Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

March 2, 2004

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (3/2/04):  Mr. Piazza moved to approve the minutes of the 3/2/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously, with Mr. Dieterle and Mr. Fidler abstaining.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, March 2, 2004, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward, members Frank Mendicino, Beth Sanderlin, Mike Piazza, Sue Beasley, and Vince Lombardi. Also in attendance were: Supervisor Skip Goodnoe, Township Solicitor Dave Sander, Township Planner Judy Goldstein, Township Engineer Chris Walker, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. The meeting was preceded by a one-hour orientation seminar on subdivision and land development issues presented by Ms. Goldstein.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (2/17/04): Mr. Piazza moved to approve the minutes of the 2/17/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously, with Mrs. Beasley abstaining.

TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT: Members received the Pennoni Associates March 2004 Traffic and Transportation report in their packets. Members agreed to table the Traffic Engineer’s report to the next meeting because Mr. Wursta is unable to be present.


FINAL PLAN - HIDDEN VALLEY TRACT - 138 HIDDEN VALLEY LANE - TMP# 29-2-3:  Engineer G. Deane Riniker and Nick Hano of M & N Homes were present to discuss the plan to subdivide a 5.856 acre property in the R-1 District into three lots for single family dwellings.  Proposed improvements include two bio-retention stormwater management facilities.  An existing house will remain, and all lots will take access from Hidden Valley Lane. 

The 2/9/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed.  The applicant agreed to comply with all points except for those for which waivers are requested.  The following points were discussed: 

·       B 1 - Requested Waivers:  Mr. Sander noted that one of the waivers requested on the plan (for Section 402.3.B&C) was granted in the preliminary plan approval. 

·       B 5 - Water and Sewer:  Mr. Riniker said the Sewer Authority has imposed a moratorium on sewer hookups until more capacity is available.  Ms. Goldstein said the Board of Supervisors can grant final approval conditioned on the applicant providing water and sewer agreements when this becomes possible.  However, the Board will not sign the linens, the plan cannot be recorded, and building permits will not be issued until water and sewer agreements are provided. 

The 2/26/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed.  The applicant agreed to comply with all points except those for which waivers are requested, and item IV 14, which was determined to be not applicable.  The following points were discussed: 

·       III C 7 - Stormwater Management:  Mr. Walker explained that the site is in the 75% release rate district.  The stormwater management report indicates the proposed design complies for one and two year storms only.  Mr. Walker noted that the proposed system promotes groundwater recharge and will not increase the peak runoff rate. 

·       III C 9 - Drainage Easements:  Ms. Goldstein suggested that the applicant provide maintenance agreements for the bio-retention basins instead of easements; Mr. Walker concurred, and the applicant agreed to do this. 

·       IV 14 - Lighting:  Mr. Walker said the preliminary plan approval states that street lighting should be provided as directed by the Board of Supervisors.  However, the Board did not require any lighting in the preliminary plan approval, so the point is not applicable.  There was agreement that the street is already well-lit and additional lighting is not necessary. 

The 1/22/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter was reviewed.  Members determined that there were no new issues addressed, and the applicant stated he will comply with all points. 

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant final approval to this plan, subject to compliance with the 2/9/04 Boucher and James letter, the 2/26/04 Pennoni Associates letter (with the exception of Point IV 14, which is not applicable), and the 1/22/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, with the following waivers granted: 

·       Section 508.2 - to allow the existing driveway to lot 1 to remain less than 12’ in width

·       Section 521 (partial) - to allow post-development runoff rates of 78.99% to 99%

·       Section 224 of the Stormwater Management Ordinance - to allow the stormwater plan to comply for one and two year events only.

·       Section 521.5 B - to allow calculation of the existing runoff to include the existing impervious surface instead of the natural condition of the site.

·       Section 521.5 K - relief from the requirement to provide a minimum one foot of freeboard for the basins on lots 2 and 3. 

The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously. 

Mr. Lombardi asked Mr. Goodnoe, who is a member of the Sewer Authority, for an update on the moratorium on sewer connections.  Mr. Goodnoe said negotiations are stalled because Philadelphia does not have the capacity to handle more peak flows, although it has the overall capacity.  The city is seeking more money to build more capacity.  Mr. Goodnoe noted that in recent years Newtown Township has been able to reduce the amount of sewage in spite of a high rate of development. 


a. Board of Supervisors:  Mr. Goodnoe reported that the 2/25/04 Board meeting was uneventful. 

b. Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission:  Mr. Lombardi said the Commission will meet soon. 

c. Sycamore Street Committee:  Mr. Lombardi said an update is available on the Committee’s website. 

d. HARB:  Mr. Lombardi said HARB will meet on 3/9/04. 

e. Park and Recreation Board:  Mr. Mendicino said the Board will meet on 3/3/04. 

f. Plan Expirations:  Mr. Sander said there are no expirations requiring the attention of the Commission. 


PARK AND RECREATION BOARD MINUTES:  Commission members received copies of the minutes of the 2/4/04 Park and Recreation Board meeting. 

2/17/04 MEMO RE: PRYDA LLC:  Commission members received copies of a memo from the attorney for Pryda LLC regarding the applicant’s intention to submit a land development plan to be considered at the same time as the conditional use application.  Mrs. Beasley observed that the railing recently installed on the second floor of the building is ugly.  Mr. Lombardi said he will discuss this with HARB.  


JMZO - LI/O-LI DISTRICT PROVISIONS:  Mr. Ward said he has not finished drafting his report on the Economic Development Commission’s recommendations.

Mr. Mendicino moved to table consideration of this ordinance until the Commission’s report on these issues is finalized.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously. 

JMZO - CONDITIONAL USE/SPECIAL EXCEPTION:  Mr. Ward said he does not object to this ordinance.  Mr. Lombardi said he remains adamantly opposed to its enactment because it is too confusing and provides no benefit.  He also said that the Regional Planning Commission has dropped consideration of it. 

Mr. Mendicino moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors not support the ordinance; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin. 

Discussion of motion:  Ms. Goldstein said the Wrightstown Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of this ordinance.  

Mr. Mendicino’s motion passed 4-1 with one abstention, with Mr. Ward voting “nay” and Mr. Piazza abstaining. 

COURT DECISION ON DOLINGTON LAND GROUP:  Mr. Sander said the recent State Supreme Court decision concerned a challenge to the JMZO as exclusionary.  The court ruled that municipalities should be considered individually regarding this challenge; the court found that Upper Makefield is not “in the path of development” even though it is part of a Jointure with Newtown, which is “in the path of development.”  Mr. Sander said the ruling affirms the value of joint municipal planning.   Mr. Goodnoe added that the court decision also affirmed that municipalities can plan for a “time horizon” with a Comprehensive Plan. 


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS - REPORT TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:  Members agreed to table this item until a draft is ready for their consideration. 

ACT 537 REVISION FOR THE LINTON HILL MUNICIPAL SEWER SYSTEM EXTENSION:  Mr. Ward noted that the Commission has until 4/24/04 to report its recommendations on this document.  

Tom Ames, a resident of Gaucks Lane, said he and his neighbors were not surveyed for the study even though the study area extends east of Route 532.  An extension of the sewer along Route 532 would affect his area by encouraging development.  He asked that the Commission table consideration of the proposal until a better study can be done.  He also questioned the calculations used in the survey analysis.  Mrs. Beasley agreed that the questionnaires do not appear to line up with the study area.  Mr. Ames said that the impetus for the study was the failure of several systems in the area, especially in Mardot Village.  Mr. Lombardi said he has always been an advocate of sewers as a public health measure. 

Members agreed to place this document on the Commission agenda for the next two meetings (3/16/04 and 4/6/04) to allow for in-depth study and discussion. 


ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 PM. 


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary