Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

April 20, 2004

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (4/20/04): Mr. Piazza moved to approve the minutes of the 4/20/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously, with Mr. Ward and Ms. Sanderlin abstaining.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, April 20, 2004, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi; members Bob Dieterle, Jay Sensibaugh, Allen Fidler, Frank Mendicino, and Mike Piazza. Also in attendance were: Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, Planner Judy Goldstein, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.

CALL TO ORDER: Vice-Chairman Vince Lombardi called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (4/6/04): Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of the 4/6/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler and passed unanimously, with Mr. Piazza abstaining.


ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: The Commission reviewed following applications scheduled for the 5/6/04 Zoning Hearing Board meeting:

Wahrhaftig – 64 Hillcroft Way: No comment.

Nelson Services – 196 Twining Bridge Road: No comment.

La Stalla – 18 Swamp Road: Mr. Harwood explained that La Stalla is seeking to erect a canopy on a seasonal basis, which is a recurring use for which the restaurant must seek a variance. The Zoning Hearing Board’s ruling on this appeal will have implications for other restaurants in the Township that use tents or canopies seasonally. Some Commission members noted that the problems at the Stonehouse Bistro centered on noise that impacted nearby residences, but La Stalla has no residential neighbors. Other members said the Zoning Hearing Board should make the determination.

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors support the variance requested by La Stalla. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and failed 2-4, with Mr. Sensibaugh, Mr. Dieterle, Mr. Fidler, and Mr. Mendicino voting “nay”.

Mr. Mendicino moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors take no position on this request. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed 5-1, with Mr. Piazza voting “nay”.

Baniewicz – 94 Greenbriar Lane: No comments.

Sanginiti – 75 Autumn Drive: No comments.

Fleming – Rose Bank Winery – 258 Durham Road: No comments.

Kausch – 29 Devon Road: No comments.


JMZO 2004-12 – AMENDING A-6 USE: Mr. Lombardi said the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission is still discussing this ordinance. Mr. Fidler commented that the ordinance is overly restrictive and does not support agricultural uses. Commission members agreed to table this ordinance until a final draft is developed.

JMZO 2004-6 – RIPARIAN CORRIDOR BUFFER: Mr. Sander noted that the ordinance exempts Newtown Creek and Core Creek within the TC District.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this ordinance with the condition that the phrase “within the TC Town Commercial Zoning District” be deleted from item 1, Section 903.b.13.g. The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Harwood asked why Commission members want to exempt the Newtown Creek throughout the Township. Mr. Fidler said these restrictions might make it difficult to develop smaller parcels of land along the creek. Mr. Lombardi said he did not want to destroy the value of someone’s property. Mr. Harwood commented that the ordinance does not apply to tributaries of the creek.

Mr. Fidler said there are already mechanisms with which the Township can protect environmentally sensitive areas, such as provisions relating to floodplains and floodplain soils.

Mr. Sensibaugh’s motion passed unanimously.


a. Board of Supervisors: No report.

b. Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Sensibaugh said the comprehensive plan survey should be ready next month.

c. Sycamore Street Committee: Mr. Lombardi reported that he participated in a meeting with PennDOT regarding concerns about upcoming road closings in the Sycamore Street area. The result may be that the roads will be closed only one day. At its most recent meeting the Committee discussed the progress of the Water Company’s work and the grant for streambank repair.

d. HARB: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB spent a major portion of its most recent meeting discussing the Pryda LLC project.

e. Park and Recreation Board: Mr. Fidler said the Board met on 4/14/04 and discussed the handicapped playground at Roberts Ridge Park and access to the Woll Tract.

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


ANNUAL REPORT TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: The Commission asked the Recording Secretary to draft a brief report on the Commission’s activities in 2003 for consideration at the next meeting.

NOTICE OF HEARINGS IN LOWER MAKEFIELD: Mr. Mendicino noted that a 4/15/04 letter was received from Lower Makefield in response to Mr. Ward’s letter of 4/12/04 requesting timely notice of hearings on projects adjacent to Newtown Township. Lower Makefield sent a letter on 2/19/04 (a Thursday) notifying the Township of a hearing which took place on 2/23/04 (a Monday). Commission members commented that the Lower Makefield letter probably arrived at the Township offices the day of the hearing.

Commission members asked Mr. Sander to write another letter to Lower Makefield asking for at least seven days’ notice on hearings on properties adjacent to Newtown Township.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary