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.

Conditional Use

T-Mobile Northeast, LLC – 251 Frost Lane: Attorney Jeffrey Wuerstle, Larry Washington of T-Mobile, Brian Grebis, Radio Frequency Engineer, and Angela Davis of CMX were in attendance to review this application for uses I-1 Communications Antenna and I-2 Communications Equipment Building in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District. The applicant proposes to install nine panel-style antennae and one whip antenna at the top of the existing water tank. The antennae will be mounted to the existing railing. The top of the panel antennae will be 69 feet and the whip antenna will be 75 feet above grade. One cabinet will be installed on a 10’ x 20’ concrete slab. The plan states that five additional cabinets can be installed in the future. A variance has been granted for setback of the slab by the Zoning Hearing Board.

The Commission reviewed the CKS letter of June 17, 2008. Mr. Wuerstle indicated that the applicant will comply with the letter. He noted that the equipment is hidden at a corner of the property surrounded by shrubs. The nearest residence is 206 feet away, and will not hear any humming or other noise from the antennae or equipment.

Ms. Fountain pointed out that the 206 feet is from the back of the tank; the applicant needs to show that service cannot be met in any other manner.

The secretary confirmed that adjoining residents have been notified of the Conditional Use Hearing.

Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the conditional use application of T-Mobile Northeast, LLC for an I-1 and I-2 Communications Antenna and Communications Equipment Building at 251 Frost Lane subject to the following conditions, which were discussed with and agreed to by the applicant :

  1. The applicant complies with the CKS review letter dated June 17, 2008;
  2. The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.  
  3. No employees will be at the premises except for periodic maintenance on a monthly basis;
  4. No hazardous, flammable or explosive material shall be stored or used in the building;
  5. No noxious or hazardous impact shall be generated on site;
  6. The applicant shall supply a true and correct copy of the lease as a condition of the approval;
  7. All review fees shall be paid as a condition of conditional use approval.
  8. 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 in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District as set forth in section 803 of JMZO.

    Mr. Wilson seconded.

    Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman asked about including a requirement of liability insurance.

    Mrs. Driscoll amended her motion to include:

  9. The applicant must provide a certificate of insurance evidencing general liability coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and property damage coverage in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence covering the communications tower, communications antennae and communications equipment building, naming Newtown Township as an additional insured thereon.
Mr. Wilson amended his second and the motion passed 5-0.

JMZO Reviews

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.

Liaison Reports

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.


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary