TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

MINUTES – JANUARY 18, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 18, 2006.  Chairman Santarsiero called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  Mr. Caiola called the Roll.

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:               Steve Santarsiero, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                Greg Caiola, Secretary/Treasurer

                                                Grace Godshalk Supervisor

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

                                                David Truelove, Township Solicitor

                                                Bucky Closser, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Mr. Bill Gibney stated it was indicated at the last Supervisors meeting that it would be very expensive to maintain a Senior Citizen Center, and he has provided information to the Board of Supervisors today regarding the Morrisville Senior Center.  He stated they rent out their facility for $50 an hour for various functions and they are able to more than cover their maintenance costs.  He stated it was also noted that the Board is interested in a Community Center.  Mr. Gibney stated that because Morrisville has a Senior Center, they are able to get $40,000 from the State Lottery funds based on their membership. 

Mr. Gibney stated currently there are 350 members of the Lower Makefield Seniors but there are more than 5,000 residents over sixty years of age living in Lower Makefield, and he feels they would get more members if there was a Senior Center in Lower Makefield.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he is interested in a Community Center with an area for the Seniors.   He agrees that if they had a Community Center with a Senior component, they would get more people joining the Senior group.   Mr. Gibney stated while they could use it as a Community Center, if they call it a Senior Center, they would be able to get money from the Lottery.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she visited many of the area Senior Centers when they had the first Referendum; and she feels that while they would be entitled to a small amount of money, if they were enrolled in the meal plan, they would receive much more money.  Mr. Gibney stated the President of the Morrisville Senior Center advised him that it was based strictly on their membership.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels the food plan enters into this very strongly.  Mr. Gibney stated it was also

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previously noted that it was too expensive and they could not afford to build a Senior Center.  He stated there are over 9,000 homes in Lower Makefield; and if it was a $2.5 million loan, it would cost $10 per home per year for a Senior Center which he does not feel is expensive.

 

Mr. Henry Schneider stated he is involved with AARP on the State level, and they work with all the Senior Centers.  He stated it is very embarrassing to him that he lives in Lower Makefield, and they do not have a Senior Center.  He stated he does not understand why all the other Townships can afford one, and Lower Makefield cannot.  He stated it would increase the value of the real estate as it would encourage the Seniors to stay in the Township.  He asked why Lower Makefield Township cannot afford this, when they do a lot of other things in Lower Makefield Township.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there is a difference of opinion as to whether the two Referenda adequately addressed the building of strictly a Senior Center or something more than that and whether the voters actually turned down a Senior Center.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he would not want to disrespect the voters who voted down both Referenda.  He stated at the Reorganization Meeting he indicated that they are committed to try to create a Community Center that would have a significant portion of it dedicated to the Senior group, and he hopes that they will be able to achieve this in a way that will not require raising taxes. 

 

Mr. Gibney stated there are twelve Senior Centers in Lower Bucks County and each one of them were voted on by the Officials of the Townships without going out for a Referendum.  He stated every time a Senior moves out a younger family moves in with children which raises the cost of the School tax.  Mr. Gibney stated he also felt Matrix was going to contribute to a Senior Center which would have been another source of money which would not require a tax increase.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there are other sources of revenue which they may be able to use that would not require taxes to be raised.  He stated they are trying to do what they can to create something that will meet the needs of the Seniors.  He stated he does feel this will take compromise from all involved. He stated while he is not sure of the statistics, he knows there is a County program to get money to build Senior Centers which he feels is done on a School District basis, and he feels the one that was built for the Pennsbury School District is in Falls.

Mr. Gibney stated he feels the attorney should be able to fight this rule which he does not feel is fair.  He feels it should be based on the Senior Citizens that exist and not the School District. 

 

Ms. Karen Friedman, 1373 Pepperbush Court, stated at the last Board meeting during

Mr. Santarsiero’s speech, he referred to his interest in more open Government.  She feels there was a contradiction which took place that evening with regard to appointments as

Mr. Santarsiero indicated that all Board vacancies would be opened up to the Township and candidates would be interviewed, yet the appointment of the positions of Solicitor and Vacancy Board Chair did not follow that process.  She asked if they will choose when they will institute the policy.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they did speak about the

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selection of the Solicitor at some length at the last meeting in December and the first meeting in January.  He stated it is the prerogative of the Board to choose a Solicitor and he had laid out the reason they felt it was necessary to go in a different direction and get a fresh perspective.  He stated in previous years when Begley Carlin was chosen, there was no discussion at all and from that perspective, he feels they are moving forward.  With respect to the Chairman of the Vacancy Board, he stated the last two years he was on the Board the person appointed was not present at the meeting.  When he asked last year who the Chairman to be appointed was, he was told it must be someone who is on the Board of Auditors as this was their tradition.  He stated at the last meeting when they chose the Chairman of the Vacancy Board for 2006, that individual was present at the meeting and made himself available for questions.  He stated he feels they have exhibited a greater degree of openness.  He stated he feels they should be judged a year or two from now in terms of the way they have run the Board and the Township and he feels they will find that they will have succeeded in making it a more open, inclusive, and transparent process.

 

Mr. Caiola stated that over the next week and a half, they will have two sessions with the different engineering firms being considered coming before the Board in open meetings.

He stated this will also be true with regard to the vacancies to the various Boards and Commissions and those interested will be interviewed in open sessions. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she did not understand the urgency to appoint a new Solicitor at the onset and feels the new process could have been followed for that position as well.  She stated she is not trying to be disrespectful or make a personal affront to anyone. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated there was a feeling that it was important to have the attorney in place from day one because they rely so heavily on their advice on a day-to-day basis.  He stated while this is true for the engineers as well, he felt it was a much more immediate need for the advice of the solicitor and for that reason they wanted this position well secured early on.

 

Ms. Virginia Torbert, 1700 Yardley-Newtown Road, stated over the years she has been concerned when the Solicitor had a conflict of interest and the firm may have represented the Township as well as an individual or company which might have interests contrary to the Township.  She stated this was previously not disclosed.  She stated she feels it would be helpful if this occurs in the future, that this be disclosed up front.  She stated she recognizes this problem may exist when there is a large law firm.  Mr. Truelove stated they are obligated to make these disclosures, and he has already advised the Township Manager that there is a potential matter that may involve a former client and they will have to recuse themselves and outside counsel will have to be appointed.  Mr. Smith stated all law firms, in order to get insurance, must disclose what type of conflict avoidance systems they have.  He stated if something does arise, he is certain the Solicitor will advise the Board. 

 

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Ms. Helen Bosley, 546 Palmer Farm Drive, asked how the process would work if they need to find an alternate law firm.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there are some Townships that appoint a conflicts counsel who would function as the solicitor whenever a conflict exists.  He stated another option is as a conflict arises, they could choose an attorney based on whatever the matter involves and this may be a better way so that you have someone with specific expertise to the particular matter.  He feels they will need to have a discussion on this.   If they decide to deal with this on a case-by-case basis, they would have to discuss potential counsel as a conflict arises.  If they decide to hire a conflicts counsel, that individual would be on a stand-in basis, and they will have to discuss this.

 

Ms. Bosley noted at the last meeting the Board decided to rescind the appointment of a member of the Elm Lowne Committee.  They also discussed at that time the fact that there may have been other appointments which may have been made in 2005 which could also be considered as “illegal.”  She asked if they determined what other appointments were made and what will be done about this.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they do have a list of those appointments as follows:  Joseph Weiss appointed 10/17/05 to the Cable TV Advisory Board for a term which expired 12/31/05,  Norma Wood appointed 10/17/05 to the Elm Lowne Committee, Grace Godshalk appointed 10/17/05 to the Elm Lowne Committee, Jeff Shanks appointed 11/7/05 to the Sewer Authority, Patricia Bunn appointed 11/21/05 to the Park & Recreation Board, and Janet Smith appointed 12/13/05 to the Elm Lowne Committee.  Mr. Santarsiero stated based on their prior discussion, he would suggest that they direct Mr. Fedorchak to send a letter to each of these individuals explaining that the previous Board erred in making these appointments prior to the expiration of their term, and advise them that if they have an interest in continuing to serve in these capacities, they should notify the Township and they will be invited to come in for a public interview and advise them that the positions will also be advertised and others interested will be invited in as well.  They will move with all speed to make an appointment.    Mr. Truelove stated a formal Motion is not required and he agreed that

Mr. Santarsiero has outlined the appropriate process.  Mr. Santarsiero stated what they also need is a master calendar for the Board so they know when the Appointments expire; and on a going-forward basis, two to three weeks prior to the expiration, they will send out the letter advising them that they will be interviewing for the position, and if they are interested to so advise the Township and they will be invited in.  He would then like the interviews at the approximate time of the expiration, and then make the decision.  In this way there would not be a gap between the terms and they will have afforded the public an opportunity to participate.  Mr. Caiola stated he agreed that this should be done as quickly as possible.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they went almost six months with a vacancy on the Planning Commission; and while part of the problem is they do not get a large number of applicants, he feels the Township needs to do a better job of getting the word out about the vacancies.  He stated he does feel they need to move more quickly to fill vacancies.  Ms. Bosley asked why they rescinded only one individual’s appointment, and Mr. Santarsiero stated the solicitor was asked that evening if they had to take any affirmative action, and the Solicitor indicated they did not need to take any action as

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under Pennsylvania law, the action was a nullity as the Board did not have the authority to appoint those individuals in the first place.  He stated as a consequence, those individuals are currently not on those Boards or Commissions. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated they have precedent of always filling positions before they are over in case a legal vote has to be taken.  She noted specifically the Zoning Hearing Board where they could be sued if a person is sitting on the Board and they have not been re-appointed and their term is over which she feels is a possibility under Mr. Santarsiero’s proposal.  She stated she also takes exception to calling this a Lame Duck rule and feels they should review the votes when the appointments were made as she feels many of them were unanimous which means there were three non-Lame Ducks voting, and three out of five would result in an appointment.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they could get a legal opinion on this; and if this is the case, there may be fewer.  Mr. Santarsiero stated whatever procedure they followed before, in the instance of the Planning Commission, they did not follow this procedure as they went six months without making an appointment.  He stated with regard to the Zoning Hearing Board, there are alternatives.  Mrs. Godshalk stated the Alternates cannot vote unless they have taken part in the proceeding.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there could be a situation where there is an on-going proceeding that they come in on and the parties agree to allow that person to partake in the decision.  Mr. Santarsiero stated at the end of the last meeting, he feels it was

Ms. Bosley who raised the point that there may be other people who also may have been appointed illegally, and for that reason they asked Mr. Fedorchak to check into this and he produced the list they have this evening.  He stated they could have the Solicitor look into whether the fact that there were three people who are still on the Board who voted on the re-appointments if it would make those appointments legal under Pennsylvania law or whether it had to happen after December 31 as this was when their terms ended. 

 

Ms. Jo Norum, Elm Lowne Chairman, stated she has looked into this as well and she asked the status of her Committee with regard to a quorum noting that they have issues before them which may require a formal vote.  Mr. Santarsiero stated assuming their understanding is correct, there are three people who she would consider to be on her Board who are not actually on the Board.  Ms. Norum stated since this is a nine member Board and she currently has six, she assumes they could do business absent the quorum of five and would assume she only needs a quorum of three.  Mr. Santarsiero agreed. 

 

Ms. Friedman suggested that if the policy is going to be conducted as stated, they should put out to public notice two months prior to the vacancy so there is not a void. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated if they have the calendar he has requested, he feels they can come up with a consistent policy.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated in the past they have sent out notices three to four months prior to the expiration and this is how the appointments under question were made as the incumbents responded immediately and the Board voted on them immediately.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this was because the prior process was to make re-appointments and not open it up to the public.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they did advertise

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on TV if someone was not going to request re-appointment.  Mr. Santarsiero stated it was only done if someone was not going to request re-appointment; and the new policy is that when a term ends, they will open it up to the public as well as to the person who held the position. 

 

Mr. David Kellerher stated he had inquired about the Cable TV Advisory Committee and asked if this has been posted.  Mr. Fedorchak stated he feels this vacancy is listed on the Website.  He stated he did not review it today to see if it was up to date, but did mention it to the staff.  Mr. Kellerher asked about the status of televising the Township meetings.  Mr. Santarsiero stated at the second meeting in February the consultant will come in and report to the Board on the feasibility study as to what they need to do so get this system running.  He feels at the same meeting, they will also be in a position to have a final vote on the Comcast Contract which would bring in funds to either pay entirely, or cover a large portion of the capital costs for this work.  Mr. Kellerher asked about Verizon.

Mr. Santarsiero stated the Township is a member of the group of Townships which has retained an attorney to negotiate a Franchise Agreement.  Mr. Fedorchak stated he will receive an update on this tomorrow at a meeting to be held in Newtown Township with the Consortium members.  He will report back on this at the next Board meeting. 

 

 

CONFIRMATION OF EAGLE SCOUT PROCLAMATIONS FOR BRANDON HILL, JEREMY HILL, AND BRENDAN ZABA

 

The Proclamations were confirmed this evening and it was noted that Mr. Caiola and

Mr. Smith attended the Ceremony honoring these Lower Makefield Township residents.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he did receive an e-mail from the father of a Scout looking to refurbish the trail between the Pool and the Library as an Eagle Scout project.

Mr. Santarsiero stated he would be in favor of the Township permitting this if the Scouts are willing to accept this as an Eagle Scout project.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated typically

Mr. Fedorchak works with the Park and Recreation to see if there are projects that need to be done when Eagle Scouts are looking for a project.  Mr. Fedorchak was asked to provide the information received by Mr. Santarsiero to Ms. Liney.

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to approve the Minutes of

December 19, 2005 as corrected.  Motion carried with Mr. Caiola and Mr. Smith abstained.

 

Mr. Caiola moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 3, 2006 as corrected.

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APPROVAL OF DECEMBER 5 AND 19, 2005 WARRANT LISTS AND NOVEMBER, 2005 PAYROLL

TABLING OF JANUARY 3 AND 17, 2006 WARRANT LISTS AND DECEMBER, 2005 PAYROLL

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded the approval of December 5, 2005 and December 19, 2005 Warrant Lists and November, 2005 Payroll.  Motion carried with

Mr. Caiola and Mr. Smith abstaining. 

 

Mr. Caiola moved the approval of the January 3, 2006 and December 17, 2006 Warrant Lists and December, 2005 Payroll.  It was noted that the Board members other than

Mr. Caiola did not receive this information.  There was no second to the Motion. 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to table.

 

 

UPDATE ON MATRIX MATTER

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated at the last meeting the Board authorized advertisement of an Ordinance that would repeal the previous Ordinance passed on December 19, 2005 creating an Age-Restricted Housing Overlay Zone.  On January 9, 2006 Mr. Garton and Mr. Santarsiero, on behalf of the Township, met with representatives of RAM and Matrix to discuss finalizing a written Settlement Agreement.  At issue at that meeting were the four to five open questions that had not been previously resolved.  He stated that meeting was successful insofar as they were able to resolve four of the five issues, the last of which Mr. Taylor of Matrix was going to try to resolve.  A re-draft of the Agreement pursuant to the discussions on January 9 is being prepared by Mr. Garton. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated their hope is they will have a finalized Agreement that can be signed by the Board of Supervisors on February 1.  He feels they are already in a better position than they were two weeks ago of being able to settle the matter but to do it in a way that will clearly protect the Township and result in the many benefits that they negotiated for the Township as they will now have an enforceable Agreement. 

 

Mr. Gibney asked if the public will be advised of the details of the Agreement, and

Mr. Santarsiero stated he cannot go into the details of the Agreement at this time as it was a Settlement conversation that is typically confidential; but ultimately, the public will see a copy of the Agreement.  He stated if the Agreement does go through as they contemplate, the process will then begin for Land Development Approval which will allow for ample opportunity for public input. 

 

Mr. Henry Schneider, 404 Ramsey Road, stated he is a Real Estate Broker.  He stated when Senior housing is built, the Seniors from the Township move into those units and their homes are then sold to younger families and there is no real tax saving as they are still increasing the School population.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this has been discussed in

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the past, but he feels if the Seniors decide to move, their homes still become vacant anyway.  He stated what they are doing is providing a further place for the Senior residents to live in the Township.  He stated in most cases for those individuals it is an issue as to whether they move to a place within the Township or outside of the Township, but in either case their present homes become vacant and someone else moves in. 

 

 

DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 2111 CREATING A CITIZENS TRAFFIC COMMISSION

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated last year he made a Motion to create a Citizens Traffic Commission, the purpose of which would be to allow residents to have more direct input into solving the Township traffic problems.  This Commission will access the existing traffic problems, rank them in order of importance, and proceed to try to come up with a Plan that would be recommended to the Board of Supervisors.  He stated he has drafted a memo further discussing how this would operate, and the Township solicitor has prepared a Resolution for consideration this evening. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated there would be eight Township residents serving on the Commission as well as a Supervisor Liaison who would have a vote on the Commission only to break a tie.  He stated in addition to the duties already outlined, the Commission would also try to find alternative funding to deal with the traffic problems such as Grants and other revenues that the Township could obtain.  The Commission would be responsible with providing the Board of Supervisors with a Semi-Annual review and update with respect to the list that it creates, and would report to the Board of Supervisors on a regular basis.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they will attempt to choose the members of the Commission from eight different areas of the Township.  With the help of a traffic engineer, the Board of Supervisors will determine how to break up the Township.  The purpose is to get someone representative of every area of the Township who would be familiar with the traffic issues in their neighborhood.  This would be combined with analysis from the engineer, Road Department, and the Township Manager. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the Commission will bring resident experience into the mix which should help the task of the Commission to identify the true traffic problems and deal with them.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they hope to find one representative from each District;

but in the event that they cannot find a representative from a particular District, they would try to find someone from an adjoining District.  If this Resolution is adopted this evening, they will advertise for the positions as soon as they have arrived at a map breaking up the Township into various Districts from a traffic standpoint.  He stated the positions would be staggered, and they will be four-year terms. 

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Smith seconded approval of Resolution No. 2111 to adopt and develop a Citizens Traffic Commission.

 

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Mr. Stainthorpe stated last year they discussed and voted on this matter, and he was not in favor of it.  He stated he feels this Commission will become redundant rather than be truly helpful.  He stated he feels between the Police Department, engineer, Public Works Department, and the Board of Supervisors itself, they do have a good idea as to where the problems are and they do have a Plan in place although they do not have the funds to proceed with that Plan as quickly as they may like.    He also feels an eight-person Commission is too large and suggested that it be five similar to the number on most other Boards.  He also questions breaking the Township up into eight Zones noting the Township is only twelve square miles.  He added he is proud of the work that the Public Works and Police Department does. 

 

Mr. Caiola stated the one issue he did hear frequently about from the residents during their recent campaign, was concerns with traffic.  He stated many indicated they would be willing to serve on such a Commission if one were created.  He stated he also feels it is good to get the public involved. 

 

Mr. Smith stated they found out that many of the problems were inherent to a certain neighborhood, and none of the groups were aware of the other problems other than what they may read in the newspaper. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated with respect to the number, he agrees that eight is a lot, but they wanted to break the Township up into enough Districts so that they would really reflect the different traffic problems in the Township. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked Chief Coluzzi’s opinion of this Commission.  Chief Coluzzi stated traffic is the number one complaint he hears about.  He stated he feels it will be an eye opener to see what it takes to enforce the traffic laws and fix the roads.  He stated when you hear different perspectives from different areas, as he does with the twenty-two different Town Watch groups, you will see the cost factor involved in doing it properly. 

 

Mr. Bill Gibney stated he feels it is an excellent idea to have eight members of the public; but feels there should also be two more members – the Police Chief and the head of the Public Works Department – who should be mandatory members of the Commission.

Mr. Santarsiero stated while they did consider this, they settled on the requirement that it would be the Commission’s job to seek the advice of the designated traffic engineer, the Chief of Police, the head of the Roads’ Department, and the Township Manager. 

Mr. Gibney stated he feels they should be at the meetings so that they do not waste a lot of time.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he agrees that they should be at the meetings, but does not feel they need to be members of the Commission.

 

Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Lane, stated if the Supervisor Liaison is voting to break a tie, they should also be able to create a tie as the President of the Senate does. 

He stated ties do lose a Motion.

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Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does not feel the Supervisor Liaison should have a vote on any Board as these are advisory Boards.  He stated the Supervisor Liaison is really there to get advice and get other perspectives and not to steer the meeting.  He feels if they are going to proceed with this, it should be a Citizens’ Board with the Supervisor Liaison attending, but not voting.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he would agree; however, if they have eight people, they would need to be able to break a tie.  It was suggested that they then make it nine or seven Zones. 

 

Ms. Cynthia Harrison, 1609 Yardley-Morrisville Road, asked if this Commission could report to the Planning Commission as well so that when the Planning Commission has matters coming before them, they will know what the issues are related to traffic. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated this is a good point.

 

Ms. Irene Koehler, 25 Spring Lane, asked if the Commission will also consider the traffic that comes through the Township from other areas as well, and Mr. Santarsiero stated the effect of that traffic on the Township will be considered.  He stated the Commission may recommend some road change in Lower Makefield and if a related change in an adjoining Township does not take place, it may not make sense and the Commission would have to advise the Board of Supervisors of this.  The Board of Supervisors would then have to discuss this with the adjoining Township to see how they can deal with this problem.

Mr. Caiola stated there is a Regional Traffic Task Force in place, and he feels they can work together with them.

 

Mr. Bob Slamen, 50 Bedford Place, stated he feels this will be heading toward increased taxes as he feels they will get special interest groups from certain areas.   He noted the group from River Road which came before the Board of Supervisors last year requesting that the Township take back River Road from the State and reducing the road to twenty-five miles per hour.  He stated he feels the State would love the Township to take over that road as it is in poor condition and is a high maintenance road.  He stated the experts on the roads in the Township are Jim Coyne and the Police Department.  He does not feel it is necessary to have a citizens’ group that will bring them ideas which will cost money.

Mr. Santarsiero stated to the extent that there may be one area lobbying for changes over another, the fact that there is one representative per District with one vote, does balance this out.  He stated they will also be charged with trying to find alternative revenue.  He noted various funding sources are available for road improvements.  He noted the Township has submitted for such funds in the past and has received funds for some projects.

 

Mr. Smith stated he would like to get input from the citizens from the different neighborhoods who travel these roads every day. 

 

Ms. Torbert noted the number of Boards already in existence in the Township, and she feels they have a need for such a Commission since there are tremendous traffic problems

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in the Township and one person cannot handle it all.  She stated most other Townships do have a Commission such as this, and she feels this Commission is long overdue.

 

Ms. Rebecca Cecchine, 19 Riverdale Road, stated she feels this is an excellent idea given the amount of traffic in the Township.  She suggested that PCS design a map showing the different regions and put it on the Web.  She stated she also does not feel it should be tied to local traffic only.  She stated she feels the Police Department needs help with State laws, and they need to enable the Police Department to use radar. 

 

Mr. Smith stated the Board duties may grow with time.

 

Ms. Koehler stated they started a group twenty-nine years ago to bring traffic issues before the Board of Supervisors, and she feels it is time for such a Board again.

 

Mr. Gibney stated the Township does have experience taking over State roads.  He stated prior to the Township taking over Edgewood Road, Mr. Coyne, Mr. Fazzalore, and himself met with the PennDOT District Superintendent asking PennDOT to reduce the speed limit on Edgewood Road from 40 miles per hour to 25; and they advised that it could legally be reduced to 35 miles per hour.  Mr. Gibney noted other roads in Bucks County which were 25 miles per hour.  PennDOT indicated the only way it could be reduced to 25 miles per hour was if the Township would take over the maintenance of the road.  He stated Mr. Coyne advised that the bridge at Sandy Run needed to be repaired and that the Township would not take over the road until the Bridge were repaired.  

Mr. Gibney stated he also advised PennDOT that if the Township were going to take over the Road, the Township should be paid.  PennDOT indicated they would pay $4,000 a mile each year which he hopes the Township is receiving as this was part of the Agreement.  He stated if the Township were to take over River Road, the State would have to fix the road and it could then become a source of revenue to the Township. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated these are all the issues that the Commission would take into consideration.

 

Mr. Kenneth Martin, Austin Road, asked about including Yardley Borough on the Advisory Board.  He stated many of the problems involve traffic going in and out of Yardley Borough.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they do have the Regional Traffic Task Force and the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities so there are regional cooperative organizations that currently exist.  He stated he would prefer to start this new Commission on the local level with Lower Makefield only at this time.  He stated those issues involving other Townships will be dealt with as they arise and they can use the other forums to discuss these issues to work on a regional solution.

 

Mr. Bob Slamen stated if the Township takes over River Road, they would have to tear it out and install a base first.  He is concerned that PennDOT would only repave it and the Township would then have the maintenance problems.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated they did

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discuss this previously; and upon Mr. Coyne’s advice, it was not an option that the Township was going to pursue further as the disadvantages far outweighed the advantages.  He stated they had looked into installing a three-way stop sign at Black Road and River Road, but PennDOT was not in favor of this.  He stated they may consider a traffic light at that location.

 

Mr. Schneider commended the incoming Board for bringing fresh air into Lower Makefield Township and opening up the meetings.  He stated he has been present at meetings before when it was not this way.  He stated he is also pleased they are trying to get citizens involved.  He stated the more people they have involved in the community, the more people will care.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she was the originator of the Township Traffic Committee.  She stated she and Ms. Koehler were involved twenty years ago in a Township Traffic Committee.  She stated they also invited the neighboring communities and this evolved into the existing Regional Traffic Task Force. 

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Smith seconded to amend the Motion that the Commission consist of seven members rather than eight and the Supervisor Liaison will not have a vote.  One member shall be appointed for one year.   Motion to amend carried unanimously.  Motion as amended carried with Mr. Stainthorpe opposed. 

 

 

DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL OF FORMATION OF A TOWNSHIP CELEBRATION COMMITTEE

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated at the January 3 meeting, he discussed their desire to establish a number of community celebrations in Lower Makefield on an annual basis which would be an opportunity for the residents of the Township to come together.  He stated ultimately he would like to see four events a year – possibly once every season, but for the first year he would like to see a Fourth of July Celebration in Lower Makefield, possibly with fireworks and another event sometime in the fall at a time which will not conflict with Harvest Day.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not feel they need to limit the number of people on the Committee as it would be good to have as much help as possible.  He stated he would like the Board’s consent on this, and then open it up to the community to come before the Board to advise them of their experience and how they could help.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he would support doing this, but noted these activities are very difficult to hold.  He would recommend that they limit it to one activity per year initially.  He stated many Township residents already attend events historically held in other Townships such as Yardley and Newtown.  He stated people in Lower Makefield are very busy and it is difficult to get them committed.  He noted the McCaffrey event was successful as there was a real cause. He stated he is very much in favor of doing activities to get the community together, but feels they should start slow. 

 

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 13 of 20

 

 

Mr. Smith stated in their discussions regarding Edgewood Village, they were interested in having the Township have its own identity.  He stated he feels it would be good to have something that identifies them as Lower Makefield.  He stated possibly the Historic Commission could provide information and possibly they could have a Founder’s Day Celebration.   He agreed they should start out slow.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he agrees such events improve the quality of life and feels this is also why they are supportive of athletics as this is one of the places where residents get together. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk noted problems with the Earth Day Celebrations in the past and very few people came.  Mr. Smith stated YMS members did attend as well as the runners who were involved in the Race, but agreed that few others attended.  Mrs. Godshalk stated a number of people did go to great extremes for this Event, and the community did not support it.  Mrs. Godshalk stated the Elm Lowne Committee has at least twenty-five volunteers working on the “Tasting Party” to raise money for upkeep of Elm Lowne, and attendance has been going down despite the reasonable price for a ticket. 

 

Mr. Smith stated it may be good to have an Event where you do not have to have a ticket and you can participate in whatever is being offered.  He noted the success of Harvest Day and feels Lower Makefield needs its own Harvest Day type event in addition to the 4th of July Celebration. 

 

Mr. Caiola noted he has been heavily involved in similar events in Ewing where the College and the Township come together and it does involve a lot of work.  He noted they do not have to have it on a grand scale, and they should see what the citizens are interested in before they try to set up four large events a year.  He stated he feels they should see how the first event goes and give themselves enough time between events if  they develop another one within the first year. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he recognizes that there have been problems in the past with Earth Day but noted there had been problems with weather.  He agreed that they should start modestly to gain experience.  He feels that 4th of July would be a good event to start with.  He stated the first step is to get the people in who will commit to the time and effort to do this. 

 

Ms. Torbert stated she feels that if the Township has fireworks on the 4th of July, they will be able to get a good turnout. 

 

Mr. Smith stated he agrees with Mr. Stainthorpe that these events take a lot of effort.  He noted he has had experience with Tournaments and other Events and they start working on these almost as soon as the last event is over. 

 

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 20

 

Ms. Jo Norum stated she is Chairman of LIFT which is an organization which is made up of Townships that make up the Pennsbury School District; and in that capacity in the fall, they were awarded $100,000 from the Government in support of efforts toward prevention of substance abuse.  The focus of that Grant supports community actions.  She stated Falls Township runs a very successful “Take Back the Night” program which has grown to an event which has huge attendance with food, local bands, and presentations by local agencies.  She stated part of that $100,000 is to support that kind of activity.  She stated she feels if they look around they can find youth organizations and other agencies that would be interested in taking part in a community effort.

 

Ms. Cynthia Harrison stated she has had concerns about the lack of a “downtown” and felt they should have done more merging with Yardley Borough in that they have the downtown and they could work with them to do some of these activities jointly.  She stated there could be a parade in Yardley and then fireworks and other activities in Lower Makefield.  Mr. Caiola stated he agrees with this and feels sharing of costs and experiences is a good idea. He stated possibly they could do a daytime activity in Yardley Borough and an evening activity in Lower Makefield Township. 

 

Mr. Smith stated there were some concerns about whether Yardley Borough was going to continue Harvest Day.  He stated he feels without the Lower Makefield residents, there would be no Harvest Day.  He hopes that the Yardley Borough residents will come to the Lower Makefield events as well. 

 

Ms. Rebecca Cecchine, 19 Riverdale Road, asked if the celebrations would involve fund-raising only, and Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels it would be a celebration; but if there were charities in the area that wished to have booths, they could consider this.  He stated he does not see these events as a profit center.  Ms. Cecchine stated there are a number of non-profit organizations who are looking for recognition and not necessarily fund-raising.  She stated she feels the representatives from several non-profit organizations should be involved on this Committee.  Ms. Cecchine noted this is a very historic area, and she feels they could have an event which would be educational as well.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels as time goes by, they will avail themselves of these opportunities. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels the Committee should be comprised of ten people who could meet and investigate what needs to be done to have a celebration possibly on 4th of July and then report back to the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved to form a Township Celebration Committee to initially have ten persons involved.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels they should be more informal and suggested that they advertise that they are having a group of interested people and see who shows up.

 

Mr. Caiola seconded the Motion as made by Mr. Stainthorpe.

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 20

 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated if there is an overwhelming response, he does not see it as a problem to expand the Committee; but feels at this point they can start with ten members. 

He stated there will be many more people involved and the ten on the Committee would be the core group.    Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels it must be organized first with the core group and then they would create sub-committees, and additional people to do other tasks.

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE NO. 356 REQUIRING A RAPID ENTRY SYSTEM FOR COMMERCIAL AND MULTI-STORY BUILDINGS

 

Mr. Smith moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded approval of Ordinance No. 356.

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked if the second floor would include a loft.  Chief Coluzzi stated emergency services would go out and evaluate the building; and if it includes a loft and they feel this would be a difficult building to get into, they will require a lock box to be put on that although ordinarily a loft would not be considered a second story.

 

Ms. Virginia Torbert stated she is concerned with the various health facilities and nursing homes in the Township.  Chief Coluzzi stated they do provide the Police with access codes to their buildings.  He stated when these are changed on a routine basis for security, etc. they provide these changed Codes to the Police as well.  Ms. Torbert asked about the new facility which is to be built across from McCaffrey’s.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he neglected to mention that prior to the meeting they were in Executive Session for one hour discussing legal matters.  The matter referred to by Ms. Torbert is in litigation at this time, and they do not know exactly what will happen with that site.  Ms. Torbert stated she is concerned with the regulations for any of these types of facilities, such as a nursing home or group home and whether the safety of the residents of those types of facilities is being protected under the Township Codes.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels they should consider this as an Agenda item in the future.

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

APPOINTMENTS OF LIAISONS TO BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS AND REPRESENTATIVES TO REGIONAL COMMISSIONS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated Ron Smith will be the Liaison for the Planning Commission, Farmland Preservation, and Historic Commission; Greg Caiola will serve as Liaison to the Cable TV Board, Park and Rec, and the Sewer Authority; Pete Stainthorpe will serve as Liaison to the Golf Committee, Disabled Persons Advisory Council, and Emergency

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 20

 

 

Management; Grace Godshalk will serve as Liaison to the Zoning Hearing Board, Historical Architectural Review Board, and Elm Lowne Committee; and

Mr. Santarsiero will serve as Liaison to the Environmental Advisory Council, the Newsletter, Pension Committee, and the newly-formed Citizens Traffic Commission.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated with regard to the appointments of Representatives to the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities and the Regional Traffic Task Force, they need to vote on this, and his preference would be to have Mr. Smith and Mr. Caiola appointed as Representatives to the Regional Traffic Task Force and that he would be appointed as the Representatives to the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated his recollection was that when they established membership in the Regional Traffic Task Force, he does not feel they established a term of office.  He felt that the notion was that he and Mrs. Godshalk were appointed until the Task Force lived out its life as it is a limited organization and he feels they will finish their work this year.  He stated he feels they should consider a term on both of these appointments. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he does agree that it would be appropriate to review this on a year by year basis. 

 

Mr. Caiola moved and Mr. Stainthorpe seconded to appoint Ron Smith and Greg Caiola as the Lower Makefield Representatives to the Regional Traffic Task Force and

Steve Santarsiero as Representative to the Southeastern Bucks League of Municipalities for a period of one year.

 

Ms. Karen Friedman asked the reason for replacing both seats at the same time on the Regional Traffic Task Force.  She stated she feels it would be beneficial to leave one seasoned person as a Representative as they would have the history of the Task Force. 

Mr. Caiola stated he and Mr. Smith have made an effort to get up to speed on this.  He added Representative Steil also wants to meet with them to bring them up to speed.  He stated they have also had discussions with Sue Herman who has been extremely active on this. 

 

Ms. Cynthia Harrison stated she agrees with Ms. Friedman that there should be only one new person appointed, and they should stagger the terms.  She feels they will lose some background information by appointing two new people.  

 

Ms. Karen Iungerman, Thistlewood Drive, stated it does take a lot of time to get up to speed, and she feels there should be at least one person appointed who has been involved with this.  She noted they had to bring Mr. Smith up to speed on what the Historic Commission was doing. 

 

Mr. Smith stated while he appreciates the comments, he feels both he and Mr. Caiola will be up to speed and will be able to bring a fresh perspective.

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 20

 

 

Ms.  Helen Bosley asked if it is more appropriate to have either Mr. Smith or Mr. Caiola serve on the Citizens Traffic Commission rather than Mr. Santarsiero as they are the representatives to the Regional Traffic Task Force. Mr. Santarsiero stated the Regional Traffic Task Force’s job is to deal with traffic issues on a regional basis and the local Committee will be looking at issues internally.  He stated a lot of the issues before the Regional Traffic Task Force, other than the Lindenhurst Road corridor, are issues dealing with issues that are outside of Lower Makefield.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated it is primarily focused on the quarry truck issue.

 

Ms. Harrison stated it appears that while they are listening to the comments from the audience, they are still doing what they want to do.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they have heard the comments and have had dialogue.  He feels Mr. Caiola and Mr. Smith have addressed the prime concern which was whether they will be up to speed, and they have indicated that they will be based on what they have advised this evening.  He feels they will vote for what they feel is best for the Township. 

 

Mr. Tony Bush, S. Ridge Circle, stated members of various Governmental groups change all the time and he feels they will be able to get up to speed very quickly.

 

Ms. Janet Smith, 15 Ivy Lane, stated she is not getting the feeling of open Government coming from the decisions they are making. 

 

Mr. Dan McCormick, 508 Franklin Circle, asked the purpose of making the change, and Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels it is good to have a new perspective coming with different viewpoints. 

 

Motion carried with Mrs. Godshalk opposed.

 

 

SUPERVISORS’ REPORTS

 

Mr. Smith stated he has met with each of the Boards to which he is Liaison already.  He stated he is looking forward as well to the presentation on Edgewood Village to be held on January 25.  Mr. Smith stated the Planning Commission is concerned about lack of communication between Boards and asked that there be better communication on issues which affect more than one Board.  The Historic Commission also wants to discuss enforcement of some of the Ordinances that are currently in place.  He feels this should be discussed by the Board of Supervisors in the future.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels they can put that on as an Agenda item for a future meeting.

 

Mr. Caiola stated he met with the Park & Recreation Board where they discussed some introductory information on turf they are considering for a field at Macclesfield Park.  He stated they also discussed the Planning Commission recommendation relative to the

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 18 of 20

 

 

Snipes Tract and the Native Species Ordinance.  He stated they are concerned that projects currently underway will not be stalled during the transition to new engineers.

At the Cable TV Advisory Council they discussed the impending Agreement with Comcast and its positive aspects.  They also asked about the timeframe on televising meetings and the need for technicians and cost of equipment.  He will meet with the Sewer Authority tomorrow evening.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the last Zoning Hearing Board meeting was cancelled and she was not advised.  She stated she is looking forward to working with HARB on the plans for Edgewood Village which they have worked hard on for the last five years.  She stated

Mr. Santarsiero failed to appoint her to the Memorial Committee.  Mr. Santarsiero apologized as this was not on his list, and he stated she will be appointed to the Memorial Committee.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they are looking for dedication in August of this year of the Memorial.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Approval of Police Department Promotions

 

Chief Coluzzi stated in March, 2005 they began a very competitive Promotion process for the positions of Police Corporal and Police Sergeant.  He stated these openings are a result of retirements.  Chief Coluzzi reviewed the experience of those being recommended for Promotion.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the promotion of Police Officer Jason Braim to Police Corporal and Police Corporal Robert Lewis to Police Sergeant effective immediately.

 

 

Approval to Apply for the School Resource Grant

 

Chief Coluzzi stated the School Resource Grant is offered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  He stated in 2001 Lower Makefield applied for and was granted $150,000 toward the salary of a Police Officer for performing the functions of a School Resource Officer.  This was a three-year commitment which expired in 2004.  A new Grant has been announced to fund the Police Resource Officer.  The Grant amount they are applying for is $240,000 over a three-year period with $80,000 each year.  The commitment from the Township would be 25% the first year, 50% the second year, and 75% the third year.  This money would be used to supplement the salary of a newly-hired Police Officer.  The Application must be submitted by January 27, 2006.

 

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 19 of 20

 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to apply for the School Resource Grant.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this means that one of the two additional people they voted to hire in the Budget will be paid in part out of this Grant.  Motion carried unanimously. 

 

 

Update on Mutual Aid Agreement

 

Chief Coluzzi stated they currently have a Mutual Aid Agreement which allows emergency services to go into other jurisdictions to assist them in the event of an emergency and allows them to come into Lower Makefield Township.  They do have an existing Agreement, but the County has asked that the Agreement be signed by the new Board and updated.  This will be provided to the Board for their signature. 

 

Chief Coluzzi thanked Ms. Cecchine for bringing up the issue of radar.  He stated Karen Friedman was very instrumental in circulating a petition and obtained hundreds of names in support of use of radar by local Police.  She also lobbied the State Reps and Senators and was successful in getting a partial Bill.  He stated they will continue to work further on this.  The partial Bill will allow limited use as a test program throughout the State. 

 

Chief Coluzzi stated currently on Channel 16 they have information about the Township’s Neighborhood Watch Website which is LMTNWA and this has links to other sites and discusses special events.  You can also see all the people who are very active with the Police Department on many issues, but who do not necessarily attend Township meetings. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they recently had an emergency at his home involving one of his children, and he thanked Officer Hamilton, the responding Officer, who quickly handled the situation.  He also thanked the Paramedics Walt Hansell and Kevin Hill who were extremely helpful. 

 

Mr. Jason Simon asked Chief Coluzzi about enforcing early work starting times particularly with respect to trash and recyclable collection.  He asked if the Officers on the overnight shifts are looking into this problem.  He stated in his neighborhood there have been instances when BFI comes well before 7:00 a.m. oftentimes coming at

3:45 a.m.  Chief Coluzzi stated they do notify the drivers about coming this early.  They also place calls to the Company asking that they have their drivers come between the time requirements of 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  He stated they do not issue violations. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he was advised of this issue as well and BFI has been the primary offender.  He has discussed this with various BFI representatives and normally after this, the problem goes away for a short time but then comes back.  Mr. Fedorchak has been asked to follow up with this again.  Mr. Santarsiero stated if they do not see a change, he feels they will have to take this a step further.  Chief Coluzzi stated the violation would go to the driver of the vehicle, and he feels it is the Company that needs to be put on

January 18, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 20 of 20

 

 

notice and the Board of Supervisors would have to advise BFI that they must comply with the time restriction Ordinances or the company will be fined.  Chief Coluzzi stated they do not want to issue violations to the drivers as they are only doing what they are being told to do by the company.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if there is a permitting process in place to allow the haulers to operate in the Township, and Mr. Fedorchak stated there is a General Permit issued.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this would be something that could be brought up; and if they are not complying with the Ordinances, maybe they will not be permitted to do business in the Township.    Ms. Harrison asked if the Township has ever considered contracting with a hauler as a community.  She stated in this way they would not have multiple haulers coming into the community every day.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they did look into this at one time; but the complaints would then come to the Township,  and they would probably have to add personnel.  Mr. Santarsiero stated possibly they should look into this again in the future to see if it would be cost effective to do so.  He noted this is done in many other Townships.  Mrs. Godshalk stated currently it is possible to get special rates from the haulers such as Senior Citizen rates, and these would not be available if it were on the tax bill.

 

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

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                            Greg Caiola, Secretary