NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on November 20, 2007
Present: Shawn Ward, Chairman; James Bowe, Peggy Driscoll, Allen Fidler, Vincent Lombardi and Shannon Wilson, members. Vice Chairman Jay Sensibaugh, and member Dennis Fisher were excused. Also in attendance were: Paul Beckert, Solicitor; Judith Stern Goldstein, Township Planner, Edward Koehler, Township Engineer; Matthew Johnston, Township Traffic Engineer and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer.
Call to Order: Chairman Ward called the meeting to order at 8:00PM
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Fidler moved to accept the minutes of October 30, 2007. Mr. Wilson seconded and the motion passed 5-0-1, with Mr. Lombardi abstaining.
Traffic Engineer’s Report: Mr. Johnston reported that the Bucks County Regional Traffic Task Force had met on October 29, 2007 in Northampton to discuss its report. PennDOT is now re-evaluating the Swamp Road project. The Board of Supervisors had passed a resolution in support of some of the residents’ concerns and suggestions.
There has been a recent meeting with Congressman Murphy about funding for Stoopville Road improvements in connection with the Veterans Cemetery.
Penns Trail Storage, 104 Penns Trail: Attorney Joseph Pizzo, Engineer Walter Bronson and applicants Richard Shore and Louis Gilmore were in attendance to review this preliminary/final plan for land development to construct two 2-story self-storage buildings with a total gross square footage of 63,180 square feet on a 3.27 acre parcel in the LI Zoning District. This project is currently a vacant lot. Parking and stormwater management facilities are proposed. The Zoning Hearing Board has granted relief for impervious surface.
The Commission reviewed the letter of Boucher and James dated October 3, 2007. Mr. Pizzo indicated that the applicant will comply with the letter for the most part, but is seeking a variance from SALDO Section 534.10, requiring outdoor trash collection stations.
Mr. Gilmore explained that the facility will not provide trash pick-up for its self-storage units, and does not want to provide dumpsters. There will be a trash can for office trash and pick-up will be arranged. There is to be one employee in the office and not much office trash would be generated.
Mr. Lombardi said that he has seen a great deal of trash at some mini-storage facilities. Dumpsters had been provided for this trash. He had some serious concerns if dumpsters are not available to the customers.
Mr. Fidler asked about customers disposing of items in their units, especially when emptying the unit. The Commission agreed that trash could become an eyesore and a serious problem if dumpsters are not provided.
Mr. Gilmore said that he has built seven self-storage facilities in the area and is an active member of the Self-Storage Association. He does not provide dumpsters any of his locations. It is stated in the leases offered that all trash is to be removed by the customers. He said that it becomes very cost prohibitive to provide trash hauling for self-storage units, as customers would empty their units and want to dispose of many large items. There will be trash cans inside the common area for disposal of waste paper. No food or drink is permitted in the units, so there would be no need to provide trash receptacles for wrappers or empty cups.
Mr. Bowe suggested that if there are no dumpsters, a condition of approval of the project should be monitoring of trash and keeping the area neat and clear of debris.
Mr. Pizzo said that the applicant is seeking a waiver of streetlights and sidewalks.
Ms. Goldstein said that the Board of Supervisors has approved a master plan for the Business Commons. One of the main components is sidewalks, to try to create a more pedestrian friendly environment, to encourage walking from one location to another, for example for employees to walk to the restaurant or post office at lunch time. New businesses are to install sidewalks, with a goal of eventually linking all of the sidewalks throughout the Commons.
In reviewing the Remington & Vernick letter of October 3, 2007, Mr. Pizzo indicated that the applicant is seeking a waiver for off-street parking outside the security fence and to hold eight spaces in reserve. The fence will be placed along the edge of the pavement to prevent parking on grass. The applicant is also seeking a waiver to allow parking within 15 feet of the building wall. This has met with approval from the Emergency Services department.
The Commission agreed to these waivers.
Stephen Richter of the Friends Lane Condo Association was in attendance to discuss an easement, as the basin berm extends over the property line to Condo property. The Condo Association is also known as N/F Aydin Corporation. He questioned whether the fence would be pillar and stake. The Condo Association will grant the easement but would require this fencing as a condition.
Mr. Pizzo said that the applicant does not wish to be part of the Condo Association, and the Condo Association does not want to include the self-storage unit. This will be spelled out as part of the easement.
Mr. Bronson discussed stormwater management with Mr. Koehler. Mr. Koehler did not object to granting a waiver from Section 221.G of the Stormwater Ordinance.
Attorney Don Marshall, in attendance at this evening’s meeting on another matter, discussed and existing utility easement that runs throughout the Business Commons. This 100-foot easement can be developed over. He said that he has represented many clients who have paved or planted in the easement.
The applicant will comply with all of the other review letters.
Mr. Johnston said that this project will not generate traffic. His only question is the location of the driveway; he wanted to confirm that if is aligned with the driveway on the opposite side of the street.
Mr. Bronson agreed to confirm this. Mr. Beckert discussed the plans for entrance into the facility.
Mr. Gilmore said that entrance will be by key card. There will be an employee in the office to admit prospective customers.
The Commission discussed the G-4 mini-storage use, which limits storage to personal property generally stored in residential warehouses. There was some concern about storage of explosive or flammable materials, such as in storage of landscaping equipment.
Mr. Gilmore said that there is an employee and there is video surveillance. He confirmed that the use will only be storage, although there could be some retail sale of boxes, tape and locks used for storage.
Mr. Bowe said that he would prefer to grant only preliminary approval, as there are still some concerns about the use and monitoring of the facility. The Commission should have additional information of what items will be stored.
Mr. Bowe moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan for land development for Friends Lane LLC, trading as Penns Trail Storage, 104 Penns Trail, Newtown Business Commons, Newtown PA, subject to the following conditions:
1. Subject to the waivers granted and the variances secured the plan shall be revised to comply with the following review letters:
2. The applicant shall be bound by the terms of the variances granted by the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board.
3. All permits shall be secured.
4. All financial security documents shall be executed.
5. The applicant shall provide water and sewer agreements or will serve letters.
6. The applicant shall comply with Township storm water ordinances and the recommendations of the township engineer and execute a Storm Water Maintenance Agreement.
7. The use proposed, G-4 Mini Warehouse Use is permitted on the following conditions:
8. Pursuant to JMZO Section 804.G.4.7., 32 parking spaces are required. The applicant shall be permitted to construct 28 spaces and reserve 8 spaces in green. Upon notice from the Township, the applicant shall install said reserve spaces.
9. All lighting shall comply with JMZO Section 1004; no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties.
10. All signs shall meet all Township sign requirements.
11. The applicant shall pay a fee in lieu of dedication of open space at the time of approval in accordance with the schedule of Newtown Township ordinances.
12. The applicant shall pay a traffic impact fee at the time of final approval in the amount of $26,737.68 if paid in 2007. Otherwise, said fee shall be paid in accordance with the then applicable Township fee schedules. The applicant waives time and location for the use of traffic impact fees.
13. An adequate letter from Bucks County Conservation District shall be provided regarding erosion and sediment control matters.
14. Driveway ingress and egress points shall be aligned to the satisfaction of the Township Traffic Engineer.
15. Entry to the facility shall be by keycard reader to the entry gate.
16. If grading is proposed to be constructed offsite, appropriate easement documents shall be provided to the Township for review and approval.
17. The applicant shall execute a Unilateral Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants to the various conditions of the plan.
18. All review fees shall be paid.
The following waivers are recommended from the Newtown Township Land Development Ordinance:
The following waivers are granted from the Newtown Township Storm Water Management Ordinance:
Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Conditional Use Reviews
Richman’s Ice Cream Store: Attorney Don Marshall and Vaughn Derassauyan were in attendance to review this application for conditional use approval for a use C-5 eating place. The plan proposes construction of an 1800 square foot addition to the existing 6,461 square foot Newtown Plaza Shopping Center for a new ice cream shop. The plans propose new off-street parking and the relocation of the existing driveway.
Mr. Marshall said that the shopping center entrance is to be moved to align with Eagle Road, as part of a plan to install traffic signals at the intersection. The applicant has received a waiver from land development as the plan is part of a traffic improvement program. The business will have 16 seats and 10 parking spaces. Employees will park at the rear. Deliveries will be at the rear by two small trucks per week. The entire parking lot is to be redesigned in conjunction with the new entrance to the shopping center. The dumpster will be screened.
Mr. Johnston discussed striping of parking at the rear. He said the parking will be angled, and the traffic pattern will be one-way around the building for employee parking for all of the businesses.
Mr. Bowe moved to recommend approval of the conditional use application of Richman’s Ice Cream, 33 Swamp Road Newtown, to operate an E-5 ( Eating Place) on the following conditions:
Zoning Hearing Board Applications
Application of Christian and Mary Seiler, 13 Hillside Drive: no comment
Application of Kathleen and Richard Mulcahey, 40 Autumn Drive: no comment
Application of Robert Lantzy, DMD, 11 Friends Lane: Attorney Don Marshall and Paul Salvatore, owner of the building, were in attendance to discuss this application, which has been continued to the January Zoning Hearing Board meeting. Mr. Marshall said that 11 Friends Lane had been granted Zoning Hearing Board relief subject to a condition that the use be limited to 50% medical use. The applicant is seeking to increase the current area of 16,891 square feet of medical use by 2,452 square feet.
Mr. Marshall explained that the original Zoning Hearing Board application had granted 50% medical use, or 17,415 square feet. The mechanicals for the building are 306 square feet. The developer of the property has entered into lease agreements for 15,181 square feet of office space, requiring 76 parking spaces, and 19,343 square feet of medical use requiring 129 spaces. This is what had been required for 50% medical and 50% office use for 17,415 square feet for each use. With removal of mechanical space and reduction in office use parking allocation, the parking requirement is the same as the originally anticipated parking.
In response to questions from Mr. Fidler, Mr. Salvatore said that the space is to be sold as condominiums, with the rear as office space. There will not be additional medical use.
The Commission had no comment on this application.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Fidler reported that the Joint Zoning Council has continued its review of the Comprehensive Plan.
Historic Architectural Review Board: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB had reviewed three signs at its last meeting.
Mr. Wilson moved to adjourn at 10:00 PM. Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary