New Britain Borough
February 12, 2013
The monthly meeting of the New Britain Borough Council was called to order by President Robert Belchic at 7:30 PM. All council members were present. Also present were Mr. Mark Hintenlang, Mr. Lloyd Vansant, Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mayor David Holewinski and Solicitor Michael Goodwin. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2013 council meeting as written; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved
The first subject covered was the Mathews Avenue closure. Mayor Holewinski introduced the topic to council and the audience. The Mayor said, “In the past couple of weeks I’ve been encouraged, amazed and shocked as to what has taken place as a result of the temporary closure of through traffic on Mathews Avenue”. He was encouraged by the number of residents that were thankful for restoring a long absent quality of life to their neighborhood, amazed at those who refuse to work with the Borough and shocked by those who resort to name calling, obscene gestures or out and out rudeness on the issue. He also informed those in attendance that the EMS, police and fire department have been instructed to blow right through the barricades if an emergency exists and that when and if the closure becomes permanent the barricade will be of a passive nature where emergency vehicles will be able to pass over the area without delays. Also that the borough engineer and the borough traffic engineer will be investigating the lights at both Sand Road and Butler Avenue and Tamenend Avenue and Butler Avenue. The Mayor challenged the audience “That challenge is to ask yourself if a tiny actual or perceived, personal inconvenience is worth an entire neighborhood gaining a better quality of life because of it”. President Robert Belchic then opened the meeting to the audience, asking them to be sure and give their name and address before speaking. Several residents spoke about both the pros and cons of the Mathews Avenue and Aarons Avenue Loop which is the result of the Mathews Avenue temporary closure.
Dr. Robyne Kelemen, of 87 Mathews Avenue for eleven years, expressed her concerns. She and her family do not feel there is “a substantial speeding or truck traffic problem on Mathews Avenue of any degree that would necessitate a road closure”. Dr. Kelemen was also concerned that she had not heard anything about the closure until one day before it was installed through a letter from the Borough. She had not seen a survey or received any advance notification that there would be action at a Borough Council meeting to determine that a closure would occur. “In summary, I and my family feel that this closure (although currently on a trial basis) is not needed in our neighborhood, is an inconvenience, may affect emergency response times, and forces us to exit our neighborhood without the safety of a stop light into 40 mph traffic. We do not feel this is a change that is needed at all, and we also feel that insufficient notice and allowance for public comment on this change has been provided.” Dr. Kelemen asked later in the meeting what notice or letter was provided to the residents. President Belchic told her to refer to the “Time Line” handout which was available to all those attending. (see attached)
Kristen Seybolt of 137 Mathews Avenue does not have a problem with the closure and feels safer in her neighborhood.
Al Marciante of 99 Mathews Avenue has lived there for 30 some years. He feels that over the years there have been more and more businesses in the area and traffic has increased. He doesn’t believe it is that hard to get out of the neighborhood with the closure. He also informed Council and the audience that companies make gates that open when an emergency vehicle gets close.
Lisa Tyler of 66 Aarons Avenue, single mother of three, explained that the closure on Mathews has caused an increase in traffic on Aarons, that pulling out onto South Tamenend is dangerous and that the people are outraged and angry because not everyone was heard (residents and businesses). Later, Ms. Tyler asked why they didn’t use speed humps which had been successful on Keeley Avenue. On Ms. Tyler’s way out, she said she was very disappointed with council, because not one of the members responded to the residents concerns.
Joe Troxell of 110 Mathews Avenue thanked the Mayor for closing the road, “My grandchildren can finally go get the mail.” Later, Mr. Troxell thanked the Borough for separating residential from industrial.
Jason Supon of 95 Aarons Avenue said he has noticed over the past week more traffic and that it is dangerous pulling out onto Tamenend Avenue where drivers fly down the road. He thought maybe there is a better solution to slow traffic on Mathews Avenue.
Ben Gimbel of 94 Mathews Avenue thanked Council. He felt Mathews Avenue was dangerous and now it is much better and a better atmosphere. He hopes everyone can work together.
Nancy LaVandos of 95 Aarons Avenue feels there must be a better solution and that she has been told that the Fire Company and EMS will not blow through the barricade. Later, Ms. LaVandos asked council to listen to the fire department and to think of the children and people.
Gary Landis of 117 Mathews Avenue, who has lived there for 37 years, stated he is not in favor of the closure. He feels this is setting a precedent for all through streets in the Borough like Lamp Post, Keeley and Sioux. Mr. Landis said he is a team player but thinks the Borough should send everyone a ballot and have a vote.
Warren Klinger of 41 Aarons Avenue said there is an increase in traffic on Aarons Avenue. He asked if there had been a study to find out where the traffic on Mathews is coming from. Mr. Klinger’s suggestion is to connect Spring Lake and Britain Drives, keeping the through street in the industrial area.
Walter Bair president of the Chalfont Fire Company wanted to make sure everyone present knew that the fire company opposed the closure and that it is not the best for the safety of Mathews and Aarons Avenues. President Belchic said there is a meeting set up with the Fire Company on Wednesday February 13, 2013 to discuss the situation and that the Fire Company is not aware at this time what will be discussed.
Jay Stobi of 87 Mathews Avenue stated he was completely unaware of plans for the closure. He asked if there was data and information used to come up with this idea. Is the problem cars going through or speed he asked. President Belchic told him to read the fact sheet (see attached). He asked what criteria will be used to determine whether or not the closure will be permanent or not.
Mr. Karl Bodden, whose business CSC is on Industrial Drive, addressed council. He has been there for 35 years. Mr. Bodden feels there needs to be more communication between the businesses and the Borough. No one got together with the businesses to see if they could help with the problem. He feels communication is key and that the businesses should have met with the residents and the Borough and work together. They were not informed of any meetings or the decision to close Mathews Avenue until the letter from the Borough.
Bob Cassidy of 15 Mathews Avenue had mixed feelings about the closure, but he has seen less traffic and now supports the decision.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve for advertising Ordinance 348 providing for the erection of a barricade across Mathews Avenue, closing the roadway to through traffic, in the area of the Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve on a temporary basis, pursuant to the police powers of the Borough to promote the safety and general welfare of residents on Mathews avenue and to preserve the village character and quality of the neighborhood; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Correspondence: for the month was reviewed.
January Treasurer’s Report: for the month was reviewed.
December Tax Collector’s Report: for the month was reviewed.
Fire, Building, Zoning, Road and Phone/Visitor Reports: for the month were reviewed.
Administration: Ethics Forms have been distributed. Please return the completed form to the Administration Office.
Finance: Styer and Associates will begin their Audit of the Borough finances for 2012 this month.
The Annual Investment Report for the 2012 Uniform and Non-Uniform Pensions are available for review in the Borough Office.
The PECO grant and matching funds along with the land acquisition of the Miller property were not included in the Groner budget for 2013. This error has been corrected with a transfer of funds and the addition of new budget line items. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to correct and amend the Groner Budget for 2013 with the addition of the PECO Grant, matching funds and the land acquisition of the Miller property; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and the amendment was approved.
Police: Mr. Bittner, the Borough’s pension consultant has prepared an estimate of $1500.00 to prepare a cost study for the purpose of combining the New Britain Borough and Doylestown Borough Police Pension plans. New Britain’s portion of the study would be $750. Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the spending of $750 for the cost study of combining the New Britain Borough and Doylestown Borough Police Pensions; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.
Planning Commission: Mr. Hintenlang has prepared a cost estimate of $4,500.00 for engineering/surveying services for the donation of the 2.4 acre property donation from Jim Chant (Black Oak Properties). Mr. Chant asked if Groner Funds could be used to cover this expense. Mr. Peter LaMontagne thought that was possible until corrected by counsel that the property would need to be contiguous to the Nature Preserve. Mr. Goodwin will look into this matter further and Council will still consider approving the expense. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to approve the $4,500.00 expenditure for engineering/surveying services for the donated property; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Mr. Goodwin is in the process of finalizing the Open Space Plan to include the Apple Orchard on Keeley Avenue.
Zoning: A zoning hearing is scheduled for February 21, 2013 for Mrs. Biagioli’s subdivision of five lots on a shared lane. Mr. Goodwin will be attending.
Nature Preserve: Mr. Peter LaMontagne asked Council to consider approving the Nature Preserve’s application for a Grant from Bucks Beautiful for plants for the boundary of the meadow. The grant is a 50% match and will come out of funds already approved for the meadow in the 2013 Budget. When asked how much the match would be, Mr. LaMontagne answered below $1,000.00. Mr. Peter LaMontagne motioned to approve the application for the Bucks Beautiful Grant; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.
Bike and Hike: The changes Mr. Goodwin requested to the Standard Client Agreement with Michael Baker Inc. have been agreed to for the CMAQ Grant “Access Enhancements to the New Britain Train Station Proposal”. Baker agrees to perform the professional services for a lump sum fee of $49,546.30. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the expenditure of $49,546.30 for Michael Baker Jr. Inc. to perform the professional services for the Access Enhancements to the New Britain Train Station Proposal; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and approved.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Holewinski made his report with the opening statement to the Mathews Avenue closure discussion.
Committee Reports: Ms. Marie Coia reported:
The Appointment Advisory Committee gathered names at the poles of residents interested in volunteering in the Borough. Ms. Coia sent emails to those on the list with a description of the committees and boards where volunteers are used. She sent the emails again in January. She has received answers from five of the seventeen on the list, one for the Bike and Hike, one for the Nature Preserve, one for the Zoning Hearing Board and two for the emergency management deputy.
Historic Preservation Committee’s Wreath Across America program which was held on December 15, 2012 was a great success and they will be repeating it again this year.
Community and Business committee had set a maximum of eight ads to be sold as advertisements in the newsletter. Ms. Coia has met this goal. They have also added
new pages in the newsletter called “Getting To Know Our Council Members” and “Moments With the Mayor”. The Committee will be holding an open house on March 5th at 7:30. They will be conducting a dialogue on what businesses and residents would like to see their community become in 5, 10, 15 years in the future. The professor at Delaware Valley College who is using the Butler Avenue corridor in his design class will require his students to attend. The committee asked that the office be sure the steps leading from Gilmore’s office to the Borough office be light and that the meeting room be cleaned before the open house. Founders Day will not be held due to lack of volunteers.
Expenditures: Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the monthly expenditures; seconded by Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski and approved.
Doylestown Bike and Hike: Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski reported that the Bucks County Commissioners approved the Bucks County Bicycle Master Plan,
Tamenend Avenue PCE Site Update: The DEP continues to monitor the filtration systems. They continue to look for the source of the contamination.
Vulture Concern: Several residents from Lenape Drive, Cherokee Road and a representative from First Friends located in Town Center, came to the Council Meeting to discuss the Vulture problem in their neighborhood. Information on vultures was given to the residents by Council and resident David Horne, a member of the Bucks County Audubon Society which included their migratory habits. The vulture roosting areas are usually vacated by the end of February – beginning of March. It was decided that the condition of the playground at First Friends (covered in bird droppings) is enough to warrant trying to get the vultures to leave. The Borough office will be in touch with the government office involved in wildlife nuisances.
Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to approve Resolution 2013-2 Designation of Agent Resolution authorizing Dan Jenkins to execute for and in behalf of New Britain Borough for the purpose of obtaining financial assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and approved. This will be used in an attempt to recuperate monies spent for storm damage as a result of hurricane Sandy.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to ratify the Declaration of Disaster Emergency which was called by the Mayor on or about February 8, 2013; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and ratified. The reason for the declaration was a forecasted winter storm which threatened to cause injury, damage and suffering to the persons and property of the Borough of New Britain.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve a resolution which shall be known and may be cited as the “2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution” stating any further regulation by the United Stares and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that imposes additional limitations and restraints upon the purchase, ownership, use and transfer of firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition, in the absence of an amendment to the Constitution, will be accomplished unlawfully, in direct violation of the guarantees of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and to Article 1 Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as well as in violation of the intent of the nation’s Founders and existing Second Amendment jurisprudence. New Britain Borough strongly objects to the passage of any new law or regulation whether by legislation or Executive Order to rule making, that infringes upon Second Amendment rights, or rights guaranteed pursuant to Article 1 Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and demands as well, that all elected and appointed officials of the Federal Government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will honor the Founders’ intention that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed and that each will uphold his and her oath of office to defend said Constitutions as they are written; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi. A discussion followed which included opposition to the Resolution by residents, Jim Chant, Harry Baum, Warren Klinger and others, with quotes “strongly opposed”, “Do not want this Council representing me” and “an affront to everyone in the Borough”. Mr. David Horne added that Borough residents should be aware of what Council is enacting for them, making sure the Borough is keeping people informed. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned that the resolution be tabled giving Council more time to review; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi. The voting went as follows:
Mr. Robert Belchic – yea
Ms. Margaret Remmey – yea
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski – nay
Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore – yea
Mr. Peter LaMontagne – yea
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi – yea
Mr. Craig Stuza – yea
The Resolution was tabled.
Residents Remarks: Ms. Joe Schuyler asked about where the Bike and Hike trail will be present in the Borough. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski, as the Borough’s representative to the Bike and Hike Committee answered her question.
Robyne Kelemen of Mathews Avenue said that many people addressed the speed on South Tamenend Avenue and asked if anything can be done. Mr. Mark Hintenlang answered that PennDot will be reducing the speed limit to 35 MPH.
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and the meeting ended at 9:09 PM.