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 December 5, 2006

 

Present : Chairman Shawn Ward, Vice Chairman Vince Lombardi and members, Jay Sensibaugh, Allen Fidler, Shannon Wilson, Jim Bowe, Frank Mendicino and Mike Piazza. Also present were Solicitor Paul Beckert, Township Engineer Edward Koehler, Township Planner Judy Stern Goldstein, Traffic Engineer Matt Johnston and Mike Imperial Township Codes and Zoning Dept. Beth Sanderlin-Weachter resigned her position on the Commission and was not in attendance.

1. Call To Order – Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 8:04 p.m.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting 11/21/2006 - Jay Sensibaugh motioned to accept the minutes and Mike Piazza seconded; Members unanimously approved except for Frank Mendicino who abstained from the vote.

3. Traffic Engineer’s Report

a. Closed Loop Traffic Responsive Signal System – Matt Johnston advised that the counts had been done in November and were now being analyzed; the Township will be responsible for implementing any changes and continuing to monitor the traffic flow. In response to Chairman Ward, Mr. Johnston noted that the limited number of vehicles being able to cross the By-Pass at Buck Road was a part of this study. Chairman Ward will speak with Bob Pellegrino about contracting with Pennoni to do a study.

b. Durham Road – Mr. Johnston advised that the resurfacing between the Shopping Center entrance and Washington Crossing Road has been pushed back to the spring of 2007 due to utility work that has not been completed.

c. Newtown-Yardley Road – Mr. Johnston advised that the Environmental Clearance had been obtained last month; however, Preliminary Plan approval is still pending. The delay is the result of PennDOT outsourcing to consultants.

Vice Chairman Lombardi raised the issue of Sycamore and Jefferson Streets. Ed Koehler advised that the requested Remington Vernick & Beach report had been done. A traffic count has been done; recommendations have been made on the signal and the stop bars at that intersection. In his opinion Vice Chairman Lombardi mentioned that the traffic flow on Jefferson Street was better due to changes that were made; however, the northbound traffic on Sycamore Street had gotten worse. Mr. Koehler noted that the intersection had extreme limitations and Mr. Johnston confirmed the “no right-turn on red” sign should remain. Mr. Koehler added that the recommendation was based on sight distance, restricted by the amount of parking on Sycamore Street; to alleviate the problem, in his opinion, 3, 4 or 5 parking spaces would have to be eliminated. Frank Mendicino made a motion to study the sight distance; however, he withdrew the motion when Chairman Ward suggested that members wait until they saw the Remington Vernick & Beach report.

4. Land Development

a. Newtown Industrial Building (11 Friends LLC), 11 Friends Lane – Preliminary Plan for Land Development

Don Marshall, Esq., counsel for the applicant, advised that this was the redevelopment of a building in the Industrial Commons and that zoning relief had already been granted for the occupancy of this building to be ½ medical offices and ½ general offices; there will be 355 parking spaces. All landscaping issues are “will comply” and the certification from the water/sewer authority was pending. Regarding outside refuse storage, Mr. Marshall confirmed that a masonry pad with perimeter fencing and landscaping would be constructed. Mike Piazza asked where the front of the building was and Mr. Marshall advised that it was on Friends Lane; however, various users in the building will have their own entrances. Mr. Piazza noted that in the LI District, parking in the front of the building was prohibited; however, there is a conflict between the Land Development Ordinance and the Zoning Ordinance under which parking is permitted. Mr. Marshall added that a waiver was requested from the restriction in the Land Development Ordinance, along with a waiver for a parking lot situated above the general utility easement. Item 1., of the Remington Vernick & Beach letter, raised the issue of the size of the parking spaces and Mr. Knudsen of Knudsen Engineering advised that the spaces against the building are 10ft wide, while the perimeter spaces are 9ft wide.

Mr. Marshall requested that the traffic study be waived. Chairman Ward suggested that a fee be paid in lieu of the applicant doing an individual traffic study; fees could be obtained from anyone in the Industrial Commons engaged in the redevelopment with the intent of doing an overall traffic study for the entire area. Allen Fidler felt that direction was needed from the Board of Supervisors and Frank Mendicino expressed his concern over alleviating requirements of applicants involved in the redevelopment of the area.

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

1) Compliance with the Boucher and James letter of October 31, 2006, the Remington Vernick & Beach letter of October 16, 2006, the Pennoni letter of November 22, 2006, the BCPC letter of October 26, 2006, the Newtown Emergency Services Dept. letter of October 27, 2006 and the Suburban Lighting letter of October 26, 2006;

2) Subject to the variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board and indicated on revised plans;

3) Provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District;

4) Tree protection/fencing installed prior to construction commencement, approved by the Township; any planting will be guaranteed for 18 months;

5) Copy of service agreement letter from the water and sewer authorities;

6) Compliance with the sign ordinance;

7) Outside refuse storage containers will be screened and landscaped in compliance with SALDO Section 530.10;

8) Park/Rec fee will be paid in lieu of dedication of open space;

9) Payment of the assessed traffic impact fee;

10) Traffic study will be provided;

11) Provide evidence of financial security;

12) Permits obtained with corresponding approval letters;

13) Execution of unilateral declaration of restrictions and covenants; and

14) All review fees are paid to the Township.

Further, the following waivers are recommended:

1) Section 403.b and .c regarding existing features;

2) Section 514.2 to permit parking in the front yard;

3) Section 514.9 to permit parking within 20ft of the building;

4) Section 517.1 to permit 6ft wide planting strips between the sidewalk and the curb; and

5) Section 520.5 to permit parking within the easement.

Mike Piazza made the motion, Frank Mendicino seconded it and members voted unanimously to approve.

b. NAC Pool Addition, 209 Penns Trail – Revised Preliminary Plan for Land Development

Don Marshall, Esq., counsel for the applicant advised that an addition to the pool with a patio and additional parking is being proposed. Additionally, they will be relocating the entrance to the facility to alleviate some of the traffic situation at Penns Trail and the Bypass. Larry Schorr, of Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., advised that the new entrance consists of 2 lanes and there will be re-striping of Penns Trail. Members were concerned about the primary access road to the facility passing through the parking lot of Joe Manto’s Baseball Academy. Allen Fidler requested that the applicant review the driveway configuration to see if potential hazards for motorists in the Academy’s parking lot can be avoided. The existing driveway will be left in tact as a fire access road; however, Paul Beckert will speak with the Fire Marshall as to the need for this.

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

1) Subject to any waivers granted and in compliance with the Boucher and James letter of September 15, 2006, the Remington, Vernick and Beach letter of September 14, 2006, the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of November 9, 2006, the Newtown Emergency Services Dept. letter of September 6, 2006, the Pennoni letter of October 20, 2006 and the Suburban Lighting Consultants letter of September 27, 2006;

2) Subject to the variances granted by the Zoning Hearing Board on July 3, 2003;

3) No use shall be permitted that is noxious or offensive in the immediate area by odors, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or other means;

4) No lighting glare shall extend from the property;

5) Compliance with the sign ordinance;

6) Trees will be protected by tree protection fencing prior to the commencement of construction and approved by the Township;

7) Existing driveway on Penns Trail North will be closed and landscaped;

8) The relocation of the existing access drive to adjacent properties is subject to review by the Township. Plans will indicate the location and calculations of impervious cover, parking and other resources located to the adjoining properties. If necessary an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District will be provided in respect of the adjacent properties; a perpetual easement agreement will be provided subject to Township approval. The southern-most parking lot of the adjacent properties will be held in reserve parking and the northern-most parking lot marked to permit employee parking only. The access drive onto this site will be one-lane and signed to indicate no egress onto the adjacent properties;

9) Plantings will be guaranteed for 18 months;

10) Agreement to extend the center turn lane from the By-Pass to Newtown-Yardley Road including a 12ft through lane and a 10ft center turn lane with necessary signage; if improvements are determined to be off-site, they will be credited from the traffic impact fee;

11) Traffic Impact fee will be determined by the Township Traffic Engineer under Township’s fee schedule;

12) Park/Rec fee will be paid in lieu of the dedication of land for open space;

13) Evidence of financial security will be provided;

14) Additional parking required by this approval will be held in green and paved only if required by the Township;

15) All required permits will be secured;

16) Copy of water/sewer agreements if required or a letter so stating that it is not;

17) Trash enclosures will be screened and landscaped in compliance with SALDO Section 540.10; and

18) All Township review fees will be paid.

Further, the following waivers are granted:

1) Section 534 requiring concrete curbs - wheel stops are proposed;

2) Section 534.9 requiring an 8-inch curb – a 6-inch curb is proposed;

3) Section 402.3.b. and c. requiring existing features be shown – an aerial photograph is proposed;

4) Section 516 requiring street curbing;

5) Section 517 requiring sidewalks;

6) Section 420.1 requiring plans on a scale of 1” = 50ft – 1” = 40ft is used; and

7) Section 521.5.b requiring a meadow be used for the stormwater calculations – applicant is proposing to use existing impervious surfaces and grass/landscaping areas.

Jay Sensibaugh made the motion, Mike Piazza seconded it and members voted unanimously to approve.

c. Newtown Plaza Shopping Center, Swamp Road – Waiver for Land Development

Don Marshall, Esq., counsel for the applicant advised that the applicant was approached by the Township to match up the entrance to his property with Eagle Road; this is a part of the improvements being made to the corner of Eagle Road and Swamp Road, including the traffic light. Subsequently, the applicant is requesting a Land Development Waiver. There is a 1,800SF addition to the shopping center being proposed that is intended for occupancy by an ice cream store and a Conditional Use application will be presented when the user is secured. Additionally there will be a new driveway and 3 more parking spaces with some of the current impervious cover removed; the proposal indicates that the impervious cover will go from 63.3% to 62.64%. The engineer is not proposing any change in the retention basis due to the insignificant change in the impervious surface. Judith Stern Goldstein was concerned over some of the parking areas shown on the plans, but the applicant will comply with her requests.

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

1) Compliance with the Boucher and James letter of September 27, 2006, the Remington, Vernick and Beach letter of October 5, 2006, the Pennoni letter of October 6, 2006 and the Newtown Emergency Services Dept. letter of September 13, 2006;

2) Site capacity calculations will not be required;

3) No noxious, offensive or hazardous uses will emanate from the property;

4) Any future uses will require Conditional Use approval;

5) Evidence of financial security to be provided;

6) Adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District is required;

7) All permits are secured;

8) Signs are in compliance with the Township Ordinance;

9) Approval of lighting by Suburban Lighting Consultants;

10) Appropriate tree fencing provided and plantings are guaranteed for 18 months;

11) All deliveries by van-sized vehicles to the rear of the building; no tractor-trailers;

12) All trash areas to be included in the impervious site calculations and dumpsters are accessible;

13) Service letters from the water/sewer authority be provided;

14) Agreement be entered into between the applicant and the Township setting forth the responsibility of each for the proposed site improvements at Swamp Road and South Eagle Road;

15) Unilateral declaration of restrictions and covenants be provided;

16) Park/Rec fee paid in lieu of dedication of open space;

17) Township Traffic Engineer to determine the traffic impact fee;

18) Parking calculations be submitted by the applicant to determine the adequacy;

19) In the event of an increase in impervious cover, the applicant must address stormwater management; otherwise, the applicant shall permit the basin size to be increased if requested by the Township, with the Township bearing the cost; and

20) A Professional Services contract as a basis for relief.

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

5. Conditional Use – The Promenade at Sycamore Street, North Sycamore Street

Dave Sanders, Esq., counsel for the applicant, advised that the Conditional Use application has not changed and outlined the changes to the plan:

1) The building itself has been reduced from 3 stories to 2 stories;

2) The approximate 89,000 proposed gross square footage has been reduced to 57,380SF;

3) The height of the main building has been reduced from 49ft to 38.6ft;

4) The proposed 3 rd floor residential level has been eliminated; and

5) The 3.5 level parking garage has been reduced to 3 levels, providing 207 parking spaces.

Mr. Sanders advised that the Board of Supervisors indicated that they would support the variance for the required parking spaces, if the applicant provided at least 200 parking spaces (based on the new plans 399 spaces are now required). Discussion took place about providing parking on the roof of the building, but aesthetically and structurally the idea would not be considered. When questioned, Mr. Sanders advised that an old traffic study had been used; however, members never saw that study. Now the applicant is looking for a waiver from a traffic study; however, if required they will do it, but not until they receive approval for the Conditional Use.

Regarding fire and emergency access, the revised plans still do not provide for vehicle access; however, a concrete pad is proposed for access by emergency personnel. In compliance with the request by the Board of Supervisors, deliveries will be before 8:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m.; UPS and Fed-Ex vehicles will not be subject to this limitation. When asked by Mr. Sensibaugh about the impact on the adjacent church, Mr. Sanders advised that none were anticipated, but would be worked out with the church if needed. The building will act as a retaining wall next to the church and a short retaining wall will be constructed in front of the restaurant to reduce the amount of water flowing onto the patio. Stormwater inlets will also be installed along the side of the building to tie into the drainage system.

Frank Mendicino motioned to deny the Conditional Use application based on not having a traffic study and inadequate ability to handle the flow of traffic in and out of the site. At Jay Sensibaugh’s request, Mr. Mendicino amended his motion to include in the denial the detriment to adjacent properties and non-compliance with Ordinance Section 1301.B.2, 1301.B.3, 1301.B.4 and 1301.B.5.

Chairman Ward seconded the motion for discussion and Jay Sensibaugh took the second after the motion was amended. Members voted 6 to 1 to approve the motion; Shannon Wilson abstained from the vote.

6. Zoning Hearing Board

b. Frank Mastromarco, 135 Swamp Road – Members voted unanimously to refer this to the Board of Supervisors with no comment.

a. Leo A. Holt, 220 Stoopville Road – Challenge to the Validity of the Zoning Ordinance, Ordinance #2006-18, “Federal Cemetery Overlay District” – Members unanimously agreed that this was a legal matter. Therefore, they voted unanimously, except for Mike Piazza’s abstention, to refer this to the Board of Supervisors with no comment.

c. Bakul and Sangita Patel, 430 Durham Road – Appealing an Action of the Zoning Officer – Members voted unanimously to support the Zoning Officer

Frank Mendicino and Shannon Wilson excused themselves from the meeting at 11:00 p.m.

7. Ordinance Reviews

a. JMZO 2006-06 – Winery Accessory to a Vineyard – Members unanimously agreed to table this review.

b. JMZO 2006-08 – Lighting - Members unanimously agreed to table this review.

c. JMZO 2006-19 – CM – Conservation Management Revisions – Members unanimously agreed to table this review for recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

8. Subcommittee ReportsDue to the length of the meeting, Chairman Ward tabled the reports for the next meeting; members unanimously agreed.

9. General Discussion With Beth Sanderlin-Weachter resignation from the Planning Commission, Jay Sensibaugh motioned to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make a formal letter of commendation for her services. Mike Piazza seconded it and members unanimously approved.

10. Adjournment – Chairman Ward adjourned the meeting at 11:10 p.m. with unanimous approval by members.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Susan M. Dalman, Recording Secretary