NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on October 30, 2007
Present: Shawn Ward, Chairman; Jay Sensibaugh, Vice-Chairman; James Bowe, Peggy Driscoll, Allen Fidler, Dennis Fisher (late), Shannon Wilson, members. Members Vincent Lombardi and Frank Mendicino were excused. Also in attendance were: Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Judith Stern Goldstein, Township Planner, Thomas Wilkes, Township Engineer; and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer.
Call to Order: Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 7:30PM
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Fidler moved to accept the minutes of October 16, 2007. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Land Development (Mr. Fisher arrived)
Woll Tract – Final Plan – Durham/Eagle Roads: Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine, and Engineer Sharon Dotts of Gilmore & Associates were in attendance to review the final plan for development of the 46.7 acre Woll tract for an active recreation park, use C-5. An application to rezone the parcel from POS to EIR is pending. In addition, the plans propose to consolidate the portion of the park located within the CM Conservation Management Zoning District. The plans propose to build facilities for ball fields and court sports with associated concession and storage facilities, a trail system, parking and stormwater management facilities.
Ms. Dotts explained that the plans have been revised to comply with comments made at the preliminary plan review on September 4, 2007. The proposed maintenance building has been moved, and the access has been computer tested to confirm that an 18-wheel truck could maneuver the drive. PennDOT has indicated that a traffic light would not be warranted at the Durham Road entrance, however a right in/right out is now being proposed. In response to Mr. Sensibaugh’s questions, Ms. Dotts said that the access drive to the maintenance building is wide enough for a truck to pass if a car were parked there, as it is 33 feet wide. If artificial turf were used, the proposed stormwater management would be adequate for the additional impervious surface.
Ms. Dotts indicated that the applicant will comply with the Boucher and James letter of October 23, 2007. She explained that a waiver is being requested to place street trees within the ultimate right-of-way in order to permit a continuation of the tree line along Durham Road. If the road were to be widened at some point, these trees would not interfere, nor would they interfere with the utility poles.
In response to questions from Mr. Beckert, Mr. Wert said that he is confident that an agreement for an easement through the Council Rock School District property will be granted shortly. The facilities committee will be recommending approval to the School Board. There had been some discussion with the District about possibly needing some fencing between the park and Newtown Elementary School’s playground, primarily to prevent errant balls from leaving the schoolyard and rolling into the park.
In response to Mr. Fidler’s question, Mr. Wert indicated that the maintenance facility will be large enough to store equipment for maintenance of this park and its fields. There will also be a storage area for infield mix and topsoil at this location.
Ms. Dotts briefly discussed the proposed pedestrian footbridge over the stormwater facility along the walking trail. She said that these bridges are pre-fabricated, and until a bridge is chosen she does not have the specifications. The applicant will comply with the Planning Commission and Township Engineer’s recommendations in selection of the bridge.
Ms. Dotts said that there are to be 30 foot buffers between playing fields and stormwater facilities; no fencing is proposed. She suggested that mesh fencing be temporarily used if needed during soccer season.
Mr. Wilkes said that the applicant will comply with the Remington & Vernick review letter dated October 18, 2007. All waivers requested are appropriate for this project.
Ms. Goldstein confirmed that the plans have satisfied all of Boucher & James’ suggested revisions. She noted that concerns expressed at the previous meeting about light at the property line have been addressed.
The applicant will comply with the Pennoni review letter dated October 23, 2007.
Mr. Levine pointed out that, partly in response to concerns of the two schools along Wrights Road, 60 parking spaces are planned for the access road to the park. It is hoped that this could alleviate some of the parking problems experienced when events are hosted at the schools.
In discussing the access through Wrights Road, Mr. Fidler expressed some concern about traffic back-ups heading west as cars are entering the park making a left turn. He questioned whether there would be sufficient room for a car to drive around a car stopped to enter the park. He suggested possibly improving the shoulder to allow for passing of stacked cars at the entrance. The Commission agreed that this would be a good idea.
In response to questions from the Commission about possible impact of the development of the park on the adjoining neighbors’ stormwater basins, Ms. Dotts said that, even with full park development, any impact in any storm event, would be de minimis.
Ms. Goldstein suggested that, if there is additional paving in the future, porous paving could be used to insure that there is no impact. Standard paving is planned now.
Mr. Beckert said that there had been some discussion about the largest impervious surface that would be permitted. The plans currently show 14.8% impervious, and the zoning change to EIR would allow 35%, but he recalled discussing limiting approval for a lower percentage of impervious surface. He suggested providing calculations for impervious surface if certain fields were covered by artificial turf.
Ms. Goldstein suggested that use of artificial turf would probably bring the impervious surface to about 20%.
The Commission discussed lighting. Ms. Goldstein said that there is no standard for security or safety lights, only a percentage of the full lighting. She explained that the lighting steps down so that people are not walking from full light to total darkness. It was agreed that the lighting should be addressed by the Board of Supervisors, with input from the police department on security requirements.
Mr. Levine said that it was his understanding that the Wrightstown Planning Commission had recommended approval of the zoning change, but a vote had been postponed by the Board of Supervisors until they had visited Macclesfield Park in Yardley to see the Musco lighting.
Mr. Wilson moved to recommend final land development approval for Newtown Township regarding the Woll Tract at Durham Road for a Use C-5 (Recreation Facility) on the following conditions:
The following waivers are recommended:
Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Conditional Use Applications
BF Pizzeria – 2102 S. Eagle Road: Attorney Brandon Wind and Vito Ferrigno were in attendance to review this application for an E-5 and E-6 eating place use at 2102 South Eagle Road. The plans propose to convert the Philly Crab Express to a pizzeria in an 1800 square foot shop in the Village at Newtown South. Mr. Ferrigno indicated that he would have seating for about ten to twelve people, as the business would primarily be take out. Employees would park in the rear of the shop. The facility is ADA compliant.
The Commission discussed the condition of dumpsters at the rear of this shopping center. Mr. Beckert explained to the applicant that it is the shopping center’s responsibility to provide a screened area for dumpsters. This has been an ongoing problem in the shopping center, and the Township is attempting to resolve this issue. It is, however, the business owner’s responsibility to keep trash in the covered dumpsters.
Mr. Solomon said that his department periodically inspects this area. It is currently in poor condition. There could be fines of up to $1000.
In discussing parking, Mr. Beckert said that the Board of Supervisors has asked the shopping center owner to install the parking that had been in reserve near Petsmart and the Farmers Market and to complete its retention basin. The new parking will add 58 parking spaces.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the conditional use application of BF Pizzeria, Inc, 2102 S. Eagle Road, Newtown, to operate an E-5 and E-6 ( Eating Place/Drive In Use) on the following conditions:
Mr. Wilson seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mr. Wilson moved to adjourn at 10:00 PM. Mr. Fidler seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary