NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on August 7, 2007
Present: Jay Sensibaugh, Vice-Chairman, Jim Bowe, Peggy Driscoll, Allen Fidler and Vincent Lombardi, members. Chairman Shawn Ward and members Frank Mendicino, Dennis Fisher and Shannon Wilson were excused. Also in attendance were: Jerry Schenkman, Supervisor, Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Thomas Wilkes, Township Engineer; Matthew Johnson, Traffic Engineer and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer.
Call to Order: Vice-Chairman Sensibaugh called the meeting to order at 8:05PM
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Bowe moved to accept the minutes of July 17, 2007. Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Traffic Engineer’s Report: Traffic Engineer Matt Johnson gave his report, noting that the revised timing of traffic signals on the Newtown Bypass had been implemented on July 18, 2007. He will be preparing comment on this evening’s Swamp Road Improvement meeting.
Mr. Johnson presented a draft narrative for presentation at the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission public hearing on August 16, 2007. This narrative outlines the four TIP projects to be presented:
- Newtown Business Commons Access Improvements
- Stoopville Road Rehabilitation
- Newtown Township Recreational Trail #2
- Newtown Rail Line
The Commission reviewed Mr. Johnson’s narrative, along with a memo from Mr. Sensibaugh recommending changes in language to better reflect language of the DVRPC. It was noted by Mr. Fidler that the realignment of Stoopville Road at Linton Hill Road has been completed.
Mr. Johnson said that he and Mr. Solomon had met with the owner of property on Terry Drive about continuing Terry Drive through to the Newtown Bypass. The property owner seemed receptive to the idea.
In response to questions from Mr. Fidler’s questions, Mr. Johnson said that his firm consults in Middletown Township, and he believes that Middletown has investigated traffic back-ups at the intersection of Woodbourne Road and the Newtown Bypass, and has considered possibly adding a second left turn lane onto the Bypass at that intersection.
Mr. Bowe said that he continues to disagree that the trail #2 should be on the TIP, but does not object to its being included in other Swamp Road projects, or as Mr. Johnson suggested, as a transportation enhancement in a grant application.
Mr. Johnson suggested including a reference to Newtown Township’s continued support for the Swamp Road project and its desire to continue coordination with PennDOT to adequately address traffic safety ad mobility issues along that corridor in the narrative.
Lower Makefield resident Sue Herman presented a letter requesting elimination of wording that correlated to the “Northern Bypass” in the Tip request for Stoopville Road rehabilitation.
The Commission agreed that Mr. Johnson’s and Mr. Sensibaugh’s wording suggestions should be incorporated into the narrative.
Mr. Fidler moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors support the 2007 TIP recommendations as drafted by Mr. Johnson, including recommended revisions suggested by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sensibaugh. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
- First Evergreen Preliminary Plan for Minor Subdivision – 828 Newtown Yardley Road: Attorney Ed Murphy was in attendance to discuss this plan to consolidate four parcels and re-subdivide into two lots, one to contain existing office buildings, off-street parking areas and stormwater management area, the second lot to contain a 32,000 square foot medical office building with parking and stormwater management facilities. Mr. Murphy explained that the plan has been revised to show compliance with prior review letters. The applicant has received variances from the Zoning Hearing Board for front yard setbacks, loading area requirements and disturbance of steep slopes. This plan has been revised to address Pennoni Associates’ concerns about some dead-end parking spaces.
Mr. Johnson confirmed that all of Pennoni’s concerns have been addressed adequately.
In response to Mr. Sensibaugh’s question, Mr. Murphy said that, since this application has been reviewed on a number of occasions, and all of the comments in review letters have been addressed, the applicant is seeking preliminary as final plan approval.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary/final plan for land development of First Evergreen, 828 Newtown Yardley Road, to permit the consolidation of four parcels and the re-subdivision into two lots on the following conditions:
- Compliance with the review letters
a. Boucher and James, 7/17/07;
b. Remington, Vernick and Beach, 7/12/07;
c. Pennoni Associates, 7/26/07;
d. Bucks County Planning Commission, 4/20/07
e. Suburban Lighting Consultants, 11/07/06;
f. Newtown Emergency Management Services, 9/6/06
- The plan is subject to the variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board;
- All signs shall comply with the Newtown Township Sign Ordinance;
- A shares access easement between lots 1 and 2 shall be provided and recorded subject to Township approval;
- All permits and approvals required shall be secured;
- If required, the applicant shall supply an adequate letter as to erosion and sediment control from the Bucks County Conservation District.
- The applicant will supply will serve agreements from the water and sewer authority or a letter indicating such agreement are not required .
- All financial security documents shall be executed;
- In lieu of dedication of open space, a fee in lieu shall be paid to Newtown Township in the amount of $41,312.00.
- Traffic Impact Fee shall be paid in the amount of $198,861.46
- All lighting shall comply with the requirements of the Township Lighting Consultant and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties.
- The Unilateral Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants shall be executed.
- All outside storage of refuse containers shall be screened and landscaped in accordance with Section 530.10 of SALDO.
- As to tree protection, fencing shall be provided and all planting shall be guaranteed for 18 months.
- All storm water management requirements shall be complied with and a stormwater management agreement shall be executed.
- Appropriate deeds of merger and subdivision shall be filed subject to Township approval.
- All review fees shall be paid.
The Commission recommends that the following waivers be granted from the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance:
- From Section 402.3.b. and c. to allow submission of an aerial photograph in lieu of survey.
- From Section 521 to allow the one year storm to be discharged from the detention basin in less than a 24 hour period.
The Commission recommends that the following waivers be granted from the Stormwater Management Ordinance:
- From Section 223.4 to not require the two year storm post run off rate to be controlled to a one year pre development rate.
- From Section 224.c. to not require the post development rate to be equal or less than the pre development run off rate for meadow conditions.
Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
- Goodnoe Tract – Preliminary Plan for Major Subdivision – Eagle Road: Attorney Ed Murphy and William Breigel of Orleans Homebuilders, Inc, were in attendance to review the preliminary plan to join four tax map parcels, totaling 63.0928 acres, and subdivide tem to create 24 lots as a B-12 single family detached cluster development. The existing homes are proposed to remain and twenty-one new dwellings are proposed. The applicant has been granted variances to omit required active recreation land, to permit less than the required open space, to permit 78% disturbance of steep slopes and 45% of agricultural soils. Mr. Murphy noted that the steep slopes are man-made, the result of the Eagle Road improvements. There had been some discussion in the past of preservation of trees along Eagle Road. These large evergreens will be removed and replaced by street trees behind the ultimate right-of-way. The applicant proposes public access to the open space, and has agreed to an easement for such access. Mailboxes will be at each home, not at a common location.
In response to questions from the Commission, Mr. Murphy indicated that the applicant will pay a fee in lieu of dedication of open space. The applicant has discussed providing a path or walkway to the open space to provide public access. If such a path or walkway is constructed the costs associated the physical improvements would be credited to the applicant’s fee in lieu. This will be coordinated with the Park and Recreation department.
Mr. Fidler questioned the plans for maintenance of the open space by the Homeowners Association. He had some concerns about controlling invasive species such as multiflora rose.
Mr. Murphy said that he believes that the current property owner mows the open space a few times a year. He would discuss a plan for maintenance of the open space as meadow and controlling invasive species. He agreed to work out a plan with the Township Planner and including the plan in the final plan approval for maintenance of 37.2 acres of open space and stormwater management basins.
The Commission discussed sidewalks and location of crosswalks on Eagle Road to access the trail. It was agreed that, because of sight distance concerns, crosswalks would be located at the southern entrance to the development.
Mr. Johnson said that he has some concerns about sight distances from the northern entrance. PennDOT requires a distance of 350 feet on a road with a 35 MPH speed limit, and this plan shows 320 feet. He noted that motorists frequently travel at speeds in excess of 35 MPH. He offered three suggested solutions:
- Re-profile the hill north of the entrance
- Right in/right out at northern entrance
- provide a left turn lane
After some discussion, the Commission agreed to recommend a right in/right out for the northern entrance, provided that the entrance has a pork chop at that entrance, making left turns impossible. The commission agreed that mountable curbing on the pork chop would be preferable to allow left turns for emergency vehicles.
Mr. Beckert noted that the applicant has tentatively named the development “Eagle Knoll”. He said that the Township is requesting that developers not use the words “eagle” or “Newtown” on new developments, as these words are already in such wide use. The applicant agreed to consider re-naming the development.
Mr. Bowe moved to recommend preliminary land development approval for Orleans Home Builders for 235 Eagle Road, Newtown, PA, to allow 24 lots as a B-12 Single Family Detached Cluster, including three existing homes and 21 new homes subject to the following conditions:
1. Subject to the waivers granted, the plans shall be revised to comply with the following review letters:
a. Boucher and James, 5/08/07;
b. Remington, Vernick and Beach, 5/04/07;
c. Bucks County Planning Commission, 12/06/06;
d. Suburban Lighting Consultant, 11/10/06;
e. Newtown Emergency Management Services, 5/03/07;
f. Pennoni Associates, 7/12/07
2. Financial Security documents shall be executed.
3. All permits required by the Township Engineer shall be secured.
4. Agreements shall be secured from the water and sewer authority or will serve letters will be provided.
5. An adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District.
6. Applicant shall comply with SALDO Section 529.2.c.2 and JMZO Ordinance Section 271.1 with regard to tree protection. All fencing shall be approved by the Township prior to construction. Planting shall be guaranteed for eighteen (18) months and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
7. All signs shall comply with all applicable Township Ordinances.
8. All lighting shall be approved by the Lighting Consultant and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties.
9. Approval is subject to a conditional use approval being secured at to the B-12 Use and the applicant agrees to comply as part thereof with all terms of the conditional use approval.
10. The approval is subject to the variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board.
11. Pursuant to JMZO Section 904, no use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate surrounding area and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
12. As to open space, the applicant shall comply with all Township requirements, use regulations and standards concerning HOA maintenance. Documents as required shall be submitted to the Township for approval; the agreement as to required maintenance shall be submitted for Township approval; all noxious elements shall be removed from the open space prior to conveyance to the homeowners association.
13. In lieu of dedication of park and open space area, a fee in lieu shall be paid in accordance with the township fee schedule.
14. All traffic impact fees shall be paid as assessed by the Township Traffic Engineer.
15. The northerly most entrance shall be constructed with a pork chop and signage indicating right in and right out only at the intersection. A note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
16. All mail delivery shall be at individual residences and shall be so noted on the plan.
17. A deed of merger shall be provided merging the subject tax map parcel numbers 29-4-40-1, -2, -3 and -4.
18. All review fees shall be paid.
The following waivers are granted from the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance:
A. From Section 507.3 to waive the requirement for a minimum of 1,000 foot separation between intersections with collector roads, 390 feet as provided.
B. From Section 509.4 to waive the requirement for storm water to drain to the open end of a cul-de-sac.
C. From Section 517.4 to waive the requirements for 7 foot wide grass strip between the curb and sidewalk; the applicant proposes a 5 foot wide grass strip.
Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
- Goodnoe Tract – Eagle Road: The Commission reviewed the conditional use application for this development with attorney Ed Murphy and William Breigel of Orleans Homebuilders.
Mr. Beckert noted that the Ordinance requires that each home have three parking spaces, not including garages, of which no more than one may be on-street for each dwelling unit. To provide one on-street parking space to satisfy the Ordinance, the road would have to be widened six feet.
Mr. Murphy indicated that each home would have three off-street parking spaces, and that widening of the road would not be required. He noted that the applicant will comply with open space requirements not addressed by the Zoning Hearing Board relief.
Mr. Fidler suggested that the owners of the three existing homes should be approached to discuss membership in the Homeowners Association.
Mr. Murphy said that this has not been part of any of the contracts. This matter would be clarified at time of final approval.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant conditional use approval for Orleans Home Builders, Inc., 235 Eagle Road, Newtown Township, Pennsylvania, to allow the joining of four (4) tax map parcels and a subdivision to create 24 residential units, 3 of which were existing and to permit 37.2109 acres of open space, including 1.8899 acres of storm water basins for the purpose of constructing a B-12 Single Family Detached Cluster Use on the following conditions:
1. No noxious or hazardous impact shall be generated by the use.
2. The open space shall be preserved as Passive Recreation; shall be conveyed to the homeowners association as private open space and adequate provisions satisfactory to the Township for maintenance shall be provided.
3. Pursuant to JMZO Section 803.B.15.7.c(2), no off street parking is proposed and 3 parking spaces not including garages shall be provided as to each residence.
4. The applicant meets the requirements of JMZO Section 1301.B.
5. The applicant shall be required to provide a deed or agreement of sale as to the subject premises.
6. The applicant shall provide all information required pursuant to JMZO Section 1304.F.1 except to the extent of any waivers or variances relating to homeowners documents, easements, deed restrictions, in a form satisfactory to the Township.
7. The applicant shall comply with all requirements of the Township with regard to opens space pursuant to Section 1304.F.2.
8. Pursuant to JMZO Section 1005, the applicant shall set forth subject to the approval of the Township the open space performance standards and shall provide adequate information to the Engineer to assure compliance with said section.
9. The applicant is subject to the conditions of any variance granted and subdivision and land development approval.
10. All signage must meet Township requirements.
11. No use of the property shall result in any condition that endangers public health or safety.
12. All review fees be paid.
Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports:
Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Schenkman reported that the Council has reviewed the first six principles outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. At the next meeting review should be completed.
Historic Architectural Review Board: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB has reviewed and recommended approval of signage for Rouget, and The Rock Factory. They reviewed the façade plans for the Rite Aid Pharmacy and for some of the Goodnoe’s Corner signs. They have recommended approval of a roof color change for St. Andrew’s Convent. In response to Mr. Schenkman’s question, Mr. Lombardi said that the representatives of Rite Aid were receptive to the HARB suggestions for the façade, and were amenable to creating a façade that resembles two or three buildings, rather than one large building.
JMZO Review: Mr. Beckert clarified the position of the Planning Commission on the proposed JMZO amendment dealing with contractors. The Commission confirmed that they would like each municipality to address contractors in their own SALDO, since there is such marked difference in what each municipality considers acceptable acreage for this use.
Mr. Lombardi moved to adjourn at 9:35 PM. Mr. Sensibaugh seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary