Planning Commission Minutes
June 18, 2002
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/18/02): Mr. Sensinbaugh moved to accept the Minutes of June 18, 2002. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 6-0, with Mrs. Doorley and Mr. Lombardi abstaining.
The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, June 18, 2002, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Vice Chairman Allen Fidler; members Bob Dieterle, Paul Kester, Jay Sensibaugh, Sue Beasley and Jim Bowe. Also in attendance were: Township Engineer Gerald Smith; Township Solicitor David Sander; Township Planner Mike Frank; and Township Public Works Director Thomas Harwood.
CALL TO ORDER
Vice Chairman Allen Fidler called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/4/02): Mr.Bowe moved to approve the minutes of the 6/4/02 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously, with Mr. Kester abstaining.
CONDITIONAL USE - NEWTOWN VETERINARY HOSPITAL - 671 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-37-1: Linda Meyers and Tricia Scull of the Newtown Veterinary Hospital were present to discuss their request for a H-5 Accessory Use approval for an outdoor exercise area for the dogs staying at the Hospital,which is located in the O-LI District. Ms Scull stated that they wish to fence in a 72 foot by 36 foot section of the back yard.
The 6/3/02 Heritage Conservancy letter was reviewed. Ms Scull stated that the hours of operation of the Hospital are 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday. She noted that the original conditional use application stated that Saturday hours will be 8:00 AM to noon, and she requested that the application be amended.
Ms Meyers described the fence as 216 linear feet, of which three sides will be five foot high stockade fence and one side will be five foot high open chain link fence. She said the dogs will always be supervised by staff when they are in the exercise area, and the usual length of an animal’s stay at the Hospital is between four and 14 days.
Mr. Sander said that fences are exempt from setback requirements in the O-LI District. Mr. Harwood said the only exception would be if the fence interfered with sight distances, which does not seem to be the case in this application.
Mr. Frank said that ordinance section 803.E-20.1 does not apply to this situation because this is not a kennel. Ms Scull stated that the five foot fence will provide buffering for the neighboring properties, and animal waste is cleaned up at the end of each day.
Mr. Fidler asked if there is a flooding problem in the area. Ms Meyers said the Hospital’s parking lot has a problem, but not the site of the proposed fence.
Mr. Sander stated he sees no conflict of interest in the fact that Mr. Fidler is a neighbor of the applicant and Mr. Kester is a user of the Hospital’s services.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this conditional use application, subject to compliance with the Heritage Conservancy letter of 6/3/02, with the application revised to show Saturday hours of operation from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and with the condition that animals in the enclosure will be attended at all times. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS SCHEDULED FOR 7/11/02:
1. Bartos - Crocus Lane - TMP# 29-19-251: Mr. Sander stated that the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association, as well as neighbors within 500 feet of the property, will be notified of this application.
Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors take no position on this matter. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously.
2. Bonavita - Winding Lane - TMP# 29-8-36-8:
Mr.Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors take no position on this matter. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously.
3. McKarney - Snowdrop Place - TMP# 29-19-289:
Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors take no position on this matter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously.
4. Pashko - Saffron Court - TMP# 29-19-262:
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors take no position on this matter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously.
5. Toll Brothers - 37 Stoopville Road - TMP# 29-7-5: Mr. Fidler said that the relief being sought is in accordance with the outcome of meetings the applicant has had with the Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Kester objected to the method used to calculate and state the amount of relief sought on this and other Codes Department application summaries. He said that the applicant is actually asking for 250% of the maximum allowable disturbance of Class I agricultural soils, not “30% relief” as stated on the document. Mr. Harwood said that the application should state that “30 percentage points” is the relief sought. He will make sure that the Board of Supervisors receives an amended application summary.
Mrs. Beasley said the plan for the McLaughlin Tract has had a complicated evolution, and she expressed concern that “Exhibit B”, the latest revision of the plan, has not been seen by the Park and Recreation Board. She said that with the current plan, the open space will not be contiguous to the open space in the Melsky Tract.
Mr. Smith said he expects Toll Brothers to submit a preliminary plan by mid-August. Mr. Harwood asked if the cul-de-sacs will remain on the plan, and Mr. Smith said he expects they will.
Phil Ozaroff, a resident of Stoopville Road, said he spoke on behalf of many Stoopville Road residents. He said the neighbors support softening the curves on the road and keeping the lanes 10 feet wide, but they oppose having an 80 foot right of way. Mr. Ozaroff said neighbors are concerned about speeding traffic on Stoopville Road, and do not want to see any improvements to the road that will aggravate this problem.
Mr. Fidler thanked Mr. Ozaroff for his comments, and said the Commission is familiar with many of the concerns of the residents. He said these issues will be thoroughly discussed when a preliminary plan is submitted, and he suggested that Mr. Ozaroff and other residents voice their concerns when the plan is being reviewed by the Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Sander said that the 80 foot right of way is required by the ordinance, since Stoopville Road is a “minor collector road”. Mr. Smith added that it is only on the north side, on the Toll Brothers property, that the right of way will be 40 feet from the center; on the south side it will vary.
Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors review the application, with the correct calculations to be provided by Mr. Harwood, as well as Exhibits A and B. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed 5-1, with Mr. Sensibaugh voting “nay”.
6. Haberkern - Durham Road - TMP# 29-1-13: Mr. Kester observed that the applicant is seeking permission to build a fence that is 67% higher than the maximum allowed by the ordinance. Mr. Sander noted that the fence will not interfere with neighbors’ sight distances when they are pulling out of their driveways.
Mrs. Beasley moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors oppose this application on the grounds that there is no legal hardship. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously.
7. Phayre - Crittenden Drive - TMP# 29-23-83: Mr. Sensibaugh said the legal hardship in this case might be that one side of the lot fronts on Eagle Road, which is a very busy road. Other members felt it was not a hardship.
Mr. Bowe moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors oppose this application on the grounds that there is no legal hardship. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh said he sees legitimate privacy issues in having a lot that fronts on Eagle Road. Mr. Sander asked why the ordinance requires a three foot maximum for fences on a reverse frontage lot. Mr. Harwood said it is primarily for aesthetic reasons, since widely varying fence heights along a road give a sawtooth appearance.
Mr. Bowe’s motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Sensibaugh voting “nay” and Mr. Kester abstaining.
SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS:
a. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: No report.
b. NEWTOWN AREA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Mr. Kester said the next meeting is 6/20/02.
c. JOINT ZONING COUNCIL: No report.
d. SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE: Mr. Fidler said Mr. Lombardi made a detailed report to the Board of Supervisors on 6/12/02, and suggested members review the minutes from that meeting.
e. HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: No report.
f. PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Mrs. Beasley reported that a Boy Scout will clean up the Clark property under the supervision of a Board member. There was a report from the subcommittee on Hidden Lake which recommended no further development of the park. Swamp Road Park will be renamed Helen Randle Park at a ceremony on 6/29/02. Mrs. Beasley said it would be good if a Planning Commission member could be present when the Board of Supervisors discuss Hidden Lake; Mr. Dieterle said he will try to attend.
g. PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Fidler said there were no expirations needing to be addressed.
MEETING WITH PAT SCULLY: Commission members received a copy of a 6/6/02 letter from Mr. Sander confirming that Pat Scully will attend the 7/2/02 Commission meeting to discuss the JMZO amendments proposed by Wrightstown Township.
JMZO AMENDMENTS - RIPARIAN CORRIDOR AND FORESTRY: Mr. Fidler asked why the copy of these ordinances that was circulated to the Commission was marked up somewhat illegibly. Mrs. Beasley said she learned that the copy reflected recommended revisions from Wrightstown Township.
Mr. Sander said he is not prepared to comment on the version circulated with the 5/17/02 letter from Mary Eberle. Commission members agreed to table this issue to the next meeting.
GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections, Mr. Fidler adjourned the meeting at 9:35 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary