Planning Commission Minutes
January 02, 2001
MINUTES OF 1/2/01: Mr. Kester moved to approve the minutes of 1/2/01 with one correction: on page 3, the Sycamore Street Committee liaisons are Mr. Lombardi, Mr. Mendicino and Mrs. Doorley. The motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously with Dr. Kelly abstaining.
The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, January 2, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:45 PM. In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley, members Allen Fidler, Paul Kester, James Baldwin, Vince Lombardi, Frank Mendicino, and Jack Bowen. Also in attendance were: Township Planner Mike Frank, Township Engineers Bob Larason and Jeff L’Amoreaux, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.
Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:45 PM.
MINUTES OF 12/19/00: Mr. Fidler moved to approve the minutes of 12/19/00; the motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Lombardi moved to elect Karen Doorley Chairperson for 2001; the motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
VICE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Lombardi moved to elect Allen Fidler Vice Chairperson for 2001; the motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
SECRETARY: Mrs. Doorley moved to elect Vince Lombardi Secretary for 2001; the motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler and passed unanimously.
SCHEDULE: Mr. Lombardi moved to cancel the scheduled meeting for 11/6/01 unless it is necessary, and to cancel the scheduled meeting on 5/15/01; if necessary, an additional meeting will be scheduled on 5/29/01. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT:
STOOPVILLE AND LINTON HILL ROADS: Mr. L’Amoreaux distributed a draft letter to the Manager of Upper Makefield Township, proposing a four-way stop sign at this intersection and asking for Upper Makefield’s concurrence. He noted that the letter should mention blinking red warning lights as well.
Mr. Kester moved to authorize the Township Engineer to send the draft letter, adding blinking red warning lights to the proposed traffic improvements. The motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously.
BYPASS WIDENING: Mr. L’Amoreaux reported that the bid opening for this work will be in 2002. He stated that the work should not interfere with the installation of the Closed Loop System.
Mr. Mendicino stated his concern that, if the ramp from the Bypass to I-95 is not built, the Closed Loop System will simply get traffic to that point more quickly and create long lines. He asked if the timing of the signal could be set up to give Newtown Township traffic more time to get through the intersection. Mr. L’Amoreaux said the timing is determined according to the volume of traffic. He will check the grant proposal regarding who controls the setting.
CONDITIONAL USE - BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO - NEWTOWN SHOPPING CENTER - TMP# 29-3-12-1 & 29-3-24: Postponed to the next meeting due to the illness of the applicant’s representative.
CONDITIONAL USE - 413 OFFICE CENTER - DURHAM ROAD (ROUTE 413) - TMP# 29-3-34: Attorney Tom Heckler, Engineer Wayne Johnson, Paul Allen and several other representatives were present to discuss the proposal for a two building office development with 32,000 square feet of D-1, Professional Office Use, and 8,000 square feet of D-2, Medical Office Use. The property is in the PS-2 Professional Service District. Mr. Heckler explained that the official name of the applicant is now Autumn Leaf Development, Incorporated, and the address is 1181 Oxford Valley Road, Yardley. He stated that the applicant was expecting to discuss the sketch plan with the Planning Commission tonight, as well as the conditional use application.
Mr. Johnson displayed the sketch plan for the proposed office development, which is on an 11 acre parcel. He said there will be a single access onto Route 413, and the plan currently meets all ordinance requirements for D-1 and D-2 uses. He stated that the applicants recently met with Heritage Conservancy and Carroll Engineering and discussed linking their property and the one to the north (TMP# 29-3-35), with a single access to Route 413. The sketch plan showed a possible link to the property to the south (TMP# 29-3-33-1) through the parking area; however, the present owners of this property have not proposed any development plans. Mr. Johnson said that if that link is built the applicants will probably seek a variance to allow 9’ X 18’ parking spaces, since some spaces will be lost.
Mr. Lombardi said that his understanding was that a Township road adjacent and parallel to Route 413 was envisioned to link the three properties along Durham Road. He asked if it is possible to require other landowners to link to a private access road. Mr. Heckler agreed to discuss this question with the Township Solicitor.
Mr. Frank stated that the easement for a link to the property on the south should not go through a parking area. He suggested that the plan might be revised to move the buildings and parking area back to allow for an access road across the front, closer to Route 413. Mr. Larason said that an access road too close to Route 413 might cause some traffic problems for vehicles coming in from Route 413.
Mr. Mendicino stated he felt the building does not have enough parking spaces for the medical office use, especially if the medical offices expand their practices in the future. Mr. Harwood advised that the Codes Office monitors whether sufficient parking is provided as each user comes into the building. Several Commission members said they would prefer to see all the medical office uses in one building.
Mr. Fidler said he will abstain on any vote concerning this application as he has a banking relationship with the applicant.
Mr. Mendicino moved to table this conditional use application to allow the applicant to discuss with the Solicitor the best way to link these three properties. The applicant also agrees to grant an extension of the application. The motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously with Mr. Fidler abstaining.
Mr. Heckler asked if he was correct in assuming that the applicants need to explore moving the buildings further back from Route 413; Mr. Lombardi responded that they should. Mr. Kester added that he would like to see the medical uses designated for only one of the buildings. Mr. Mendicino said he would like to see the office layouts. Mr. Heckler responded that the applicants plan to build out the space for each tenant, so he doubted he could provide layouts at this point.
SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON APPOINTMENTS FOR 2001:
a. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Mr. Mendicino will continue to provide liaison. He mentioned that a series of “visioning” meetings has been scheduled by the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation, and that Planning Commission members might want to attend some or all of the meetings. More information about the meetings will be in the next Planning Commission packet.
b. JOINT PLANNING COMMISSION: Mr. Kester and Mr. Bowen agreed to continue.
c. JOINT ZONING COUNCIL: No representative.
d. SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Mr. Lombardi, Mr. Mendicino and Mr. Fidler will continue to serve.
e. HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: Mr. Baldwin will continue to serve.
f. RECREATION BOARD: Mr. Baldwin will continue to serve.
g. TRAIL COMMITTEE: Mrs. Doorley, Mrs. Beasley and Mr. Baldwin will continue to serve.
h. PARK & OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Mrs. Beasley will continue to serve.
i. COMMUNITY CENTER COMMITTEE: Mr. Fidler and Mrs. Beasley will continue to serve.
j. PLAN EXPIRATIONS: None to be addressed.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
VIDEO: Mr. Kester agreed to review a video on the River Keeper.
GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Baldwin moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary