Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

February 19, 2002

 MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (2/19/02):  Mr.Kester moved to approve the minutes of 2/19/02 with the following corrections: The first correction to the 2/5/02 minutes should read “…an interconnect conduit to the Durham-Wrights Road intersection…”, and the eighth paragraph under Preliminary Plan - First National Bank should begin “Mr. Lombardi noted…”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Ott and passed unanimously.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 19, 2002, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley, Members Allen Fidler, Vince Lombardi, Paul Kester, Sue Beasley, Jay Sensibaugh, Bob Dieterle, Jim Ott and Jim Bowe. Also in attendance were: Township Engineers John Barbaz and Gerald Smith, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township Planner Mike Frank, and Township Public Works Director Thomas Harwood.

Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. She announced that the Preliminary Plan for the Newtown Commons Office Expansion has been postponed to the 3/5/02 meeting at the request of the applicant.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (2/5/02): Mr. Ott moved to approve the minutes of 2/5/02 with the following corrections: the third sentence of the motion regarding the final plan for the 413 Office Center should read “The issue of installing an interconnect conduit to the Durham-Wrightstown intersection…”; the same motion was seconded by Mr. Bowe; the last sentence in the first paragraph under Discussion - Linton Hill Road should read “Gloria Hall said the residents are also interested…”; and the last paragraph under the same heading should read “One resident asked if the speed limit on Linton Hill Road could be reduced…”. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Doorley, Mr. Fidler and Mr. Kester abstaining.


PRELIMINARY PLAN - FIRST NATIONAL BANK - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-52-7: Attorney Donna Wengiel, engineer Jim Tambourino, John Parry, David Foster and a representative of the Lutheran Church of God’s Love were present to discuss the plan to demolish the existing bank and construct a new building on a 1.33 acre parcel in the R-1 Residential District. The plan includes many features related to the Wiltshire Walk development which were discussed during the review of the Wiltshire Walk plan.

Mr. Fidler announced he will abstain on any vote concerning this property because he has a conflict of interest.

Ms Wengiel stated that the existing land use and lot area are nonconforming. The proposed plan reduces some of the nonconformities and does not add any new nonconformities. She stated that the entrance will face the proposed driveway to be shared by the bank and the Lutheran Church.

Carroll Engineering’s letter of 1/31/02 was reviewed. Section IIA notes the variances and special exceptions granted the applicant by the Zoning Hearing Board on 9/6/01. Ms. Wengiel said the applicant will comply with all review comments, with several exceptions. The Carroll letter suggests denser planting between the parking area and the access drive; Ms Wengiel said the bank would prefer to have minimal planting in this area for security reasons. Commission members suggested some appropriate shrubs that could be limited to two feet in height, and Ms Wengiel indicated this would be acceptable.

Ms Wengiel stated that the applicant is requesting waivers from requirements for the plan scale, features shown on the plan, a 270 foot deceleration lane, a concrete sidewalk (a bituminous sidewalk is proposed), keeping easement areas as lawn and a traffic study. She said that an aerial photograph submitted with the Wiltshire Walk plan could be used to show existing features in this plan.

Mr. Barbaz said that the proposed 190 foot deceleration lane is adequate. Mr. Lombardi noted that the cross easements should be reviewed by the Township Solicitor.

The applicant’s request for a waiver of the traffic study was discussed at length. Ms Wengiel said there has been no change in uses, and traffic improvements are being made as part of the plan. Mr. Bowe noted that the new building will have three drive-in lanes, compared to the one existing lane, but said that he felt the improvements will probably offset any increase in traffic. Mr. Barbaz stated that the traffic impact fee will be calculated on the basis of PM peak hour figures, making a traffic study necessary.

Mr. Bowe noted that the architectural drawing of the proposed building showed a roof over the drive-in lanes which was not shown on the plan. He asked if this creates a problem with the side yard setbacks. Mr. Harwood said that with or without the roof, the driveways are considered a structure. Mrs. Doorley said that the applicant should make sure the side and rear setbacks are in compliance, and should obtain any necessary variances from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan for First National Bank, contingent on the following conditions:

·         Compliance with the decisions of the Zoning Hearing Board

·         Compliance with the 1/31/02 Carroll Engineering letter, the 12/28/01 Heritage Conservancy letter, the undated letter from the Emergency Services Department and the 2/14/02 letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission

·         The applicant will provide a landscape buffer along the parking area no higher than two feet, with appropriate landscaping

·         The applicant will secure all necessary variances from the Zoning Hearing Board

·         The applicant will pay a fee in lieu of providing park and recreation facilities, in accordance with the recommendation of the Park and Recreation Board

·         Granting of waivers of the plan scale (Section 402.1.A), of the requirement to show existing features (Section 402.3.B & C), to provide a deceleration lane of 270 feet (Section 507.8.B), to provide a concrete sidewalk (Section 517), to keep easements as lawn (Section 520.5), and to provide the number of PM peak hour trips generated.

·         Cross easements will be reviewed and approved by the Solicitor

The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously, with Mr. Fidler abstaining.

REVISED SKETCH PLAN - HOFFA TRACT - EAGLE ROAD - TMP# 29-3-28, 29-28-3, 29-4-42 AND 29-4-44:   Attorney Ed Murphy and Mike Palmer of Toll Brothers were present to discuss the plan to build 55 townhomes on a cul-de-sac as a PRD, on a parcel of just under 30 acres in the R-1 Residential District.  Mr. Murphy said the sketch plan was revised in accordance with corrected soils information.

Mr. Lombardi asked about the type of housing permitted in a PRD.  Mr. Sander and Mr. Frank consulted their copies of the ordinance and discovered that Newtown Township’s language in this section (803.B-15.5.c)  is different from Wrightstown’s language.  Mr. Frank said that he believed the intent of the section is to define townhomes as single family dwellings, but the matter should be referred to the Joint Zoning Council for resolution.

The plan shows only an emergency access to Durham Road.  Mr. Fidler suggested changing the cul-de-sac to a loop road, or a through road with access on Durham Road.  The cul-de-sac shown is substantially longer than the maximum permitted by the ordinance. 

Mr. Kester reminded the applicant to make sure the plan submission is signed by the legal owner of the property. 

Mr. Murphy said that the sketch plan showed a 32 foot cartway on the interior street, with parking on one side of the street.  Mr. Ott said he preferred to see a 36 foot cartway. 

The Heritage Conservancy letter of 2/12/02 was reviewed.  A major concern raised in the letter was the rear setback for many of the townhomes.  The rear setback meets the 100 foot minimum, but in many cases it runs right to the buildings.  The occupants of these homes will not be able to place any kind of structure in their back yards.  Mrs. Doorley said this is a major drawback of the sketch plan, and will result in many variance requests as owners seek to install patios, playground equipment, etc. in their back yards. 

Mr. Murphy said that the plan as shown will probably require a number of variances and waivers. 


a. Mr. & Mrs. Campinelli - 17 Stoopville Road - #524-02:  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to state the Commission has no objection to this request.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously. 

b. Daniel Doorley - Mill Race Office Campus - #525-02:  Mr. Kester moved to state that the Commission has no objection to this request.  The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Doorley abstaining. 

c. Beautyland - Newtown Shopping Center - #524-02:  Mr. Harwood explained that four neon signs are proposed for the interior of the store.  All are visible from West Road, and two are visible from the Bypass. 

Mr. Kester moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they oppose this request and uphold the ordinance.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Ott and passed 8-1, with Mr. Sensibaugh voting “nay”. 

d. Bill Marsh Ford - 10 North Sycamore Street - #523-02:  Commission members discussed at length whether the sign ordinance applies to these signs, which will use the same poles as the existing nonconforming signs on the property.  Mrs. Doorley asked Mr. Frank to research how the ordinance should be applied to existing signs. 

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to state that the Commission has no objections to this request.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously. 


a.      A. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:  No report. 

b.      NEWTOWN AREA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Kester reported that the Commission will meet on 2/21/02. 

c.       JOINT ZONING COUNCIL:  No report. 

d.      SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE:  Mr. Lombardi reported that Nelson Shaeffer of Pennoni Associates met with the Committee.  

e.      HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD:  Mr. Lombardi said the Board reviewed Tyrol’s Sycamore project. 

f.        PARK AND RECREATION BOARD:  Mrs. Beasley reported that the Board discussed its goals and projects, heard a report from Mr. Wert on a flag  
    football program, discussed the possibility of vending machines at Chandler Field, reviewed several plans and discussed playground equipment for Roberts 
    Ridge Park.

g.      SWAMP ROAD SAFETY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT:  Mr. Bowe said that the Citizen Advisory Committee will meet on 3/20/02 at BCCC.  

h.      PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mrs. Doorley noted that the AT&T Wireless plan has expired, but the Township has received a letter requesting an extension. 


LETTER FROM PAUL KESTER:  Mrs. Doorley read a letter from Mr. Kester thanking the Commission for sending a fruit basket to him following his recent surgery. 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Beasley moved to adjourn.  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 PM. 




Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary