Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

July 20, 2004


MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (7/20/04): Mr. Piazza moved to approve the minutes of the 7/20/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, July 20, 2004, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward; members Allen Fidler, Jay Sensibaugh, Frank Mendicino, Mike Piazza, Sue Beasley, and Vince Lombardi. Also in attendance were: Supervisor Skip Goodnoe, Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, and Planner Rick Tralies.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. He announced that he received word from Bob Dieterle and Beth Sanderlin that they would probably not be able to attend the meeting.

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.

Note: The meeting scheduled for 7/6/04 was canceled.

REVIEWS

REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF LAND DEVELOPMENT – NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN CHURCH – 4 FREEDOM DRIVE - TMP# 29-10-18-1: Hal Roberts and architect Wayne Johnson were present to discuss their request to waive the land development process for the construction of additional parking that is currently held in green. The request was made in a 6/18/04 letter from Norman J. Leve, Jr., Senior Pastor of the church.

Mr. Johnson explained that the church would like to build all the parking spaces at the same time, although they have not yet added the facilities to the church building that will necessitate a total of 168 spaces. He said some pavement will be replaced with lawn.

Mr. Johnson acknowledged that the figures for the existing and proposed side yard setbacks on the plan are incorrect and agreed to revise them.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this request, with the condition that the applicant revise the zoning requirement charts on the plan to correct the side yard setback figures. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Walker asked if the applicant will meet the Township ordinance’s lighting requirements. Mr. Roberts said there are no plans to add to or change the lighting. Mr. Sensibaugh said he did not want to add this condition to his motion.

Mr. Walker also asked if there are any plans for stormwater management facilities. Mr. Roberts said the church has an existing problem of occasional puddles at the front door. Mr. Johnson said this will be corrected when the parking area work is done. Mr. Roberts said most of the new parking area slopes into a swale.

Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Lombardi amended their motion to include the condition that the applicant will correct any stormwater problems created by the additional parking. The motion passed unanimously.

REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF LAND DEVELOPMENT - WHITE ENGINEERING – 1 PHEASANT RUN: Chris Nyland of White Engineering was present to discuss the request to have the land development process waived for the installation of a dust collector and concrete pad. The request was made in a 7/1/04 letter from Richard J. Nanni of White Engineering.

Mr. Nyland said the pad under the dust collector will add about 772 SF of impervious surface. He said that the dust collector is about eight feet by twelve feet by six feet, and has silencers installed that will bring the noise level below the maximum of 80 decibels specified in the ordinance. Mr. Sander advised Mr. Nyland to check the recently passed Township noise ordinance.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this request, subject to compliance with the Township’s noise ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE – KVK TECH, INC. – 110 TERRY DRIVE – TMP# 29-10-140: Murty Vepuri and Frank Ripp, Jr. were present to discuss their request to use 4,000 SF of an existing building for G-2 Research Use and G-1 Manufacturing Use on a site in the LI District.

The 6/28/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed, and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following points were discussed:

1. Uses and Activities: Mr. Vepuri stated that the application concerns the 4,000 SF his company will devote to laboratory activities, although the company occupies a total of about 30,000 SF on the site.

2. Deliveries: Mr. Vepuri said he anticipates 1-2 UPS-type deliveries a day, and a “box truck” delivery about once a day.

4. Hours: Mr. Vepuri amended the application to include occasional hours to 10:00 PM Monday through Saturday.

5. Materials: Mr. Vepuri said there will be hazardous materials stored and used on site, and a detailed list was included with his application. He said the Fire Marshal has not yet reviewed the list. Mr. Vepuri said the materials are no more dangerous than materials that can be found in a hardware store, and that his company will use insignificant amounts. He will comply with the state regulations regarding these materials.

6. Environmental Impacts: Mr. Vepuri said there will be no adverse environmental impacts resulting from these activities.

7. Parking: The application states that 41 parking spaces will be provided, which is adequate for 30 employees. Mr. Vepuri said his lease requires that the landlord will provide more spaces if the company expands to 60 employees.

9. Natural Resources: Mr. Vepuri said there are no natural resources on the site.

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the conditional use application subject to the following conditions:

1. One or two deliveries a day will be by UPS-type trucks, and one delivery a day will be by a box truck

2. An average of 30 and a maximum of 60 employees will be on site

3. Hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Saturday with occasional hours to 10:00 PM

4. A list of hazardous materials to be stored and used on site will be submitted to the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal will approve the plan for handling the hazardous materials

5. There will be no adverse environmental impact

6. Forty one parking spaces will be provided. Additional spaces will be provided if the number of employees rises above 30

7. There will be no impact on natural resources

8. The applicant will pay any required traffic impact fee

The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh said the applicant is providing enough parking spaces for 36 employees, so the requirement to provide more should be triggered by 37 employees. He also asked that the Fire Marshal be asked to comment on the fire suppression system as well as the hazardous materials.

Mr. Piazza and Mr. Mendicino agreed to amend their motion to include Mr. Sensibaugh’s comments. The motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Sensibaugh abstaining.

CONDITIONAL USE – K. HOVNANIAN’S FOUR SEASONS – BUCK ROAD AND THE BYPASS – TMP# 29-009-003-001 AND 29-009-007: Attorney John Mahoney, architect Andrew Heuser, and traffic engineer Andrew Heinrich were present to discuss their proposal to develop a 19.1 acre site in the R-2 District for 45 single family homes in a Village Housing design under the B-17 Elderly Housing Use.

Mr. Mahoney displayed a sketch plan of the proposed development. The houses will be situated along a cul-de-sac and a “village green”. Access will be via an existing service road which also serves an outparcel owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lownes. He said 80% of the development will be restricted to households with at least one person 55 years of age or older, as specified in the Fair Housing Act.

Mr. Heinrich said he spoke with the Township Traffic Engineer and performed a traffic study in line with Mr. Wursta’s comments. Mr. Heinrich gave a copy of the study report to Mr. Ward and said Mr. Wursta has not yet reviewed the report. Mr. Heinrich said the development is not expected to generate much traffic; about 280 trips a day are expected. He said he is aware of safety concerns about traffic using the service road, and left turns onto Buck Road will be prohibited, as they are now. Mr. Heinrich said people may turn right onto Buck Road and then turn around on Mill Pond Road to go left.

Mr. Mahoney said this property received conditional use approval for about 160 assisted living units about ten years ago. The present proposal has a much lower density and will generate less traffic. He said the access road is about 31’ wide at the intersection with Buck Road and should be able to handle the traffic.

Mr. Ward said the Commission needs to hear Mr. Wursta’s comments on the traffic study before making a recommendation.

Mr. Heuser said the site could accommodate 71 units of the minimum size - 5,500 SF – but Hovnanian is proposing only 45 units averaging about 7,000 SF each. Each house has a two-car garage and a driveway big enough to park two additional cars. The project is designed as Village Housing, keeps the houses at a distance from Buck Road, and provides 24% open space where 20% is required. There are about 2.8 acres of woodlands and no wetlands on the site.

Mr. Heuser said the only feature that does not conform to the ordinance is the width of six lots at their frontage on the “village green” loop. The ordinance requires a minimum of 55’ and these lots are about 45’ wide, so the applicant would need to obtain a variance. Mr. Heuser displayed a sketch of an alternative design that would provide for lot widths that meet the requirement, but this would require 275’ of additional roadway and add 70’ to the cul-de-sac. He asked which of the two designs is preferred by the Commission.

Members generally preferred the original plan. Mr. Sander said the applicant could take a unit or two out of the loop cluster to make the plan conform to the ordinance; he questioned whether the applicant can demonstrate a hardship to the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Mahoney said the ownership of the access road is not clear but he believes that it belongs to PennDOT, which assigned maintenance responsibility to the Township. He said the internal roads will comply with Township standards and will be offered for dedication.

Mr. Sander wondered if residents will obey the one-way signs on the loop road when it is inconvenient for them. Mr. Heuser said the loop is small enough that residents will not be tempted to do this.

Mr. Walker said the radius of the loop is less than the minimum for a Township road. Mr. Heuser said he considers the loop to be an extended cul-de-sac.

The 6/23/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed, and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following points were discussed:

4.a. Variances and Waivers: Mr. Maloney asked again if the Commission prefers the original plan, which will require a variance, or the alternative that conforms with the ordinance. Mr. Sander said members seem to prefer that the applicant modify the original design or seek a variance.

4.d.1.Emergency Access: Mr. Ward asked that the plan be submitted to the Fire Marshal for comments on emergency access.

4.e. Community Facilities: Mr. Maloney said that a community center or a pool would not make sense for only 45 units, but the developer might provide tennis courts, bocce ball, etc. The facilities would be restricted to the residents.

4.f. Site Disturbance: Mr. Maloney said he did not know the cause of the site disturbance noted by Ms. Goldstein during her site visit on 6/22.

Mr. Maloney agreed to give the Township an extension on the conditional use application, since it is currently scheduled to be heard by the Board of Supervisors on 6/28/04, and to return to the Commission with comments from the Traffic Engineer and the Fire Marshal.

PRELIMINARY AS FINAL PLAN – LOMBARDI – 125 N. SYCAMORE STREET – TMP# 29-12-11: Sally and Vince Lombardi, attorney John VanLuvanee, and architect Maryellen Saylor were present to discuss their plan to construct a 2,200 SF building on a .41 acre site in the TC District.

Mr. Lombardi stepped down from the Commission during discussion of this item and participated only as an applicant.

The 5/12/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:

III.A.1. Use: Mr. Van Luvanee said the use has not been determined, and he feels that it is irrelevant to the land development application.

III.C.19. Borough Comments: Mr. VanLuvanee said no comments were received from Newtown Borough.

Mrs. Beasley asked if the ordinance requires a guardrail to keep people from driving into the creek. Mr. Walker said it is not required.

The 5/11/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:

A.3.a. Front Yard: The ordinance requires a minimum front yard setback of five feet, but the proposed building is 3.46 feet from the ultimate right-of-way line. Ms. Saylor displayed a photograph of the other buildings on the block to demonstrate that the proposed front yard is consistent with the other front yards and meets the intent of the ordinance. Members generally agreed with this response.

A.7.a. Parking: Mr. VanLuvanee stated that the parking spaces in question are a pre-existing nonconformity.

A.7.c. Parking Lot Barrier: Mr. VanLuvanee stated that the lack of a barrier between the parking lot and the street is an existing nonconformity.

A.7.f. Curbing: Mr. VanLuvanee said the JMZO refers to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) in Section 1001.D.2, and the plan does meet the requirements of the SALDO. Mr. Walker concurred and said curbing would not be appropriate for this plan.

B.2.f. Tree Drip Lines: Mr. Walker said this can be addressed by adding notes to the plan.

B.2.g. Traffic Study: Mr. Walker said this site is too small to require a traffic study.

B.9. Park and Recreation Improvements: Mr. VanLuvanee said the Park and Recreation Board has recommended that the Township accept a fee in lieu of improvements.

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this preliminary plan as final, subject to the following condition:

Compliance with the 5/12/04 Pennoni Associates letter, the 5/11/04 Boucher and James letter, and the 5/28/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, to the extent they are applicable

The Commission also recommends that the following waivers be granted:

1. Section 402.3.C – relief from the requirement to show existing features on the plan

2. Section 521.5.B – to allow the runoff rate to increase by more than .5 cfs

3. Section 516 – relief from the requirement to install curbs on access drives and parking areas

4. Section 521 – relief from the requirement to install drainage systems along the access drives and parking areas

5. Section 402.1.A – to allow a plan scale larger than specified in the ordinance

6. Section 534.8 – relief from the requirement for visible seclusion of the parking areas at eye level

7. Section 529.4.A – relief from the requirement to screen the parking area with plantings

8. Section 530 – relief from the requirement for street trees

9. Section 531.1 – relief from the requirement to buffer between two different land uses

10. Parking space 11 is permitted to be impervious coverage conditioned on the removal of a concrete pad, and spaces 12, 13, and 14 being porous paving

The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Sensibaugh suggested that the applicant be required to repair any damage to the creek bank caused by the additional parking.

Mr. Piazza and Mr. Sensibaugh amended their motion to include this requirement and the motion passed unanimously, with Mr. Lombardi abstaining.

FINAL PLAN – NEWTOWN OFFICE PARK – NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD AND FRIENDS LANE – TMP# 29-10-99: Attorney Don Marshall and engineer Curt Rittler were present to discuss their plan for the construction of four buildings on an approximately nine-acre site in the O-LI District. Together the buildings will include 80,560 SF of Professional Office space.

The 6/23/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:

A.5.b. Access: Mr. Marshall commented that the plan conforms to the Township Engineer’s recommendations rather than the ordinance regarding the access road.

C.2.a. Parking: Mr. Marshall said the conditional use approval specified 493 parking spaces. Since then several spaces were removed for enhanced landscaping, but the present total of 484 spaces is still above the minimum number required by the ordinance. He acknowledged that the applicant will need to seek an amended conditional use approval.

The 7/8/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items except those for which waivers are requested. The following points were discussed:

V.13 and V.24. Pavement Overlay and Traffic Impact Fees: Mr. Marshall said that in earlier discussions the Commission agreed that the pavement overlay costs would come out of the traffic impact fees. Mr. Ward agreed, and said the applicant should discuss this with the Board of Supervisors.

VI.25. Guardrail: Mr. Walker suggested an additional guardrail or fence around the pond. Mr. Marshall said the applicant preferred not to install a guardrail for aesthetic reasons, and it is not required by the ordinance. There was general agreement with his position.

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the final plan with the following conditions:

1. Compliance with all conditions of the preliminary plan approval of 4/26/04

2. Compliance with the 6/23/04 Boucher and James letter, noting that the applicant will seek an amended conditional use approval specifying 484 parking spaces instead of 493

3. Compliance with the 7/8/04 Pennoni Associates letter, noting that the applicant will discuss the pavement overlay issue with the Board of Supervisors and that no guardrail is recommended around the pond

4. Compliance with the 6/22/04 Emergency Services letter

5. Compliance with the 7/13/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter

6. The applicant will obtain a favorable review letter from the Bucks County Conservation District

The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.

Reviews continue following discussion of JMZO 2004-12.

OLD BUSINESS

JMZO 2004-12 – AGRICULTURAL SALES: Mr. Fidler said he agreed with the comments of Lynn Bush in her April 2004 letter. He said he feels the ordinance should be more flexible, not more restrictive, so that entrepreneurs are encouraged.

Mr. Sander said Ms. Bush’s comments apparently were not incorporated in the 6/28/04 draft that was circulated to the Commission. Mr. Sensibaugh said he understood there is a more recent draft. He suggested that Mr. Sander obtain the most recent draft before the Commission discusses the ordinance.

Mr. Ward invited Bill Sterling, a Township resident who was present, to comment on the draft ordinance. Mr. Sterling said the multiple revisions have been confusing, and it seems that his comments are not being heard by the Jointure. He said he agrees that there should be fewer restrictions on accessory uses.

Mr. Sander said he will obtain the final draft of the ordinance and circulate Lynn Bush’s letter before the next Commission meeting.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to table the ordinance to the next meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.

Mr. Sterling asked to receive a copy of the final draft of the ordinance as well.

REVIEWS (CONTINUED)

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS

WILLIAM BARRIER – 13 BLAYZE COURT – TMP# 29-18-69: The applicant seeks relief to erect a solid six-foot high fence in the rear of his property. Commission members agreed they had no comments on this application.

TOLL BROTHERS – 25 LOTS IN THE OVERLOOK – 92 EAGLE ROAD: The applicant is seeking relief to allow the construction of wooden decks on 25 single family detached Village homes. Commission members discussed whether this application would more appropriately be a PRD Variance but agreed they had no comments on the relief sought. Mr. Sander was asked to research how it is determined whether a variance involving a PRD is heard by the Zoning Hearing Board or the Board of Supervisors.

OLD BUSINESS (CONTINUED)

JMZO 2004-14 – LOT WIDTH/AQUACULTURE: Mr. Sander said the only changes were the ones requested by the Commission at their last review.

Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the version of the ordinance dated 7/9/04. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.

JMZO 2004-06 – RIPARIAN BUFFER: Mr. Sander said the 7/9/04 version exempted all of Newtown and Core Creeks, as the Commission had requested.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the version of this ordinance dated 7/9/04. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.

JMZO – NOISE ORDINANCE: Mr. Fidler moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.

SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS: Tabled to the next meeting due to the lateness of the hour.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 AM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

____________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary