NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on July 15, 2008
Present: Vice Chairman Jay Sensibaugh, Jim Bowe, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher, Vince Lombardi and Brandon Wind (late). Also in attendance were: Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, Jerry Schenkman, Supervisor Liaison and Andrew Brown, Township Traffic Engineer.
Call to Order:Mr. Sensibaugh called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Bowe moved to accept the minutes of July 1, 2008. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Lombardi abstaining.
Mr. Sensibaugh announced that the Zoning Hearing Board application of Neil Morris, 429 Taylor Avenue has been removed from this evening’s agenda. The applicant has sought a continuance from the Zoning Hearing Board.
Congregation Brothers of Israel, 530 Washington Crossing Road – Sketch Plan and request for waiver of land development: Attorney Ed Murphy and Lelsie Floyd, Congregation Brothers of Israel’s Vice President, were in attendance to review this plan to install a 1,680 square foot temporary classroom with associated walkways at the rear of an existing synagogue on two tax map parcels, totaling 7.77 acres in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District. Mr. Murphy said that the Congregation has been granted a special exception subject to the conditions that the two tax map parcels be consolidated.
In response to Ms. McGrath’s question, Mr. Murphy said that the Congregation would enter into a waiver agreement with the Township. He said that the silt fence would be located to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer.
In response to Mr. Sensibaugh’s question, Ms. Floyd said that the temporary classroom would be in place for up to four years, which is a condition of the Zoning Hearing Board approval. The Congregation will be preparing a master plan, which will include a possible permanent classroom. The temporary classroom will be used two afternoons a week and one Saturday morning a month for religious instructions. The building will house three classrooms for children in 4 th through 6 th grade. These classes are already meeting at the Synagogue; parking is adequate.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant a waiver of land development for a temporary classroom to Congregation Brothers of Israel for the premises located at 530 Washington Crossing Road, being Bucks County Tax Parcels 29-3-73-6 and 29-3-73-7 prepared by Woodrow & Associates, Inc., comprising one sheet dated May 6, 2008, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
Mr. Bowe seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
(Mr. Wind arrived)
Woll Tract – Durham & Eagle Roads – Final Plan for Land Development: Park and Recreation Board Chairman Andrew Levine and Sharon Dotts of Gilmore & Associates were in attendance to review the revised plans for land development for 47.592 acres located between Durham and Eagle Roads, 1300 feet south of Wrights Road in the POS Park and Open Space and CM Conservation Management Zoning Districts. The proposed plan has been revised since preliminary plan approval was granted in 2007 and now includes three multipurpose rectangular fields, a little league field, an NCAA baseball field and a softball field. A pavilion/snack shed with restrooms, a materials storage facility, a trail system, stormwater management facilities and paved parking for 210 vehicles and 86 parking spaces of reinforced turf are included. Facilities for tennis and basketball and additional parking have been postponed at this time. The Zoning Hearing Board has granted a variance for 9.1% impervious surface, which will accommodate this revised plan’s narrower trails and reduced parking.
In response to questions from the Commission, Mr. Levine said that the area to be developed is entirely in the POS Zoning District. If the area designated for tennis and basketball are developed, additional relief for impervious surface would be needed. This area could be used as a practice field. The parking consists of 150 paved spaces in the parking lot, 60 spaces along the Wrights Road access and 86 reinforced grass pavers along the outside of the park.
Ms. Fountain said that reinforced grass pavers are used extensively in other nearby municipalities very successfully. They will be placed in areas where overflow parking would be needed.
Ms. Dotts said that the trail has been reduced to 6 feet, except for the main drive, which is reduced to 10 feet for access by emergency vehicles. The portion of the trail that leads to the stormwater management basin and the bridge over the basin have been eliminated, although the stormwater management facilities have remained the same as in the preliminary plan.
Mr. Levine reviewed the parking needs. The Ordinance requires 1 space per 5 park users. When all fields are in full use, it is expected that 308 people would be in the park.
Mr. Wind asked about times of busy use, when people are arriving for later games before earlier games have ended. He also asked about bicycle racks.
Mr. Levine said that the overlapping could best be addressed through scheduling.
Ms. Dotts said that she is working on non-permanent items such as bicycle racks, benches are trash cans, which are not indicated on the plan. There will also be a few water fountains located throughout the park.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked about a walking trail or sidewalk from Wrights Road.
Ms. Dotts said that this would be part of an easement agreement with the School District. A final decision on whether to include a sidewalk has not been made. She noted that the Bucks County Planning Commission’s review letter also suggested a sidewalk along the access road.
Ms. Dotts said that Wrights Road would be widened 6 feet to allow vehicles to pass those waiting to make a left turn into the entrance.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked about the path surrounding the pavilion. He said that there is currently a grass strip shown between the building and the circular path. He suggested that the path be brought up to the building. The grass area would not grow with people constantly walking there to use restrooms and snack stands.
Mr. Levine said that a building similar to that at Chandler Field would be purchased, but the building has not yet been chosen, so dimensions are not yet known. Once the building is selected, the paving would surround the building.
Mr. Levine said that lighting will comply with Township lighting ordinances. The field lighting will be total control lighting which will have a 1/10 of 1 foot candle visibility at the edge of any residential property. Each league would present funding plans and enter into agreements with the Township for field lighting. Soccer fields might be lighted with temporary lighting.
In response to Mr. Wind’s question, Ms. Dotts said that a deceleration lane is planned for the Durham Road entrance; it will be 100 feet, or 5 car lengths. This entrance will be right in/right out only.
The Commission briefly discussed signage to prevent parking on the grass except for the overflow areas. Ms. Fountain noted that the site will have no curbing, and she suggested collapsible signage, so that emergency vehicles would have easy access.
Mr. Lombardi moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant final land development approval to the revised final plan of land development of Newtown Township for the premises located at Durham Road being Bucks County Tax Parcel Nos. 29-3-25-2 and 29-49-58 (the Premises) prepared by Gilmore & Associates, Inc., comprising Sheets 1-24 dated June 29, 2007 (last revised June 25, 2008) (the Plans), subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 6-0.Mr. Lombardi said that he was very gratified to make this motion, as he had negotiated the original purchase of the property years ago.
Zoning Hearing Board Applications
OLLY USA – 2690 South Eagle Road: The Commission reviewed this application for a variance for a 24 square foot sign where 20 feet is permitted and for a sign height of 14.5 feet where 9 feet is the maximum height, and passed it to the Board of Supervisors without comment.
JMZO 2006-02 – Accessory Contractor Use: Mr. Solomon explained that there are a few minor revisions in the language of this amendment, for which the Planning Commission had already recommended approval.
Mr. Wind said that the language in Section 01, item 2, is very awkward. He would have preferred if it had read “There shall be no retail sales.” The modifiers “of materials or anything else” sound inappropriate.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt JMZO 2006-02, Accessory Contractor Use. Mr. Lombardi seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Messrs. Wind and Fisher abstaining.
Subcommittee & Liaison Reports
Board of Supervisors : Mr. Schenkman reported that the Board of Supervisors has held lengthy discussions on the funding of open space preservation efforts. The Board has decided to place a referendum on the Ballot asking residents if they would support an increase in the earned income tax of 0.25% for the preservation of open space. This will be discussed further at the July 23, 2008 Board meeting. No specific parcels have yet been identified for preservation.
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Sensibaugh reported thatBucks County Planning Commission will give a presentation on watersheds at the next meeting.
Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Schenkman reported that the Joint Zoning Council has been discussing zoning for windmills. The Board of Supervisors would like Planning Commission input on this.
Ms. Fountain agreed to gather information on ways that other municipalities are addressing this.
Mr. Schenkman reminded the members that July 31, 2008 would be the 25 th anniversary of the Jointure; a celebration will take place at Wrightstown Township.
Historic Architectural Review Board: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB is working with Mr. McGrath on a new color palette for Goodnoe’s Corner, featuring beige and green colors with black or white trim.
Open Space Subcommittee: Mr. Sensibaugh reported that the Open Space Committee reviewed a draft list of goals and objectives. The members also agreed to hire students to complete the open space inventory, which will be necessary for the revised comprehensive plan, which is to be included in any County grant applications. Lynn Bush of the Bucks County Planning Commission is scheduled to attend the August meeting.
The Committee is also investigating some cooperative efforts with Newtown Borough, and possibly with Wrightstown Township.
Mr. Sensibaugh asked that the Commission resume discussion of road classifications at a future meeting.
Mr. Lombardi moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary