NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on July 1, 2008
Present: Chairman Allen Fidler, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher, Shannon Wilson and Brandon Wind. Also in attendance were: Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Township Engineer and Andrew Brown, Township Traffic Engineer.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wind moved to accept the minutes of June 17, 2008. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Traffic Engineer’s Report: Mr. Brown presented his report, updating the Commission on the Township’s ongoing projects.
Regarding Swamp Road, Mr. Fidler discussed the classification of Swamp and a few other Township roads as principle arterial roads. He said that principle arterial roads’ base site calculations are from the right-of-way, and changing the classification would reduce the right-of-way and could increase base site calculations for development.
Mr. Fisher reported that the Swamp Road Residents Group has written a response to PennDOT, which will be submitted shortly.
Mr. Schenkman said that some residents of Headley development have been telling the Board of Supervisors that at certain times of the day traffic is so heavy on Newtown Yardley Road that they are unable to exit the development. He asked that the Traffic Engineer include this intersection in his reports.
Mr. Fidler said that he recalled that this issue had been discussed, and addressed, with the land development approval for the commercial property on Newtown Yardley Road at Friends Lane, opposite the Headley entrance.
Mr. Solomon said that a traffic impact fee had been paid, but it has not yet been determined whether a traffic signal is warranted at that intersection.
Mr. Fidler said that he is concerned with the recent practice of collecting traffic impact fees that can be applied anywhere within the Township rather than in the immediate area of the construction project making the contribution.
Mrs. Driscoll asked the Traffic Engineer about the intersection of Sycamore Street at Silo Drive. She said that although a traffic signal might not be warranted, there had been discussion of other remedies at the intersection, including making Silo a one-way street.Mr. Solomon said that a traffic study is to be done when construction is complete.
JMZO 2008-07 – Video Sign Regulations: Ms. McGrath discussed recent case law, which has upheld ordinances prohibiting video signage. She noted that the proposed ordinance is content neutral, prohibiting all video and electronic signage. The Ordinance still allows other types of signage. Traffic safety has been considered in developing the ordinance.
Mr. Fidler said that this has been discussed at the Jointure, and all of the Townships’ solicitors agree that we are not at risk in adopting this ordinance.
Mr. Schenkman said that without an ordinance prohibiting this type of sign, they would be permitted.
Mr. Fisher moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt JMZO 2008-07, Video Signage Regulations. Mr. Wilson seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
JMZO 2008-04 – Wetland Buffers: Mr. Fidler said that Newtown Township had concerns about previous drafts of this amendment, because so many parcels in Newtown along the Newtown Creek and Core Creek are already developed. These, and already approved plans that have not been developed yet, would be grandfathered.
Mr. Wilson said that this, and the Video Signage Ordinance, have been very concisely written.
Mr. Fisher said that ongoing dialog between the Solicitor and Board of Supervisors before amendments are forwarded to the Jointure has helped to create more concise amendments.Mr. Wilson moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt JMZO 2008-04, Wetland Buffers. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Fidler reported that the meeting has been postponed. The Jointure will celebrate its 25 th anniversary with a ceremony at Wrightstown Township on July 31, 208. Invitations are being sent to all who have participated in the Jointure’s Planning and Zoning.
Open Space Committee: This Committee’s next scheduled meeting is July 14, 2008 at 7:30 PM. Ms. Driscoll and Mr. Sensibaugh represent the Planning Commission on the Committee.
Environmental Advisory Council: Mr. Fisher reported that the EAC lacked a quorum, but updated its new member, Autumn Thomas, on its ongoing projects. Each member will champion one project. The members also discussed the Open Space Inventory, which has become more urgently needed for the County Municipal Open Space Program.
Mr. Wilson moved to adjourn at 8:45 PM. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary