Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

June 15, 2004

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/15/04):  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of the 6/15/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously. 

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, June 15, 2004, in the lower level Township meeting room.  In attendance were:  Chairman Shawn Ward; members Allen Fidler, Jay Sensibaugh, Frank Mendicino, Mike Piazza, and Vince Lombardi.  Also in attendance were:  Supervisor Skip Goodnoe, Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, 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 (6/1/04):  Deferred to end of agenda as members received them tonight. 


ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS:  Members reviewed the following applications scheduled for the 6/24/04 meeting of the Zoning Hearing Board and had no comments. 

·         El-Naggar – 35 York Street

·         Lumpkin – 441 Taylor Avenue

·         Stefani – 62 Jonquil Drive

·         McDougall – 9 Madison Court

·         Doran – 23 Harmony Way 

During the discussion of the first application members noted a need to clarify what criteria determine whether a variance request regarding a property in a PRD is heard by the Zoning Hearing Board or by the Board of Supervisors. 

SKETCH PLAN – NEWTOWN AMBULATORY SURGERY – 11 FRIENDS LANE - TMP# 29-10-05:  Dr. Joseph Kipp, attorney Keith Brown, architect Michael Bock, and engineer Richard Knudsen were present to discuss their proposal to use approximately 17,000 SF of an existing one-story building on a 3.68 acre lot in the LI District for medical offices, and approximately 18,000 SF of the building for an ambulatory surgical center.  

Mr. Sensibaugh said he is a patient of Dr. Kipp’s practice and will not participate in the discussion. 

Dr. Kipp said that several medical specialties will be involved in both uses, but the specifics have not yet been determined. The ambulatory surgical facility will involve same-day, non-emergency, elective surgery, and will include four operating rooms.  There will be no ambulance traffic except in the case of a non-emergency transfer.  Dr. Kipp could not describe in detail the types of surgeries to be performed at this stage of planning.  He said there is no comparable facility in the area. 

Mr. Brown acknowledged that medical uses are not permitted in the LI District currently, although an ordinance which would permit them is pending in the Jointure.  Ms. Goldstein said even if the ordinance is approved it does not include hospital use.  Mr. Brown said the applicant plans to apply for a use variance. 

Mr. Harwood asked how many patients Dr. Kipp’s group of physicians sees currently.  Dr. Kipp estimated they see a little over 100 patients a day.  Mr. Harwood noted that if cancer treatments are done on site they might involve nuclear medicine and requires advance notice to the Fire Marshal. 

Ms. Goldstein said parking standards for the ambulatory use are evolving.  Hospital use requires one space for every 450 SF plus one per employee, while medical offices require one space for every 250 SF plus one per employee; ambulatory surgery would require something between these two standards. 

Mr. Ward asked why the parking spaces to be held in reserve are the 10’ X 20’ spaces, while the spaces proposed to be built near the building are 9’ X 18’; he said the larger spaces should be built near the building.  Dr. Kipp said he would like to see multiple entrances to the building, and agreed the larger spaces should be close to the building. 

 Ms. Goldstein said there are several environmentally sensitive areas on the site, which will need to be addressed when a plan is submitted. 

Dr. Kipp said he expects the hours of operation for the surgical center to be 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.  Hours for the medical offices would be 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily. 

Members were generally in favor of the proposed facility, but they suggested that when this project comes back to the Planning Commission the applicant should be prepared to be more specific about the proposed uses. 

PRD VARIANCE – THOMAS VIVACQUA – 43 MERIDIAN CIRCLE – TMP# 29-28-36:  Thomas Vivacqua was present to discuss his request for relief to allow the construction of a 10’ X 20’ two-story garage on his property in The Ridings in the R-1 District.  Mr. Vivacqua stated that the garage would provide space to park one car and some storage space.  The project will result in 30.7% impervious surface; the maximum is 30% in the Ridings final plan and 25% in the ordinance.  The project will also result in a side yard setback of 5.4’; the minimum setback in the Ridings final plan and the ordinance is 15’.  

Mr. Vivacqua said that his property is bordered by open space in the rear and on the side where he is seeking relief.  He said his immediate neighbors and the Homeowners Association do not object to his plan. 

Mr. Fidler moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant this variance with the condition that the applicant provide documentation that the Homeowners Association and the immediate neighbors do not object to the plan.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously. 

REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF LAND DEVELOPMENT – ST. ANDREWS CHURCH – 81 SWAMP ROAD:  Robert Kuhar was present to discuss the church’s request to waive land development for a 276 SF storage addition to the church’s garage, as described in his 6/8/04 letter.  

Mr. Mendicino moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant this waiver.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler and passed unanimously. 

REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF LAND DEVELOPMENT – SPRINT PCS – 2651 SOUTH EAGLE ROAD:  Mr. Harwood explained that the applicant would like to add communications equipment to an existing cell tower located on the Newtown Ambulance Squad property.  

Several members expressed a desire to have more information than what was furnished in a 6/14/04 letter from David Hedges of Network Building and Consulting, Inc., representing Sprint PCS.  Mr. Harwood said the applicant did submit a plan to his office.  He also explained that even if land development is waived, the plan would have to meet engineering standards. 

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant this waiver.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler. 

Discussion of motion:  Mr. Sensibaugh asked if the stormwater problems on the nearby Village at Newtown site would affect this application. Mr. Harwood and several members said they would not. 

Mr. Lombardi’s motion passed unanimously. 


a.      Board of Supervisors:  Mr. Goodnoe reported on the Board’s actions at their 6/9/04 meeting.  Mr. Ward said he objected to some comments made by Mr. Goodnoe at the meeting, which Mr. Ward said, implied that the Planning Commission was advocating a zoning change for the Roberts Nursery property.  Mr. Ward said the Planning Commission at their 6/1/04 meeting discussed the fact that Toll Brothers’ could pursue the option of seeking a zoning change but they did not make a recommendation. 

b.      Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission:  Mr. Sensibaugh said the ordinance relating to accessory agricultural uses was discussed at the most recent meeting, and those present felt the accessory uses should be conditional uses.  An agricultural preservation committee in Upper Makefield will be working on a revision of the ordinance.  Several other Commission members attended this meeting as well, and they discussed how Newtown Township could have input into the development of the ordinance. 

c.      Joint Zoning Council:  Mr. Ward said the Council would meet on 7/1/04. 

d.      Sycamore Street Committee:  Mr. Lombardi reported that the Committee walked through the project area before their most recent meeting. 

e.      HARB:  Mr. Lombardi said he was not able to attend the 6/8/04 meeting of HARB.  There were no Certificates of Appropriateness on the agenda. 

f.        Park and Recreation Board:  Mr. Mendicino said the Board discussed the special needs playground equipment at Roberts Ridge Park, which will cost more than originally estimated. 

g.      Plan Expirations:  Mr. Sander said the Becksted PRD Variance request was withdrawn from the 6/9/04 Board of Supervisors agenda, and must be denied at the next Board meeting unless an extension is received. 

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the Becksted PRD Variance request unless an extension is received before their next meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously, with Mr. Sensibaugh abstaining. 

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/1/04):  Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of 6/1/04 with the addition of a sentence to complete the motion on JMZO 2004-14 to read:  “The motion was seconded by Mr. Dieterle and passed unanimously.”  This motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.   


PSATS SEMINAR:  Commission members received a notice in their packets of a 6/8/04 Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors seminar on planning. 

DVRPC TESTIMONY:  Members received a 6/7/04 memo from the Manager in their packets.  It included a transcript of his comments on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission hearing on 6/3/04.  


JMZO – RIPARIAN BUFFER ORDINANCE:  Mr. Sander said there is a revised version of this ordinance available.  He will provide it to the Township so that it can be discussed at the Commission’s 7/6/04 meeting. 


NEXT MEETING:  Mr. Walker and Mr. Fidler said they would not be able to attend the 7/6/04 Planning Commission meeting. 

ADJOURNMENT:  With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 PM.


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary