Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

March 20, 2001


MINUTES OF 3/20/01:  Mr. Baldwin moved to approve the minutes of the 3/20/01 meeting with one change.  Under the Joint Planning Commission, a sentence should be added to Mr. Kester’s report: “Mr. Kester also reported that the Commission discussed the possibility of having joint meetings about the Melsky Tract with Upper Makefield, and continues to work with Mike Frank”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously, with Mr. Fidler abstaining.  


The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, March 20, 2001, in the Township meeting room at 8:00 PM.  In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley, members Vince Lombardi, Frank Mendicino, Paul Kester, James Baldwin and Sue Beasley.  Also in attendance were: Township Engineer Ken Yerger and Township Public Works Director Thomas Harwood.

Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.  

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS:  

MINUTES OF 3/6/01:  Mr. Lombardi moved to approve the minutes of the 3/6/01 meeting with one change: under Subcommittee and Liaison Reports, Park and Open Space Committee, Mrs. Beasley had no report.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously with Mr. Kester abstaining. 

MINUTES OF 2/20/01:  Mr. Lombardi moved to approve the minutes of the 2/20/01 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr, Kester and passed unanimously with Mrs. Beasley and Mr. Mendicino abstaining.

MINUTES OF 2/6/01:  Mr. Lombardi moved to approve the minutes of the 2/6/01 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously with Mr. Baldwin abstaining. 

REVIEWS: 

REVISION OF FINAL PLAN - COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION UNDERWRITERS - DEMOLITION OF BARN - LINDENHURST ROAD - TMP# 29-10-78:  Architect Frederick Schmitt was present to discuss the applicants’ request for a revision to their approved final plan for an office complex in the Office Research District.  In the approved final plan an existing barn was to be renovated as a conference center.  However, the applicants have discovered serious problems with the barn’s structure and layout, as described in Mr. Schmitt’s letter of 1/31/01 to Mr. Harwood.  The present barn was built with cinder blocks in the 1950’s, is not laid out well for the approved use and is in poor condition. The applicants now propose to demolish the barn and reconstruct it in the same place in a more attractive, usable and historically interesting manner. A letter from the Newtown Joint Historic Commission dated 3/13/01 states that the Commission does not object to the demolition of the barn.  The new structure will be approximately 1000 square feet larger than the existing barn, but the project will remain in compliance with impervious surface limits.   Mrs. Doorley noted she would be abstaining because of a business relationship with the applicants.

Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the proposed revision of the approved final plan for Community Association Underwriters.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Baldwin and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Doorley abstaining.

PRELIMINARY PLAN - WILTSHIRE WALK - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AND UPPER SILVER LAKE ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52, 29-10-52-2, 29-10-52.1, 29-10-52.2, 29-10-52-10:  Attorney Ed Murphy, and Mike Vesey of Orleans Home Builders, were present to discuss the applicants’ plan to build100 townhomes and 49 village houses on a site of approximately 54 acres in the Medium Density Residential and High Density Residential Districts.  Mr. Murphy stated that a sketch plan for this project was reviewed by the Commission in August 2000.  Since that meeting, the following changes have been made in the plan:  A wetland in the northwest corner has been identified; the applicants purchased an additional five acres from Mr. Platt; and 49 village houses instead of 46 are planned.

Mr. Murphy also stated the applicants plan to reconfigure the intersection of Penns Trail and Newtown-Yardley Road, and the intersection will be signalized.  He said it will be necessary for the Township to acquire a right of way for the intersection to be realigned.  The applicants also plan to extend Penns Trail to intersect with Upper Silver Lake Road.  Mr. Murphy said the applicants are proposing a regional detention basin to handle runoff from the entire area, not just Wiltshire Walk.  The sewer line will be extended down Vera Avenue to Upper Silver Lake Road, and nearby residents will be able to connect with the sewer line.  A sidewalk is planned for one side of “Penns Trail North”.  Mr. Murphy said that the Park and Open Space Committee recommended a fee in lieu of open space.  The residents of Wiltshire Walk will automatically become members of the Newtown Swim Club.  Mr. Lombardi asked if the purchase of an additional five acres from Mr. Platt affects the restrictions on the development of the Platt property; Mr. Murphy said he was told it did not. 

Mr. Vesey said he met with a group of nearby residents on 3/19/01.  Based on residents’ comments at that meeting, Mr. Vesey stated he is proposing that the section of Upper Silver Lake Road between Vera Avenue and Penns Trail North be abandoned, with Vera Avenue and the development streets ending in cul-de-sacs.

Approximately 25 residents from the Upper Silver Lake Road area were present, many of whom had attended Mr. Vesey’s meeting the previous night.  The residents questioned Mr. Vesey and Mr. Murphy extensively.  Their concerns included traffic, buffering, stormwater management and the route of the ISTEA Trail.  Commission members raised additional concerns about the impact of this plan on the anticipated minor subdivision of the remaining Platt property, and compliance with the zoning requirements of the two Districts in which the property is situated. 

Commission members decided to extend their review of this plan due to its complexity.  Mrs. Doorley said that traffic issues will be discussed on 4/3/01, when the Township Traffic Engineer can be present; zoning issues will be discussed on 4/17/01; and stormwater management issues will be discussed on 5/1/01.  Mr. Murphy agreed to give the Township an extension of the review process. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD VARIANCE REQUESTS:

Paul McLean - #480-01 - 55 Snapdragon Drive:  The applicant is seeking permission for construction of a portico addition and a fence on a residential dwelling lot.

Mr. Mendicino moved to state that the Commission does not recommend opposition to this application.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.

Mr. & Mrs. Charles Sweigard - #478-01 - 26 Amy Circle:  The applicants are seeking permission for the construction of an in-ground swimming pool, patio and decking on a residential dwelling lot.

Mr. Kester moved to state that the Commission does not recommend opposition to this application.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.

Mr. & Mrs John Kane - #479-01 - 39 Autumn Lane:  The applicants are seeking permission for the construction of a screened porch and two bedrooms on a single family dwelling.

Mr. Baldwin moved to state that the Commission does not recommend opposition to this application.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously.

Country Club Pools (for Ron & June Parodi) - #477-01 - 31 Providence Court:  The applicants are seeking permission for the construction of an in-ground swimming pool, patio and walkway on a residential dwelling lot.

Mr. Baldwin moved to state that the Commission does not recommend opposition to this application.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.

Mrs. Beasley commented that at some point the Commission should look at how much impervious surface has been added to the Township in the past year.

SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS:

a.      BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Mr. Mendicino reviewed the highlights of the 3/14/01 Board of Supervisors meeting, including the Sycamore Street Committee report and the appointment of Frank Tyrol as Vice Chairman of the Committee.

b.      JOINT PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Kester reported that the Commission met on 3/15/01 and will meet on 4/19/01 at the Upper Makefield Firehouse to discuss two more proposed village clusters.  The Bucks County Planning Commission is encouraging the development of such clusters.  Mr. Kester asked for an executive session following this meeting to discuss another matter related to the Joint Planning Commission.

c.      JOINT ZONING COUNCIL:  No report. 

d.      SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE:  Mr. Lombardi mentioned that the water company has agreed to lay their mains under the street, avoiding the need to dig up the front yards of residents and businesses or disturb trees.

e.      HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: Mr. Baldwin reported that HARB will meet on 3/21/01.

f.        RECREATION BOARD:  Mr. Baldwin reported that the Recreation Board met on 3/7/01.  They discussed the possibility of building a skateboard park in the Township.  Mr. Baldwin said some concerns have been raised about the safety of this activity.  Mr. Mendicino commented that Chief Duffy and Mr. Harp are looking into establishing a Police Athletic League in the Township, and this might be a good project for PAL oversight. 

g.      TRAIL COMMITTEE:  No report.

h.      PARK & OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: Mrs. Beasley reported that she was unable to attend the last meeting, but she has learned that the Committee recommended a fee in lieu of open space for Wiltshire Walk, discussed the Shade Tree Committee and possible grant sources, and deferred consideration of the Comprehensive Plan.  The next meeting will be 3/26/01. 

i.         COMMUNITY CENTER COMMITTEE:  Mrs. Beasley reported the Committee will meet on 3/22/01.

j.         PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  None to be addressed. 

OLD BUSINESS:  None. 

NEW BUSINESS:  None. 

GENERAL DISCUSSION:  None. 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Kester moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 PM.

 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED,

 

 

______________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary