Minutes taken from February 12, 2007 Hilltown Supervisor's Meeting
Excerpts of issues relative to Hilltown's future and its' progressive development:
1. Mr. Dennis Livrone, Bucks County Planning Commission –
Status of Implementation of the Pennridge Water Resources Plan – Mr. Livrone, along with other staff members of the Bucks County Planning Commission, provided a summary and Power Point presentation of the Pennridge Water Resources Plan, which is a multimunicipal cooperative effort by the Pennridge Area Coordinating Committee. Mr. Livrone explained that the goal of the Pennridge Water Resources Plan is to address concerns about future growth and development in a proactive manner by developing a water resources and growth management plan that addresses both water quantity and water quality issues. Copies of the presentation are available at the Township office.
2. Consider Selection of Township Planner – Motion was made by Supervisor Salvadore, seconded by Supervisor McIlhinney, and carried unanimously to appoint the firm of Boucher and James as Township Planner for 2007. There was no public comment.
3. Consider Next Steps for Hilltown Village (and Other Village Center Districts) – Supervisors McIlhinney and Salvadore felt that the first assignment for the newly appointed Planner should be to begin working on the Village Center project.
4. Mr. Henry Rosenberger of Blooming Glen asked how the Supervisors envision residents of the Village Center districts working with the newly appointed Planner. He is involved with an active group of Village Center residents in Blooming Glen who would like to participate. The Blooming Glen Village Group is currently working toward having the village of Blooming Glen listed on the National Historical Register, as well as pursuing improvements such as lighting, public water facilities for fire protection, and traffic calming. Discussion took place.
Supervisor Salvadore anticipates that the Planner will be involved with not only the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission, but also the community itself. The Board had stressed that Hilltown Village would be the first VC District for the Planner to consider, however the Planner will be directed by the Board to work with all three VC Districts in the future.
5. Board of Supervisors Direction to Township Professional Staff – Draft Proposed Ordinance for McGrath Homes Re-Zoning Request – Mr. Paul Callahan of McGrath Homes referred to the January 29, 2007 meeting, where the Board of Supervisors advised that they each Supervisor would independently provide their personal opinions and recommendations to the Township Solicitor and Engineer in order to craft a new Hilltown-generated Ordinance. Representatives of McGrath Homes met with Township staff and Supervisor McIlhinney last week, and with Supervisor Salvadore this past Saturday, who put together a Power Point presentation, which Mr. Callahan suggested be shared with those in attendance this evening. The applicant also received written comments from Chairman Manfredi this evening. It was Supervisor Salvadore’s understanding that Solicitor Grabowski and Mr. Wynn would be incorporating the Supervisor’s comments and direction via color-coding into the base document, once the applicant has forwarded the electronic copy to them.
Mr. Callahan wished to stress that the minimum number of units the applicant is willing to construct on the site is 268, and that any number less than that would necessitate a single-family home development for the property.
Supervisor Salvadore provided the Power Point presentation as suggested by Mr. Callahan, showing photographs of various locations in Hilltown Township.
6. Mrs. Linda Cherry, a 35-year resident of Schwenkmill Road, understands that the two main accesses to the McGrath development would be at Minsi Trail and Rt. 113, and at Rt. 313 and Minsi Trail, both locations which are currently served by stop signs. She asked if traffic signals are proposed at either of those intersections. Supervisor McIlhinney noted that it would be up to PennDot to approve a traffic signal at either or both of those intersections. Mrs. Cherry would hope that PennDot would take the size (248 units) and type (senior housing) of development under advisement when considering installation of a traffic signal. She noted that her parents were killed in a car accident at the Rt. 113 and Diamond Street intersection prior to the traffic signal being installed. Discussion took place concerning the Traffic Impact Study that is required for a development of this size.
7. Ms. Danawa Buchanan of Quakertown is a Cherokee elder and a Cherokee high ritualistic and ceremonialist, as well as the founder of Preservationist of Native American Sites, which is the Cherokee and Native American response to Federal Public Law 101.
Ms. Buchanan has recently become familiar with many of the archaeological finds on the proposed McGrath Homes site. Ms. Buchanan is encouraging officials in the state of Pennsylvania to move forward with a study of the archaeological recovery that her group would hope to make of Native American artifacts from this site. She conducted a field reconnaissance on the property today, looking for specific archaeological features – both historic and prehistoric.
Studies have been conducted that would cover approximately the past 500 to 800 years of Native American history specific to this tract of land, and the flow along the Minsi Trail, as well as the Native American springs that would have been used as council springs, and the ridges and the hilltops that would have been used as ancient meeting places. Ms. Buchanan noted that there is a cedar tree grove located on the property on the hill above the tributary and above the spring that would have been used by Native Americans who traversed Minsi Trail to attend council meetings at the site. Ms. Buchanan has contacted a spokesman for the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania who lives in Sellersville to discuss the historical permanent areas and archaeological sensitive areas, as well as the Native American ceremonial places located on the tract.
Ms. Buchanan noted that Native American history is very quickly being lost in Pennsylvania, and she would like to work with McGrath Homes and the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania to have a voice in moving forward with this site.
(Page 5 Pg. 6988 Board of Supervisors February 12, 2007)
7. Mr. Henry Rosenberger of Rt. 113 noted that Public Hearings for the McGrath proposal were held on November 21, 2006 and December 11, 2006, yet at both of those meetings the Board of Supervisors did not state or share their views of the request for re-zoning. He feels it would be helpful for the general public to have an opportunity to hear the Supervisor’s views on the re-zoning request itself. Mr. Rosenberger is also concerned that a specific plan for the site has not been submitted and reviewed in conjunction with the re-zoning request.
8. Supervisor McIlhinney explained that the Supervisors were asked to vote on whether or not they would consider an Age Qualified Community, which they agreed to do, he believes at the December 11th meeting. While the Supervisors have the discretion to deny considering the request at all, Supervisor McIlhinney noted that the Board also has the discretion to agree to considering the request. He advised that the Board has decided to move forward with crafting a Township-created Age Qualified Community Ordinance.
Supervisor Salvadore made the motion at the January 29th meeting to authorize the individual Board members to provide their comments and suggestions to the Township professional staff so that they could incorporate them into a Township-generated Ordinance for consideration by the full Board. Supervisor Salvadore reminded Mr. Rosenberger that the Public Hearings on this matter will continue, and that the draft Ordinance, once it has been crafted and refined to the satisfaction of the Board of Supervisors, will be further reviewed by the Hilltown and Bucks County Planning Commissions.
9. Mr. Rosenberger felt it was very misleading of the developer to provide very distinct plans for an Age Qualified Community that were irrelevant to their request for re-zoning of the property. Supervisor Salvadore explained that this is the reason the Board is focusing on crafting the best Ordinance it possibly can, which will drive what a plan can be.
10. Supervisor Salvadore announced that she intends to run for the office of Township Supervisor. Her current appointed term expires as of December 31, 2007.