NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Minutes of the meeting held on October 17, 2006

 

Present: Chairman Shawn Ward and members, Jay Sensibaugh, Allen Fidler, Jim Bowe, Frank Mendicino, Beth Sanderlin-Weachter and Mike Piazza. Also present were Solicitor Paul Beckert, Sr. Municiple Engineer Herb Gery, Township Planner Judy Stern Goldstein, Traffic Engineer Matt Johnston and Director of Codes and Zoning Mike Solomon. Vice Chairman Lombardi and Shannon Wilson were excused from the meeting.

1. Call To Order– Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 8:07 p.m.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting 10/03/2006 - Allen Fidler motioned to accept the minutes as presented and Jim Bowe seconded the motion. Members unanimously approved with Chairman Ward abstaining from the vote.

3. Land Development - Fidler Tract, Newtown-Yardley Road – Revised Preliminary Plan for Major Subdivision

Ed Murphy, Esq. and Jeff Madden, Project Engineer, presented revised plans and advised that all of the issues in the professional reviews based on these new plans were a “will comply”. Chairman Ward confirmed with Judith Stern Goldstein that she was in agreement; she noted that the disposition of the historical building was the only remaining issue. Mr. Murphy, along with Allen Fidler, advised that there were some contractual issues between Toll Brothers and Mr. Fidler that needed to be ironed out; however, it appears that the historical barn will be preserved and remain with the homestead parcel. Trash will be picked up curbside and it appears that postal delivery will not be to individual units; a central delivery box will be provided.

Regarding the existing road on the property, Jeff Madden advised that it would be removed completely and the Newtown walking trail would run along that area of the property down to the intersection at Terry Drive.

Paul Beckert noted that the applicant would be receiving approximately 1 acre of ground from the Township for which compensation was yet to be determined. Regarding the fact that roads within the development are private and not the responsibility of the Township, Mr. Beckert noted that the homeowner’s agreement must reflect this arrangement.

Mike Piazza, noting his opposition to this project, expressed his concern with the traffic impact study and when it was done; the first week of September, failed to measure traffic flow at peak times. Frank Mendicino was concerned over the board’s acceptance of this study. Matt Johnston advised that the area was deemed to be able to handle the traffic. Mike Piazza preferred a reduction in the number of homes in the development. Mr. Mendicino motioned to recommend that the applicant do a new traffic study; Jim Bowe seconded the motion. Paul Beckert noted that at the July 18th meeting, a wavier had been granted to the applicant for a new traffic study in light of them extending the Newtown Trail and participating in the improvement of the intersection at Terry Drive. Matt Johnston noted Pennoni’s satisfaction with the study already done and Mr. Mendicino withdrew his motion.

Paul Beckert framed a motion to recommend approval of the Preliminary Plan for 102 townhouse units based on the August 4, 2006 plan revisions by the BOS subject to the following conditions and waivers:

1) Compliance with the Boucher and James letter of 09/06/06, the Remington and Vernick letter of 09/28/06, the Pennoni letter of 10/05/06, the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of 09/21/06, the Newtown Emergency Services Dept. letter of 09/06/06, the Suburban Lighting Consultants letter of 05/17/06 and the Bucks County Conservation District of 07/27/06;

2) Change in zoning to B-19 must occur;

3) Deed restriction and part of the homeowner’s agreement that the garage cannot be converted into living space;

4) Deed restriction and part of the homeowner’s agreement that parking in alleyways and outside of the garage area for each unit is prohibited;

5) Applicant will remove and reseed the old Newtown-Yardley Road;

6) Preservation of the historic barn will occur subject to approval by the Township;

7) New traffic study will be waived in return for the extension of the Newtown Trail, with appropriate crosswalks and road improvements to Lower Dollington Road, Newtown-Yardley Road and Terry Drive;

8) Traffic Impact fees will be paid;

9) Park and Recreation fees will be paid in lieu of open space;

10) Financial and security documents will be executed;

11) A unilateral declaration of restrictions will be provided;

12) Letters from the water and sewer departments will be provided;

13) Agreements of sale and documents will note that streets are private, do not meet Township specifications and will not be subject to future dedication by the Township;

14) All review fees will be paid;

15) To align Stanford Drive, appropriate arrangements, satisfactory to the Township, will be made to acquire any land needed;

16) Speed study will be performed from the Newtown Boro line to the Bypass to support a reduction in the speed limit;

17) Adequate trash collection arrangements will be made;

18) Compliance with sign requirements; and

19) Satisfactory mail service arrangements will be made.

In addition, the 24 waivers in the Township Engineer’s letter should be granted, along with a waiver to not require an aerial photograph of the sites within 400ft of the development.

Chairman Ward made the motion and Jim Bowe seconded. Members continued reviewing some aspects of the road improvements and iterated the need to reduce the speed limit. Chairman commented that the plan revisions have been made, the traffic study complies with the ordinance and the applicant has agreed to extend the trail. Mr. Mendicino expressed his concern with the information being used to make a decision and his desire to see a new traffic study. When put to a vote 3 members abstained, 2 members voted against it and 2 members approved, causing the motion to be declined. This item was tabled for a vote by all the members of the commission at the November 21, 2006 meeting.

4. Conditional Use

a. Mr. Girlfriend’s Kitchen

John Anderson, Engineer and Alysea Tyler, applicant described the proposed premises at 2100 South Eagle Road as a take-out meal preparation operation, by appointment, with minimal cooking. There will be, on average 4 employees, and the hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed on Sunday. Parking is not an issue since it is in a shopping center and since it is approximately a 2-hour process, there is no need to designate spaces for take-out. Delivery will be by small truck and no waivers are requested. Previously this was a Quiznos location with 2 exterior dumpsters that will be removed.

Paul Beckert framed a motion to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors subject to the following conditions:

1) Use will consist of meal assembly/take-out food service occupying 1,615SF;

2) Maximum number of employees is 4;

3) Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday; closed on Sunday;

4) There will be no hazardous, flammable or explosive materials stored on site;

5) Delivery will be by no larger than UPS-type trucks;

6) No noxious impacts will be generated;

7) No odors or glare will be generated affecting anything off premises;

8) Parking is adequate;

9) No new impervious surfaces are contemplated;

10) Trash storage will be screened from the street and adjacent properties on concrete pads to the satisfaction of the Codes Office;

11) Trash receptacles for patron use will be provided, if required;

12) A copy of the lease will be provided; and

13) Applicant will pay all review fees.

Jim Bowe made the motion and Mike Piazza seconded it. Members unanimously voted to approve the motion.

b. COSI Café, 104 Pheasant Run

Ed Murphy, Esq., counsel for the application and Mike and Chad Novak principles of the Heritage Company, applicant, described the operation that will be located in the Business Commons. Judith Stern Goldstein confirmed that the parking is adequate for this use. Outside of the hours of operation, Mr. Murphy advised that the proposed restaurant meets all of the requirements of the current zoning. The restaurant at 3,000SF will reduce the number of hotel rooms to 105 (previously 120); the numbers of seats in the restaurant are proposed to be 68. No advertising of the restaurant will be made outside of the Business Commons; however, when Paul Beckert asked if the applicant would be agreeable to no delivery outside the Business Commons, Allen Fidler, in his opinion, did not want to see unenforceable restrictions put on any business. Trash compactors inside the restaurant will be used. Since the restaurant is primarily to service hotel clientele and people in the Business Commons, the applicant is requesting the hours of operation to be from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., allowing for approximately 45 additional minutes to close up. The applicant agreed to delivery by tractor-trailer during off hours. Short-term parking may be required for the pickup of food. Frank Mendicino, concerned about the hours of operation, felt that allowing this applicant into the Business Commons opened the door for other unwanted restaurant operations. Allen Fidler noted that the Business Commons was evolving and it was the responsibility of the Commission to see that changes were in the best interest of the Township. Mr. Mendicino expressed his concerns about the zoning; however, Paul Beckert reminded members that the issue before the board was not a zoning matter. Mr. Mendicino, for the record, asked members not to complain when an operation such as WAWA or McDonalds made application to operate in the Business Commons.

Paul Beckert framed a motion to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors subject to the following conditions:

1) Use will consist of an E-5, Eating establishment of 3,000SF within the confines of the Business Commons;

2) Maximum number of employees is 8;

3) Hours of operation will be 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday;

4) There will be no hazardous, flammable or explosive materials stored on site;

5) Delivery will be twice a week by tractor-trailer, during off hours;

6) No noxious or offensive impacts will be generated including smoke, noise, etc.;

7) No alcoholic beverages will be served or permitted on the premises;

8) A copy of the lease will be provided;

9) No new impervious surfaces contemplated;

10) 43 parking spaces are to be allocated on the plans, with 3 short-term spaces, in close proximity to the front door, designated for pickup and so marked, if required by the Township;

11) Use will be primarily for service to the Industrial Business Commons;

12) No external dumpsters will be required on the condition that all trash will be removed from the site;

13) There will be 68 seats in the restaurant;

14) No advertising to the general public;

15) No drive-in service will be provided; and

16) Applicant will pay all review fees in full.

Jim Bowe made the motion and Allen Fidler seconded it. Members approved the motion by a vote of 5 to 2.

5. Old Business

a. Center Club Variance Request

Paul Salvatore, partner in the property, and Juan Passado, partner in the Center Club, advised that they wished to discuss the parking requirements at 11 Friends Lane. The other tenant in the building, Dr. Joseph Kipp, provided them with a letter outlining his parking requirements that appeared to fit well with the health club’s heaviest traffic from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Dr. Kipp’s heaviest traffic was between those hours. Mr. Passado advised that the average number of participants at his club were 55 to 65 and with the fluctuation in peak hours between his operation and Dr. Kipp’s office, the 155 parking spaces were adequate. Judith Stern Goldstein, Jim Bowe and Allen Fidler expressed their concerns over any future tenants that might occupy the premises as an expanded health club operation, particularly after precedence was set at this time. Suggestion was made, since the building is a condominium, that a stipulation in the purchase agreement could be set forth to restrict the future use of the premises.

Jay Sensibaugh motioned to recommend the Board of Supervisors defend the parking ordinance and reaffirm the board’s position to deny the request. Members voted 4 to 3 to approve the motion.

b. Veterans Cemetery, Overlay Ordinance

Paul Beckert advised members of the status of the responses to the 7 letters Jerry Schenkman had requested be obtained from various parties involved in this issue:

1) Representative Mike Fitzpatrick responded saying that he was in the process of attempting to secure the $2,000,000 funding for traffic calming along Stoopville Road;

2) Ed Murphy, Esq. had responded as the representative of Toll Brothers;

3) John Rice, Solicitor for Upper Makefield Township indicated that “party status” was acceptable with the neighboring townships;

4) Council Rock School District was in the process of drafting a letter; and

5) William Tuerk, Under Secretary for Veterans Affairs indicated that he was comfortable with all the townships having a say in the development and would not dispose of the property for other uses, once it had been purchased.

All responses will appear on the township website.

Jay Sensibaugh presented members with 11 motions concerning the wording of the Ordinance and members voted as follows:

1) Page 1, Paragraph 3 - References to the Village of Dollington should be deleted since the village is not a part of the overlay district. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and it failed by a vote of 3 to 4;

2) Page 2, first paragraph - The cemetery should not be referred to as a “buffer”. Jim Bowe seconded the motion and it failed by a vote of 1 to 6;

3) Section 305.Y - The VR-1 district, currently absent from the Ordinance, should be included. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and it passed by a vote of 4 to 3;

4) Section 401.1.A – Cemetery does not meet the definition of buffer unless agricultural uses would be implemented. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and itfailed by a vote of 2 to 5;

5) Section 401.1.A – Clarification that if the cemetery is not established, the Ordinance is null and void. Mike Piazza seconded the motion and itpassed by a vote of 5 to 2;

6) Section 401.1.B2a – All modified school uses under the Ordinance are null and void if the cemetery is not established. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and itpassed by a vote of 6 to 1;

7) Section 401.1.C1 – The word “undeveloped” should be added between “open space” and “requirements”. The motionfailed by a vote of 3 to 4;

8) Section 401.D – Regarding the parameters for the Single Family Detached Dwellings, the minimum side yard setback for above ground structures should be revised to 20ft with a 40ft aggregate; and the minimum rear yard setback should be amended to 100ft aggregate. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and itfailed by a vote of 2 to 5;

9) Section 401.1.F – “VR-1” should be added after “CM” in the first sentence and after “underlying” in the third sentence. Frank Mendicino seconded the motion and it passed by a vote of 4 to 3;

10a) Section 401.1.G1a – Adding “undeveloped open space” after “agricultural” in the second sentence. Beth Weachter-Sanderlin seconded the motion and it passed by a vote of 5 to 2;

10b) Section 401.1.G1a – Adding “For funeral processions site access will be restricted to an entrance via 532 north of Dollington Village”. Jim Bowe seconded the motion and it passed by a vote of 4 to 3; and

11) Section 401.1.G1a – Adding “undeveloped” after “open space” in the title and in front of “open space” in the second sentence. The motion passed by a vote of 5 to 2.

Frank Mendicino motioned to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors subject to the Ordinance revisions approved by the Planning Commission. Mike Piazza seconded the motion and members voted unanimously to approve it.

6. Zoning Hearing Board

a. Love Fellowship Tabernacle/Stanley Dwight, 4 Claire Drive
Applicant is requesting relief to erect a fence .5ft in excess of the ordinance - No comment.

b. Shannon and Nancy Wilson, 861 Newtown-Yardley Road
Applicant is requesting relief for a second exterior sign on the building; additionally both signs are 28ft larger than permitted – No comment.

c. Paul J. Muller, III, 23 Claire Drive
Applicant is requesting relief for 2.9% of impervious cover in the construction of a pool pavilion, an arbor, pool decking and boulder walls surrounding an in-ground pool that is currently under construction – No comment.

d. Joyce Laviscount, 24 Amy Circle
Applicant is requesting relief for 6.7% of impervious cover in the construction of an in-ground swimming pool with decking and coping. Jim Bowe raised concerns over flooding in the area that already exists. Herb Gery suggested requiring the applicant to provide appropriate drainage to offset the impervious coverage. Members unanimously voted to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the variance subject to a review by the Township Engineer of the applicant’s means to deal with the water runoff.

e. Christian and Mary Katherine Seiler, 13 Hillside Road
Applicant is requesting relief for 1.6% of impervious cover and lot non-conformity in the construction of an addition to their home. Members voted unanimously to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors.

f. Ivyland Builders on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Brennan, 269 North Lincoln Avenue
Applicant is requesting relief from lot conformity in the construction of an addition to their home. Members voted unanimously to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors.

g. Geraldine Lewis, 46 Maple Avenue
Applicant is requesting relief for .2% of impervious cover on Lot 1 and 0% open space on Lot 2 in the subdivision of the property and construction of a new home on Lot 2. Members voted unanimously to recommend approval by the Board of Supervisors.

7. Subcommittee Reports - Due to the length of the meeting Chairman Ward did not review reports, except for the following comments regarding the Joint Zoning Council by Allen Fidler:

1) That the solicitor should be retained for a 2-yr tenure;

2) If a municipality’s Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors do not agree on an Ordinance, that municipality should suggest revisions that they would support; and

3) Developer driven ordinance escrow funds are to be pleaded in review by the Joint Zoning Council’s Solicitor.

8. Adjournment - Chairman Ward adjourned the meeting at 12:00 midnight with unanimously approval by the members.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Susan M. Dalman, Recording Secretary