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 February 6, 2007

 

Present : Chairman Shawn Ward; Vice Chairman Vince Lombardi; and Members Jay Sensibaugh, Shannon Wilson, Jim Bowe, Mike Piazza and Dennis Fisher.

Also Present : Solicitor Paul, Beckert, Township Engineer Edward Koehler, Township Planner Judy Stern Goldstein, Traffic Engineer Matt Johnston, Director of Planning and Zoning Michael Solomon, and Supervisors Jerry Schenkman and Phil Calabro.

1. Call To Order– Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 8:05 PM. He noted that Leslie Dunleavy was filling in for recording secretary Susan Dalman. Chairman Ward announced the resignation of Michael Piazza after tonight’s meeting and thanked him for his service to the Commission.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting 01/16/2007 - Mike Piazza made a motion to approve the minutes with the following changes: page 6, item #8, second bullet: end the first sentence after “Planning Commission meeting,” and change the following sentence to read “At the regular 8:00 PM time the meeting would start.” Jim Bowe seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously by the Commission.

3. Traffic Engineer's Report

Matt Johnson reviewed his report, noting that the traffic signal enhancement system should be completed in Spring of 2007 and the Regional Traffic Study completed in the Fall of 2007. He cited the handout regarding the Bucks County Regional Traffic Study Public Open House, project overview.

Jay Sensibaugh asked about efforts being taken to ensure road design elements from the previous Swamp Road study would be included in PennDOT’s Swamp Road improvement project. Matt Johnson noted that the bridges would have wider shoulders; Jim Bowe noted that paths and other elements were proposed in the previous study. Jay Sensibaugh was concerned with greater speeds on wider roads and said that speed control measures were needed; he suggested stone pull off areas or other measures. He thought that less wide, less paved area had been proposed. Matt Johnson will look into the issue and also check on the date for a public meeting in the spring.

4. Land Development

a. Goodnoe’s Corner – 298 N. Sycamore Street – Final Plan

Shawn Ward recused himself from the matter. John Van Luvanee was present for the applicant. He said that the conditions required by the Board of Supervisors were the same as those recommended by the Planning Commission, with the exception of the sidewalks. Mr. Van Luvanee said that the residents of the Cliveden development opposed the sidewalks, and that the final plan differed only slightly from the preliminary plan.

Mr. Van Luvanee cited the response letter from Pickering, Corts & Summerson dated January 15, 2007 to the Township Engineer which included all will-comply responses. He said they agreed with the calculation of the traffic impact fees and said the applicant would construct the traffic signal at Sycamore Street and Silo Drive at his expense if the traffic impact fee could be used towards the cost of the signal. Mr. Van Luvanee noted the traffic signal has been warranted under existing conditions.

Supervisor Jerry Schenkman said that the Cliveden HOA had contacted the Board of Supervisors with their objection to sidewalks; resident concern was for pedestrians walking along a busy road. He said a compromise was reached in which the sidewalks would run alongside the building, between buildings 5 and 6, and tie into the internal walks. It was noted that the sidewalks would not be visible from the road. Mr. Van Luvanee said the applicant would install sidewalks in either scenario, and felt the BOS might like Planning Commission input on the issue.

The applicant agreed to the installation of a handicapped accessible ramp of stamped concrete instead of stairs to the retaining wall.

Mike Piazza made a motion, framed by Solicitor Beckert, to recommend the approval as to final land development for KLS Ryan, LP, trading as Goodnoe’s Corner with the following conditions.

1. That the applicant complies with the following review letters:

A. Boucher & James of 1/9/07;

B. Remington & Vernick of 1/5/07;

C. Pennoni of 1/19/07;

D. Bucks County Planning Commission of 11/21/06;

E. Newtown Emergency Management Services of 1/5/07;

F. Suburban Lighting Consultant of 12/13/06.

2. Subject to the variances granted.

3. Subject to the conditional use approval.

4. All permits to be secured.

5. All financial security documents to be provided.

6. Adequate or will serve letters from the water and sewer authorities.

7. All signs will be subject to ordinance and subject to HARB approval.

8. Subject to all conditions of preliminary land development except inconsistent herewith.

9. Traffic impact fee be paid.

10. That the applicant shall immediately provide all information to the Township to permit it to make application to PennDOT for a traffic signal; if a traffic signal is permitted installation will proceed immediately; the installation shall be at applicant’s expense and the applicant shall set aside the traffic impact fee to pay said costs and if any shortfall exists, said shall be at the expense of applicant otherwise the applicant will be given a credit for the cost of the signal as against the traffic impact fee paid.

11. In lieu of dedication, a park and recreation fee paid.

12. That pedestrian sidewalks be extended from Durham Road as shown on the revised plan along the frontage of the buildings along Durham Road between buildings 5 and 6 and then interiorly within the parking lot.

13. The applicant shall meet with HARB and review the proposed exterior of the building for comments and recommendations.

14. That the waivers granted in preliminary land development be granted as waivers.

Shannon Wilson seconded the motion, which was approved 6-0 with one recusal.

b. DeLuca Corporate Center – 138 S. Sycamore Street – Revised preliminary Plan

Ed Murphy was present for the applicant. He said all reviews and responses were in. Mr. Beckert reviewed the issues, noting

  • The issue raised by the Bucks County Planning Commission of screening of the offset parking has been resolved.
  • Matt Johnson had no concern with the timeliness or scope of the traffic impact study.
  • Belgian block would be used internally only; sidewalks, curbs, crosswalks, etc. would be in accordance with the Sycamore Street streetscape specifications.

It was clarified the crosswalk in front of the church would need to be relocated; the plan is to place it centrally in front of the building. The consensus of the Commission was for a second crosswalk to the north of the northernmost driveway entrance. It was clarified that the rear fence had been eliminated. It was noted that the applicant had met with and gained approval fro the plan from the Newtown Place HOA. The applicant agreed that the parking lot lights would be turned off, except for security lighting, at 9:00 PM.

The Commission agreed the plan was being considered as a Preliminary Final Plan.

Mr. Schenkman made a motion, framed by Solicitor Beckert, to recommend approval for DeLuca Homes, preliminary as final, 131 South Sycamore Street, Newtown, Pennsylvania, to permit a 50,850 square foot building for a D-1 Office Use on the following conditions:

1. Compliance with the following review letters:

A. the review letter of Boucher & James of 1/24/07;

B. the review letter of Remington & Vernick of 12/13/06;

C. the review letter of Pennoni of 1/30/07;

D. the review letter of Bucks County Planning Commission of August 17, 2006;

E. the review letter of Newtown Emergency Management Services of November 22, 2006;

F. the review letter of Suburban Lighting Consultants of September 21, 2006;

G. the review letter of Bucks County Conservation District of December 22, 2006.

2. The applicant shall reserve twenty-three (23) spaces in green to be used to be paved if required by the Township.

3. The approval is subject to the conditions of conditional use approval.

4. That the approval is subject to the conditions of the variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board;

5. That the basement area not be permitted to be habitable for office use but permitted for storage and related mechanical and computer uses and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.

6. That tree protection fencing and planning guarantees for eighteen (18) months be provided.

7. That a traffic impact fee be paid with credit for previous trips.

8. That a park and recreation fee be paid in lieu of dedication of open space.

9. That all review fees be paid.

10. That crosswalks be provided at two locations on the northerly most entrance to the building and in the center of the building across Sycamore Street relocated at the expense of the applicant matching the crosswalks on Sycamore Street.

11. That internal sidewalks be extended to Sycamore Street.

12. That all lighting be down lit and that all lighting except for security lighting go off no later than 9:00 p.m. and that no glare extend to adjoining properties.

13. The unilateral declaration of restrictions and covenants be executed.

14. That all signs comply with Township ordinances and be subject to approval of HARB.

15. All permits be secured.

16. Adequate or will serve letters from the water and sewer authority be provided.

17. Financial security documents be executed.

18. That the exterior design be subject to review and comment by HARB.

19. That waivers be granted from subdivision and land development as follows:

(a) As to waivers, dimensions and features;

(b) As to maximum driveway and slope;

(c) As to refuge islands;

(d) As to not require revised or extended traffic impact study;

(e) As to minimum 15 foot grass strips between curb and sidewalk along Sycamore Street;

(f) As to screening and landscaping dumpster locations;

(g) Permitting Belgium blocks on interior private parking lot.

And the following waivers be granted from the Storm Water Management Ordinance:

(a) As to waiver of post development site discharge; and

(b) To allow the existing conditions rather than meadow for the calculation of flow rates.

Shannon Wilson seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by the Commission.

c. Goodnoe Tract, 235 Eagle Road – Informal Discussion

Ed Murphy, Esq., counsel for the applicant, and William Briegel, Orleans Builders were present. Mr. Murphy presented sketches of three alternate treatments of the cul de sac in the development:

  • Exhibit A: the cul de sac is eliminated; access to open space may not be as desired
  • Exhibit B: changes the turn and eliminates the cul de sac; still ungainly access to open space
  • Exhibit C: The applicant favors this treatment, which flips the cul de sac, increasing the size of Lot 21 and allowing better access to the open space.

It was clarified that it is unsure how the township would use the open space area; the Park & Recreation Department has discussed possible trails. Mr. Murphy said there was sufficient space (69’) for vehicle access. Mr. Bowe noted there was only one driveway off the cul de sac.

The Commission discussed the alternatives for the cul de sac; the consensus was for the Exhibit C configuration. Mr. Murphy said they could install a stop sign at the intersection before the cul de sac. It was clarified that the installation of sidewalks along the road would necessitate the removal of existing trees; Mr. Murphy said the street trees would be replaced.

5. Reviews

a. JMZO 2006-06 – Winery Accessory to a Vineyard

Dave Fleming was present. He said he felt the provision for a minimum 14 contiguous acres in order to hold special events should be reduced to 10 contiguous acres; the Commission agreed. It was clarified that the Commission had no objection to the definition of winery, the limit to the number of attendees, or and re-designation of uses.

Vince Lombardi made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors the adoption of JMZO 2006-06, Winery Accessory to a Vineyard. Mike Piazza seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by the Commission.

b. JMZO 2006-20 – Zoning Map Change QA to QA-A & Consumer Fireworks Facility Use

There was no discussion. Vince Lombardi made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors the adoption of JMZO 2006-20 regarding fireworks. Mike Piazza seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by the Commission.

6. Subcommittee & Liaison Reports

a. Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Schenkman said he had no formal report, but that the Board may be approached by the Newtown Creek Coalition with ideas regarding the creek. On behalf of the Supervisors, he thanked Mr. Piazza for his service on the Commission.

b. Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission

Chairman Ward said there was no representative from the Planning Commission to the NARPC’s last meeting; he will attend the next meeting a week from Thursday.

c. Joint Zoning Council

Chairman Ward noted that there is presently no liaison to the Joint Zoning Council. Mr. Sensibaugh said he had attended the Joint Zoning Council meeting at the request of the Planning Commission. He said that Chapters 1-3 of the Comprehensive Plan were discussed and a number of revisions were discussed. Mr. Sensibaugh suggested the solicitor get a track changes version of the draft for the Planning Commission to review. Mr. Sensibaugh reported that the Council also discussed open zoning issues. Chairman Ward said the Commission would review Chapters 1-3 at the next meeting, at which Lynn Bush would be present; copies should be included in the PC packets.

d. Historic Architectural Review Board

No report.

e. Park & Recreation Board

No report.

f. Environmental Advisory Council

No report. Supervisor Schenkman said they are seeking to expand the committee; Mr. Beckert noted it would require an ordinance amendment.

g. Plan Expirations

There were no upcoming expiration dates.

7. Old Business

a. Newtown Center Associates 2 – 2600 S. Eagle Road Zoning Hearing Application: Reconsideration of Recommended Condition of Single Tenant Limitation

John Van Luvanee was present for the applicant. He said he had been unable to attend the last Planning Commission to explain the details of the variance request. Mr. Van Luvanee noted that PetSmart had received conditional use approval. He explained that PetSmart deliveries would be made by large tractor (WB67) trailers that are approximately 73’ long; a covered loading dock is required. Mr. Van Luvanee noted that a standard loading berth is 15’ x 50’ and said they are proposing berths that are 35’ x 61’; the dock was included in the building area calculations. He explained that the issue was tabled by the ZHB to enable the applicant to discuss the issue further with the Planning Commission and BOS before returning to the ZHB.

Mr. Van Luvanee presented several exhibits illustrating the turning radius for tractor trailers, and said there would be adequate room for multiple panel trucks to deliver at the same time as a tractor trailer, due to the larger berth size. He noted that a tractor trailer delivering goods would not block the traffic lane. Mr. Van Luvanee said PetSmart expected to have deliveries several times a week; it was clarified that the loading dock would be used exclusively for Pet Smart deliveries.

Chairman Ward said his understanding had been that the covered dock could impede other deliveries, noting that he did not have the exhibits presented at this meeting to consider. He said that if the applicant was willing to limit the number of additional retail businesses to 3 he felt there would be enough room for the loading dock proposed in the variance request. Engineer Ed Koehler said he thought that there would be sufficient room for 3 or 4 panel trucks when a tractor trailer was delivering, since the loading berths were of a larger width.

Mr. Lombardi suggested that conditions be imposed: a single new user could use a tractor trailer and additional users could use panel trucks only. Mr. Koehler felt that with these conditions the access space in the rear and turning radius would be adequate.

Mr. Lombardi made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to not oppose the variance request with the conditions that:

  • If the 12,385 sq. ft retail area had a single user, the user would be allowed one tractor trailer for deliveries
  • If the 12,385 sq. ft. retail area had 2 or 3 users, the users would be limited to the use of panel trucks for deliveries
  • There would be no more than three users in the 12,385 retail space
  • There would be no more than one tractor trailer delivery at one time.
Mr. Wilson seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously by the Commission..

8. Correspondence

There was no correspondence.

9. New Business

There was no new business.

10. Adjournment

On motion by Mr. Piazza and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 PM.

 

Faithfully submitted by:

 

Leslie Dunleavy, interim recording secretary