Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

August 16, 2005

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS 8/16/05: Mr. Ward called for any additions or corrections to the minutes of 8/16/05.  There were none.  Mr. Fidler made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Mr. Piazza seconded the motion.  The motion passed 5 to 0 with Mr. Wilson abstaining.  

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 in the lower level Township meeting room.  In attendance were:  Chairman, Shawn Ward; members Vince Lombardi, Beth Sanderlin, Allen Fidler, Jay Sensibaugh, Mike Piazza, Frank Mendicino.  Shannon Wilson and Jim Bowe were excused.  Also in attendance were Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker and Public Works Director Tom Harwood


CALL TO ORDER:    Mr. Ward, Chairman was running late so he requested that Mr. Lombardi begin the meeting.  The meeting was called to order at 8:10 p.m.


MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:    The minutes of the previous meeting on 8/2/2005 were not available to the Planning Commission to review.  They will be reviewed at the next meeting.




A.            Roberts Ridge Park Handicapped Playground Expansion:  Andy Levine, Park and Recreation Board Chairman gave the Planning Commission an update on the progress of the work being done for the expansion.  Mr. Levine stated that he was seeking the Commission’s input with regard to the placing of the pavilion and trees. Mr. Levine stated that all labor was being performed by union members on a volunteer basis and they were working in conjunction with the manufacturer of the equipment and the certified installer so that all warranties on equipment would be maintained.  The Commission questioned Mr. Levine on the type of material being used for the ground cover for equipment.  Mr. Levine reported the type of material and how it was produced. Mr. Levine stated that the equipment will be ordered in the next two weeks.  Mr. Levine stated that he will have a report for the Planning Commission at the next meeting on September 20th.

B.            Conditional Use – soil stripping Blacksmith 161, LLC, Lots 81 & 82 Blacksmith Road   Mr. Chris Messing, representing the applicant, is seeking approval to remove 2,000 cubic yards of topsoil in association with the previously approved Land Development for the construction of one (1) new 2 story 25,296 SF office building with associated parking areas and an underground storm water management area.  Mr. Messing gave a description on how the operation would be performed.  Mr. Lombardi raised the question of whether the township was given first right of offer to the topsoil.  Mr. Messing stated that they would do so before giving the topsoil to anyone else. 


Mr. Fidler made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the conditional use application for Blacksmith 161, LLC, Lots 81 & 82 with the following conditions:

1.             The hours of operation will be 7:30 am to 3:30 pm Monday thru Friday.

2.            Anticipated completion time is 2 days with using 2 trips per hour by 4 to 6 trucks.

3.            A maximum of 7 employees dedicated to the use.

4.            No hazardous materials on the site.

5.             No adverse environmental impacts to the area.

6.            No additional parking is required.

7.            The applicant agrees to not go out to the Bypass via Fountain Farm Lane and will only exit the business commons over Terry Drive or Pheasant Run and out Penns Trail.

8.            The applicant will provide adequate tire cleaning measures that will be taken to prevent dirt from being spread on to the road outside of the site.

9.            The applicant will offer the soil to the Township for township use first before it is used by any other private contractor.

10.         The applicant will comply with the requirements in the Boucher & James, Inc. correspondence dated August 10, 2005.

Mr. Piazza seconded the motion.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the motion.


C.            ZONING HEARING BOARD APPLICATIONS:     The Planning Commission reviewed the following applications scheduled for the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting and had no comments on the following:

1.             7 N. Lancaster Lane, Robert Kloenne

2.            7 Delaney Drive, Mimi Hsu & David Crawford

3.            327 Wrights Road, Ronald & Kathy Morrissey


            The Planning Commission reviewed the following applications scheduled for the next Zoning Hearing Board Meeting:


1.             2500 S. Eagle Road, Newtown Center Associates – The applicant is seeking variances to permit the removal of approximately 6,000 cubic yards of soil by permitting a G-15, soil stripping use in the PC district where such use is not permitted in accordance with the Newtown Township Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, as amended.  The Planning Commission expressed concern over the hours of operation for the project and the impact on the area.  Mr. Piazza made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they request the Zoning Officer to raise the issues of the hours of operation of this use with specific regard to lunch hour traffic and school bus traffic in the Village of Newtown and to ensure that there are appropriate tire cleaning facilities so that dirt does not fall on to the roads. Mr. Ward seconded the motion.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously for the motion.

2.            135 Swamp Road – Frank Mastromarco – The applicant is seeking relief to subdivide a 2.48 acre property creating three (3) lots that are each 36,060 SF.  Mr. Harwood expressed concern with regard to the lack of detail of the applicant’s diagrams.  The Planning Commission agreed with Mr. Harwood’s concern.  Mr. Piazza made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they request the Zoning Officer to require the applicant to present to the Zoning Hearing Board a revised plan showing existing features including the existing house on the lot and whether he plans to retained it or not.  Ms. Sanderlin seconded the motion.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously.




a.             Board of Supervisors – There was no report from the Board of Supervisors.

b.             Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission – Mr. Lombardi referred to a letter received by individual commission members from Walt Wright dated August 2, 2005.   The letter asked 4 specific questions:  Where are we now? What direction are we headed in? What do we want to look like in the future? and How can we reach our goals?

Mr. Sander would work to get to the recording secretary information from the last regional Planning Commission meeting.  Mr. Ward suggested that members give their talking points to him and Mr. Lombardi and they will present them at the next Planning Commission meeting for review.

c.             Joint Zoning Council Meeting - There was no report.

d.             Sycamore Street – Mr. Lombardi gave the Planning Commission an update on the crosswalks that will be installed.

e.             Historic Architectural Review Board – There was no report.

f.              Park and Recreational Board – Mr. Levine had presented his report earlier in the evening.

g.             Environmental Advisory Council – Mr. Sander mentioned correspondence from the EAC chairman addressed to the Township Manager requesting that the Environmental Advisory Council be given an opportunity to review land development plans that are presented to the Planning Commission with regard to any environmental impact to the area.  The Planning Commission expressed concern with the request.  Mr. Sander stated that it is the applicant’s responsibility and the engineer’s responsibility to present all environmental impact with regard to plans submitted.

h.            Plan Expirations – No expirations were presented.


CORRESPONDENCE:     There was no correspondence discussed.


OLD BUSINESS:        The Sycamore Right of Way that was tabled from the August 2, 2005 meeting was discussed.  Mr. Walker presented a plan that showed the existing right of ways on Sycamore street and the current problems that are present.  Mr. Walker outlined the problems with properties that are affected greatly by the current right of way drawn.  Mr. Walker stated that the diagram presented was a starting point to begin studying the issue.  Mr. Mendicino excused himself from the meeting.  Mr. Sensibaugh made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to do a study and provide recommendations with regard to the right of way problems on Sycamore Street that will alter the right of way lines so that properties are not adversely affected nor any existing utilities or conduit and adjusted so that certain properties have additional room for signage.  Ms. Sanderlin seconded the motion.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve this motion.  Mr. Mendicino was not present for the motion or vote.



a.    AG SALES” JMZO amendment No. 2004-12 – An ordinance of Newtown Township, Upper Makefield Township and Wrightstown Township amending the Newtown area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983, as amended, to revise the regulations pertaining to the keeping of livestock; to add nursery/greenhouse and limited winery uses; and to add as accessory uses roadside stands for agricultural products, agricultural sales of farm products and agricultural entertainment uses.  Mr. Sensibaugh stated that he had made extensive notes on the ordinance.  The Planning Commission agreed to go through the ordinance section by section to make any recommendations for changes.  Mr. Sander stated that he would make detail notes on the recommendations and be reporting back to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance Review board the recommendations for changes from the Planning Commission.  Mr. Fidler raised questions with regard to Page 3, A-6 Nursery/Greenhouse.    Mr. Sander stated that Mr. Fidler and Mr. Sensibaugh should be present for the September 1, 2005 meeting of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance Review committee to present the recommendations for changes from the Planning Commission with regard to the ordinance.   Mr. Lombardi addressed the public, Mr. Sterling, and asked for his comments on the proposed ordinance.  Mr. Sterling expressed his concern with several sections of the ordinance.  Mr. Ward expressed concern with how the ordinance would require the farmer to file an application to seek approval of current operations.  The Planning Commission did an extensive review of the entire ordinance and made many recommendations for changes.  The Planning Commission expressed concern of the burden being placed on the farmer to comply with several changes proposed in the ordinance.


GENERAL DISCUSSION:    There was no additional discussion.


ADJOURNMENT:   The Planning Commission adjourned the meeting at 11:20 pm.