORES AT OXFORD OAKS

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded to approve extended hours for the stores at Oxford Oaks Shopping Center other than the Super Fresh for the same number of days and times as last year.

 

Mr. Matt Malone, 557 Kings Road, asked why the food store is not included. 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated it is because it is for Holiday shopping and the supermarket’s business would not substantially change during the Holiday.  Mr. Santarsiero stated policing becomes more of an issue as well and there are other reasons why the food store is not included as well. 

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2126 – BROOKSHIRE ESTATES (FORMERLY

FLOWERS MADANY SUBDIVISION) SEWER PLANNING MODULES

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 2126.

 

 

APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2127 – MINEHART TRACT SEWER PLANNING MODULES

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution No. 2127.

December 6, 2006                                                       Board of Supervisors – page 21 of 21

 

 

APPOINTMENTS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Laura Brandt has been serving as an Alternate to the Environmental Advisory Council for some time.  He stated they have also had this position advertised for some time as well.  Mr. Bray has expressed his support of

Ms. Brandt being a permanent member.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he is the Liaison to the EAC and Ms. Brandt has done a tremendous amount of work.

 

Mrs. Godshalk moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Laura Brandt to the Environmental Advisory Council.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                       

                                                                        Greg Caiola, Secretary