Newtown Township

Planning Commission 

October 18, 2005

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: The minutes of the previous meeting on 10/18/2005 were presented and reviewed. There were no changes. 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 and Mr. Lombardi not present for this vote.

The Newtown Township Planning Commission met on Tuesday, October 18, 2005, in the lower level Township meeting room. In attendance were: Vice Chairman, Vince Lombardi, members Jay Sensibaugh, Mike Piazza, Allen Fidler, Jim Bowe and Frank Mendicino, Beth Sanderlin. Absent were Chairman Shawn Ward and Shannon Wilson. Also in attendance were Solicitor Dave Sander, Engineer Chris Walker, Planner Judy Goldstein and Public Works Director, Tom Harwood.

CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Lombardi chaired the meeting and called it to order at 8:02 p.m.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: The minutes of the previous meeting on 9/20/2005 were presented and reviewed. There were no changes. Mr. Piazza made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Mr. Bowe seconded the motion. The motion passed 3 to 0 with Mr. Sensibaugh, Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Mendicino abstaining. Ms. Sanderlin was not present for the motion.

    1. Lafayette Quarters, 398 Durham Road – Petition to Rezone: Tom Hecker representing the applicant that is seeking approval for rezoning from PS-2 to R-2 High Density Residential. The applicant proposes to consolidate Tax Map Parcels 29-3-33-1, 29-3-34, 29-3.35, and 29-3-36-2 and a portion of TMP 29-3-36 into one parcel, and construct 120 age-qualified residential townhouse units on this new 41.3687 acre parcel. The plan also proposes a lot line change for Tax Map Parcel 29-3-36. The site has frontage along Durham Road within the existing PS-2 Professional Services District. Mr. Hecker stated that the name Lafayette Quarters will no longer be used. Mr. Hecker presented background information on the original idea of the project and reasons for changing to building qualified residential townhouse units which require the rezoning in order to proceed with the project. Mr. Lombardi stated that the Planning Commission takes every request for a change in zoning very seriously because of the impact on the community. Mr. Lombardi suggested that the applicant should show the Commission it plans for the area. Mr. Hecker presented a plan that showed how the townhouses would look. Mr. Sensibaugh asked if the applicant was aware that the township has taken steps to restrict residential building in some areas. Mr. Fidler requested clarification from Mr. Hecker which parcels were zoned R-2 in the past. Mr. Hecker gave a history of the zoning that he had knowledge. There was an extensive discussion among the Commission members with regard to the consequences of rezoning the majority of the PS-2 district to R-2 and the possible legal implications. Mr. Sander raised the possibility of substantive challenges for failure to provide fair share of office use zoning. He suggested that a small study be prepared with regard to the impact of rezoning from PS-2 to R-2. It was suggested that the applicant prepare that study. The applicant agreed to that request. Mr. Mendicino made a motion that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of Supervisors to authorize the Township Solicitor to draft an ordinance to amend the JMZO to rezone the subject parcels from PS-2 to R-2, distribute the ordinance to the Jointure for review and include with the ordinance the petition submitted by the applicant and a study of the impact of the elimination of the majority of PS-2 district, which study shall be drafted by the applicant and submitted to the Township and that the applicant understands that it is preceding with preliminary Land Development plans at its own risk. The Planning Commission also recommends to the Board of Supervisors that prior to the distribution of the ordinance and the applicant’s petition to the Jointure that the Township Planner review the impact study submitted by the applicant and that her comments with regard to the study be enclosed with the ordinance and petition to the Jointure. Mr. Sensibaugh seconded.
    2. The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 with Mr. Fidler abstaining to approve the motion.

    3. Friends Lane Condo Association – 121 Friends Lane – Land Development wavier request: Maryellen Saylor, representing the applicant that is seeking approval of a waiver request from Land Development plans. The applicant is proposing to improve the parking lot as follows: remove 20,663 SF of existing paving and replace with lawn and landscaping, remove a 5’ wide strip of paving and install a 5’ wide stone bed filter along the edge of the parking lot that drains into the existing drainage swale to improve the water quality and reduce the velocity of the stormwater runoff, construct 19 new parking spaces in the front of Units 1 and 2, mil and resurface the existing parking lot, improve the surface drainage at the low point of the parking lot, and re-stripe the parking lot to improve efficiency and circulation. The applicant is not proposing any changes to the uses of the existing buildings or to construct any additional buildings. Ms. Saylor presented a sketch plan that outlined the improvements that were being planned. The Planning Commission was pleased with the outline of the plan. Mr. Mendicino commented on the amount of traffic that is frequenting the karate studio. Mr. Bowe made a motion that the Planning Commission recommends to the Board of Supervisors approval of the applicant’s request for a waiver of land development of the Friends Lane Commons subject to the following conditions:
    1. The applicant’s compliance with Pennoni and Associates’ correspondence dated September 30, 2005.
    2. The applicant’s compliance with the Bucks County Conservation District’s correspondence dated October 7, 2005.

    The Planning Commission also recommends to the Board of Supervisors to grant a waiver from the subdivision land development ordinance Section 514 to allow parking in the front yard and the applicant’s agreement to revise the plan so that 7 parking spaces will be added to the middle entrance road and that 7 parking spaces will be removed from the rear corner adjacent to the Newtown Bypass. Mr. Piazza seconded the motion. The Planning Commission voted 7 to 0 to approve the motion.

  2. ZONING HEARING BOARD: The Planning Commission reviewed the following applications and decided to send them to the Zoning Hearing Board with no comment:

    There was no correspondence discussed.

    There was no old business.

    There was no new business.

    There was no general discussion.

    The meeting adjourned at 10:35 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by:


Marian Stroup, Recording Secretary