NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on April 17, 2007
Present: Chairman Shawn Ward; Jay Sensibaugh Vice-Chairman excused; Allen Fidler, Dennis Fisher, Vincent Lombardi, Peggy Driscoll and Jim Bowe, members. Shannon Wilson, Frank Mendicino excused. Also in attendance were: Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Judith Stern Goldstein, Township Planner and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer. Edward Koehler, Township Engineer.
Call to Order: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00 pm.
Approval of Minutes: Shawn Ward moved to accept the minutes of March 20, 2007
Allen Fidler seconded the motion was passed unanimously.
Traffic Engineer Report- Traffic Report received in all member packets on April 17, 2007, Shawn Ward suggested to hold discussion until next meeting when traffic engineer is present.
Zoning Hearing Board:
- Linda & Nicholas Lazeration 24 Barclay Street – Applicant is seeking relief to construct a 10.25’ x 17.7’ living room addition in the front of the house, which is located on a nonconforming lot. Members discussed this addition to increase living room space.
The Commission recommended that the application move ahead without comment.
- OHB Homes Inc. Goodnoe Tract, Eagle Rd. s/o Wrights Rd. - Vice President William Briegal and Robert Jordon were in attendance to review application seeking variances in connection with the development of twenty-one new proposed single family detached dwelling building lots and detention of three existing dwellings. Members discussed the variance request on the open space. The open space requirement is approx 45 acres and the variance is approx 35 acres that would be continuous with most of it on the back portion of the sight. Alan Fidler recommended that the sign board go to all meetings because the reduction seems significant from 45 to 35 acres without a visual. Mr. Ward asked about the deep slopes and Mr. Briegal explaned that they are limited on the sight and there were some that were disturbed by the placement of the current roadway.
The natural slopes are on the back of the sight.
The Commission recommended that the application move ahead without comment.
- Brookshire Estates LP, Brookshire Estates, Washington Xing n/o Gaucks Lane -- William Briegel represents the applicant who is seeking variances in connection with the development of Phase II of Brookshire Estates containing the total of 29 single family detached dwelling lots (28 lots will be located in Lower Makefield and 1 lot will be in Newtown Township, which is identified as lot 29). Members had concerns with the traffic, safety and maintence of Gaucks Lane. The Board of Supervisors asked Mr. Briegel to see if they could reline the of Gauck’s Lane to a much safer angle perpendicular to the intersection. Paul Beckert discussed that Gauck’s Lane would be maintained by Lower Makefield Township for snow removal, otherwise each township would abide by there own ordinances. Mr. Ward went over all the variances with Mr. Briegel . Lot 29 has two front yards. Mr. Fidler asked if Lot 29 has two front yards and if the front yard is compliant with requirements and the rear front yard would be the one with the variance. Mr. Beckert responded that neither one is in compliance and the yards are 70 ft. instead of 100 ft. Mr. Lombardi asked about the township sewer and water and if arrangements have been made with each township. Mr. Lombardi wanted a note added to the plan indicated the maximum amount of impervious surface that could be permitted on the lot in Newtown Township (Lot 29). He than added that this should be expressed in square feet and not as a percentage of the lot area. Tom who was a part of the neighborhood attended the meeting and was concerned with where the house will be situated on the lot but Mr. Briegel explained that this house has to be placed on the lot to fulfill the requirement of PennDOT. He was pleased with the improvements of Gauck’s Lane. The Committee recommends that board not oppose with the condition that a note be added to the plan indicating the maximum amount of impervious surface that could be permitted on the lot in Newtown Township (Lot 29). Chairman Ward called for a vote and to was approved unanimously—motion carried.
- Philippa B. Roosevelt, 425 Linton Hill Road – Theapplicant is seeking relief for the construction of a 650sq.ft. inground swimming pool with spa with 1200sq.ft. of pool decking, 140sq.ft. of coping, a 47sq.ft. pad and steppingstones, and a 113sq.ft.gazebo, which will exceed the maximum allowable impervious surface ratio in accordance with the 1983 Newtown Township Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, as amended. Jim Bowes showed concern about how many applicants we are going to have as our township is being built out. Mr. Lombardi also showed concerns on how the road will handle the water if we receive severe storms as we do not have the farms and we should develop a policy on their applications. Allan Fidler expressed concern that the engineer and planners have alot of best management practices that could be included into homeowner sites that would help offset and increase impervious run on. A recommendation from Engineer Edward Koehler was that if this board was of a mind to approve this application that the applicant’s engineer would comply with section 2-20 of the storm water ordinance and look strongly at figure B-1 page 99 Infiltration Beds for a homeowner who would have a 2000 sq. ft. additional impervious addition of water to infiltration beds or wet pond would soak up the water and there would be no additional run off. The Commission would not oppose this application subject to the following:
- Best management practices be incorporated to keep excess water retained on property for 24/48 hours in water barrels or infiltration beds.
- To reduce the 1200 sq ft. pool decking to decrease impervious from 17.4% to about 15% or less.
- That applicant’s professional complies with section 2-20 of the Storm Water Ordinance.
Mr. Ward and Mr.Beckert suggested that Mrs. Roosevelt have the changed made on her plans before the May 3 rd meeting.
- Maria Larson & James Higgins – 2 Crocus Lane – The applicant is seeking relief to permit the construction of an approx. 15’x 25’ irregularly shaped concrete stamped patio which will exceed the minimum side and rear yard setback requirement of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983, as amended and the maximum allowable impervious surface ratio requirement of Newtown Grant’s Final Plan (Court Ordered Stipulation Agreement). Members asked if applicant discussed the patio with the neighbors and the applicant did not. Applicant has attended Newtown Grants board meeting and they are waiting for approval from township. The Commission recommended that applicant move ahead without comment.
- Bret & Sarah Piano - 24 Sibelius Road -- The applicant did not attend the meeting and is seeking relief to erect approximately 235 linear feet of 4’ high black aluminum fencing ( total fence length is approximately 4051.f.) on a corner property with frontage along Wrights Road. The proposed fence will exceed the maximum fence height requirements of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983.
Member discussed that the rest of the neighborhood has 3 ft. wooden fences and Mr. Ward pointed out that is a non-association neighborhood. Mr. Fidler shared that in terms of 3ft. fence or a 4ft. fence does not make a large difference when there are all kinds of fencing in this neighborhood. Mr. Bowe also shared concern with the height of the fence. The Commission recommended that applicant move ahead without comment.
Subcommittee & Liaison Reports
- Board of Supervisor
- Newtown Area regional Planning Commission-Next meeting on 4/19
- Joint Zoning Council—NextMay
- Sycamore Street: Mr. Lombardi discussed that they are working on some landscaping. A new sign has been discussed at the last meeting but he did not attend. Paul Beckert added that the Boro Council has approved signs on State Street to have a possible walking historic tour on properties on State and Sycamore streets and he is wondering if JMBC would have money to help fund this project. Two properties have already agreed to contribute the 1000.00 dollars that the township is asking for.
- Historic Architectural Review Board
- Park and Recreation Board- Shawn Ward asked Peggy Driscol to be liaison for Park and Rec.
- Enviromental Advisory Council – Mr. Fisher sent an e-mail to the chair and vice- chair of the EAC asking about the status of the grant application sent to the Delaware Riverkeepers for funding to clean up the Newtown Creek along its border with Carl Sedia Park. The approval process may take months.
- Plan Expirations
- Township Building-May 1, 2007
- JNZB Ordinance 2007-02 to be place on agenda for May 1, 2007
Mr. Beckert discussed at the end of 2006 that the PA Supreme Court ruled that you only have thirty days to challenge procedural validity that is the matter of which the ordinance was adopted that is unconstitutional because you did not receive notified of the thirty days. It cannot be amended by the state. Mr. Berkert believes that it was in Bedminister Township that someone filed a challenge to the ordinance going back to some provision in 1991. The township has to find the records to prove that. Every municipal solicitor in a joint venture is going to re-enact the entire ordinance through the end of 2006. While there is an advertised pending ordinance, no one can file a challenge while it’s pending and no one has to date. Once it is re-enacted we know we inactive the entire ordinance through this date properly and there cannot be any challenges going forward. Our meeting is May 1, 2007. to re-adopt the ordinance without changes.
Joint Comprehensive Review –Two Chapters have been reviewed. Shawn will discuss with Jay the next two chapters and will try to have an answer for the next meeting.
Allan Fidler expressed a concern with the new sign on the property owned by Toll Brothers that is going to be the development called Newtown Walk.
Toll Brothers have a sign 4’ by 8’ which is within township requirements but the lattice makes the sign appear much larger. Mr. Ward also showed concern that the development was called Newtown Walk and there is an ordinance that bans developers to use “Newtown”.
Adjournment- The meeting was adjourned at 9:20