January 18, 2005
MINUTES OF 1/18/05: Mr. Lombardi moved to approve the minutes of the 1/18/05 meeting; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin and passed unanimously, with Mr. Bowe and Mr. Piazza abstaining.
The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, January 18, 2005, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward; members Allen Fidler, Jay Sensibaugh, Shannon Wilson, Vince Lombardi, Beth Sanderlin, and Frank Mendicino. Also in attendance were: Supervisor Skip Goodnoe, Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineers Chris Walker and Matt Johnston, Planner Judy Goldstein, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.
CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
ORGANIZATION OF PLANNING COMMISSION: Mr. Sensibaugh moved to nominate the following officers for 2005: Mr. Ward as Chairman, Mr. Lombardi as Vice Chairman, and Mr. Fidler as Secretary. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
Mr. Sensibaugh further moved to close nominations and to elect the three nominees. The motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin and passed unanimously.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (12/7/04): Mr. Fidler moved to approve the minutes of the 12/7/04 meeting; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and passed unanimously.
TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT: Mr. Johnston reviewed Pennoni Associates’ January 2005 summary of traffic-related engineering projects in the Township. He briefly discussed the following projects:
CONDITIONAL USE - PIER ONE IMPORTS – 2807 SOUTH EAGLE ROAD – TMP# 29-3-24-006: Michael Malia of Newtown Village Plaza Associates was present to discuss his request for approval for E-2 Retail Store Use in an approximately 11,048 SF existing building in the PC District. No exterior improvements are proposed. Mr. Malia stated that the building was formerly occupied by Zany Brainy, also an E-2 Retail Store Use.
The 1/12/05 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following items were discussed:
- Item 2 – Deliveries: Mr. Malia said one tractor-trailer delivery a week to the rear of the building is anticipated, and this should happen before 10:00 AM.
- Item 3 – Employees: Mr. Malia said an average of four or five employees will be on site for each shift, with a maximum of 20.
- Item 4 – Hours: The applicant asked to change his application to show hours of operation from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.
- Item 6 – Materials: Mr. Malia said the store will stock and sell lamp oil which may be considered a flammable substance. He agreed to report this material to the Township when making application for a building permit.
- Item 9 – Site Improvements: Mr. Malia said the only improvements planned are new signs. He noted that a variance was obtained previously to allow two signs on the building.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this application subject to the following conditions:
- Compliance with the 1/12/05 Boucher and James letter
- There will be a maximum of 20 employees on site
- The hours of operation will be from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week
- There will be one tractor-trailer delivery per week to the rear of the store before 10:00 AM
- The applicant will file a flammable materials list with the Fire Marshal and obtain his approval
- There will be no adverse environmental effects
The motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino suggested that the Commission and the applicant may wish to modify the conditions regarding deliveries. After further discussion several amendments were proposed and accepted.
Mr. Lombardi amended his motion to eliminate condition #4 above and substitute the following three new conditions:
- Any deliveries after 10:00 AM will be to the rear of the store
- All tractor-trailer deliveries will be to the rear of the store
- Tractor-trailers cannot serve as storage
Ms. Sanderlin agreed to amend her second and the motion as amended passed unanimously.
INFORMAL DISCUSSION – FLOWERS/MADANY TRACT – GAUCKS LANE: Elliot Building Group attorney David Shafkowitz was present to discuss the developer’s preliminary plan for a 29 lot subdivision on a 65 acre parcel. Three acres lie in Newtown Township and 62 acres in Lower Makefield. Mr. Shafkowitz said that the developer is considering several alternative street layouts for the Newtown Township portion. Commission members received descriptions and sketches of three designs in their packets; Mr. Shafkowitz also distributed a sketch of a fourth design. Only one home will be located in Newtown Township, but an additional seven homes must take access through the Township because Lower Makefield Township officials did not want a road crossing a stream.
Mr. Shafkowitz said he discussed the access issues with Mr. Pellegrino and Pennoni representatives. Mr. Walker said his firm reviewed the preliminary plan and pointed out sight distance problems posed by taking access from Gaucks Lane unless the road was re-aligned.
Commission members were concerned about the impact of the seven additional homes taking access through the Township, particularly on the residents of Gaucks Lane, and suggested that the developer seek a variance in Lower Makefield Township to allow a road to cross the stream in that municipality. They noted that the first three designs would re-align Gaucks Lane; Mr. Shafkowitz said Lower Makefield Township prefers one of these designs. Members also asked if the applicant would pay traffic impact fees based on all eight homes that would access Township roads or just on the one home located in the Township. Members felt strongly that the applicant should meet with the residents of Gaucks Lane to learn their concerns and work out a design that will not adversely affect them.
Several residents were present and expressed similar concerns; they said they want to meet with the developer. Linda Majewski and Tom Ames agreed to coordinate such a meeting.
PRELIMINARY PLAN – BLACKSMITH 161 – BLACKSMITH DRIVE - LOTS 81 & 82 – TMP# 29-10-161: Attorney Don Marshall and Engineer Curt Rittler were present to discuss the plan to build a two-story 25,296 SF office building on a 2.614 acre site in the LI District, with associated parking areas and an underground stormwater management system. The building is expected to be split about evenly between Professional Office Use D-1 and Medical Office Use D-2, and the parking calculations are based on this expectation. Mr. Marshall said the site will be served by public water and sewer.
The 11/29/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed, and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following items were discussed:
- Item A.2.c – Parking: Mr. Marshall agreed that a note will be placed on the plan stating that the applicant will comply with the Township ordinance parking requirements.
- Item A.7 – Buffer Yards and Landscaping: Mr. Marshall said there is a sharp rise with a retaining wall on the west side of the property that will serve as a natural buffer. The height of the wall varies from four feet to six inches, so a partial waiver will be requested.
- Item B.1.c – Landscape Plan: Mr. Fidler asked why the ordinance requires that the plans be sealed by a Registered Landscape Architect. Ms. Goldstein said engineers usually do not know much about landscaping, and the ordinance addresses the choice of species, sizes, and other characteristics. She said that waiving this requirement does not expose the Township to any liability.
The 12/1/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed, and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following item was discussed:
- Item III.B.18 – Park and Recreation Use: Mr. Marshall said the applicant is scheduled to meet with the Park and Recreation Board and anticipates the Board will recommend a fee in lieu of land.
The 11/22/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter was reviewed, and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following item was discussed:
- Item 4 – Access Driveways: Mr. Marshall said he disagreed with the recommendation to have only one access driveway, since this would interfere with traffic flow on the site and would still present a potential conflict with the driveways across Blacksmith Drive. Commission members agreed with Mr. Marshall, but they asked him to consider aligning one of the access driveways with one of the existing driveways.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan, subject to the following conditions:
- Compliance with the 11/29/04 Boucher and James letter
- Compliance with the 12/1/04 Pennoni Associates letter
- Compliance with the 11/22/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter, except for #4 regarding access roads
- The applicant agrees to consider aligning the westernmost access drive with the driveway across Blacksmith Road
The following waivers are recommended:
- Section 402.5 – relief from the requirement of a traffic study
- Section 403.B & C – relief from the requirement to show existing features in the area; an aerial photo will be provided
- Section 403.4.M – relief from the requirement to have a registered landscape architect seal the plan
- Section 402.1.A – to allow a plan scale of 1” = 40’
- Section 514.2 – to allow parking in the front yard
- Section 529.A, B, & C – The applicant will provide a retaining wall on the west side of the property in lieu of the required plantings. However, a partial waiver is recommended to allow the wall to be less than 4’ but not less than 6”.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Fidler and passed unanimously.
PRELIMINARY AS FINAL – LASALLE UNIVERSITY EXPANSION – 33 UNIVERSITY DRIVE – TMP# 29-10-43-1: David Fleming of LaSalle, engineer James Major, and attorney Tom Hecker were present to discuss the plan build a 12,228 SF addition to an existing building on their 34.835 acre campus in the OR District. Mr. Hecker said the expansion is necessary because the University’s lease has expired in another building. When the original building was constructed in 1997 enough parking was installed to accommodate the current expansion.
The 12/22/04 Boucher and James letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following items were discussed:
- Item A.3.b – Adjacent Land Development: Mr. Hecker said the University is working with Pitcairn, the developer of the adjacent site, to insure that the impervious surface maximum will not be exceeded and other land development processes are coordinated. Mr. Hecker said the site cannot be expanded further, and there are no plans to purchase adjacent land right now.
- Item A.3.c – Minimum Lot Area: Mr. Hecker said the Zoning Hearing Board granted relief from this requirement in 1997. He said this and other variances and special exceptions granted will be noted on the plan.
- Item A.4.b – Base Site Area Calculations: Mr. Major said there are no easements for the basin or other stormwater management facilities; this will be noted on the plan.
- Item A.7.a – Parking Area Buffering: Mr. Major said the existing landscaping in the parking lot will not be altered; this will also be noted on the plan.
- Item B.2.d – Traffic Study: Mr. Hecker said the area was studied in 1997 when the original building was constructed, so a waiver is being requested. The applicant is willing to pay traffic fees, but Mr. Hecker said he would like to discuss with the Engineer how those fees should be calculated. The applicant will pay the agreed-upon amount.
The 12/29/04 Pennoni Associates letter was reviewed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan as final subject to the following conditions:
- Compliance with the Zoning Hearing Board decisions of 1997 and 1998
- Compliance with the 12/22/04 Boucher and James letter
- Compliance with the 12/29/04 Pennoni Associates letter
- Compliance with the 12/29/04 Bucks County Planning Commission letter
- The applicant will discuss the calculation of the traffic impact fee with the Engineer and pay the agreed-upon fee
The following waivers are recommended:
- Section 402.4.M – relief from the requirement to have a registered landscape architect seal the plan, and from the requirement to show which plantings will be removed and which will remain
- Section 402.5 – relief from the requirement for a traffic study
- Section 516 – relief from the requirement to install curbs on Lower Silver Lake Road
- Section 517.1 – relief from the requirement to install sidewalks on Lower Silver Lake Road
- Section 521.3.B – to allow ductile iron stormpipe
The motion was seconded by Mr. Mendicino.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Walker asked that waiver #5 include allowing 12’ pipe instead of 15’ pipe.
Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Mendicino amended their motion so that waiver #5 reads “…to allow 12” ductile iron stormpipe.” The motion passed unanimously.
ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: The Commission reviewed the following three applications scheduled for the 2/3/05 Zoning Hearing Board meeting and had no comments:
- Request #674-05 - Blair Sign – Sleepy’s The Mattress Professional – 18 Swamp Road – 2nd and 3rd floors – TMP# 29-10-85-6
- Request #676-05 – Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins – 30 and 30A Richboro Road – TMP# 29-11-48
- Request # 675-05 – Arthur Micchelli – 51 Autumn Drive – TMP# 29-16-11-20
LIAISONS FOR 2005: Mr. Ward made the following liaison appointments for 2005:
SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS
CORRESPONDENCE: Commission members received in their packets the following correspondence:
OLD BUSINESS: None.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE: Mr. Sander explained that the ordinance was drafted by the Bucks County Planning Commission; at the request of Mr. Harwood in his 11/17/04 memo he and Mr. Walker reviewed it. The Township is required to adopt the ordinance before 3/10/05 as part of the NPDES Phase II federal stormwater management regulations.
Mr. Sander’s 1/12/05 letter to the Planning Commission states that he and Mr. Walker reviewed the ordinance in detail and found it to be comprehensive and enforceable by the Township.
Mr. Walker distributed an excerpt from the Department of Environmental Protection’s guidelines for meeting the NPDES Phase II requirements and a 1/6/05 letter from Pennoni Associates describing some additional comments for consideration by the Township.
Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Fidler said they are concerned that the ordinance will add enforcement responsibilities to the Township, such as the obligation to clean up pollution runoff from the Township’s streets.
Mr. Mendicino moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt the Stormwater Ordinance, based on the recommendation of the Solicitor and the Engineer. The motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Walker said the Bucks County Planning Commission has made some minor changes since the draft was circulated to the Commission, so the motion should include these adjustments.
Mr. Mendicino and Ms. Sanderlin amended their motion to include the recommended adoption of the minor changes subsequently proposed by the BCPC. The motion passed 5-2, with Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Fidler voting “nay.”
JMZO 2004-16 – CHIPPEWA FARMS ORDINANCE: Mr. Sander explained that this ordinance rezones two parcels in Wrightstown Township so that the municipal offices can be moved to a site currently zoned CM, Conservation Management, and the present site of the municipal offices can be zoned CR-1, Country Residential/Low Density.
Mr. Ward moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lombardi and passed unanimously.
GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.
ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 PM.
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary