Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

September 3, 2002

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (9/3/02):  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of the 9/3/02 meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Ott and passed unanimously, with Mr. Dieterle and Mrs. Beasley abstaining. 

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, August 20, 2002, in the lower level Township meeting room.  In attendance were:  Chairperson Karen Doorley; members Allen Fidler, Paul Kester, Jay Sensibaugh, Jim Ott and Jim Bowe.  Also in attendance was Township Planner Mike Frank. 

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

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (8/20/02):  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of the 8/20/02 meeting with one change: In the ninth paragraph of the discussion of the Durham Road Associates Preliminary Plan, the first sentence should end after “…the Pennoni letter”.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Kester and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Doorley abstaining. 

TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT:  The Traffic Engineer was not present.  Mrs. Doorley said she spoke with Mr. Smith recently, who told her that bids are going out for the traffic light at Washington Crossing and Linton Hill Roads, and Pennoni is having a meeting with PennDOT on 9/4/02 regarding several projects.  Several Commission members had questions about specific projects, including the intersection at the entrance to the Newtown Shopping Center, the box culvert on Linton Hill Road, and the intersections of Route 413 with Route 332, and Route 413 with Route 532.  Mr. Sensibaugh asked that a written report be requested from Mr. Wursta regarding the latter two projects, with a copy going to the Newtown Crossing Community Association.

NOTIFICATION OF INTERESTED CITIZENS:  Mrs. Doorley said there have been increasing requests for notification of upcoming plan reviews from residents who are not included in the applicants’ notification requirements.  She stated she feels this should not be a responsibility of the Planning Commission or Township staff.  She suggested that the Planning Commission agenda be published in the local newspaper, for residents who do not have access to the Township website.  

Other members felt this kind of notification should be the responsibility of the applicant, but wondered if applicants would follow through on this.  It was also suggested that the Board of Supervisors be asked to state a specific policy on how such requests should be handled. 

Mr. Kester moved to table the issue to the next meeting, since the Commission will meet again before the next Board of Supervisors meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously. 


SKETCH PLAN - MINOR SUBDIVISION - DINARDO - 49 STOOPVILLE ROAD - TMP# 29-1-10:  Applicant Michael DiNardo and consultant Frank Ernst were present to discuss Mr. DiNardo’s plan to subdivide his 5.817 acre property in the CM District into two lots.  Copies of the 9/3/02 review letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission were distributed at the meeting.

The 8/21/02 review letter from Heritage Conservancy was reviewed.  Mr. Frank said he saw two major issues.  The first is that the plan does not meet the minimum lot requirement of Section 401.B.  The second is that the two proposed lots must meet the requirements of Section 401.C. footnote (5), which requires that each lot have an area of at least 20,000 square feet that is unrestricted by the specific area of natural resources.  Mr. Frank said there is not enough information on the plan to determine if this requirement will be met. 

Members suggested that the applicant investigate connecting with water and sewer service through easements on neighboring properties, and check wetlands and floodplain areas carefully.  Mr. DiNardo was advised to apply to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance from the minimum lot requirement, and from any other requirements the plan does not meet. 


a.      BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:  No report.

b.      NEWTOWN AREA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mr. Kester said there was no August meeting. 

c.      JOINT ZONING COUNCIL:  No report. 

d.      SYCAMORE STREET COMMITTEE:  Mrs. Doorley said the Committee’s September meeting was canceled. 


f.        PARK AND RECREATION BOARD:  No report. 

g.      PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mrs. Doorley said there are several plans that appear to need extensions, given that the Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for 9/11/02 has been canceled.  She will write to Mr. Sander and ask that he look into whether extensions have been received. 


LETTER FROM JESSE TERRY:  Members received a copy of an 8/12/02 letter from Jesse Terry, founder and president of Newtown Industrial Commons, concerning the future development of the last parcel in the Commons.  

OLD BUSINESS:  No items. 


JMZO “HOUSEKEEPING” AMENDMENTS (JMZO ORDINANCE 2002-13):  Members received copies of these amendments attached to a letter from Patrice Scully, solicitor for the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission.  Mr. Frank said he has reviewed the amendments and recommends approval. 

Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve JMZO Ordinance 2002-13.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.    

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT:  Members previously received an 8/16/02 memo from Mr. Harwood which outlined projects recently funded with CDBG grants, and a timeline for this year’s application.  The memo states that the Township’s allocation for 2003 to 2005 is $62,100. 

Mr. Frank said he has spoken to both Mr. Harwood and Mr. Pellegrino about possible projects for this year’s application.  He said that the Township is starting late on the application process and there is not enough time to develop a detailed proposal for an engineering project.  He also said there is between $16,000 and $32,000 in carryover money from the previous grant; the exact amount is not known because the Township is involved in litigation with a contractor.  

Mr. Frank said that a portion of the money can also be used for historic preservation or for updating municipal ordinances.  He suggested that the Commission recommend applying for updating the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.  Several members agreed that the ordinance needs attention.  Mr. Frank estimated that it would cost between $10,000 and $12,000.  The project would be put out to bid.  Mr. Frank reminded the Commission that this is a three year funding cycle, and the Township can apply again next year for a different project. 

Mr. Kester moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors apply for CDBG funds for updating the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Bowe asked if the renovation of the Clark house is a possible project.  Mr. Frank said the Township would need cost estimates.  Also, projects must be for residential use, and the Clark house is for public use. 

Mr. Kester’s motion passed unanimously. 


ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, Mrs. Doorley adjourned the meeting at 9:05 PM. 




Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary