Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

February 15, 2005


MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (2/15/05): Mr. Sensibaugh moved to approve the minutes of 2/15/05 with the following changes to the discussion of the Brandywine Realty Zoning Hearing Board application:

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


The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 15, 2005, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Chairman Shawn Ward; members Jay Sensibaugh, Vince Lombardi, Jim Bowe, Mike Piazza, Beth Sanderlin, and Frank Mendicino. Also in attendance were: Supervisors Skip Goodnoe and Anne Goren, Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, Planner Judy Goldstein, and Public Works Director Tom Harwood.

Excused: Allen Fidler and Shannon Wilson.

CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.

MINUTES

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.

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.

REVIEWS

CONDITONAL USE – QUIZNO’S RESAURANT – 2100 S. EAGLE ROAD #7 – TMP# 29-10-85-5: John Anderson of Cornerstone Consulting and owner Chris Parker were present to discuss their request for approval of 1,615 SF of E-6 Eating Place Use in an existing retail building in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center in the PC District. Mr. Anderson said Unit #7 is currently vacant. The restaurant will start with 10 indoor seats and expand to 30 when the sewer moratorium is ended, and will include eat-in and take-out service.

The 2/8/05 Boucher and James letter was discussed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following points were discussed:

Mr. Piazza asked that the owner encourage customers to avoid parking in the fire lane in front of the store. Mr. Parker said he will do so.

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this request with the following conditions:

  1. Compliance with the 2/8/05 Boucher and James letter
  2. Service will be eat in and take out
  3. Indoor seating will be provided for 10 customers, to be expanded to 30 in the future if and when the sewer moratorium is lifted
  4. Hours of operation will be 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM seven days a week
  5. Deliveries will be before 11:00 AM via tractor-trailer trucks in the rear of the building
  6. There will be a maximum of 23 employees total, with a maximum of 4 employees during a shift
  7. A closed dumpster will be provided behind the restaurant
  8. There will be no changes to the exterior of the building except for signage (which requires separate approval)
  9. The applicant will provide an additional trash can outside near the door which shall be of adequate size and acceptable to the Zoning Officer
  10. The applicant will actively monitor parking in the fire lane in front of the building
  11. The 13 parking spaces required by the ordinance are provided

The motion was seconded by Mr. Bowe.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Mendicino asked how the Codes Department handles building permits in light of the moratorium on sewer hookups. Mr. Harwood said applicants are limited to the EDUs they have now, and his department is advising applicants of the moratorium. Mr. Mendicino questioned why the Township is granting conditional use approvals when applicants cannot meet plumbing requirements. Mr. Harwood noted that the Board of Supervisors has been granting extensions to projects that have been affected by this.

Mr. Lombardi’s motion passed unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE – NEWTOWN OFFICE PARK – NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD - TMP# 29-10-99: William Messick of Newtown-Yardley Road Associates was present to discuss his request for approval of G-15 Soil Stripping Use to allow removal of approximately 10,000 cubic yards of topsoil from a construction site in the O-LI District.

The 2/9/05 Boucher and James letter was discussed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following points were discussed:

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this request subject to the following conditions:

  1. The soil will be removed by four to six dump trucks at one time making two trips an hour
  2. A maximum of six drivers will be employed
  3. The removal will take place between 7:30 AM and 3:30 PM Monday through Friday for approximately 10 days
  4. No hazardous materials or noxious environmental effects will be involved
  5. The applicant will provide truck tire cleaning off Walker Lane
  6. The applicant will offer the soil to the Township, and then to the other municipalities in the Jointure

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

CONDITIONAL USE – TELETRONICS TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION – 15 TERRY DRIVE – TMP# 29-10-115: Attorney Ed Murphy and engineer Heath Dumack were present to discuss their request for approval for approximately 17,000 SF of G-1 Manufacturing Use in an existing building in the LI District which Teletronics is currently using for D-1 Office Use and G-3 Warehouse Use. They plan to expand the parking areas in the front and the rear of the building and add an underground stormwater management system in connection with adding the manufacturing use. Mr. Murphy said that the company designs and makes sophisticated “black boxes” for airplanes.

The 11/5/04 Boucher and James letter was discussed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. Ms. Goldstein noted that the letter was written when Teletronics was planning for tenant space in this building, before they decided to occupy the entire building. The following points were discussed:

Mr. Bowe moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this request with the following conditions:

  1. There will be two or three deliveries a day by UPS-type trucks
  2. There will be a maximum of 200 employees
  3. Hours of operation will be 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM Monday through Friday and half days on Saturday
  4. The only hazardous materials on site will be liquid nitrogen and rubbing alcohol. The applicant will obtain the Fire Marshal’s approval of these materials
  5. There will be no adverse environmental effects
  6. The three proposed uses will be apportioned as follows: 43,150 SF D-1 Office Use, 17,000 SF G-1 Manufacturing Use, and 35,300 G-3 Warehouse Use
  7. 89 new parking spaces will be installed, bringing the total to 324 parking spaces, with 237 in asphalt and 87 in green

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

PRELIMINARY PLAN – TELETRONICS TECHNOLOGY – 15 TERRY DRIVE – TMP#29-10-115: Peter Serdaru of Teletronics, Mr. Murphy, and Mr. Dumack discussed the preliminary plan to build additional parking areas and an underground stormwater management system at their site in the LI District in connection with internal building renovations to add the proposed G-1 Manufacturing Use.

The 2/9/05 Boucher and James letter was discussed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following points were discussed:

Mr. Sensibaugh asked why a number of mature trees are proposed to be removed. Mr. Murphy said the applicant would like to make the building more visible, and the mature trees tend to shed acorns, which are unsightly. Also, the roots of the trees will interfere with the proposed underground stormwater management system.

The 2/9/05 Pennoni Associates letter was discussed and the applicant agreed to comply with all applicable items. The following point was discussed:

Mr. Sensibaugh asked if snow removal would be impeded by the concrete tire stops in the parking area. Mr. Dumack said the tire stops can be removed.

Mr. Sensibaugh said the proposed pedestrian walkway goes across a driveway and ends on an island. He asked that the walkway be re-designed to provide for a safer way to access the building.

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

  1. Compliance with the 2/9/05 Boucher and James letter, the 2/9/05 Pennoni Associates letter, the 10/29/04 Emergency Services letter, and the 11/24/04 Bucks County Conservation District letter
  2. It is recommended that the applicant redesign the pedestrian walkway in the rear of the property to line up with the existing walkways to maximize safety, to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer
  3. The following waivers are recommended:
    • Sections 516 and 521.A, B, C – relief from the requirement to install curbs
    • Section 402.3.B, C – to allow an aerial photo to be submitted in lieu of showing existing features on the plan
    • Section 402.5 – relief from the requirement of a traffic study
    • Section 514.2 – to allow parking in the front yard
    • Section 514.9 – to allow parking within 20’ of the building
    • Section 520.5 – to allow macadam in areas of the access and utility easement
    • Section 521.5.B – to allow stormwater rates to be treated as developed and not as meadow
  4. A requested waiver of Section 517 for relief from the requirement to install sidewalks is not recommended
  5. It is recommended that the applicant provide an easement to the Township for future sidewalks and pay a fee in lieu of installing sidewalks
  6. The applicant will obtain an updated letter from the Fire Marshal
  7. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bowe.

    Discussion of motion: Mr. Walker said the reference to a fee in lieu of sidewalks should specify Penn Street and Terry Drive, the curb waivers should be for the interior parking areas only, and the applicant should be asked to consider repairing the existing curbs on Terry Drive.

    Mr. Murphy asked the Commission to recommend approval of the preliminary plan as final. Members had no objections to this proposal.

    Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Bowe amended their motion to include Mr. Walker’s three suggestions and to recommend approval of the preliminary plan as final.

    Mr. Sensibaugh’s motion passed unanimously.

    REQUEST FOR ZONING CHANGE – FIDLER/ROBERTS TRACT – NEWTOWN-YARDLEY ROAD – TMP# 29-10-55: Attorney Ed Murphy and the Commission agreed to postpone consideration of this item to 3/1/05 because it was not advertised to the public on the website or the character generator for tonight’s meeting. Mr. Murphy briefly outlined the development history of this tract. Mr. Sander said the idea to request a zoning change came out of a meeting of the Solicitor and Township officials. Mr. Murphy said he has met with the other Jointure municipalities and they have not supported the idea of a zoning change, so the applicant will be discussing other options at the 3/1/05 meeting

    Mr. Harwood said that no formal application has been made, so there is no deadline for hearing the request.

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

    Variance Request #679-05 – Todd and Melissa Trice – 351 Eagle Road Commission members had no comments on this application.

    Second Amendment Variance and Special Exception Request – Brandywine Realty Trust – Newtown Corporate Center - Upper Silver Lake Road: Commission members discussed this application extensively. Several residents were present and participated in the discussion.

    Mr. Sander said the Board of Supervisors authorized the Solicitor to attend the meeting and advocate for the granting of the earlier version of this request, and he anticipates that the Board will authorize the Solicitor to support this version as well.

    Mr. Ward said the Planning Commission also recommended supporting the earlier version and he suggested the Commission recommend supporting this request. He said the bridge will benefit the entire area by handling a great deal of traffic that would otherwise go onto small local streets. He said the backwater will affect adjacent properties minimally.

    Mr. Sander said the two properties affected by the projected backwater are owned by Mr. and Mrs.Doorley and CAU. He said if these owners object to the requested relief at the Zoning Hearing Board meeting it will be significant.

    Mr. Bowe moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors support the granting of the requested variance and special exception. The motion was seconded for discussion by Mr. Mendicino.

    Discussion of motion: Mr. Sander explained that the amended ordinance still specifies “no backwater”, but it allows for a variance to be granted. The applicant also needs a special exception to install a bridge in the proposed location. He said the applicant was granted preliminary plan approval for the office complex and must obtain the requested relief from the Zoning Hearing Board before they can go to the Board of Supervisors for final plan approval.

    Supervisor Anne Goren said the bridge will not solve any traffic problems. She said the bridge may necessitate changes in the applicant’s land development plan. Mr. Sander said that is a separate issue.

    Mrs. Goren said there will be very little stacking room and none of the area roads, including the Bypass, can handle the additional traffic from this development. She said perhaps the development cannot be built without the bridge.

    Mr. Ward said the applicant presented a sketch plan to the Planning Commission which demonstrated the development can be built without the bridge; if they use this plan the traffic will go onto local roads.

    Mr. Bowe asked Mrs. Goren if she felt the OR District zoning was a mistake; she said she agrees with this statement.

    Christine Whalen, a resident of Wiltshire Walk, said she does not want to see the bridge built. She said Brandywine Boulevard will connect with Penns Trail North and add a lot of high-speed traffic through her development. She said there should be a new traffic study of the area. She also objected to the applicant’s plan to dedicate the bridge to the Township, which would mean the taxpayers would have to maintain it.

    Larry Fyock, owner of a property adjacent to the site, said he believes his property will be flooded because of the bridge, although the application does not name him as one of the affected property owners. He said that the proposed development is massive and will have a major impact on the area. He asked that the Commission table this review until they have more time to study the data.

    Mr. Bowe’s motion failed 3-4, with Mr. Bowe, Ms. Sanderlin, Mr. Mendicino, and Mr. Piazza voting “nay.”

    Mr. Mendicino moved to make no recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on this matter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Sensibaugh and failed 3-4, with Mr. Ward, Mr. Lombardi, Mr. Piazza, and Mr. Bowe voting “nay.”

    Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors not oppose the requested relief. The motion was seconded by Mr. Ward and passed 6-1, with Mr. Sensibaugh voting “nay.”

SUBCOMMITTEE AND LIAISON REPORTS

CORRESPONDENCE

FINAL PLAN APPROVAL – LASALLE EXPANSION: Members received a copy of the final plan approval for the LaSalle University expansion project in their packets.

OLD BUSINESS: None.

NEW BUSINESS

JMZO 2005-01 – REVISION A – AGRICULTURAL SOILS: Mr. Sander provided copies of Revision A of this amendment tonight. He said the changes made by the ordinance are not substantive; it changes the definition of agricultural soils, references different surveys, uses different terminology, and makes minor changes to the table of natural resource calculations.

Mr. Lombardi said he feels that owners of small outparcels in the CM District should not have to preserve 75% of the agricultural soils on their properties, since that would severely limit their ability to develop their land and no one is going to establish a farm on a small parcel. Mr. Sander said the other municipalities already have discussed this, and they support the idea of exempting small parcels.

Members discussed what the minimum lot size should be for this exemption and settled on six acres.

Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this ordinance with the following amendment to the table of natural resource calculations: For B-1 Use only, parcels in the CM District with a gross site area of six acres or less are exempt from preservation requirements. The motion was seconded by Mr. Piazza.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Goodnoe asked when gross site area would be determined, and how subdivision of a lot would affect the proposed minimum lot size.

Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Piazza amended their motion to state that the gross site area would be determined at the time of the enactment of this ordinance. The motion passed unanimously.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: None.

ADJOURNMENT: With no objections the meeting was adjourned at 10:55 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

____________________________
Gretta Stone, Recording Secretary