New Britain Borough
January 8, 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 except Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore. 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 December 11, 2012 council meeting as written; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
The first guests of the evening were Mr. Robert Showalter of Showalter Assoc. and his client Ms. Mary Biagioli. They were before council to see if council would support the plan for Ms. Biagioli’s proposed subdivision. The sketch showed a low impact development of five houses on a one way 14 ft. “driveway” which will enter and exit onto Sandy Ridge Road. They had presented the sketch to the Planning Commission. David Holewinski stated that the Planning Commission had offered some discussion and changes, but were generally supportive of the plan idea. President Robert Belchic added that it is good to think outside the box (in reference to a low impact development). President Belchic opened the meeting up to questions from Council. Mr. Craig Sturza asked what they felt would be the impact on the neighbors. Ms. Biagioli answered that the neighbors are a considerable distance from the development, that she had spoken to the neighbors resulting in no negative feedback and that the houses would be of similar value as the neighbors (between $450,000 – $500,000). Mr. Cangelosi asked about snow plowing of the “driveway” to which he was told that there will be a homeowners association which will take care of snow plowing and trash removal. There will be a central location at the end of the driveway on Sandy Ridge Road for trash pick up so that the trash trucks do not have to enter the development. Mr. Peter LaMontagne referred to a previous conversation concerning the placement of the Bike and Hike path, and asked if they had considered the high elevation (above the street surface) and the number of trees along the road. Mr. Showalter suggested the path be on the other, flatter, side of the street. Ms. Margaret Remmey was going to ask if the neighbors had been approached. Her question was answered previously. She also asked if emergency vehicles would be able to negotiate the neighborhood, to which she was told yes. Ms Mary Pat Holewinski asked if there will be one builder or would prospective buyers buy the property and retain their own builder. It is Ms. Biagioli’s intent to have one builder for the entire development. Mr. Showalter explained that they could devise a plan which emptied everyone out onto Sandy Ridge Road but thought this plan had much less of an impact on the Borough and the street. As a result of the plan’s design, Ms. Biagioli will need to go to the Zoning Hearing Board for relief of frontage and flag lot restrictions. President Belchic poled the council members who unanimously (Mr. LaMontagne clarified his support if the Bike and Hike path was included) supported the plan and will send the solicitor to the ZHB to represent Council’s support.
Correspondence: for the month was reviewed. There will be a dinner meeting of the BCBA on January 29, 2013. Please let the office know if you are interested in attending.
December Treasurer’s Report: for the month was reviewed.
Fire, Building, Zoning, Road & Phone Visitor Reports: for the month were reviewed. Mr. Peter LaMontagne asked that there be little more detail in these reports concerning phone calls and visitors.
Administration: Appointments to consider:
David Landis – Appeal Board
Anthony Coia – Zoning Hearing Board
David Siegfried – Zoning Hearing Board
William Schaefer – Zoning Hearing Board
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the reappointments of those listed above; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey and approved.
Police: The next meeting of the police regionalization committee will be January 23, 2013 in Doylestown Borough to begin the review of the intergovernmental agreement between New Britain and Doylestown Boroughs. Ms. Trymbiski, Mayor Holewinski and President Belchic will be attending.
Planning Commission: The Planning Commission has made a recommendation to proceed with a test period of the “loop” on Matthews Avenue, requesting the police place temporary barricades as a trial with a six month review.
Bike and Hike: Mr. Hintenlang is still waiting to hear from Mr. Jester. Mr. Hintenlang hopes to set up a meeting with him to discuss the Bike and Hike path along Spring Lake Drive and Britain Drive.
Mr. Goodwin has reviewed the Standard Client Agreement from Michael Baker Inc. for the engineering for the trail to the New Britain Train Station. The engineering costs are $49,546.30 which is higher than expected, because there are seven potentially historic properties near the project which require further research. Mr. Goodwin has asked that they remove two sections dealing with negligence and liability. The agreement will not be considered until the changes have been made.
Roads: Ms. Trymbiski has received an estimate for striping along Sioux Rd. The total is $2,300.00. Sioux Rd will be striped with a double center line and single white lines (nine feet off center lines) from Lenape Drive to Tamenend Avenue and just a double center line from Tamenend Avenue to Keeley Avenue.
Mayor’s Report: Police merger meeting on January 23, 2013, 10:00 AM, Doylestown Borough.
Expenditures: Mr. Craig Sturza motioned to pay the monthly expenditures; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and approved.
- Bike and Hike: Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski reported that the Bike and Hike Committee is working on the path that will come into the Covered Bridge Park from the reservoir. It will cross the Pine Run Creek by a bridge adjacent to the covered bridge.
- A discussion was held concerning the blockage of Matthews Avenue as a traffic calming solution. Several residents and the Chalfont Fire Company (who also submitted a written letter addressed to Manager Trymbiski and the New Britain Borough Council, dated January 5, 2013) expressed their concerns and disagreement with Council’s plans. The Fire Company is concerned with increased response time to the neighborhood involved and that the water supply is on the opposite side of the barricade. One resident of Aarons Avenue feels the barricade (gate) is a radical decision before trying simpler solutions like striping. Another resident of Aarons Avenue is concerned with the increase in response time of Chal-brit EMS. At the conclusion of the discussion, Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to erect a temporary barricade on Matthews Avenue on the east side of the Nature Preserve Parking area, creating a two way loop between Matthews Avenue, Landis Mill Rd. and Aarons Avenue. There will be the appropriate signage put in place to notify the public. After a six month trial, Council will evaluate the project and a permanent decision will be made; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza. The voting went as follows:
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski – yea
Ms. Margaret Remmey – yea
Mr. Peter LaMontagne – nay
Mr. Robert Belchic – yea
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi – yea
Mr. Craig Sturza – yea
The motion was approved. Ms. Margaret Fabry asked when this road closure will take place, to which she was informed that it would be about a month by the time the signs etc. are purchased and installed.
- Ms. Trymbiski signed the “agreement of sale” for the purchase of the “Apple Orchard” lot. The settlement date is scheduled for April 30, 2013.
New Business: Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve Resolution 2013-1 establishing the New Britain Borough Tax Collector‘s salary; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved. Inquiries were made as to the salaries of area tax collectors. Ms. Trymbiski will investigate. Having been informed that Council members have questions about the tax collector’s report, Ms. Trymbiski has set up a question and answer session before February’s Council meeting with Mr. Sabol to discuss his report.
Resident’s Remarks: Ms. Joe Schuler of Aarons Avenue addressed Council on the Matthews Avenue subject. Ms. Schuler informed Council that she and her husband attended December’s Council meeting and felt they were led to believe that the discussion of Matthews Avenue traffic calming was going to continue at the January meeting, not that a decision was going to be made. She asked what prompted this discussion and decision (size of vehicles, volume, speed?). She also asked that since the decision had been made, to whom, should she direct her feedback during the six month trial. Ms. Schuler was told to attend the meetings and give her feedback to Council.
Mr. Robert Binkley, resident of Landis Mill Road, spoke that having a residential neighborhood adjacent to an industrial neighborhood has always been a burden to Matthews Avenue. He feels that once people are used to the “loop” traffic will begin to slow down. Resident Harry Baum of Aarons Avenue added that he felt Council should put the most weight on the comments made by the Chalfont Fire Company. Resident and business owner Mr. James Chant felt the conversation was blaming the industrial area on Sand Rd. as the sole problem for traffic on Matthews Avenue. He challenged that opinion and feels that it is a natural cut through to the light at Sand Road and the shopping center. Mr. Chant also stated that the “no trucks” sign on Matthews Avenue near the driveway to the Kirk property is not located at a point where it is visible to trucks before they have already turned left from the driveway onto Matthews Avenue. Mr. Peter LaMontagne suggested sharpening the curve on Matthews and Sand Road rather than blocking the road, making it difficult for trucks to use.
Mr. Craig Sturza motioned to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and the meeting ended at 8:31 PM.