Newtown Township

Planning Commission Minutes

October 21, 2003


APPROVAL OF MINUTES - MEETING OF 10/21/03:  Mr. Ward moved to approve the minutes of the 10/21/03 meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, October 21, 2003, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairperson Karen Doorley; members Allen Fidler, Frank Mendicino, Jay Sensibaugh, Jim Ott, Shawn Ward, and Vince Lombardi. Also in attendance were: Supervisor Raymond Goodnoe, Township Engineers Chris Walker and Earl Armitage, Township Solicitor Dave Sander, Township Planner Judy Goldstein, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairperson Karen Doorley called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.APPROVAL OF MINUTES - MEETING OF 10/7/03: Mr. Ott moved to approve the minutes of the 10/7/03 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously, with Mr. Ward and Mrs. Doorley abstaining.

REVIEWS

CONDITIONAL USE - TUDOR SQUARE PHASE III - 660 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-119 AND 29-10-119-1: Attorney Don Marshall and several representatives were present to discuss this application.

Mr. Mendicino moved to table this application until the deadline for the Board of Supervisors to appeal the recent Zoning Hearing Board decision concerning this property has passed. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino said that the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors oppose this applicant’s variance request because of the excessive amount of impervious surface being sought.

Mrs. Doorley commented that the request is for D-1 Office Use, but both D-1 and D-2 Medical Office Use are existing uses on this parcel.

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed 6-1, with Mr. Fidler voting “nay”.

PRELIMINARY PLAN - TUDOR SQUARE PHASE III - 660 NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-119 AND 29-10-119-1: Attorney Don Marshall and several representatives were present to discuss this application.

Mr. Mendicino moved to table this application until the deadline for the Board of Supervisors to appeal the recent Zoning Hearing Board decision concerning this property has passed. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed 6-1, with Mr. Fidler voting “nay”.

PRELIMINARY PLAN - NEWTOWN OFFICE PARK - NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AND FRIENDS LANE - TMP #29-01-99: Attorney Don Marshall and several representatives were present to discuss this application.

Mr. Mendicino moved to table this application until the deadline for the Board of Supervisors to appeal the recent Zoning Hearing Board decision concerning this property has passed. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed 6-1, with Mr. Fidler voting “nay”.

Mr. Sander stated that the Zoning Hearing Board decision regarding this property, dated 10/02/03, allows impervious surface in excess of the 50% maximum. The Board of Supervisors has until 11/02/03 to appeal the decision.

Mr. Fidler noted that the decision made reference to discussions at Economic Development Commission (EDC) meetings about increasing the maximum impervious surface in the O-LI District. He said no Planning Commission members were able to attend the recent EDC meeting to which Commission members were invited to discuss this topic. Mr. Lombardi asked Mr. Sander if a proposal to amend the ordinance in this way must be heard by the Planning Commission. Mr. Sander responded that the Municipalities Planning Code requires a recommendation from the Planning Commission before enactment. Mr. Mendicino said this was affirmed at a recent public Board of Supervisors meeting.

REVISED FINAL PLAN - 413 OFFICE CENTER - 398 DURHAM ROAD - TMP# 29-3-34: Attorney Thomas Hecker and architect Maryellen Saylor were present to discuss the plan to construct two office buildings on an 11.3 acre parcel in the PS-2 District. Mr. Hecker reviewed the history of this plan, which received preliminary approval from the Board of Supervisors and a favorable recommendation for final approval from the Planning Commission. Then the Township asked the applicant to revise the plan by changing the location of the internal drive connecting this parcel with an adjacent property. After several revisions, the applicant presented the plan which is before the Commission tonight to the Board of Supervisors, who informally recommended that the applicant proceed with this version (referred to as “Option C”.)

Mr. Hecker stated that Zoning Hearing Board relief will be requested to allow a 60’ front yard setback instead of the required 100’. The connector road is now behind the front office building. He also said that relief will be requested to allow smaller parking stalls, although the number of stalls meets the ordinance requirement. Mr. Walker said that Zoning Hearing Board relief also will be needed to allow two signs at the entrance drive.

Ms. Saylor explained the dimensions of the proposed parking stalls. The ordinance requires 213 spaces; 145 spaces will be 9.5’ X 18’, 62 spaces will be 10’ X 18’, and six spaces will conform to standards for handicapped parking spaces. Ms. Goldstein commented that if the development were all D-1 Office Use 200 spaces would be required; if it were all D-2 Medical Office Use, 267 spaces would be required.

Mr. Armitage said the intersection does not warrant a traffic signal, but the present counts are not far from the threshold. He said that PennDOT is cautious and will not warrant a signal until the volume is actually demonstrated, but the applicant is being asked to escrow funds for a traffic signal.

The 9/30/03 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the following points discussed:

The 10/17/03 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the following points not previously addressed were discussed:

Mr. Mendicino asked if the Newtown Grant Homeowners Association had been involved in discussing the plan; Mr. Hecker said they were.

Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the revised final plan (dated 7/28/03) for the 413 Office Center with the following conditions:

1. The applicant will obtain variances discussed tonight regarding the front yard setback, the size of the parking stalls, and the number of signs at the entrance.

2. The applicant will comply with the 9/30/03 Boucher and James letter.

3. The Commission recommends that the Board of Supervisors grant waivers of the following ordinance requirements:

a. Section 513 - relief from the requirement to install streetlights along Route 413, to the extent this section is applicable. The applicant agrees to install two lights near the entrance, and a third light near Parking Lot #3 if necessary.

b. Section 520.5 - To allow a sewer easement across the parking lot.

c. Section 402(4)(M)(5) - relief from the requirement to show on the plan all trees to be saved.

d. Section 504(17) - to allow the access easement for the connector road to be less than 30’.

e. Section 505(2)(A) - to allow a centerline radius of 50’ for the connector road.

f. Section 529(2)(C)(1)(a) - to allow grading within the tree protection zone.

4. Compliance with the 10/17/03 Pennoni Associates letter.

5. Compliance with the 10/6/03 Bucks County Planning Commission letter and the 9/3/03 Emergency Services letter.

6. The signs at the entrance will comply with the sign ordinance size requirements.

7. The applicant will construct an interconnecting conduit across the property’s frontage and down to Wrights Road as part of their on-site improvements.

8. The applicant will obtain PennDOT HOP approval.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed 6-1, with Mr. Ott voting “nay”.

SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD: Mr. Lombardi said the Board reviewed the Pryda plan at their most recent meeting. He also commented that the Township has received a state grant for stream bank stabilization work which may make it possible to restore several parking spaces on Sycamore Street near the Pryda property.

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD: Mr. Ott reminded members that the Board is interested in starting up a Trail Committee again and has asked for two members of the Planning Commission to serve on it. He said Mrs. Beasley is interested in serving on the committee if it is established. Mrs. Doorley said she also would serve.

PLAN EXPIRATIONS: Mr. Sander said there are no expirations to be addressed, although the Commission’s actions tonight regarding Tudor Square and the Newtown Office Park probably will result in continuation of the hearings scheduled for the Board of Supervisors meeting on 10/22/03. Mr. Mendicino asked if the Board of Supervisors can make a decision about a conditional use application without a recommendation from the Planning Commission; Mr. Sander said the Municipalities Planning Code requires a Planning Commission recommendation.

CORRESPONDENCE: None.

OLD BUSINESS

JMZO 2002-09 - RESIDENTIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: The majority of Commission members did not have the copy of this ordinance which was previously distributed. It was agreed to table this matter to 12/2/03, which is the next meeting at which the Chairperson will be present, and to redistribute copies of the ordinance.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING 10/22/03: Mr. Fidler agreed to report for the Commission at the next Board of supervisors meeting, as Mrs. Doorley will be out of town.

ADJOURNMENT: Without objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:50 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

____________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary