NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on March 4, 2008
Present: James Bowe, Dennis Fisher, James Ott, and Brandon Wind. Also in attendance were: Timothy Duffy, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Township Engineer; Amy Kaminsky, Township Traffic Engineer and Michael Solomon, Code Enforcement Officer.
DUE TO ILLNESS THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING LACKED A QUORUM
Approval of Minutes of February 19, 2008 postponed until March 18, 2008 meeting
Conditional Use Applications
Cricket Communications – 103 Penns Trail: Brian Sidell of Cricket Communication was in attendance to discuss this application for conditional use approval to install additional antennae at 84 feet on an existing 150 foot communications tower as well as ground mounted equipment at the intersection of Penns Trail and Friends Lane. He explained that the existing tower has capability to add the antennae without any changes to the compound. The cabinet that is to be installed will be on a platform above the ground and will not increase impervious surface. There is to be no expansion of the fenced area. The antennae will be serviced about once a month, requiring a technician to be on site for about 30 minutes. He noted that it would be very unlikely for the technicians for the other providers to be on site at the same time, so the existing parking should be adequate.
Ms. Fountain said that it would still be necessary for the applicant to provide an FCC license and compliance with the I-3 use, as she has outlined in her review letter.
In response to questions from Messrs. Fisher and Wind, Mr. Sidell said that no hazardous materials used in the installation or maintenance of the equipment. Crown, tow owner of the tower, is responsible for maintenance of the tower and the site.
Mr. Duffy suggested that the members in attendance discuss whether they would have any suggestions for the Board of Supervisors to consider when they review this application.
It was the consensus of those members in attendance (1) that the applicant meets the requirements of JMZO Section 1301.B. applicable to all conditional uses, as well as the specific use regulations applicable to the I-1 and I-2 uses set forth in section 803 of JMZO, and (2) that the Board of Supervisors approve the application subject to compliance with the CKS letter dated February 26, 2008.
Metro – 256 N. Sycamore Street: Karen and Chad Perry were in attendance to review this application for conditional use approval for a retail clothing shop in building #3A at the Goodnoe’s Corner Shopping Center. Mrs. Perry said that the shop will occupy an 800 square foot space in the new shopping center. The shop is currently located in New Hope, but she has wanted to move to her hometown of Newtown for some time. The shop carries men’s and women’s casual and dressy clothes and accessories. She said that she had initially expected to have hours of operation from 10:00AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday, but would like to consider amending her application to include some evening hours.
Mr. Wind noted that many of the other businesses in the Goodnoe’s Corner center feature eating places, which will generate evening foot traffic, so he encouraged her to remain open in the evenings. He said that it has been the goal of the Sycamore Street project and the Newtown Corporation to encourage pedestrian traffic and evening hours of operation. He questioned whether there is any storage area at the shop.
Mrs. Perry said that there is not any storage at building 3A, but she has asked about possible storage areas elsewhere in the shopping center.
Mr. Ott noted that it would be better to ask for hours that include Sunday, and evening hours. The shop then can be open whenever it is best for business, with some flexibility. Otherwise Mrs. Perry would have to return to the Township if she discovered that she would like to remain open evenings. It was suggested that she amend her application to include hours seven days a week from 10:00AM to 10:00 PM.
It was the consensus of those members in attendance that (1) the applicant meets the requirements of JMZO Section 1301.B. applicable to all conditional uses, as well as the specific use regulations applicable to the E-1 use set forth in section 803 of JMZO, and (2) that the Board of Supervisors approve the application subject to compliance with paragraphs 9 and 10 of the CKS letter dated February 26, 2008, as well as the following conditions, which were discussed with and agreed to by the applicant :
- Number of employees an average of two and maximum of three;
- Maximum hours of operation will be 10:00AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week;
- No hazardous, flammable or explosive material shall be stored or used in the building;
- No noxious, hazardous or offensive impact upon surrounding areas be created by the proposed use by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise;
- Signage will conform to Township sign ordinances and subject to HARB review and approval;
- The premises shall be ADA compliant.
Traffic Engineer’s Report: Ms. Kaminsky presented a written report of ongoing projects in the Township. She said that she had attended a recent meeting with the Swamp Road Group at which residents discussed their “wish list” for Swamp Road improvements, which include a third entrance to the college, some pedestrian crossings to the park entrances, and reclassification of the road. At this time PennDOT’s sketch plans are on hold. Ms. Kaminsky said that she would like to do some further research on downgrading of the road classification, as this is something that does not happen very often.
Ms. Kaminsky noted that Mr. Duffy is working on a report on the legal status of Upper Silver Lake Road, which the Board of Supervisors will be reviewing at an upcoming meeting.
Improvements to the intersection of Terry Drive and Newtown Yardley Road should be completed this year, as should signalization of the intersection of Eagle Road and Swamp Road. The Newtown Plaza shopping center is being reconfigured to provide an entrance aligned with Eagle Road.
Ms. Kaminsky said that at this time PennDOT feels that the intersection of Silo Drive and Sycamore Street does not meet the warrants for signalization except at certain peak hours. She said that the majority of peak hour turns from Silo Drive are right turns. A study could be done during off-peak hours to determine whether right turns are being made with the intention of turning left at another, more convenient location, or if all traffic really is going right.
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Wind reported that the Commission has begun reviewing some old ordinances.
Environmental Advisory Board: Mr. Fisher reported that the EAC is continuing its work to create an inventory of Township open space. They have been discussing ways to recycle yard waste. The members questioned whether the Planning Commission routinely discusses environmental impacts when reviewing land development plans.
Mr. Bowe said that the Commission considers water retention and stormwater issues, agricultural soils and steep slopes as part of the land development process.
Mr. Duffy noted that in Upper Makefield the EAC reviews development plans when properties are located adjacent to preserved open space, or in some other very sensitive areas, but for the most part the EAC does not want to duplicate the efforts of the Planning Commission or the Township Engineers.
Ms. Fountain reported that she has reviewed the mountable curbs and handicapped access at the Villas at Newtown, and has notified the developer that these issues must be addressed before dedication will be accepted.
Discussion of an appointment of members to a committee to revise the Township Open Space Comprehensive Plan was postponed until the second March meeting.
Without objection the meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary