Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

July 15, 2003


Approval of Minutes:

Mr. Ward moved to accept the minutes of July 15, 2003. Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, July 15, 2003, in the lower level Township meeting room.  In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley; members Allen Fidler, Frank Mendicino, Jim Ott, Jay Sensibaugh, Bob Dieterle, Shawn Ward and Vince Lombardi.  Also in attendance were:  Township Engineer Chris Walker, Township Solicitor Dave Sander, Township Planner Judy Goldstein and Township Public Works Director Tom Harwood. 

Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.  Frank Mendicino, a new member, was welcomed by the Commission. 

Note:  The scheduled 7/1/03 meeting was canceled for lack of agenda items. 

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/17/03):  Mr. Fidler moved to approve the minutes of the 6/17/03 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously, with Mr. Ward, Mr. Dieterle and Mr. Mendicino abstaining. 

REVIEWS 

PRELIMINARY PLAN - NEWTOWN INDUSTRIAL COMMONS LOT 21 - 111 PHEASANT RUN - TMP# 29-10-129:  Douglas Terry, attorney Don Marshall and engineer Curtis Rittler were present to discuss their proposal to build a two-story 24,640 SF office building, and a one-story pole barn for storage, on a 3.91 acre lot in the LI District. 

Mr. Marshall stated that the two-story building will be used exclusively for D-1 Office Use, and the pole barn will be used for storage, not as a garage.  An existing building will be removed.  He said application has been made for conditional use approvals of the use and the increased impervious surface. 

The 6/4/03 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the following points were discussed: 

·         Regarding the buffering (III A 6), Ms. Goldstein suggested that the applicant provide a four-foot high fence with three rails along the border with the Goddard School property.  Mr. Marshall agreed to this suggestion. 

·         Regarding the loading spaces (III A 15), Mr. Marshall said the applicant plans to remove the existing loading spaces in the front yard in order to install a fire lane as requested by the Fire Marshal.  Up to four parking spaces in the rear of the property will be converted to loading space. 

·         Regarding existing features (III B 20), Mr. Marshall said the applicant will provide an aerial photo and request a waiver of the requirement to show existing features on the plan. 

·         Regarding sidewalks (III B 22), Mrs. Doorley said the Commission wants to see sidewalks on Pheasant Run. 

·         Regarding a traffic study (III C 28), Mr. Marshall said the applicant will be seeking a waiver from this requirement because the project is in a fully planned industrial park in an area that has been extensively studied, as explained in Mr. Rittler’s 4/15/03 letter which accompanied the application. 

·         Regarding the easement in the rear of the property (III D 42), the applicant will provide the standard language necessary to allow construction of the basin and parking lot. 

The 5/30/03 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the following points were discussed: 

·         Regarding tree preservation (A 4 c), Mr. Marshall said notes will be added to the plan to indicate trees to be preserved. 

·         Regarding parking (A 7 a), Mr. Marshall said the applicant will ask the Board of Supervisors for a conditional reduction in required parking spaces and seek to reserve 16 spaces.  He also said the plans will be revised to show the correct number of spaces throughout the set (A 7 c). 

·         Regarding lighting (A 9), Ms. Goldstein suggested that a motion sensor light be put on the pole barn, in case it was ever necessary to access it after dark.  Mr. Marshall agreed with this suggestion. 

·         Regarding park and recreation improvements (B 9), Mr. Marshall said the Park and Recreation Board has recommended a fee in lieu of improvements. 

·         Regarding existing features (C 1), Ms. Goldstein said her observations in the field did not exactly match what is shown on the plan.  Mr. Marshall said the applicant will correct any discrepancies. 

The applicant and Commission members agreed that the 6/2/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter contained no new comments.  Mr. Marshall stated the applicant will comply with the 6/17/03 Conservation District letter and the 5/2/03 Emergency Services Department letter. 

Mr. Sensibaugh asked if the 3:1 slope of the basin is acceptable to the Township Engineer.  Mr. Walker said it can be mowed, and is acceptable.  Mr. Ott asked if crown vetch would be a good ground cover for the slopes of the basin.  Mr. Fidler said that he does not recommend crown vetch because it traps litter. 

Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan for Newtown Industrial Commons Lot 21, subject to the following conditions: 

1.      Compliance with the 6/4/03 Pennoni Associates letter, with the additional notations that the applicant will install a four-foot high, three-rail fence to the end of the parking lot along the Goddard School boundary; there will be a note on the plan regarding the use of the pole barn; the loading spaces in the front yard will become a fire lane, and four spaces in the rear will become the new loading area; a fee in lieu of recreational space will be paid; the applicant will provide the standard easement language for the 100’ wide easement across the rear of the site; and the plan will be amended to add maintenance language for the 2” orifice for the outlet structure of the basin. 

2.      Compliance with the 5/30/03 Boucher and James letter, with the additional notations that the applicant will provide notes on the plan regarding tree protection; the number of parking spaces will be made consistent throughout the plan set; the applicant will install a motion sensor light on the pole barn; and discrepancies regarding existing features will be addressed to the satisfaction of the Township Planner and the Township Engineer. 

3.      Compliance with the 6/17/03 Conservation District letter. 

4.      Compliance with the 5/2/03 Emergency Services Department letter. 

5.      A waiver granted to allow an aerial photograph in lieu of showing existing features on the plan. 

6.      A waiver granted from the requirement for a traffic study. 

7.      A waiver granted to allow the slope of the basin to be 3:1 instead of 4:1. 

8.      A waiver granted from the requirement to have the landscape plan prepared by a registered landscape architect. 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously. 

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS:  The Commission reviewed four applications scheduled for the 8/7/03 meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board, and made the following recommendations:  

a.      602-03 – Piccolo Trattoria – 32 West Road:  Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors oppose this application because there is no hardship, and because of concerns that access to the rear of the shopping center will be impeded.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Doorley abstaining. 

b.      505-03 – Pryda LLC – 159 N. Sycamore Street:  Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors oppose this application because the variance is not needed if the use is residential, and the plan which accompanies the application includes misleading and inaccurate information.  Concerns were also raised about the destabilization of the creek bank.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously, with Mr. Lombardi abstaining. 

c.      604-03 – Liberty Property Trust – 6 Terry Drive:  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this application.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously. 

d.      603-03 – KJMED LLC – 12 Penns Trail:  Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors oppose the request for a D-2 Medical Office Use because the ordinance prohibits a D-2 use in the LI District.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed 7-1, with Mr. Fidler voting “nay”. 

PLAN EXPIRATIONS:  Mrs. Doorley noted that the plan for the 413 Office Center expires on 7/31/03, and the plan for Newtown Industrial Commons Lot 21 expires on 8/4/03, so they will need to be heard at the 7/23/03 Board of Supervisors meeting unless extensions are received. 

SUBCOMMITTEES AND LIAISONS 

NEWTOWN AREA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION:  Mrs. Doorley said that with Mr. Kester’s retirement, the Commission needs a liaison to the Regional Planning Commission.  Mr. Mendicino agreed to serve in this capacity. 

CORRESPONDENCE 

LOWER MAKEFIELD COMPREHENSIVE PLAN:  The Township received a 6/20/03 letter from Lower Makefield Township asking for comments on their updated Comprehensive Plan.  Mr. Harwood said he has a copy of the plan.  He will give a copy to Ms. Goldstein, who will review it and report on any elements that will affect Newtown Township.  Mrs. Doorley asked Ms. Goldstein to look particularly at references to Lindenhurst Road, Stony Hill, and other roads connecting with the Township. 

RIGHT-OF-WAY - STOOPVILLE ROAD:  The Commission received a copy of a 7/7/03 letter from the Solicitor to attorney Edward Murphy, reporting on the 6/25/03 decision of the Board of Supervisors about the right-of-way on Stoopville Road adjacent to the McLaughlin Tract. 

VILLAGE AT NEWTOWN SOUTH:  The Commission received a copy of a 6/19/03 letter from the Solicitor to attorney John VanLuvanee, concerning outstanding issues about the Village at Newtown South project. 

OLD BUSINESS:  None.

NEW BUSINESS:  None.

GENERAL DISCUSSION 

STOOPVILLE ROAD TRAFFIC STUDY:  Mr. Ott asked Mr. Walker if he could get a copy of a traffic study done on Stoopville Road.  Mr. Walker said he believes it was sent to the Chairperson; Mrs. Doorley said she will see if it is in her files. 

LIAISON WITH BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:  Nancy Crescenzo, a Township resident, asked if the Board of Supervisors had responded to Mrs. Doorley’s request for a liaison.  Mr. Sensibaugh asked what benefit would come from having a liaison.  Several members said it would be good for the Supervisors to know the background of the Commission’s recommendations, and informal information-sharing could help both bodies be more knowledgeable about the issues.  Members were not enthusiastic about asking a Supervisor to serve as a member of the Commission, nor about asking the Township Manager to attend Commission meetings, but there was interest in some kind of regular informal communication, perhaps between the chairpersons of the two bodies.  A member also suggested a joint work session for both groups. 

PLANNING FOR PARKS:  Ms. Crescenzo asked if the Commission will review plans for Silver Lake Park, the Clark Nature Center and Roberts Ridge Park.  Commission members said they expect this to happen, since review by the Planning Commission is required by law. 

ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections, the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 ____________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary