New Britain Borough
March 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. Lloyd Vansant, Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mayor David Holewinski and Solicitor Michael Goodwin. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the minutes of the February 12, 2013 council meeting as written; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.
The first guests of the evening were Mr. Ken Rodemer, assistant director of operations for Central Bucks School and Doug Waite, an engineer from Gilmore and Associates. They were before Council asking for Preliminary/Final Approval for the Pine Run School Parking Lot improvements. Mr. Hintenlang’s letter dated March 6, 2013 was reviewed and as a result Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve the above referenced project subject to the provisions of Mr. Hintenlang’s letter dated March 6, 2013 including: Zoning paragraph 1 & 2 complied; Land Development & Subdivision waivers 1,2,3,7,8,9,10,11 and will comply 4,5,6; Miscellaneous 1. Approvals a,b,c, and 2; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore abstained from voting, as he is related to the owners of Gilmore & Assoc. hired by the Central Bucks School District for the above referenced project. The Pine Run Parking Lot improvements were approved for Preliminary/Final Approval.
The second topic was Ordinance 348. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to approve Ordinance 348, an ordinance of New Britain Borough to provide 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 Mr. Craig Sturza. After a brief discussion Ordinance 348 was approved.
Thirdly, Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski reintroduced the previously tabled 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution 2013-3. Ms. Holewinski stated “I brought forth this resolution to show support for the preservation of the 2nd amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Section 21 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of PA.” Ms. Holewinski further stated, “Too often in the aftermath of a tragedy in which guns were involved, there is a knee-jerk reaction that if we impose more gun laws and restrictions the problem would be solved. The majority of gun owners in this country are law-abiding citizens. With the passing of more and more laws and regulations it might be easy to lose sight of the fact that we could be limiting, or losing, one of the very rights our county’s founders worked so hard to ensure and one that so many men and women have fought and died trying to preserve since June 21, 1788 when the Constitution became effective. This is my fight to preserve our constitution and that is why I’m asking that this resolution be passed.” Ms. Mary Holewinski motioned to approve Resolution 2013-3, 2nd Amendment Preservation in which it states, “New Britain Borough strongly objects to the passage of any new law or regulation whether by legislation or Executive Order or rule making, that infringes upon Second Amendment, right 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 the said Constitutions as they are written; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi. The Council members were polled for their comments. Mr. Peter LaMontagne had hoped that the resolution would have stayed asleep. He feels the resolution is a National Rifle Association proposal, a talking point of the Republican Party and not the local stuff Council should be concerned with. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore, who stated that he does not often agree with Mr. LaMontagne, said he didn’t think it is something council should be involved in. President Belchic stated that he is ambivalent on the subject, but that it is his job to make sure what council does is legal and goes through the correct process. He stated that each Council Person has the right to bring forth a resolution they are passionate about. He doesn’t view the resolution as a political statement. Mr. Joseph Cangelosi feels it is sad that part of the Constitution is being questioned. He would have liked to see the resolution support the entire Constitution. Mr. Craig Sturza agreed that the resolution should support the entire Constitution. Ms. Margaret Remmey added that this is a local matter as well as federal and is not taking time away from local matters. Ms. Remmey also stated that she is upholding the oath she took to uphold the Constitution. The voting went as follows:
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski – yea
Ms. Margaret Remmey – yea
Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore – nay
Mr. Peter LaMontagne – nay
Mr. Robert Belchic – yea
Mr. Joseph Cangelosi – yea
Mr. Craig Sturza – yea
Resolution 2013-3 was approved.
Correspondence: for the month was reviewed.
February Treasurer’s Report: for the month was reviewed.
Fire, Building, Zoning, Road and Phone/Visitors Reports: for the month were reviewed.
Administration: The winter newsletter was distributed.
The Bucks County Boroughs Assoc. will hold a meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Finance: Styers and Associates have completed their annual audit of the Borough’s finances for 2012.
A Resolution has been requested by our pension consultant to adopt written procedures governing how professional services are chosen for its pension plans in order to comply with Act 44 and the auditor general’s recommendation. Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to approve Resolution 2013-4; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.
Zoning: The Zoning Hearing Board met on February 21, 2013 to hear Mrs. Biagioli’s request for a variance for her proposed subdivision on Sandy Ridge Road to have a shared lane as opposed to each lot having its own separate driveway. Her request was granted.
A Zoning Hearing has been requested by Delaware Valley College to construct the light poles taller than allowable, exceed the allowable illumination at some of the adjoining property lines, put one of the poles within the required 50’ yard setback and to not provide a 25’ landscape buffer between the R-1 and C-U districts all part of their stadium renovation. The hearing is scheduled for April.
Roads: A speed limit reduction from 40 mph to 35 mph has been approved by PennDot on South Tamemend Avenue.
Mr. Edward Deschamps will be retiring at the end of March after 23 years with the Borough. Mr. Hintenlang would like to take over his work as roadmaster and stay within the budgeted amount that was allotted for Mr. Deschamps for the year 2013. Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore motioned to approve Mr. Mark Hintenlang as roadmaster beginning April 1, 2013; seconded by Ms. Margaret Remmey. After a brief discussion it was established that Mr. Hintenlang will be hired as an independent contractor. Ms. Margaret Remmey motioned to amend the previous motion to include Mr. Hintenlang as an independent contractor; seconded by Mr. Craig Sturza and approved.
Nature Preserve: Mr. Peter LaMontangne informed Council that four new benches have been purchased, as part of the PECO Grant, for the nature preserve. Mr. LaMontagne then asked to comment on “open space”. Mr. LaMontagne is interested in possible projects to consider, using the remainder of the open space money the Borough has been allotted by the County. Knowing, that some of it will be used for the CMAQ Grant, Mr. LaMontagne also suggested looking at the bike and hike trail coming through the Covered Bridge Park, a gravel driveway accessing the “Apple Orchard” lot, a bridge over the creek from the park to the “Apple Orchard” lot, extending the bike and hike trail or land for the nature preserve. He feels strongly that Council should take advantage of these funds. President Belchic challenged the Council members and residents to come up with details of projects they feel beneficial and Council will revisit and discuss at the May meeting.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Holewinski updated Council on the police regionalization. The Inter Municipal Agreement is being worked on and will be reviewed by Michael Goodwin. Regulations and processes are being put in place for 1. If a municipality decides to terminate the agreement, 2. A new municipality joins the regionalization. After the agreement is complete and agreed upon, negotiations for a police contract will begin.
Mayor Holewinski reported on the Mathews Avenue temporary closure. Now that Ordinance 248 has been approved, anyone moving or circumventing the barricades will now be sited by the police. Also anyone caught piling debris on either side of the barricades will be sited for “dumping”.
Committee Reports: Ms. Marie Coia reported that the Public Meeting (on March 5, 2013 at Delaware Valley College) was well attended and very worthwhile. She complemented Ms. Lynn Bush on facilitating the meeting. Ms. Bush will meet with the Community and Business Committee to report on the meeting.
Expenditures: Margaret Remmey motioned to approve the monthly expenditures; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and approved
Doylestown Bike and Hike: Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski reported on the February 19, 2013 meeting of the Doylestown Bike and Hike Committee. Mr. Kelso updated the committee on Destination Peace Valley, reporting that they are still waiting on the easement from the county for the Pine Run Reservoir area. This is the trail that will connect the existing trail off Sandy Ridge Road to Iron Hill Road. The committee discussed the potential of the pedestrian bicycle crossing at the railroad tracks on Lower State Road and being able to complete the trail from the YMCA to the existing trails (Parkway, through Del Val College and the trail to Kid’s Castle). They will be meeting with SEPTA this month. Ms. Holewinski also reported that the County Bike Plan has three focuses right now which are to connect the Doylestown and New Hope Trail, Quakertown to Saucon Valley Trail and the Levittown Route 13 trail out to the Neshaminy Mall. Mr. Kelso commented that it’s important to also connect from Chalfont to the Neshaminy as the Bucks County Planning Commission is starting to work on its grant and they are only focusing on Doylestown South. His is going to the meeting and intends to request that they connect from Chalfont and expand their scope of study.
Tamenend Avenue PCE Site: President Belchic asked Ms. Trymbiski to update Council on the Tamenend Avenue PCE Site. Ms. Trymbiski reported that the DEP is continuing to monitor the properties involved. Mayor Holewinski added that when talking to an affected resident she informed him that no contamination was found in the latest test on her water. The Mayor felt she does not have a filtration system, so he asked if the deed restrictions can be removed. This will be investigated. President Belchic asked Mr. Yatsky to determine what is being striped from the water at the Chalfont well pump (Aqua PA) near Carousel Point.
Vulture Concern: As reported to the Borough Office, some of the vultures are back roosting in the Cherokee Road neighborhood. Ms. Trymbiski contacted Carey from the USDA Wildlife Service of PA. He recommended waiting until fall to see if they come back for the winter and then invest in having the state services come out and hang the effigy. He informed Ms. Trymbiski that he spoke to the daycare and recommended they use visual deterrents (balloons etc.) to help keep their playground free of vultures.
Open Space: Mr. Joseph Cangelosi motioned to approve the Application Resolution 2013-5 New Britain Borough Council recognizes that the Borough contains open space and natural areas that contribute to the quality of life and economic health of the community which are worth preservation. New Britain Borough wishes to participate in the Municipal Open Space Program to obtain undeveloped acreage, the “Orchard Tract,” directly abutting the already preserved Covered Bridge Park, to expand the natural lands features of the Park and to augment the Borough’s inventory of preserved open space lands for public access; seconded by Mr. Jeffrey Gilmore and approved.
Resident’s Remarks: Mr. Rick Eggleston informed Council that there are numerous limbs and wires hanging through out the Borough as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Mr. Tom Yatsky will take a survey of the Borough and begin taking care of the situation.
Ms. Marie Coia brought up the idea of changing the name of “old” 202 or Butler Avenue. There are several East and West Butler Avenues causing a great deal of confusion. Ms. Coia thought it should be all “Butler Avenue” from New Britain Road to Route 309 in Montgomeryville. It was also suggested that the name be “State Road” since the road is a PennDot road and is called State Street in Doylestown Borough. It was suggested that the topic be brought up at the Business and Community Committee meeting and that the municipalities involved be contacted.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski will be attending a follow up meeting on the new “Parkway”. She has asked for feedback on what people like and dislike about the Parkway. Resident Harry Baum contributed that the signage is poor. There is nothing which indicates what crossroad you are approaching. Ms. Holewinski asked that a message be put on the Borough website asking the community to email to the Borough any input they may have. Ms. Robyne Keleman asked what strategies will be used for speed control.
Mr. Jim Chant commented that he is very disappointed that the Council did not open the meeting up to the public for comment on the 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution before it was approved. He felt Council did not because they knew it was contentious. He has no argument with supporting the Constitution, but what was being discussed by the federal government is law changes and that Council was using “supporting the Constitution” to promote personal opinion. Mr. Harry Baum and Ms. Joe Schuyler agreed, stating that in the past few months Council has not taken a pro-active approach, especially where the businesses and residents of Aarons Avenue were concerned with the closing of Mathews Avenue and now with the passing of the 2nd Amendment Resolution. Ms. Schuyler continued that the resolution was not available on the website or at the meetings, that the only way to get a copy was to physically ask for one at the Borough Office. Mr. Phil Hanichak felt the 2nd amendment should be discussed at the local level and that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Ms. Lori Kesilman added that the resolution should represent the whole community. President Robert Belchic thanked everyone for their opinions and that the law is like a living organism, nothing is etched in stone. Mr. Walter Bair suggested Council allow the audience to comment on agenda items in the beginning of the meeting and leave new comments for the end. President Belchic answered that the state gives him the right to conduct the meeting as he sees fit and he will take responsibility for the meeting format.
Mr. Jim Chant asked if the Borough Hall will be up for sale if the police merger goes through. He was told that the subject had not been discussed yet. Mr. Chant reminded Council that the present building is totally handicapped inaccessible.
Ms. Mary Pat Holewinski motioned to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Joseph Cangelosi and the meeting ended at 8:53 PM.