BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MINUTES – FEBRUARY 1, 2006
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the
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
David Truelove, Township Solicitor
Bucky Closser, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police
Ms. Helen Bosley, 546 Palmer Farm Drive, asked if there has
been any resolution as to the issue raised at the last meeting with respect to
the legal situation of whether people who were appointed to positions in 2005
by the three remaining Supervisors constitutes a legal appointment. Mr. Truelove stated they did look into this;
and unless this Board takes affirmative action to ratify the prior decisions,
the prior decisions are not effective.
He stated at this point the positions involved are still vacant until
the current Board makes appointments.
Mrs. Godshalk asked if this is part of public law. Mr. Truelove stated there are some cases in
the Commonwealth Court Decisions and some from the District and County Courts
and various sources of information. He
noted the language that was in a case in the
Mr. Truelove stated there is no statute that speaks to a “lame duck” Board. He stated the one case refers specifically to the original appointments and does reference the term “lame duck” Board and he read language from that case. Mr. Truelove stated the result is that there was no vacancy at the time that the appointments were made and ratification does not occur unless there is an affirmative step by the subsequent Board to ratify the act of the prior Board. Mrs. Godshalk asked if this is because it was 12/31 or could they
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 2 of 23
apply this to any person that was appointed during the last year or two who was
re-appointed before their term was up. Mr. Santarsiero stated there are two issues – one is the issue of a non-existence of the vacancy at the time the appointment is made and the second issue is whether or not the Board making the appointment has the authority to make that appointment because that vacancy will not occur within the tenure of that Board. He stated the situations they are considering with the six or seven individuals they have identified is that their vacancies were not to come up until the expiration of the tenure of the last Board and so there was never a time that those vacancies were going to exist and as a consequence that Board could not have filled those positions because they were not going to become vacant during their period of authority.
Mrs. Godshalk moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded that the Board ratify all those people who were re-appointed to their Boards during the last two months of 2005.
Motion did not carry as Mrs. Godshalk and Mr. Stainthorpe were in favor and Mr. Caiola, Mr. Santarsiero, and Mr. Smith were opposed.
Mr. Caiola moved that they move the process forward and by the end of February or March have a determination on the appointments. Motion died for lack of a second.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he did not feel a Motion was necessary and asked that
Mr. Fedorchak move forward with this process. He stated he feels the letters should be sent out immediately, and they can schedule interviews by the next Board meeting.
Mr. Fedorchak stated he has already contacted five of the seven individuals who were affected and advised them by phone. He explained the Solicitor’s ruling and that the Board was interested in their continued interest in the Township. He indicated to them that the procedure would be that they would be asked to appear before the Board in an interview process. All those he contacted were interested in continuing to serve and anticipated meeting with the Board to be interviewed. Mr. Fedorchak suggested that they meet at 5:30 p.m. the evening of their next meeting, and this was acceptable to the Board.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she will not be able to attend that evening as she had a planned trip before she knew that the Board would be changing their regular meeting night.
Mr. Santarsiero stated she could schedule her interview another evening.
Mrs. Godshalk asked Mr. Truelove for a copy of the legislation to which he was referring. Mr. Santarsiero stated it is not legislation. Mrs. Godshalk asked for the Commonwealth Court Decisions particularly the 1988 Falls Township Decision,
and Mr. Truelove agreed to provide this to her.
Ms. Virginia Torbert,
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 3 of 23
has heard no discussion on this. She stated she does not feel they have had a report back from the Commission that was studying historic homes, and she would hope that one of the options would be that the Satterthwaite House could be used as a tenant house for the farmer farming that property. If it is leased out it would impact that option. She stated when the property was leased previously it was done in a very hurried fashion with the meeting held during the day and not all the farmers were presented with the same terms. She feels the public should know the terms of the lease before it is put out to bid.
Mr. Smith asked if they should consult with Farmland Preservation as well, and
Ms. Torbert stated they should. Mrs. Godshalk stated this is not under their jurisdiction and stated Farmland Preservation Corporation is a separate Corporation that manages the farmland that is under their jurisdiction from the developer rights. She stated the Patterson Farm is owned by the taxpayers of the Township and the Township administration handles the leasing and sets this up. She feels that it was done in a very open manner. Mrs. Godshalk stated she has never heard any of the farmers come to the Township to complain about this.
Mr. Santarsiero asked when the current lease at the Patterson Farm expires, and
Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels it will expire in April which is why the staff, through
Mr. Coyne, is handling the details. By law, they have placed it out to the public through a public notice and there is a public bidding process. Mr. Fedorchak stated he would like to be allowed to proceed and collect the bids and they will then discuss these issues.
Mr. Santarsiero stated his concern is that they are waiting to hear from Mr. Marshall on the study. Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels they will have Mr. Marshall come in sometime in March to make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Santarsiero stated once they have this presentation, they will be better informed as to what they may want to do.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Patterson Farm has received a higher rate per acre than they have been able to get from Farmland Preservation which results in increased revenue to the Township. He stated since spring is the planting season, whoever is going to farm the Patterson Farm will need to know what they will be doing. He stated he does not feel they get bids from anyone who does not already have a farm so they would not need to live in the tenant house. He stated he does not have a problem getting the report from Mr. Marshall but cautioned the Board about waiting too long for bids or they may miss the growing season.
Mr. Smith asked if the individual currently leasing the property would be interested in a short-term extension of one year so that the Board would have more time to analyze the report. Mr. Fedorchak stated he will look into the old contract to see if there is any provision for a one-year extension and will report back to the Board in a few weeks.
Ms. Torbert asked if they know if the Tanners are interested in continuing to farm the Patterson Farm, and Mr. Fedorchak stated he cannot answer this as Mr. Coyne has been
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 4 of 23
the individual working on this. Ms. Torbert stated while the farmer himself may not be interested in living in the Satterthwaite House, the farmer’s children may need a place to live. She stated the only place she has seen the advertisement was in the classifieds. She
asked if this was also advertised in farm magazines, but Mr. Fedorchak did not know. Ms. Torbert stated if they advertised more widely through the farming community, they may get more bids. Mr. Fedorchak agreed to look into this.
Mr. Sam Conti stated he saw the bid for the five-year Lease for the Patterson Farm and he feels this is detrimental to the Farmland Preservation Corporation’s ability to lease their properties. He stated the Patterson Farm is 188 contiguous acres while the Farmland Preservation farms consist of nine non-contiguous plots with an average of 37 acres per farm. He feels to avoid the problem of leasing the Farmland Preservation farms, he feels all farm properties should have only one overseer owner. He stated they could consolidate the lease of the Patterson Farm and include the smaller farms as a condition of gaining the lease. He stated in May of 2004 he sent a letter to Mr. Fazzalore requesting transfer of ownership of the Patterson Farm to the Farmland Preservation Corporation based on the fact that it was procured for the purpose of farmland preservation. He stated in a letter dated May 20, 2004, Mr. Garton wrote to
Mr. Fedorchak which refused the transfer of ownership. He provided a copy of this letter to the Board this evening.
Mr. Stainthorpe asked if they are having difficulty leasing the Farmland Preservation properties, and Mr. Conti stated one of their major farmers is giving up farming, although they were able to lease it to another farmer.
Mr. Conti stated he disagrees with portions of Mr. Garton’s letter. He asked if the Township will continue to keep the Patterson Farm with its higher lease revenue and risk the smaller farms. He again requested the transfer of the Patterson Farm to the Farmland Preservation Corporation and suggested that the Board review the following documents:
Township Resolution No. 555 dated 2/25/85 and the By-Laws
for Farmland Preservation including the
Township Ordinance No. 200 dated 4/1986, and Township Ordinance No. 200-74. He agreed to provide copies of all this information to the Board.
Mr. Smith stated he is the liaison to the Farmland Preservation Corporation and has had the opportunity to meet with them. He stated for years he has referred to the Patterson Farm as the gateway to the community and he enjoys seeing the farmland at this location.
Mr. Smith moved to explore the transfer of the Patterson Farm lands to the Farmland Preservation Corporation.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated part of the covenants of Farmland Preservation are that the land can only be leased to farmers within the Township and this may account for the lower
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 5 of 23
rate that they get for that acreage. He stated the Patterson Farm is not restricted and there is therefore a more open market. He stated the revenues for the Patterson Farm come to the Township. He stated everyone who campaigned recently talked about maximizing
Township assets; and if they transfer this property, that revenue would go to Farmland Preservation as opposed to the Township and they stand the chance of getting less revenue. He noted there are also buildings on that site, and this is not the purview of
the Farmland Preservation Corporation.
Mr. Smith stated at this point he is only interested in exploring it. He stated by transferring it to the Farmland Preservation Corporation, the monies they may lose in this respect would remove a vital asset from the Township from discussion during future campaigns and from further development and would preserve a part of Lower Makefield which makes it great to live in Lower Makefield. Mr. Stainthorpe stated it would be preserved whether it was part of Farmland Preservation or not. Mr. Smith stated there is some question as to whether it is preserved now and it had been indicated during the last campaign that certain candidates were proposing to develop the Patterson Farm. He stated he would like to make it clear that he would like to remove these farmlands from any future discussion of development, and he feels it is incumbent upon the Board to explore the transfer of these farmlands to the Farmland Preservation Corporation.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he served as liaison to the Farmland Preservation Corporation for two years and is supportive of farmland. He feels what they currently have is a situation which is working well and they receive a decent sum of money for the Patterson Farm. He asked Mr. Conti if he had plots that were not leased, and Mr. Conti stated he did not so he feels it appears that Farmland Preservation is working well also. Mr. Conti stated he is concerned with the long-term effect and that the small plots will not be profitable.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she is opposed to Mr. Conti’s proposal as the Farmland Preservation land is not protected for all eternity as the Ordinance reads that if there comes a time that they cannot find a farmer, that land could be used for recreation or could go to a Referendum of the voters and turned into housing. She stated she does not feel they should add 250 acres of their prime farmland that the Township taxpayers paid for and jeopardize it by putting it into Farmland Preservation. She stated the Patterson Farm is deed restricted and it cannot be sold. It can be used for farming and it can be used for recreation but it can never go to a Referendum for housing.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels this should be put on as a future Agenda item so that it can be fully discussed. He stated the public will then be made aware and those people interested will have notice and come to a meeting.
There was no second to Mr. Smith’s motion. Mr. Smith withdrew his Motion and it was agreed to put this matter on a future Agenda.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 6 of 23
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 18, 2006 as amended.
APPROVAL OF JANUARY 3, 2006 AND JANUARY 17, 2006 WARRANT LISTS AND DECEMBER, 2005 PAYROLL
Mr. Caiola moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to approve the December, 2005 Payroll as attached to the Minutes. Motion carried with Mrs. Godshalk, Mr. Santarsiero, and
Mr. Stainthorpe in favor and Mr. Caiola and Mr. Smith abstained.
Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Santarsiero seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the January 3, 2006 and January 17, 2006 Warrant Lists as attached to the Minutes.
APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2112, BILL NO. 7-06 – CREATION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
Mr. Santarsiero stated as discussed last week when they
Mr. Smith moved and Mr. Caiola seconded to approve Resolution No. 2112,
Bill No. 7-06.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated while he will vote in favor of the
Resolution and applauds them for following through on campaign promises, he
questions what this will accomplish. He
noted there is not a lot of commercial land to be developed in the Township as
the Matrix property is the last piece of commercial in the Township. He stated there is some space in
Office/Research but this seems to be progressing already. He stated while they do have
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 7 of 23
to get enough retail there to make a difference in the tax
base. He stated a real Economic
Development Authority based on the Municipal Authority Act is not something
they want in Lower Makefield as they would have the authority to issue bonds to
help finance businesses, bring in jobs, and have the power of eminent domain;
and he does not feel this is what they need in
Mr. Smith stated he feels there are a number of people in the Township who have great ideas and could make recommendations as to how they could increase revenues to the Township.
Mrs. Godshalk asked if they envision them getting involved
with the developers such as those they have involved in
Mr. Smith stated he sees this Board as an Advisory Board to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Caiola stated he has been in situations where such Commissions
have been effective and the Commission included residents and business
owners. He stated he would like to see
them get involved with what is happening in
Mr. Santarsiero stated their Mission Statement is to act as a catalyst to try to bring in what they feel would be appropriate economic development for the Township. He stated until now they have not had such a Commission and instead have waited for the developers to come to the Township. He stated what they are now saying is that they should be proactive in looking at what kind of economic development they feel would be beneficial to the Township and be more active in coming up with a plan and talking to developers about it. He feels they can be the impetus in getting good development to happen. He stated he feels it is a mistake for them to only look at the undeveloped land in the Township. He stated there are a number of developed commercial parcels which do have thriving business, but there have been instances in the past where they had a business that went out of business and possibly new ideas would be merited to try to make a particular building productive again. He stated whatever is done should be done consistent with the character of the Township. With respect to the issue of the alleged vagueness of the Resolution, he stated from a drafting standpoint it is sometimes better not to be too specific particularly with something like this which may well evolve over time. He stated they are not really giving them any authority and this is only a Board of volunteers, hopefully with some expertise, and they will be able to help identify
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 8 of 23
economic opportunities for
Ms. Rebecca Cecchine asked if they are suggesting that if a store goes vacant, this Advisory Board would go to the management and try to recommend what should go in at that location. Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels this Board would analyze the situation to see why the store failed and what type of business might succeed, and then discuss this with the Board of Supervisors. He stated they would not necessarily have to go to the management company and make recommendations, but it does give options to consider and puts them in a position where they might be more active to insure that a store does not remain vacant for an extended period of time. Ms. Cecchine stated she feels the management companies would have their own advisors do this type of work, and she does not feel if she were the owner of the property, she would appreciate an Advisory Board determining what they feel would be better at that location. Ms. Cecchine stated she understands that Mr. Caiola has a lot of experience in this, and she feels this Advisory Board may not be necessary, and he could just be asked to look into these situations. Mr. Caiola stated in the past he did, as a member of the Township, work with management companies in discussing available properties in the community and ideas for what might work best. He stated this Board would be able to work with the owners of the properties and he feels they would welcome discussion with Township residents who also have a vested interest in ensuring that the vacant stores are filled. Ms. Cecchine stated she agrees that the residents know what they need.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels what this Commission would be advocating would be in direct opposition to what has been advocated for the Matrix settlement. She stated the Matrix land is some of the most valuable land in the Township as it is already zoned Commercial. She stated she has repeatedly asked for quality commercial – not big box. She stated instead they are settling for very high density housing in this area which she feels will require a lot of Township services. She asked why they should not put Matrix back on the table for a high class commercial development. Mr. Santarsiero stated Matrix may be on the next Agenda and he suggested that they discuss that at that time.
Motion carried with Mrs. Godshalk abstained.
APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE NO. 357 GRANTING TO COMCAST OF
LEVITTOWN, INC. A NON-EXCLUSIVE FRANCHISE TO INSTALL AND OPERATE A CABLE
TELEVISION SYSTEM WITHIN
Mr. Garton stated at the direction of the Board, he prepared Ordinance No. 357 which grants a fifteen year, non-exclusive Franchise to Comcast to provide cable television services. This was duly advertised for consideration this evening. The Ordinance
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 9 of 23
incorporates the Agreement which is attached as an Exhibit and this Agreement contains the normal terms and conditions that appear in a Franchise Agreement and reflects what has happened to date.
Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded to approve Ordinance No. 357.
Mr. Jim Bray asked if any monies are paid to the Township by the cable company and Mr. Garton stated there is a 5% payment of the revenue to the Township plus additional consideration being paid to help defer some of the costs to the Township to broadcast the meetings. Mr. Bray asked their rough estimate as to how much money would be paid to the Township over the term of the fifteen year Agreement, and Mr. Fedorchak stated on a yearly basis, the Township received approximately $260,000 as a result of the 3% Franchise Fee and this Agreement will allow the Franchise Fee to increase to 5% and they anticipate this will result in $450,000 a year.
Mr. Zachary Rubin,
Mr. Jim Bray asked if the extra 2% is not really an indirect tax on the Township residents, and Mr. Fedorchak stated it is an additional fee. Mr. Bray stated the Township is really taxing the people of the Township for this service. Mr. Santarsiero stated they are in a precarious situation with respect to the Franchise Agreement. He stated they are most likely going to have providers come into the Township and provide streaming video over fiber optic lines and argue that they are not subject to Franchise Agreements. He is concerned that in the future they will lose a significant revenue stream in the Township. He noted the ongoing issues the Township has in terms of the Budget. He added this is one of the reasons they are going to create a Budget Commission.
Ms. Virginia Torbert asked if the Township receives any revenue from satellite television, and it was noted the Township does not. She stated she has no access to any
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 10 of 23
of the public information channels because she cannot get cable television. She stated even if the Township meetings are televised, she will not be able to see them. She stated she does not feel it is fair that she cannot get the public affairs programming.
Mr. Santarsiero stated the Township does not have any leverage with the satellite providers. Mr. Garton stated the Township is not permitted to regulate satellite television as they do not provide any rights-of-way or public facilities for the use by the satellite companies.
Motion carried unanimously.
APPOINTMENT OF TOWNSHIP ENGINEERS
Mr. Santarsiero stated at the first meeting in January they discussed the desirability of looking at engineering services from a fresh perspective as they had identified a number of projects that might require specialized services for different categories of work. They identified the issues with the sewer system and the significant capital improvement projects needed which would require attention by a dedicated engineer. They also noted traffic concerns including the creation of a Traffic Commission and whether it would be appropriate to have a full-time engineer dedicated to traffic issues. They are also considering pursuing a low-impact development plan for the Township in order to minimize the impact of surface and stormwater on properties, streams, and the River in order to reduce flooding and other damage caused by heavy rain events; and therefore felt they should consider retention of an engineer dedicated specifically to environmental issues. They felt it would be best to interview engineering firms for those positions as well as the primary Township engineer position. Mr. Santarsiero stated they conducted interviews over the past two weeks and invited in eight firms.
Mr. Santarsiero moved that the Township retain Schorr DePalma to act as the Township Engineer.
Mr. Santarsiero noted they are a large firm which has a number of resources including a Department dedicated to Grant writing. He stated they not only help prepare the Grants, but also identify opportunities and will help the Township through the process. He stated this is important to the Township because of their Budget concerns. He stated
Mr. Majewski, who had been the Township engineer for a number of years has recently left PCS and joined Schorr DePalma. He stated there were questions raised about continuity if they changed engineers, and by having Mr. Majewski with Schorr DePalma, they will not have to face this issue.
Mr. Santarsiero moved that the Township retain Birdsall Engineering as the Environmental Engineer.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 11 of 23
Mr. Santarsiero stated they have an extensive environmental
practice and have one Department devoted to stormwater management which will be
important if they embark on a low-impact development plan for
Mr. Santarsiero moved to retain Remington & Vernick as the Sewer Engineer and the Conflicts Engineer.
Mr. Santarsiero stated if they have a firm that has a conflict because they represent another party that might be in front of the Township or has represented them on another occasion and the Township wants to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, it is important to have another engineer that would be able to represent the Township in those instances. They have discussed this with respect to the solicitor position as well.
With respect to sewer issues, Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels Remington has demonstrated that they are highly qualified with many resources at their disposal. He stated while they do have capital projects coming up which CKS has worked on, in their discussions with CKS, they admitted that it would not severely impact the Township if they changed engineers. Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels given the additional resources that Remington, Vernick has to offer, it would be good to go in that direction.
Mr. Santarsiero moved to retain Traffic Planning & Design as the traffic engineer and to work with the Township and the Citizens Traffic Commission in trying to solve the Township traffic problems.
Mr. Smith seconded the Motions.
Mr. Caiola stated Schorr DePalma and Traffic Planning & Design have both already done work for the Township in the past. He also feels breaking up the engineering tasks in this way, they will be strengthening the Township’s position. He stated they are also pleased that Mr. Majewski will be part of the Schorr DePalma team.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels this was a good opportunity
to look at capability and consider what is important. He stated PCS has been with the Township for
twenty years and is a
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 12 of 23
Mr. Stainthorpe stated in reviewing the Fee Schedules, the least expensive engineering firm was PCS, the current firm, at $87 an hour. He stated Remington Vernick is $94 an hour, Schorr DePalma is $90 an hour, and Birdsall is $99 an hour. He stated it is well established that when you change professionals, it will take them longer which will result in more hours being billed. He stated he does not feel it is in the taxpayers’ interest to go with higher hourly rates and with firms that will be billing for more hours. He stated engineering services are a significant portion of the General Fund Budget in excess of $100,000. He feels they are currently getting a great value for the money, have received good service, and he does not see the reason to change.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated during the interview process, he
asked each firm with which he was unfamiliar if they had ever been involved in
any ethical issues or scandals; and he assumed that they would all say “no.” He stated Schorr DePalma stated “yes” and
they are currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney in
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he found a July 15, 2005 article in the Star Ledger which noted,
“One of the State’s most prominent engineering firms joined
the list of players entangled in the Monmouth County corruption scandal when a
former Ocean Township Official admitted taking thousands of dollars in bribes
from a firm employee and said the payrolls had started more than a decade
ago.” Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does not
feel that this is what they want in
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township has had the same engineer for twenty years and the same solicitor for forty years and they have never had the slightest hint of a scandal in the Township; and he does not feel they should invite it in.
Mr. Stainthorpe also noted an article from the Courier Post
on-line which noted the FBI had a wiretap placed on George Norcross, who is
considered the Democratic boss of
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 13 of 23
Mr. Stainthorpe also noted that in 2003 the biggest single
contributor to the Democratic Party in
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels they should continue with
their local firms. He stated each of the
firms being recommended has approximately 600 engineers with offices across the
Country and he does not feel
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he did not do any further searching into Campaign Finance Reports, but would ask that Mr. Caiola, Mr. Santarsiero, and Mr. Smith voluntarily disclose what contributions they may have received from any of these firms.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he sees a conflict of interest, as
Mr. Santarsiero is Chairman of the Thirty-First Democratic Committee, between
what is good for the Township and what is good for the Democratic Party. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he would also like to
see what was contributed to the
Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels it is important for the
public to recognize that just because a firm contributes to a political party, it
does not raise any specter of wrong-doing.
He stated there are many firms that do business in both
“Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the contract with Schorr DePalma for the industrial sites reuse program.”
Mr. Santarsiero questions why they are now hearing about problems with Schorr DePalma, and he feels the motivation behind this is politics. Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels Mr. Stainthorpe is being hypocritical as prior to this no one raised issues about the way the Township did business in the past. Mr. Santarsiero stated they could also discuss what the Republican Party gets from various firms in the County. He stated of the firms they interviewed for engineering positions, the principals from Carroll Engineering contributed heavily to the Bucks County Republican Party as reported for the period prior to the last Election. Mr. Santarsiero stated it is not only on the Democratic side where there have been firms that have contributed. He stated the Bucks County Republican Committee is the biggest recipient of money from professional organizations.
Mr. Santarsiero stated Schorr DePalma was on the
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 23
material witness nor a subject of an investigation. He stated as an attorney he is sensitive
to the facts.
Mr. Santarsiero stated Mr. Majewski has been the Township
engineer for two years while working for PCS, and he feels they all respect Mr.
Majewski as an engineer and an individual.
He feels he is an upstanding individual and he has no trepidation of
hiring a firm that Mr. Majewski has associated himself with and have him
continue on as the
the motivation of Mr. Caiola, Mr. Smith, and himself is to improve Lower Makefield Township and get the best representation they can and move the Township forward in a responsible way.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he did not make up the information he has presented. He stated he asked them at the meeting, and he then pursued it. Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels
Mr. Stainthorpe is distorting the facts.
Ms. Dana Weyrick stated as a taxpayer she is outraged by the conduct of both parties this evening. She stated politics should be left outside the door.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels certain issues need to be raised as a big decision is being made and he does not feel they should proceed with anyone who has even the hint of scandal.
Mr. Santarsiero asked why this is being raised for the first time now. Mr. Stainthorpe stated they voted to retain Schorr DePalma in 2002 and the allegations were not raised until 2005. Mr. Santarsiero asked why Mr. Stainthorpe did not take it upon himself as a Supervisor to bring this issue it up when it first surfaced. Mr. Stainthorpe stated he was not aware of these allegations until the time they held the interviews and representatives from Schorr DePalma discussed them during the interview.
Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels when Schorr DePalma was hired
it was a bid situation for a minor project at
the Schorr DePalma Interview. Mrs. Godshalk stated she does have their information.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 23
Mr. Smith stated Mrs. Godshalk is advising that she was
offered a bribe five years ago by an unidentified individual from a firm by
people who may or may not live within
Mrs. Godshalk stated she may need protection by the District Attorney’s office before she continues.
Mr. Santarsiero asked if they indicated they would give her
money if they were given a job in
Mr. Truelove stated he and the Chief have just conferred, and he does not feel this is public information; and they would strongly recommend that any discussion regarding an alleged bribe or criminal activity cease at this time and they can confer later.
Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels this was a campaign contribution and there was nothing illegal. He stated Mrs. Godshalk has indicated that this occurred in 2001 and in 2002 she voted to retain Schorr DePalma. Mrs. Godshalk stated it was the low bid according to the Township Manager. Mr. Santarsiero stated this does not mean that Mrs. Godshalk could not vote against it.
Mr. Smith called for a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Zachary Rubin,
Mr. Richard Gauck, Chairman of the Lower Makefield Sewer
Authority, stated CKS is the engineering firm they have been working with in
the Township for twenty-three years.
They specifically only do non-private work, and there is no conflict of
interest between developers and public organizations. He stated they are specifically sewer
engineers for Municipal Authorities and Townships like
re-appoint CKS as the Sewer Engineer. He stated they have a multi-million dollar sewer project that is in the midst of being advertised for bids and he feels to change engineers in the middle of such a project does not make any sense. He stated they have had three failures of the line that is in the midst of repair which has cost the taxpayers an inordinate amount of fees to repair, and if they do not act in a timely fashion with the
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 23
professionals on board that have been on board, the Township will have more failures
along the way. He feels it is a mistake to change engineers at this time for this project.
Mr. Bob White, Chairman of the Yardley Borough Sewer Authority, reviewed the history of the problems they have had with the sewer lines. He stated if they do not go forward with the work that needs to be done, they will experience more failures and Yardley Borough will not honor the Agreement if such failures occur if it can be proven that there was negligence. Mr. Santarsiero stated they will have a full discussion of the interceptor line later in the Agenda. He stated they are not going to let the project be delayed because they understand the importance of getting the work done in a timely way so that they do not risk another rupture.
Mr. Jason Simon, 514 South Ridge, asked why the sewer project was stopped, and
Mr. Santarsiero asked that they consider this matter when they get to it on the Agenda after they appoint the engineer.
Ms. Karen Friedman,
Mr. Andy Raffle stated political contributions are a part of life and are likely to continue, but he feels the Supervisors should all answer whether they have been given or promised any contributions in compensation of these appointments. Mr. Santarsiero stated he was not. Mr. Caiola stated they have not been promised anything. He stated there was money given to their Campaign and there was also money given to the County, but he noted he feels they will find this on both sides of the aisle. Mr. Santarsiero stated the Democrats typically do not do as well in this regard as the Republicans.
Ms. Rebecca Cecchine stated she is concerned with the maps,
the GIS information, and the different data PCS has on their system and asked
if this information is
Ms. Helen Bosley stated she heard this evening that if they consider the solicitor and engineering fees, it will balance out in total so that they will not see an increase, and
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 23
Mr. Santarsiero agreed. He stated the engineering fee is usually on an annual basis larger than that of the solicitor; but because there is only a $3 hourly difference for the engineers as opposed to the approximately $20 per hour difference for the solicitor they may be better off by the end of the year.
Ms. Debbie Parsons,
Motion carried with Mr. Caiola, Mr. Santarsiero, and Mr. Smith in favor and
Mrs. Godshalk and Mr. Stainthorpe opposed.
Mr. Majewski was asked to join the Board at the table. A short recess was taken.
The meeting was reconvened at 9:35 p.m.
UPDATE AND MOTION ON CANAL INTERCEPTOR REHABILITATION PROJECT
Mr. Hoffmeister stated they had done work on the Canal Interceptor over the years and there was a study done in 1983 on infill and infiltration Township-wide but concentrated on the original system. It did not address the Canal Interceptor which at that time was twenty years old. They have had had some problems with the Interceptor and in 1984 when they redid the Heacock Pump Station to connect into the Canal Interceptor, there was approximately 400 feet of pipe that needed to be replaced. Prior to that it had collapsed and they had done a stopgap measure but waited to do a permanent repair until they knew what would happen between the Township, Bucks County Water & Sewer, and Morrisville. Since then nothing has occurred other than the pipe has aged.
Mr. Hoffmeister stated they did do work over the years on
other areas of the sewer system. He
stated eighteen months ago they had a major collapse outside the
Mr. Hoffmeister stated in November, 2004 they found out
through televising that there was approximately a 6’ by 2’ section of the
concrete pipe that no longer existed.
They did fix this and they are now in a position where they are not sure
what the rest of the pipe will do. The
recommendation to the Board of Supervisor was that they repair the pipe in
Mr. Hoffmeister reviewed the work to be done in the project
proposed by CKS including relining pipe, replacement of manholes along the
entire stretch of the Delmor Interceptor, and approximately 8,000 feet of
replacement of the existing reinforced concrete pipe which goes from
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 18 of 23
the manholes from
indicated that while they could not go through an Emergency Permit, they could consider it a Joint Permit under Operations and Maintenance and turn it around in a thirty to forty-five day period which means it could be received by the middle of March. If they did not get the Maintenance designation, they would have to wait six months and include Wetlands delineations, etc.; however, because it is a pipe that is being replaced, there is no wetlands encroachment and DEP has indicated they do not have to go through that process.
Mr. Hoffmeister stated the bid specs for Phase I are ready to go out for publication.
He asked that this be done by the Board of Supervisors this
evening so they can take advantage of the bidding climate with contractors who
are looking to do work in the spring through the summer. He stated Mr. White of Yardley Borough has
indicated that there is a cost sharing because this is a joint use facility. The original cost sharing was on an 80/20
basis; however, the language of the original Agreement and all subsequent
Agreement indicates it would be based on the flows through the pipe and over
the course of years, the cost sharing would now be 85% for
Mr. Hoffmeister stated Phase II includes the pipe
lining. He stated CKS has done the field
investigation. This work would
immediately follow the reconstruction of the line in
Mr. Caiola asked about an approximate timeline. Mr. Hoffmeister stated Phase I could be completed by August or September and Phase II by November or December.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved and Mr. Caiola seconded to authorize bidding of Phase I pursuant to Mr. Zarko’s letter of 1/18/06.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 19 of 23
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels this is an emergency situation and he is concerned that they will lose time by changing engineers for this project.
Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded that CKS be retained for the balance of this project for Phases I and II.
Mr. Caiola stated they have approved changing sewer engineers, and he asked if there would be other work for them to do if they approve this Motion. Mr. Hoffmeister stated they have developments coming on line and that type of work could be shifted to the new firm. His concern was with changing engineers for this particular project.
Motion carried unanimously.
MINEHART SUBDIVISION PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION, MOTION TO CONTINUE, AND APPROVAL TO RETAIN PCS FOR THE COURSE OF THE APPROVAL PROCESS
Mr. John VanLuvanee, Mr. Chris McGinn, and Mr. Mark Buckwalt were present.
Mr. VanLuvanee stated they have been working for two years on this project, and the Planning Commission unanimously recommended Preliminary Plan Approval on September 26, 2005 subject to the Conditions that are set forth in the Minutes of that meeting. He stated normally they would have come to the Board immediately to request Preliminary Plan Approval, but in this case a number of recommendations were made by the Planning Commission and it was felt that they should make another revision to implement some of the recommendations made by the Planning Commission rather than go immediately to the Board of Supervisors. They now have a conflicts question because of the change of engineers.
Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is a thirty acre tract located at the northeast corner of Woodside and Lindenhurst Roads. The tract has wetlands through it, woodlands, and a transmission line. All of this generated significant comment and a number of the neighbors were present at some of the earlier meetings. They also had significant engineering issues to work through with PCS. One of the ways they addressed some of these concerns was to drop one of the lots. He stated they also needed relief from the Zoning Hearing Board, and the Board of Supervisors had voted to send Mr. Koopman to oppose some of the Variances. The Applicant appeared before the Board of Supervisors to discuss this, and they convinced the Board not to oppose the Variances; and the Variances were subsequently granted by the Zoning Hearing Board on March 15.
Mr. VanLuvanee stated he feels they have a clean Plan at this time and the Planning Commission Minutes of 9/26/05 are comprehensive with respect to all of the issues.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 20 of 23
Mr. VanLuvanee noted the December 7, 2005 PCS review letter and he recommended that they grant Preliminary Approval and then switch the engineers after that point. He stated a lot of the engineering issues are stormwater management considerations where there was a lot of give and take. He feels if they need engineering input, it would be
reasonable to have PCS and Mr. Wagner continue with this project because they have had involvement in this over the two years. Starting over with someone new he feels would be extremely difficult. Mr. VanLuvanee stated if the Board of Supervisors could approve the Preliminary Plan at this time and then switch engineers, he does not feel there would be a problem as there would be an approved set of Plans and a review letter. He stated they already have a number of outside agency permits because of the length of time it has taken to get to this point.
Mr. Santarsiero stated an Extension has been granted for this plan until March 30, and he is generally speaking not in favor of people coming before the Board when they cannot take further action. He is concerned about not having an engineer give his final advice on this, and Mr. Majewski is not in a position to do this. He feels the new conflicts engineer should be able to review the review letters and the Minutes of the September Planning Commission meeting and get up to speed relatively quickly and give them advice well before the March 30 deadline. Mr. VanLuvanee stated he feels this will be very difficult. He stated they have had numerous meetings outside of the regular Planning Commission meetings, and asked that they give serious consideration to allowing PCS to continue with this Plan until they receive Preliminary Plan approval.
Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to retain PCS for the course of the Minehart Tract through Preliminary Plan approval.
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to continue the matter to 2/15/06.
APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION #2110 – DEDICATION OF PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS IN MAKEFIELD CROSSING A/K/A FOLEY TRACT
Mr. Fedorchak stated the staff would recommend acceptance of public improvements in Makefield Crossing.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve Resolution #2110 – Dedication of Public Improvements in Makefield Crossing.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 21 of 23
DENY REQUEST FOR DEDICATION OF PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS IN THE ESTATES AT PROSPECT MANOR
Mr. Fedorchak stated the staff would recommend that the Board reject the request for dedication noting the reasons included in the letters from CKS and PCS. In addition the façade easements associated with the historic home on the property have not yet been filed. In addition, there is an Agreement needed between the developer and the four
property owners who live along the road/driveway that
accesses off of
Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Smith seconded to deny the request for dedication for the reasons outlined by Mr. Fedorchak.
Ms. Torbert asked if any changes have been made to the façade, but Mr. Fedorchak did not know. He stated there are certain things that are required relative to the look of the house, and the homeowner must retain that look which has historical significance. This is the purpose of the façade easement. The developer has the responsibility to file certain papers, and he has not yet done so.
Motion carried unanimously.
DENY REQUEST FOR DEDICATION OF PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS IN HIDDEN POND ESTATES
Mr. Fedorchak stated the staff would recommend denial of the request for dedication as there are outstanding items relative to Final Certificates of Occupancy.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to deny the request for Dedication of Public Improvements in Hidden Pond Estates due to reasons outlined by Mr. Fedorchak.
ZONING HEARING BOARD MATTERS
Mr. Closser stated with regard to the Giant Food Stores,
Inc. Variance request to extend its hours of operation to match those of its competition
located within the Township, the Board has asked that the solicitor appear in
opposition. Mr. Caiola stated the Board
did not understand their request as their competition in
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 22 of 23
store staying open that late because of potential crime problems and further taxing the police force.
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to have the solicitor appear in opposition to the Giant Food Stores, Inc. Variance request.
Mr. Closser stated the Board has recommended that they leave to the Zoning Hearing Board the Margaret Cronan and Jonathan Agree Variance request to construct an
addition, fence, and deck within the floodplain and encroachment into the side yard setback.
Mr. Santarsiero stated they are in the process of trying to get applicants for the Citizens Traffic Commission.
Mr. Santarsiero stated the Southeastern Bucks League of
Municipalities had a meeting on Monday night in
Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mr. Caiola seconded and it was unanimously carried to support the Bill requesting that the deadline for compliance be extended to the General Election.
Ms. Sue Herman asked when the residents have to submit their letters of interest for the Citizens Traffic Commission, and Mr. Santarsiero stated they are asking that they be submitted as soon as possible. He stated there are seven openings; and if there are letters of interest prior to the meeting on February 15, those individuals could be scheduled to be interviewed that evening. Mr. Fedorchak stated his secretary will contact those interested as to when they will be interviewed.
Mr. Smith stated he attended the Regional Traffic Task Force meeting with Mr. Caiola and the next meeting will be held the end of May. He stated they have a number of people from the community who attend that meeting and he noted particularly
Ms. Herman who he feels serves the Township well by her participation.
February 1, 2006 Board of Supervisors – page 23 of 23
Mr. Caiola stated it is important for people to attend the
Regional Traffic Task Force as it impacts the Township. He stated he and Mr. Smith had hoped to meet
with Representative Steil prior to the meeting, but were unable to do so. They were however, up to speed before the
meeting and there are also other newcomers on the Task Force from
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Golf Course had an excellent January due to the warm weather. He stated he met with the Disabled Persons Advisory Council, and their main
initiative currently is to inventory the handicap parking spaces in the Township to ensure that they are in compliance. He stated they are also interested in creating a better transportation system for the handicapped. Mr. Smith stated he spoke to a representative of that Board yesterday and she was very pleased with Mr. Stainthorpe’s attendance and participation.
Mrs. Godshalk stated the Memorial Committee is awaiting the Contracts. Mr. Fedorchak stated Mr. Garton gave him the Contracts yesterday and he has them this evening for signature.
There being no further business, Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Stainthorpe seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:20 p.m.
Greg Caiola, Secretary