Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

February 1, 2005

MINUTES OF 2/1/05: Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of the 2/1/05 meeting with the following addition to the list of those present: “Excused: Allen Fidler and Beth Sanderlin.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Bowe and passed unanimously, with Mr. Mendicino abstaining.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 1, 2005, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward; members Jay Sensibaugh, Shannon Wilson, Vince Lombardi, Jim Bowe, Mike Piazza. 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.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (1/18/05): Approval of the minutes was tabled to the next meeting because of a lack of a quorum of members who were present at the 1/18/05 meeting.

TRAFFIC ENGINEER’S REPORT: Mr. Johnston reviewed Pennoni Associates’ February 2005 summary of traffic-related engineering projects in the Township. He briefly discussed the following projects:

Mr. Ward asked about the progress of the boulevard concept for Newtown-Yardley Road. Mr. Johnston said he has heard nothing new about this project, but he expects the Township will pursue it in the future.

Mr. Lombardi asked if PennDOT work has resumed on Sycamore Street. Mr. Johnston said he will check on this.


PRD VARIANCE – STEPHEN AND DIANE COSTELLO – 462 UNION STREET – TMP# 29-25-16: Stephen Costello was present to discuss his request for a variance to allow construction of an addition to his home in the R-1 District which will result in a side yard setback of 11 feet at the left corner and 12.4 feet at the right corner where the ordinance requires a minimum 15 foot setback. He said the addition will provide an additional bathroom and storage areas.

In response to members’ questions Mr. Costello stated that the home to the rear of his property is rented and the owner does not live in the area. The addition will not interfere with an existing arbor vitae hedge

Mr. Harwood said the design will be reviewed when a building permit is applied for. He also stated that the addition will not exceed the impervious surface maximum.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the PRD Variance request of the Costellos for 462 Union Street. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza and passed unanimously.

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS: The Commission reviewed two applications scheduled for the 3/3/05 Zoning Hearing Board meeting:

Variance Request #677-05 - Thomas and Lynn Brabazon – 14 Eldridge Road - TMP 29-7-23: The applicant is seeking relief to allow subdivision of a 6.5125 acre property in the CM District into two residential lots. Members discussed the conditions present on proposed lot 1 which will make it difficult to develop, such as floodplains, waterways, and wetlands, but agreed to report no comments on this application.

Variance Request #678-05 – Yoga Sphere (Laura Rothstein) – 18 Swamp Road – TMP# 29-10-85-6: The applicant is seeking relief to permit the operation of a yoga studio, a C-3 Commercial School Use. The studio will be located on the 3rd floor of the Lovett Barn in the Village at Newtown shopping center in the PC District. Members agreed it seemed to be an appropriate use for this location, but raised some concerns about whether there is sufficient parking in this area. Mr. Goodnoe commented that the Board of Supervisors discussed the Commission’s earlier suggestion to activate the reserve parking at this shopping center but concluded that this would not help the situation because the reserve parking is behind the buildings. Commission members agreed to advise the Board of Supervisors of their concerns about adequate parking in this area.


  1. Board of Supervisors: Mr. Goodnoe reported on the 1/26/05 Board of Supervisors meeting. The Board heard three presentations on the redevelopment of the Acme site, approved several land development projects and continued several others, adopted a resolution updating the fee schedule, voted to advertise the stormwater management ordinance, approved the ordinance rezoning two parcels in Wrightstown, and appointed Mr. Bowe to the Planning Commission.
  2. Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Lombardi reported that the resident survey analysis was delayed because most of the Newtown Township responses were not returned to the Regional Commission until recently. He also reported that Mr. Sander is now Solicitor for the Regional Commission and is getting all the pending ordinances organized and clarified. Mr. Sander said the Township should take another look at the ordinance prohibiting mid-rise apartments.
  3. Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Ward reported the Council will meet on 2/3/05.
  4. Sycamore Street Committee: Mr. Lombardi reported that work has shut down because of bad weather. It is still uncertain how the 48” pipe under the road will be repaired or who will pay for the repair.
  5. HARB: Mr. Lombardi reported that the last two HARB meetings have been canceled.
  6. Park and Recreation Board: No report. The minutes of the 1/5/05 meeting were included in members’ packets.
  7. Environmental Committee: Mr. Sensibaugh reported the Committee will have its first meeting on 2/28/05.
  8. Plan Expirations: Mr. Harwood said there are no plan expirations to be addressed.

CORRESPONDENCE: The following correspondence was included in members’ packets:

  1. Park and Recreation Board Minutes of 1/5/05 and Agenda for 2/2/05.
  2. Final Plan Approval – Twining Minor Subdivision
  3. Final Plan Approval – BCCC Hicks Building Addition


ADDITIONAL LIAISON APPOINTMENT: Mr. Ward welcomed new member Jim Bowe and appointed him as the second Commission representative on the Sycamore Street Committee.



ACME SITE REDEVELOPMENT: Neil Simpkins of the Elliott Building Group was present and asked how the three design firms that presented their proposals at the 1/26/05 Board of Supervisors meeting were chosen. Mr. Goodnoe suggested that Mr. Simpkins contact the Board Chairman with his question.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary