Bucks County Herald

Upper Makefield addresses zoning issues, planning

STUART LEE FRIEDMAN

Planning and Zoning Director David Kuhns approached the Upper Makefield supervisors at their Sept. 5 meeting about entertaining a motion of preliminary approval for the Laughlin subdivision plan at Eagle and Stoopville Roads.

The developer’s representative, Attorney Edward Murphy, addressed the board, stating that his conversations with the township over the past two years over maximizing open space have resulted in a plan that would preserve 48 contiguous acres of the 65-acre parcel in the Houghs Creek watershed. The plan is a coordinated effort that included both Upper Makefield and Newtown townships.

The board granted both preliminary and final plan approval in a unanimous vote.

In other township business, the supervisors discussed a pollutant reduction plan. Township engineer Larry Young described the requirement for renewal of the five-year MS4 stormwater permit, explaining that while source pollutants are not a big concern, storm waters can wash away other contaminants such as petroleum residue from roads on their way to local streams and to the river.

The pollution reduction plan includes primarily a portion of Jericho Creek as well as a portion of the Delaware River. Young explained that the requirement stems from the Clean Water Act, a directive of the Environmental Protection Agency. He added that the township’s riparian fund can satisfy part of the project, including riparian buffers.

The package will be delivered prior to Sept. 16. Once the permit is filed and processed, appropriate plans and expenses will be determined.

Solicitor Mary Eberle recommended a motion to advertise the recycling grant application. The ordinance would facilitate intergovernmental cooperation with other municipalities under the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The measure passed in a 5-0 vote.

Interim Township Manager David Nyman recommended a motion to authorize an expenditure of $5,000 from the tree fund for shade trees in the township parks. He also suggested a change in board meeting dates for the remainder of 2017. Both motions passed unanimously.

A motion to advertise for a professional architect to reassess structural and efficiency improvements to the 30-year-old township building was tabled for further review after supervisor Dan Rattigan suggested caution. He suggested prioritizing improvements and determining which were reasonable. As an example, he suggested that installing bullet-proof glass would be an expenditure addressing a negligible risk in Upper Makefield.

The township manager was authorized by unanimous decision to sign police and non-uniformed minimum municipal obligation (MMO). A 5-year agreement with Hough Associates for administering the recycling grant proposal was also approved without dissent.

A letter of resignation by public works superintendent Robert Johnson, Jr. was accepted with reluctance by the board, with many expressions of appreciation for his service. The board plans to discuss Johnson’s replacement at a future meeting.

Resident Kris Ballerini addressed the board in its long and frustrating search for a permanent township manager. She recommended “thinking outside the box,” abandoning costly conventional searches that have failed to yield acceptable results, and tapping into the pool of recent local graduates with degrees in public administration.

She suggested offsetting lack of experience by using the current interim township manager as a mentor over a given period.

Supervisor Mike Tierney called the idea “refreshing.”

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