NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on May 1, 2007
Present: Shawn Ward, Chairman; Jay Sensibaugh, Vice-Chairman; Peggy Driscoll, Allen Fidler, Dennis Fisher, Vincent Lombardi, Frank Mendicino (late) and Shannon Wilson, members. Jim Bowe was excused. Also in attendance were: Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Edward Koehler, Township Engineer; Judith Stern Goldstein, Township Planner, Matthew Johnson, Traffic Engineer and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer.
Call to Order: Chairman Shawn Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00PM
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Fisher noted that the Environmental Advisory Council Liaison Report should read:
Mr. Lombardi moved to accept the minutes of April 17, 2007, as corrected. Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 5-0-2, with Messrs. Sensibaugh and Wilson abstaining.
Traffic Engineer Report: Traffic Engineer Matthew Johnson reviewed PennDOT projects, including traffic signal enhancement on the Newtown Bypass, which Gannet Fleming anticipates will implement new timing on spring of 2007. He attended a public open house on Swamp Road improvement projects and expects to attend another on April 18, 2007. He will also be attending a public open house of the Regional Traffic Planning Task Force in Upper Makefield Township on May 30, 2007. Among miscellaneous items was a proposed evaluation of Silo Drive for possible one-way operation.
In response to members’ questions, Mr. Beckert explained that after reviewing a recent application for conditional use for a restaurant at Village at Newtown South, the Supervisors began to review other conditional use approvals for that section of the shopping center. Meetings have been held with the owners of the shopping center to discuss the available parking and traffic flow. During these discussions the traffic engineer was asked to evaluate Silo Drive for one-way access, along with pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and reserve parking.
Mr. Fidler expressed concern that the Supervisors had not discussed this with the Planning Commission.
Mr. Mendicino strongly objected to the evaluation for one-way traffic, first as an owner of a business in that section of the shopping center and second as a taxpayer. He said that the Township would incur expenses for the evaluation when the developer of Goodnoe’s Corner has already agreed to pay for signalization at the intersection of Silo Drive and Sycamore Street.
After further discussion of the proposed evaluation, the members agreed that they agree with Mr. Mendicino and are opposed to consideration of Silo Drive for one-way traffic.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Silo Drive remain a two-way street and not be considered for traffic evaluation as a one-way street. Mr. Lombardi seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
In response to Mr. Sensibaugh’s question, Mr. Johnson said that Pennoni Associates has not been authorized by the Board of Supervisors to participate in either the Swamp Road improvement meetings or in the regional traffic task force. Some other municipalities have authorized Pennoni to participate in PennDOT meetings on their behalf, and have been able to affect changes to plans to benefit those municipalities.
Mr. Fisher and Mr. Fidler each expressed interest in having professional representation at the Swamp Road and the Regional Traffic Task Force meetings.
Mr. Fidler moved to recommend that the traffic engineer represent Newtown Township’s interests and review plans on the Township’s behalf at both the Swamp Road reconstruction project and the Regional Traffic Planning task Force. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 8-0.In response to Mr. Mendicino’s questions, Mr. Johnson said that a traffic light at the municipal complex might be warranted because of the frequent emergency traffic going in and out. Because of the short distance to the next traffic signal at North Drive, it is possible that the light might not be deemed necessary. It might require some pressure on PennDOT to have the light approved.
Newtown Industrial Building – 11 Friends Lane
Douglas Waite of Knudsen Engineering and Paul Salvatore were in attendance to review the final plans for renovation of an existing 34,382 square foot one story building at 11 Friends Lane. Mr. Waite indicated that the applicant will comply with the review letters of Remington and Vernick, Boucher and James, the Bucks County Planning Commission and the fire marshal. Mr. Johnson had no comment.
Mr. Waite said that the only outstanding matters are plant selection and landscaping details, which are to be worked out with Boucher and James.
M. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant final land development approval to 11 Friends Lane LLC, located at 11 Friends Lane, Newtown, Pennsylvania, Tax Map Parcel No. 29-10-105 on the following conditions:
JMZO 2007-02: Mr. Beckert said that this amendment is for rezoning of the Archdiocese property which is to be acquired for expansion of the municipal complex.
Mr. Mendicino asked whether the amendment would be discussed prior to voting.
Mr. Beckert said that at this point the Commission is only being asked to recommend advertisement. Discussion of the amendment should take place prior to a vote on adoption of the amendment.
Mr. Wilson moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors authorize advertisement of this amendment to rezone property on Durham Road from CM to MS, municipal services. Mr. Lombardi seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
.JMZO 2006 – Mr. Beckert explained that there has been a recent case in Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed a challenge to an ordinance for procedural defects going back to the time of the adoption of the ordinance. The Jointure has agreed that, to avoid such challenges to the JMZO, it should be re-adopted. This amendment would adopt the Ordinance and its amendments through 2006. In response to questions from members, Mr. Beckert said that this re-adoption would not have an effect on the Holt appeal that is currently before the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Mendicino expressed some concern that this discussion had not appeared on this evening’s agenda.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt the JMZO as amended through 2006. Mr. Lombardi seconded and the motion passed 7-1, with Mr. Mendicino voting nay.(Mr. Mendicino excused himself at this point)
Subcommittee & Liaison Reports
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Sensibaugh reported that in addition to discussion of JMZO 2006, re-adoption of the JMZO, the Commission discussed the revised comprehensive plan. The regional commission has urged Newtown to send commentary.
Correspondence: Mr. Ward reported that the members have received the PC Journal and the minutes of the Park and Recreation Board.
Mr. Lombardi moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM. Mr. Wilson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Acting Recording Secretary