Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

August 6, 2002

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (8/6/02): Mr. Bowe moved to approve the minutes of the 8/6/02 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Ott and passed unanimously.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, August 6, 2002 in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Karen Doorley, Chairman; Allen Fidler, Vice-Chairman; Paul Kester, Jay Sensinbaugh, Susan Beasley, Jim Ott, Robert Dieterle, Vince Lombardi and Jim Bowe, members. Also in attendance were: Gerald Smith, Township Engineer; David Sander, Solicitor; and Thomas Harwood, Township Public Works Director.


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


Mr. Sensinbaugh moved to approve the minutes of July 16, 2002. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 7-0, with Messrs. Dieterle and Fidler abstaining. 


Mr. Smith reviewed the written report that had been sent to Commission members. He said that Linton Hill Road should re-open to traffic on August 19, 2002, upon completion of installation of Penn DOT required guard rails. The closed loop signaling on the By-pass is on-going. Mr. Smith was not prepared to answer questions about the culvert on Swamp Road, but will look into the matter with Mr. Wursta. The bids for the Washington Crossing Road/Linton Hill Road signal will be advertised next week. 


Szarko Builders Minor Sub Division Final Plan 

Joseph Szarko presented a final plan for the subdivision of a property located at 93 Richboro Road. The plan divides the property into two lots, with lot one fronting on Richboro Road and lot two behind lot one. There is a driveway from lot two to Richboro Road.  

Mr. Fidler asked if Mr. Szarko was creating a new easement on lot one for utilities to run to lot two. He said that if a new easement was created, then the sub-division is considered a Major Sub Division. 

Mr. Szarko said that this would be a new easement. He then stated that the driveway area, thirty feet wide, would be part of lot two. 

Mr. Kester said that he did not think "flag lots" were permitted in the Township and that each property must have a 75 foot frontage on Richboro Road. 

After some discussion as to whether lot two would be a flag lot or whether lot two would have an easement across lot one, the Commission advised Mr. Szarko that in either case zoning variances would be required.  

Mr. Lombardi suggested that Mr. Szarko consider having a shared driveway for the two lots, eliminating one curb cut. He further suggested that Mr. Szarko seek counsel from a land use attorney and submit his plans again after he had decided which approach to dividing the lots he would like to take. 

Mr. Sander advised Mr. Szarko that the Commission favors a shared driveway, and this should be discussed with his engineer. He also asked that when Mr. Szarko re-submits his plans, that the houses, driveways and easements be clearly marked. 

Orleans Builders (Wiltshire Walk) Soil Stripping Conditional Use 

Mike Vesey and Kevin Moran of Orleans Corporation explained to the Commission that at the Wiltshire Walk site there are 40,000 cubic yards of extra topsoil, and that Conditional Use approval is needed to remove it. He said that nine inches of topsoil would be returned to the home sites and open areas after construction. 

Mr. Harwood said that he would contact the School District and the County to see if they have any use for it. 

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to approve the Conditional Use of Orleans Corporation to remove 40,000 cubic yards of topsoil, with the condition that an attempt be made to remove the soil to a location within the Township, Council Rock School District or Bucks County. Mr. Kester seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Maple Leaf Learning Center Conditional Use 

William Jameson and Pat Beato of Maple Leaf Learning Center and Reverend Harry Pearson of Assembly of God Church presented to the Commission an application for Conditional Use of the Church for a Nursery School and Day Care Center. 

Mr. Lombardi said that the Assembly of God Church lot is 3 1/2 acres, and a child care center requires 10 acres. He said that this would be a matter for the Zoning Hearing Board. 

Mrs. Doorley suggested that the Commission review the application and the Heritage Conservancy letter dated July 29, 2002. She said that the Commission could then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors that noted the need for a variance. 

In answer to the Heritage Conservancy letter, Ms. Beato presented a written response, dated August 6, 2002. She explained that Maple Leaf would run a licensed Child Care Center in existing classrooms at the Assembly of God Church. There would be 41 children and 10 to 12 employees. Hours of operation would be 7:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday through Friday with the children, ages 15 months through 5 years, arriving and departing at staggered intervals throughout the day. There are 56 parking spaces at the Church, and the parking area is adequate for a turn around for picking up and dropping off children. There will be a fenced playground with moveable plastic play equipment. Weekly pick-up from the existing dumpster has been arranged. There will be no additional lighting, and there will be no storage of hazardous, explosive or flammable materials. 

Mr. Harwood said that he would research any previous approvals given to this property. 

Mr. Fidler said that he was concerned about cars leaving the parking lot onto Washington Crossing Road during heavy traffic times of the day, and asked if the entrance was paved or gravel. He thought that this might be of concern to the Board of Supervisors as well. 

Reverend Pearson said that the entrance drive is paved. 

Mr. Sensinbaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the Conditional Use of Maple Leaf Learning Center at the Assembly of God Church, as a child care center for up to 41 children, with the condition that a variance be sought from the Zoning Hearing Board for lot size. Mr. Dieterle seconded and the motion passed 8-0 with Mr. Kester abstaining, 

Tudor Square Phase 3 Preliminary Plan 

Mr. Donald Marshall represented Tudor Square in this matter. Mr. Marshall stated that there had been some confusion about the zoning of the property as LI or OLI and as a result the impervious surface ratios would be "tweaked". He suggested that the Commission review the letters of the Heritage Conservancy dated May 16, 2002, the Fire Marshal dated April 19, 2002, Bucks County Planning Commission dated May 28, 2002 and Pennoni Associates dated June 4, 2002 at this evening's meeting. 

Mr. Marshall introduced William Messick, President of Tudor Square, L.P. and Curt Rittler of Rittler Engineering.  

Mr. Marshall explained that Tudor Square currently has two office buildings with D-1 use, with a small amount of medical use on the property on the Newtown Yardley Road. He said that they plan to build a third three story office building, with a 15,152 square foot footprint, on the property. He said that the size of the building will be reduced, and that it will be office only, with no light industrial or medical uses.  

Mr. Marshall reviewed the Fire Marshal's letter and stated that Tudor Square will comply with all points.In reviewing the Heritage Conservancy letter dated May 16, 2002, Mr. Marshall stated that this will be an office building with no useable basement. Mr. Marshall said that the applicant will comply with the letter. He would like to seek a waiver for a full traffic study, but would want to do a study of the immediate area to explore the necessity of a left turn lane into the complex for traffic heading west. He suggested that Tudor Square's traffic engineer meet with the Township Traffic Engineer to discuss this. He would also be seeking a waiver to permit parking in twenty feet of a 100 foot easement. 

In reviewing the Pennoni letter dated June 4, 2002, Mr. Marshall said that a buffering of trees will be added to the existing pine buffer on the west side of the property. Additional plantings will be added to the front of the property. He noted that the Newtown Trail already passes in front of the property and he will discuss with the engineers adding internal sidewalks to connect with the trail. He said that there will be a pond with an aerator rather than a wetland area. 


Board of Supervisors - no report 

Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission 

Mr. Kester reported that Ed Murphy was present at the meeting to discuss the Disclosure Ordinance. Mr. Murphy said that Lower Makefield requires that new homes be built on the front of the setback line. He also said that only Newtown has an impervious surface ratio that includes the entire site in the calculations, not the individual homes. Mr. Kester said that there had been some discussion as to whether the Disclosure Ordinance should be a stand alone ordinance or part of the zoning ordinance. Mr. Sanders said that enforcement of a disclosure ordinance is a problem. He said that if it is tied into the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, that Wrightstown has already stated that its does not have the personnel to check the accuracy of the forms to be submitted. He said that he had a memo from Pat Scully, the Wrightstown Solicitor, suggesting that the Disclosure Ordinance be a stand alone Ordinance for each municipality. 

Mr. Fidler said that he thought that this needed further discussion and should be added to the next agenda. 

Joint Zoning Council no report 

Sycamore Street  

Mr. Lombardi reported that the plans for Sycamore Street were complete and would be ready for Penn Dot on Thursday. 

Historic Architectural Review Board 

Mr. Lombardi reported that the Tyrol signage had been completed. 

Park and Recreation Board 

Mrs. Beasley reported that the Hidden Lake sub committee had met with Chief Duffy and some concerned residents and would be recommending to the Park and Recreation Board that Hidden Lake not be developed as a park open to the public. 


Mrs. Doorley noted that Durham Road Associates expires on August 15, 2002 and the 413 Office Complex expires of August 31, 2002. 


Mrs. Doorley moved to adjourn at 11:00 PM. Mr. Sensinbaugh seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary