Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

July 19, 2005


MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (7/19/05): Mr. Fidler made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 19, 2005 meeting; Mr. Bowe seconded the motion and passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Planning Commission on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 in the lower level Township meeting room.  In attendance were:  Chairman Shawn Ward; members Jay Sensibaugh, Mike Piazza, Vince Lombardi, Beth Sanderlin, Shannon Wilson, Allen Fidler, Jim Bowe, and Frank Mendicino.  Also in attendance were:  Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, Planner Judy Goldstein

 

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

 

The Chairman welcomed the public and introduced the Planning Commission plus the Solicitor, Planner, Engineer and Recording Secretary.

 

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (6/21/05):  Mr. Piazza moved to approve the minutes of 6/21/2005; the motion was seconded by Ms. Sanderlin and passed unanimously.

 

Note:  The scheduled 7/5/2005 Commission meeting was canceled because of the July 4th holiday.

 

Changes in the Agenda:   The recording secretary noted that the applicant for Land Development review of Mitzvah Way (Glazer Major Subdivision), Washington Crossing Road --- final plan for major subdivision had requested a postponement until the next Planning Commission meeting, 8/2/2005.

 

The Chairman noting the large attendance by the public for this Planning Commission meeting decided to take the reviews out of order on the agenda.

 

Woll Tract Master Plan  - A presentation outlining the plan for a recreational park was made by Andy Levine, Park and Recreation Board Chairman.  Mr. Levine stated that the process of developing plan has taken about 9 months for the Park and Recreation Committee.  Mr. Levine outlined a brief history stating that in April 21, 1999 Board of Supervisors approved comprehensive plan for all the parks in the Newtown.  That was the starting point for anything that Park and Rec Board did with designing.  After approximately a 2 year public process the Township approved a comprehensive plan.  One of the more prominent parks mentioned in that report was the Woll Tract. 

 

Mr. Levine continued Woll Tract is located behind the Newtown Elementary School and St. Andrews.  The Supervisors approved an active recreation park with several ball fields in different configurations and some ancillary facilities.  With that in mind the Park and Rec Board took on a series of public meetings and a significant number of the Newtown Public came out and gave us their thoughts about what they would like to see develop in this park.  The overall public opinion was to developed as reflected in the comprehensive plan.  Mr. Levine stated that the community in St. Andrew’s Briar raised issues with regard to the lighting.

 

Newtown Township Planning Commission meeting

Minutes

July 19, 2005

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Mr. Levine stated that their consultant, Pickering, Corts and Summerson reviewed the site on a technical basis in terms various areas of buffer, grading and drainage, location of buildings. The upper 10 acres is zoned CM – it will remain passive open space as possible.  The diagram of the Woll Tract is the other portion (approximately 36 acres), the active portion of site.  Mr. Levine stated that different concepts of access.  The consensus is to have a dual access.  There is a discussion about access from Route 413 and Durham Road.  Various options were considered for access.  Mr. Levine stated that there has been an emphasis on parking.   Mr. Levine mentioned the agreement with Council Rock school district with regard to use of the field.

 

Mr. Ward questioned whether the dual access plan was still being moved forward.  Mr. Levine stated yes it was. 

 

Mr. Levine stated that there is an entrance on Wrights Road showing where the parking is planned.  Mr. Levine stated that the Newtown Elementary School playground is entirely fenced in.  The main entrance is off of Route 413.  There is a plan to have 2 to 3 community rooms plus storage for sports organization.  Mr. Levine stated that they are trying to achieve a multi use park. 

 

There was a discussion on the percentage of the impervious surface at Woll Tract.  Mr. Levine describe what the sports fields have been designed.  He mentioned the main issue of lighting.  Mr. Fidler asked what discussions have been with PennDot with signalization.  Mr. Levine explained there had only been preliminary discussions.

 

A lengthy discussion occurred with regard to lighting.  Mr. Levine stated that the standard is no more than 1/10th of 1 foot candle of light at the border of a residential property.  It was discussed on how close the property boundaries are with regard to the lighting.  Mr. Levine stated that they would be using the “total control lighting system” which assists in controlling the lighting and the affects on the neighborhood properties. 

Mr. Levine stated that the downside to having this type of lighting is the size of the poles.  The poles will be 80 FT. 

 

Mr. Piazza questioned how long the lights will be allowed on.  Mr. Levine stated that the regulation would be dawn to dusk.  Mr. Levine stated that there is no ordinance for this and one will have to be passed.

 

Mr. Ward asked for comments from the public.  Mr. Walt Leck of 210 Durham Road spoke against the project.  His main issues were the lighting, noise, sewer, water damage, the proximity to his property and the possibility of liability issues if someone comes on to his property to retrieve a ball if it comes on his property.  Mr. Leck expressed his concern about excessive traffic, parties in the park and possible vandals. 

 

 

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Mr. Leck questioned whether he had substantial opportunity to express his dissatisfaction at the public meetings.  Mr. Levine stated that Mr. Leck was informed about the meetings and was contacted by Ann Toole but did not respond.  Mr. Leck disagreed with Mr. Levine. 

 

Mr. Ward stated that the Planning Commission was not voting on this plan tonight.  There was a discussion on the lighting placement, access roads and the placement of the fields.

 

Mr. Ward stated that the Planning Commission would need an opportunity to review these plans more extensively and requested that Mr. Levine supply the Planning Commission with plans for every member.  After the review, then the Park and Rec committee can come back for further dialog.  Mr. Levine stated that their goal was to have plans for the Planning Commission within one to two weeks and then come before the Planning Commission for the September 20, 2005 meeting.

 

REVIEWS

 

CONDITIONAL USE – K. HOVNANIAN’S FOUR SEASONS AT NEWTOWN, BUCK ROAD AND 413 BYPASS:   Michael Macaninch, Legal Counsel, for K. Hovnanian was present to discuss the request for a recommendation of approval to the Board of Supervisors to use 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.  This application had been reviewed previously on 10/5/2004. 

 

Mr. Ward stated that he researched the previous minutes of meetings when this issue was part of the agenda and noted that the Planning Commission had voted to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to deny the application.

 

Mr. Macaninch agreed with Mr. Ward’s assessment and stated that they were going to proceed to the Conditional Use hearing but there had been a series of continuances with the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Macaninch stated that they are ready to proceed to the July 27th Board of Supervisors hearing.  Mr. Macaninch stated there were a couple of issues such as the right in and right out and the addition of a “pork chop” at the end York Road, the service road and the updated traffic study.  Mr. Macaninch stated that Mr. Pellegrino, the Township Manager, asked if they would be willing to come back to discuss those 2 issues with the Planning Commission.

 

Mr. Ward asked if they had a plan that was new and different than what was presented to the Planning Commission previously.  Mr. Macaninch stated that it was not new and different they had taken some of the comments from the Planning Commission and the neighbors but basically the plan was the same. 

 

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Mr. Ward noted that the Commission had not received any plans to review before the meeting.  Mr. Macaninch noted that it was not the intention of K. Hovnanian to withhold plans for review but had recently engaged a different engineering firm and the plans were not ready until 7/18/2005.

 

Mr. Ward expressed the Commission’s displeasure with not having received material from K. Hovnanian in a timely manner to allow the Commission the opportunity to study the plan.  Mr. Lombardi addressed the chairman stating that since there were no plans presented for review that the matter should not be considered.  Mr. Mendicino questioned Mr. Macaninch that Mr. Pellegrino stated that they should come before the Planning Commission for review without presenting the plan prior to the meeting.  Mr. Macaninch stated that was a correct understanding.

 

Mr. Ward asked if the applicant was willing to continue the conditional use hearing to afford the Planning Commission the opportunity to review the plan and bring this back to our next meeting.  Mr. Macaninch stated they were not willing to postpone.  Mr. Mendicino requested to the chair that it be stated in the record that the applicant stated he would prefer not to afford the Planning Commission the option to review everything and that when he appeared before the Board of Supervisors that someway that would be made clear.   Mr. Ward stated that when he gives his report he will note that.  The Planner asked what date was on the plan.  Mr. Macaninch stated that it is July 18, 2005.    

 

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny the Conditional Use application based on the Planning Commission’s vote of 10/5/2004 citing JMZO sections 1301B.5 and 1301B.2.  Mr. Piazza seconded the motion.

 

Mr. Macaninch stated there was no intention of disrespect by not presenting the plans in a timely manner.  Mr. Ward stated that he understood that but it was fundamentally unfair to the Planning Commission.  Mr. Ward stated he found that conduct grievous, vexatious and capricious.  Mr. Ward stated it was unfair to the public that came out.  The Planning Commission does not have the opportunity to do a proper review of the application.

 

The Chairman asked for comments from the public. The following people replied:

 

Harriet Hersfeld (Eagle Ridge) spoke against the project raising the issue of the density of the project.

Andy Hoffman (Newtown Crossing) spoke against the project raising the issue of open land, traffic and noise.

Michael Zarconni spoke against the project.

 

 

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July 19, 2005

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Michael Gallagher spoke against the project and stated they would pursue their disagreement with the project to the Board of Supervisors.

Terry Carter (Newtown Crossing) spoke against the project and reference it as her “field of dreams”.

Ms. Carbane (Newtown Crossing) spoke against the project and reference the traffic problem the project will caused.

 

Mr. Ward ended the comment session.  The recording secretary reread the motion.

 

Mr. Bowe stated his intention to abstain from the vote stating that because he has not had time to review any information on the application but expressed concern with the project and the affects it will have on the region.

 

The question was called.  The Commission voted 7 to 0 to approve the motion with Mr. Bowe and Mr. Wilson abstaining.

 

CONDITIONAL USE – CAMERON C. TROILO (HOMEWOOD SUITES), 104 PHEASANT RUN  Don Marshall, Esq. representing Cameron C. Troilo; C. T. Triolo, son of Mr. Carmen Troilo and Tom Reese of Marriott Suites were present.  The applicant was seeking a recommendation from the Planning Commission to Board of Supervisors to approve the conditional use application for a propose E-4 Use, financial establishment; E-5 Use, Eating Place; and E-22 Use, Executive/Conference Center. Mr. Marshall stated that there were 2 issues on the agenda tonight, the conditional use application and the requests for comments on the zoning hearing application.  In addition there are full land development plans pending which we have given an extension because it was considered that the best approach would be to obtain the Planning Commission’s recommendation of approval to the Board of Supervisors for the conditional use approval and zoning hearing approval.   Mr. Marshall stated the parcel is 10.5 acres. 

 

Mr. Marshall explains that the E-22 Executive/Conference Center will be 120 rooms with 1 large conference room plus 6 smaller conference rooms.  The 2 auxiliary services will be breakfast service and a suite shop plus a pool and fitness center.  Mr. Lombardi asked what problems there are to contend with in order to recommend approval.  Mr. Marshall stated that there were 9 requests for zoning relief.  Mr. Marshall stated that one of the main problems is the height of the proposed building.  The ordinance calls for a maximum of 50 feet and the proposed building will be 62 feet.  The second relief being sought is parking.  The ordinance requires 529 parking spaces; the applicant is proposing 483 spaces.

 

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There was a detailed discussion on the parking issue as to what the ordinance stated, how many spaces will be needed. Mr. Ward asked whether this was a conference center.  Mr. Marshall stated that it was an executive inn not a hotel because a hotel is not a permitted use in this district.  There was a discussion on how large the conference rooms and how many people could be accommodated.  Mr. Marshall stated that the largest conference room is 2,000 SF which would be less than 100 people.  The Planning Commission expressed the concern over the number of parking spaces.

 

The Planning Commission questioned as to why there was no restaurant in the executive inn and the restaurant is a separate café located in a different area of the property.  The discussion centered on what the use of the café would be and how the people using the conference rooms would utilize the café. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated the other variance that they were seeking was for signage.  The other variance is a parking issue with one space and the location of the dumpster.  The other variance is for parking near Pheasant Run plus a parking buffering variance.  Mr. Marshall stated the other variance is for the patio at the café. 

 

The Planning Commission discussed the conversation that Mr. Marshall had with Phil Wursta, Township Traffic Engineer regarding the amount of parking spaces.

 

Mr. Wilson moved for the Planning Commission to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to support the applicant’s variances requests at the Zoning Board hearing.  Mr. Lombardi seconded.

 

Mr. Ward raised the issue of receiving a letter from the Township Traffic Engineer regarding parking spaces as a condition of support.

 

Mr. Wilson amended his motion to include the condition of a letter from the Township Traffic Engineer with regard to parking spaces.

 

Mr. Mendicino questioned if there was a letter from the Fire Marshall with regard to the 62 foot building.  Mr. Marshall stated that he does not have the letter though he believed that the Fire Marshall did review the plan.

 

Mr. Ward stated that the motion on the floor was for the zoning board variances.  Mr. Ward called the question.  Mr. Bowe, Mr. Piazza, Mr. Ward, Mr. Fidler, Mr. Wilson, Ms Sanderlin and Mr. Lombardi voted in favor of the motion.  Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Mendicino voted against the motion. 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Marshall requested that the Commission vote on each of the conditional uses separately.  The first conditional use – the bank – the hours of operation would be 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.  The maximum number of employees will be 6 all in one shift.  There are 33 parking spaces planned and deliveries by trucks no bigger than UPS size.

 

Mr. Ward stated that the letter from Boucher & James, Inc. dated May 31, 2005.  Mr. Marshall and the Planning Commission went through each item listed in the correspondence.   Mr. Marshall stated the only hazardous materials anticipated will be chlorine for the pool.  Ms. Goldstein asked if there would be laundry facilities on site.  Mr. Marshall stated that has not been determined as of yet.  Ms. Goldstein stated if the laundry facilities are on site, then the applicant must comply with the hazardous materials regulations.  Mr. Marshall outlined the parking calculations per facility.   

The discussion continued with regard to number of parking spaces and the number of employees that will be in the office building.  Mr. Marshall agreed to the condition of no alcoholic beverages in the café.  Mr. Marshall states that there will be a pool, fitness center and the suite shop, which will be a personal services shop.

 

Mr. Marshall stated the hours for the café are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days per week.  Mr. Fidler stated that the hours should be consistent with the bank hours.  Mr. Sanders, the solicitor, stated that the hours could be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. seven days per week.

 

Mr. Mendicino excused himself from the meeting at 10:51 p.m.

 

Mr. Marshall stated there would 2 shifts of 5 employees for the café with 2 deliveries per day that would be in trucks no bigger than UPS trucks.

 

Mr. Marshall moved on to the Executive Inn and stated they were anticipating operation 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  Employees would be in 3 shifts with 20 on the first shift, 10 employees for the second and third shifts.  Mr. Marshall stated that the applicant will comply with all Fire Marshall recommendations with regard to the storage of chlorine for the pool and if there are laundry facilities on the premise.

 

Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the conditional use application for use E-4, 3300 SF as shown on the plan with hours of operation 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Saturday; a maximum of 6 employees on any one shift; only UPS size trucks for deliveries to the facility; no negative impacts on the area and no hazardous materials and compliance with the Boucher & James, Inc. correspondence dated May 31, 2005, where applicable.  Mr. Bowe seconded the motion.

 

 

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Mr. Ward called the question.  The vote was unanimous for the motion with Mr. Mendicino absent for the motion and the vote.

 

Ms. Sanderlin moved for the Planning Commission to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the conditional use application for a use of E-5, eating place of approximately 2197 SF, with a maximum of 5 employees on the largest shift; hours of operation 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday; no hazardous materials, no negative environmental impacts, no sales of alcoholic beverages and limited to UPS size truck deliveries and compliance with the Boucher & James, Inc., correspondence dated May 31, 2005 where applicable.  Mr. Lombardi seconded the motion. 

 

Mr. Sensibaugh brought up the hours of operation and suggested the hours should be 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.   Ms. Sanderlin accepted that amendment to the motion and Mr. Lombardi seconded the amended motion. 

 

Mr. Ward called the question.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the motion with the exception of Mr. Mendicino who was not present for the motion or the vote.

 

Mr. Wilson moved for the Planning Commission to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the conditional use application for a use of E-22, Executive Inn/Conference Center, a maximum of 20 employees on the largest shift; hours of operation 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, no negative environmental impact, occasional large truck deliveries, mostly UPS size truck deliveries.  The applicant agrees to meet the requirement to provide 2 auxiliary facilities as part of the Executive Inn and that the applicant be require to obtain a letter from the Fire Marshall plus compliance with the Boucher & James, Inc., correspondence dated May 31, 2005 where applicable.  Ms. Sanderlin seconded the motion. 

 

Mr. Sensibaugh stated that this conditional use application with regard to the Executive Inn, fails to meet certain safety aspects and it should be denied.

 

Mr. Piazza raised questions regarding the illuminated sign mentioned in the plan.

 

Mr. Ward called the question.  Mr. Ward, Mr. Bowe, Mr. Piazza, Mr. Fidler, Mr. Wilson, Ms. Sanderlin, and Mr. Lombardi vote in favor of the motion.  Mr. Sensibaugh voted against the motion.  Mr. Mendicino was not present for the motion or the vote.

 

PRD VARIANCE – MATT MOUNT, 233 STANFORD PLACE, COUNTRY BEND  The applicant was not present nor was a representative and are seeking relief to permit the construction of a 2-story 10’x38’ addition which will exceed the side yard setback requirement and maximum allowable impervious surface ratio requirement of Country

 

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Bend’s final plan (PRD).  The applicant is also seeking a variance for an existing shed, which exceeds the minimum side yard setback requirement of the 1983 Newtown Township Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, as amended.  The property is located in the R-1, Medium Density Residential District.   

 

Mr. Ward expressed his concern over the size of the addition.  It was noted that there was no correspondence from any of the neighbors with regard to their reaction to this request.  The Planning Commission discussed the hardship.

 

Mr. Piazza moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors deny the application for PRD Variance stating that the hardship was self imposed.  Mr. Bowe seconded the motion.

 

Mr. Sensibaugh raised the fact that in the past the Planning Commission has approved recommendations for the approval of similar type requests at various other locations.  There was a discussion on proper notification of the applicant.

 

Mr. Ward called the question. Mr. Ward, Mr. Piazza, Mr. Wilson, Ms. Sanderlin, Mr. Lombardi voted to approve the motion.  Mr. Sensibaugh and Mr. Fidler voted against the motion.  Mr. Mendicino was not present for the motion or vote.

 

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS:   The Commission reviewed the following three applications scheduled for the Zoning Hearing Board meeting and their recommendations were as follows:

 

1.                  Chetan Patel, 140 Wrights RoadMr. Lombardi moved to not oppose the applicant’s request of the variance and appeal of the enforcement notice to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Sensibaugh seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously in favor of the motion.  Mr. Mendicino was absent for the motion and vote.

2.                 Giovanni Agresti 12-14 Cambridge Lane, Corners at Newtown. Mr. Wilson moved to not oppose the applicant’s appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Piazza seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously in favor of the motion.  Mr. Mendicino was absent for the motion and vote.

3.                 Carmeron C. Triolo (Homewood Suites), 104 Pheasant Run  The Planning Commission voted 7 to 2 not to oppose the applicant’s appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board.  A detail discussion of this vote appears on page 6 of these minutes under the conditional use application.

 

 

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SUBCOMMITTEE & LIAISON REPORTS

 

Mr. Ward dispensed with the reports for this meeting due to the late hour.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

Correspondence was received by all Planning Commission members in their packets.  There was no discussion.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

There was no old business to review.

 

NEW BUSINESS: 

 

A.     JDNC Wayfinding Program – Christine Ortwein was not present.

 

GENERAL DISCUSSION:

 

There was no general discussion

 

ADJOURNMENT:

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 p.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                   

Respectfully submitted by: Marian Stroup

Recording Secretary, Newtown Township Planning Commission

 

 

 

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