Planning Commission Minutes
September 4, 2001
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (9/4/01): Mr. Ward moved to approve the minutes of 9/4/01, with two changes on page one: The first sentence of the review of Wiltshire Walk should read “…was present to discuss…”, and the third sentence of Mr. L’Amoreaux’s remarks about the Bypass, 413 and the Acme driveway should read “…putting in a “lead-lag” traffic system…”. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, September 4, 2001, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley, Vice Chairman Allen Fidler, Secretary Vince Lombardi (late), Paul Kester, Bonnie Kelly (late), Shawn Ward and Sue Beasley. Also in attendance were: Township Planner Michael Frank, Township Engineers Jeff L’Amoreaux and John Barbaz, and Township Public Works Director and Interim Manager Thomas Harwood.
Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. Approval of the minutes was deferred until a quorum was present (see later). Mrs. Doorley announced that the sketch plan for Building Control Systems and Services was removed from the agenda at the applicant’s request.
TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT:
NEWTOWN BYPASS CLOSED LOOP SYSTEM: Mr. L’Amoreaux reported that the contractor has begun digging pole foundations at the Swamp Road intersection. The Township has received word that PennDOT will fund the emergency vehicle preemption, involving nine intersections.
BYPASS AND 413/ACME DRIVEWAY: Mr. L’Amoreaux reviewed the 8/1/01 PennDOT memo shared with him last week. He said that the memo indicates that the intersection must be completely overlayed. Mr. L’Amoreaux also said that Carroll Engineering is putting in a “lead lag” traffic system at this intersection, which will sense when traffic stacks up and turn on a green arrow. This will eliminate having both double left turn lanes going at the same time. Commission members commented that there may be more traffic problems when the Acme opens next week.
NEWTOWN CBD CLOSED LOOP SYSTEM: Mr. L’Amoreaux said that Pickering, Corts and Summerson will probably be doing most of the survey and utility work on this project, and possibly other non traffic related work.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (8/21/01): Mr. Ward moved to approve the minutes of 8/21/01; the motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
REVISED PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR MAJOR SUBDIVISION - 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 AND 29-10-52-10: Mike Vesey of Orleans Homebuilder, Inc. was present to discuss the revised plan for a Planned Residential Development of 49 village homes and 100 townhouses in the R-1 and R-2 Districts.
Mr. Vesey stated that the plan being reviewed tonight simply reflects the applicant’s compliance with previous reviews and a discussion with the Board of Supervisors at a work session. He said that the Board discussed two issues:
· Converting Hartfeld Road into a loop, eliminating the cul-de-sac and aligning it with Warwick Road in a four way intersection with Penns Trail North. This was displayed as “Alternative #5”.
· Adding parking spaces, most likely in the cul-de-sac in the townhouse section. This will require building an island. Mr. Harwood noted that the Homeowners Association should have maintenance responsibility for the island.
Mr. Lombardi noted that the plan shows a connection between Hartfeld Avenue and Vera Avenue, when it was clear that the residents did not want the connection. He also said that residents had requested that Upper Silver Lake Road be closed at Penns Trail North. Mr. Vesey said the plan will be revised to show these changes.
Mr. Kester asked if closing Upper Silver Lake Road would present problems for emergency vehicle access. Mr. Vesey said that emergency access will be provided. Mr. Kester stated he does not like the idea of closing Upper Silver Lake Road.
Richard Tomlinson, a resident of Upper Silver Lake Road, asked about the plan’s impact on his property. Mr. Vesey said that he is currently negotiating with Mr. Tomlinson to purchase rights of way for a right turn lane and for a storm inlet. Mr. L’Amoreaux suggested that the developer not install the right turn lane, and put stormwater improvements on the other side of Upper Silver Lake Road, eliminating most of the impact to Mr. Tomlinson’s property. Mr. Vesey said he believed this could be engineered so that only minimal grading on the Tomlinson property would be necessary.
Mr. Vesey asked if the Commission would recommend final approval for the plan. Mr. Lombardi responded that too many issues have surfaced tonight for him to recommend final approval.
Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors give preliminary approval to the revised plan for Wiltshire Walk, subject to the 8/6/01 review letter of Heritage Conservancy and the 8/16/01 review letter of Carroll Engineering, using alternative #5 for the intersection of Penns Trail North and Hartfeld Road, and eliminating the connection with Vera Lane, eliminating the easements on the Tomlinson property for the right turn lane and stormwater drainage, with Upper Silver Lake Road closed at Penns Trail North and emergency access available on Upper Silver Lake Road. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed 6-1, with Mr. Kester voting “nay”.
MINOR SUBDIVISION - DAVID AND GERALDINE PLATT - 761 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP#29-10-52-2: Mr. Fidler noted that the Commission had already recommended approval of this minor subdivision, on the condition that earlier plans for the property be withdrawn. Mr. Vesey stated that he has received correspondence from Mr. Van Luvanee indicating that this has been done. Mr. Fidler asked if there are any stormwater management issues related to this property; Mr. Vesey responded that the Wiltshire Walk plan addressed these.
SKETCH PLAN - NEWTOWN ICE CENTER - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AND FRIENDS LANE - TMP#29-10-99: Attorney Don Marshall and a representative of the Newtown Racquetball Association were present to discuss the applicant’s plan to construct an ice skating facility under Use C-6, Athletic Facility, on a 9.22 acre property in the Office-Light Industrial District. The facility would be built in two phases, including 72,000 square feet and 33,000 square feet of floor space, respectively.
Mr. Marshall explained that a major issue is the parking requirements associated with the C-6 Use. He anticipates that a variance on this issue will be necessary to develop the property as an ice skating facility, The ordinance requires a total of 1,520 spaces for both phases, and the plan currently provides 276 spaces.
Mr. Lombardi asked if the building could be relocated so that the parking is behind it, which would improve the appearance of the intersection. Mr. Marshall felt this might be possible with some variances on setbacks.
Mr. Fidler said he would prefer to see access on Walker Lane rather than on Newtown-Yardley Road.
Mrs. Beasley noted that the facility may also be used for roller skating. Mr. Marshall said the applicant will provide information about that use as well when a plan is submitted.
Mr. Frank said that Phase 2 will exceed the maximum for impervious surface, and this will be important in future reviews. Mr. Lombardi added that he is hoping to see an attractive building design as well.
Mr. Marshall said the applicant will explore all the points brought up tonight.
CONDITIONAL USE - ANNIE B’S CONFECTIONS - 66 WALKER LANE - TMP# 29-10-99-1-4: Attorney James McMaster and applicant Ann Bartholomay were present to discuss the plan to use 5,000 square feet of an existing building in the Newtown Industrial Commons in the Light Industrial District for G-1 Manufacturing Use in the production of baked goods for the wholesale trade.
Mr. Frank’s 8/27/01 letter was reviewed. Mr. McMaster stated that the planned activities include baking and packaging cakes and other baked goods. He said that Annie B’s supplies restaurants and does not do any retail business. There is some mail order business. Items are made to order, so there are no “day old” sales.
Mr. McMaster stated that one small truck delivery is expected a day. An SUV is used for delivering the products to restaurants. A maximum of 18 staff people will be employed, with no more than nine on one shift. The hours of operation will be 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. No hazardous materials will be present, and no noxious environmental effects are anticipated. Refuse storage will meet the requirements of Section 534.10.
Mr. Fidler moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this conditional use application, subject to the 8/27/01 Heritage Conservancy letter and with operations as described above. The motion was seconded by Mr. Ward and passed unanimously.
CONDITIONAL USE - PLATINUM EXECUTIVE SUITES - 12 PENNS TRAIL - TMP# 29-10-87: Attorney Don Marshall and a representative of K. J. MED were present to discuss the proposal to use a two story addition to an existing building in the Light Industrial District for D-1 Office Use. The applicant is also seeking approval for 60% impervious coverage. The plan for the addition has already been approved by the Township.
Mr. Marshall stated that the proposed offices will be used by companies in need of temporary office space. Furnishings and secretarial staff will be provided by Platinum. Only small truck deliveries are expected. It is estimated that there will be an average of 75 and a maximum of 110 employees. The hours of operation are expected to be normal business hours, Monday through Friday. No hazardous materials will be present and no noxious environmental effects will be produced,
Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve both conditional use applications, subject to compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 8/27/01 and the Carroll Engineering letter of 8/30/01, and with the conditions described above. The motion was seconded by Dr. Kelly and passed unanimously.
SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS:
a. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: No report.
b. NEWTOWN AREA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: No report.
c. JOINT ZONING COUNCIL: Mrs. Doorley announced that the Council will be meeting on 9/6/01 with Toll Brothers. She said that no protocols have been discussed for joint review of Toll Brothers’ projects.
d. SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Mr. Lombardi reported that the Committee will meet on 9/11/01. He stated that the Board of Supervisors need to appoint a Supervisor to serve on the Committee. Mr. Lombardi serves in his role as a resident of the street, and the Planning Commission is represented by Mrs. Doorley and Mr. Ward. Mrs. Doorley said she will ask Jack Bowen to serve on the Swamp Road Study Committee in place of Mr. Mendicino.
e. HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: Mrs. Beasley reported that the La Stalla Restaurant was finally approved by HARB.
f. RECREATION BOARD: No report.
g. TRAIL COMMITTEE: No report.
h. PARK & OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE: No report.
i. PLAN EXPIRATIONS: None to be addressed.
JOINT DOWNTOWN NEWTOWN CORPORATION: Mrs. Doorley reported she received a letter from the Corporation asking the Planning Commission to send two representatives to their meetings; the first meeting is on 9/21/01. Commission members did not feel a need to be represented, but Mr. Kester said he planned to attend since he is on the Organization Subcommittee.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT APPLICATION: Mr. Frank discussed his 8/30/01 memo regarding an application for an additional $5,100.00 which has been made available to the Township. He proposed that the funds be used for updating the subdivision and land development ordinance.
Mr. Lombardi proposed that the funds be used to improve the intersections of Swamp Road with Linden Avenue, Walnut Avenue and the entrance to a small shopping center, where left turns are difficult. Commission members agreed to recommend this idea as the first priority for the use of these funds.
Mr. Ward moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the application for the additional CDBG funds propose improvements to the intersections of Swamp Road and Linden Avenue, Walnut Avenue and the shopping center. The alternative suggestion is the updating of the subdivision and land development ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.
GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Fidler moved to adjourn. With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary