May 4, 2004
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (5/4/04): Mr. Fidler moved to approve the minutes of the 5/4/04 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, May 4, 2004, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward; members Allen Fidler, Jay Sensibaugh, Bob Dieterle, Mike Piazza, Beth Sanderlin, Sue Beasley, and Vince Lombardi. Also in attendance were: Supervisor Skip Goodnoe, Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineers Chris Walker and Phil Wursta, Planner Judy Goldstein, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.
CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
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.
TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT: Follows Reviews.
CONDITIONAL USE – STROUPE PROPERTY – 301 N. SYCAMORE STREET – TMP# 29-12-27: Edward Murphy was present to discuss his proposal for 4,000 SF of D-1 General Office Use for a project on a 1.07 acre parcel in the TC District. An existing residence will be converted to offices, and a portion of an existing barn at another site will be moved to this site and reconstructed as offices. The conditional use request and the calculations refer to both buildings.
Mr. Murphy said the property is bisected by the Newtown Creek. He said he plans to move his office to the site and have two other tenants. He is aware that the plans must be reviewed by the Historic and Architectural Review Board (HARB). Mr. Murphy plans to use the best-preserved portion of a barn currently on the McLaughlin Tract for offices on this site.
The 3/29/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed, and Mr. Murphy agreed to comply with all points. Mr. Murphy stated that only UPS-type deliveries are anticipated, an average of four and a maximum of six employees will be on site, hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM seven days a week, no hazardous materials will be used or stored on site, and there will be no noxious environmental effects.
Mr. Murphy said that 20 parking spaces are required and he is proposing to build 12 spaces and leave the rest in reserve. He said he also requires conditional use approval for parking in a flood fringe area. Mr. Sensibaugh recommended that a provision be added to the tenants’ leases to notify them that the parking is in a flood fringe area.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant conditional use approval for D-1 General Office Use for this project, with the following conditions:
- Compliance with the 3/29/04 Boucher and James letter
- Compliance with the 1/8/04 Zoning Hearing Board decision
- Conditional use approval is granted to allow parking in the flood fringe
- The applicant will add a provision in the tenants’ leases notifying them of the parking in the flood fringe
The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.
PRELIMINARY PLAN – STROUPE PROPERTY – 301 N. SYCAMORE STREET – TMP# 29-12-27: Mr. Murphy also discussed the preliminary land development plan for the project described above. The plan also includes parking areas and a driveway with access to Sycamore Street.
The 4/27/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed. The applicant agreed to comply with all points except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:
- A 7 b – Parking – Mr. Murphy said he is proposing to have some of the parking spaces in reserve, not to reduce the amount provided. Ms. Goldstein clarified that in this case the point is not applicable.
- A 9 – Landscaping - Ms. Goldstein explained that she recommends buffering on the eastern edge of the parking area. Mr. Murphy agreed to provide this.
- A 11 – Lighting – Mr. Murphy indicated he will discuss some special designs for lighting with HARB.
- B 2 i – Traffic Study – Ms. Goldstein agreed this point is not applicable.
- B 4 – Fire Lanes – Mr. Murphy questioned the Fire Marshal’s recommendation for a fire hydrant in front of the building, since there is an existing hydrant directly across the street and the building will have sprinklers. He also said he does not agree with the Fire Marshal’s recommendation for an 18’ driveway; he would prefer a 16’ width, for which a variance was granted by the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Murphy proposed putting a hydrant at the rear of the building so that an emergency vehicle could enter through the adjacent property.
- B 7 – Park and Recreation Improvements – Mr. Murphy said he met with the Park and Recreation Board and they recommended a fee in lieu of improvements. Mrs. Beasley said the Township used to have a preference for requesting park and recreation land along the creek when possible, and she asked if the Sycamore Street Committee still has that preference. Mr. Lombardi said he is not aware of such a concern on the part of the Committee.
- C 1 – Sewer and Water – Mr. Murphy said the existing house on the site is connected with public water and sewer. With the present moratorium on sewer connections the plans for the barn reconstruction may be delayed.
- C 2 – Location of Driveway – Mr. Murphy said that if the driveway is 16’ wide it should not encroach on the sewer easement. However, he will request a waiver of Section 520.5 in case it is necessary.
The 4/27/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all points except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:
- II B 17 – Easements – Mr. Murphy agreed to provide an easement to the Township along the creek, and to put a note to this effect on the plan.
- II B 21 – Pavement – Mr. Walker said he recommends porous pavement over crushed stone because it is cleaner and easier to maintain. Mr. Murphy agreed to this recommendation.
It was agreed that the 4/16/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter and the 4/28/04 Conservation District letter included no additional concerns to be addressed.
Mr. Murphy asked if the Commission would recommend preliminary as final plan approval. Commission members agreed to do so because it is a small, simple plan and there are no major changes to be made before final approval.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant preliminary as final plan approval to the Stroupe property plan, subject to the following conditions:
Compliance with the 4/27/04 Boucher & James letter and the 4/27/04 Pennoni Associates letter
It is recommended that the proposed office building have sprinklers installed
- It is recommended that a fire hydrant be installed, preferably in the rear
- It is recommended that the fire hydrant have an eight inch water line
- The appropriate traffic fees and park and recreation fees will be paid
- A note will be placed on the plan to allow the Township access to the creek
- The applicant will provide low level shrubs on the eastern edge of the parking area
In addition, the following waivers are recommended:
Section 402.1.A - to allow a plan scale of 1’=30’
Section 402.3.B&C – to allow use of the plans for the Sycamore Street Improvement project to illustrate existing features in the area
- Section 520.5 – to allow a portion of the driveway in the sewer easement, if it encroaches
- Section 514.9 – to allow parking less than 20’ from a building
- Section 521.5.B – to allow runoff greater than pre-development conditions
The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.
TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT: Mr. Wursta provided a written summary of traffic-related projects, and highlighted a few recent developments.
Regional Traffic Meeting: Mr. Wursta reported on the 4/22/04 meeting at Bucks County Community College regarding regional traffic concerns. In attendance were PennDOT officials, representatives of five local municipalities, and local elected officials. Discussion centered on quarry truck traffic and Swamp Road improvements. The culverts on Swamp Road are to be repaired this summer. Other improvements for Swamp Road are being designed and are a priority for PennDOT. Mr. Wursta said it was clear that PennDOT is taking the recommendations that came out of the Swamp Road Study seriously. He estimated that in the next five to eight years PennDOT will modernize the entire road. Mr. Goodnoe added that PennDOT is basically implementing the recommendations of Urban Engineers, the company that performed the Swamp Road study.
Bypass/Buck Road/Richboro Road Improvement Project: Mr. Wursta said Sycamore Street and Richboro Road will stay open during this project.
Mill Pond Road Traffic Calming Mr. Wursta said the improvements will primarily consist of bike lane markings and signs.
Swamp Road and South Eagle Road: Several Commission members said they have observed dangerous conditions at this intersection. Mr. Wursta said he will look into what is happening with this project.
Bypass Closed Loop System Mr. Wursta said that the loops at some intersections will be replaced with video detectors, which are cheaper and easier to maintain.
SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS
a. Board of Supervisors: No report.
b. Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Sensibaugh said there have been no new meetings since his last report.
c. Sycamore Street Committee: Mr. Lombardi reported that the Committee will meet next week.
d. HARB: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB will meet on 5/11/04.
e. Park and Recreation Board: Mr. Fidler said the Board will meet on 5/5/04.
f. Plan Expirations: Mr. Sander said the Twining subdivision plan expires on 5/17/04 and there is only one Board of Supervisors meeting before then.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the Twining subdivision at their meeting on 5/12/04 unless the Township receives an extension before the meeting. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Beasley and passed unanimously.
OLD BUSINESS: None.
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2003 Mr. Lombardi moved to adopt the draft annual report for 2003 which was circulated to members earlier. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATION – ROSE BANK WINERY: Mr. Piazza asked for an update on the application of the winery for a variance to permit a temporary tent for recurring events. Mr. Sander said that the Township is discussing an agreement with Rose Bank that would be similar to the one made with the Stonehouse Bistro. He said a critical issue is whether weddings, art shows, and other events are accessory uses to the winery. He noted that liquor licenses are the responsibility of the Liquor Control Board, not the Township.
E-16 USE: Mr. Sander said that Mr. Lombardi gave him a letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission concerning E-16 Use; he will review it and made a recommendation.
ADJOURNMENT: Without objection the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary