NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on October 21, 2008
Present: Chairman Allen Fidler, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher, Vince Lombardi, Jim Ott, and Brandon Wind, members. Also in attendance were: Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor; Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, Richard O’Brien, Interim Codes Officer. Jerry Schenkman, Supervisor Liaison.
Call to Order: Mr. Fidler called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Ott move to accept the minutes of October 7, 2008. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Silver Lake Executive Campus – 42 University Drive – Preliminary Plan for Land Development: Attorney Ed Murphy was in attendance to review this plan to construct two 78,426 square foot office buildings connected by a 4125 square foot cafeteria building with associated parking and stormwater facilities on a 34.8 acre parcel in the OR-Office Research Zoning District. The applicant is actively pursuing a single tenant to occupy both buildings. Zoning Hearing Board relief has been granted for parking, stormwater management, driveway width, loading areas, and access through Silver Lake Road.
The Commission discussed whether Zoning Hearing Board relief to extend utilities into the floodplain district included a proposed water main. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Fountain will research this further.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant will comply with the CKS Engineering letter dated October 16, 2008, but had a few items to discuss and get Planning Commission input.
Mr. Murphy said that the parking lot lights at the already completed portion of the development are 30 feet high. For consistency, the applicant would like to continue with 30 foot poles, with lights shielded.
Mr. Wind asked about plans for up-lighting of the exterior of the building.
Mr. Murphy said that at this time there are no such plans.
Since the development does not have any residential neighbors, the Commission had no objection to this request.
The members discussed the proposed landscape buffering. There was some concern that the “meadow” that the applicant proposed could give the appearance of abandoned land, and could become an area for dumping. Mr. Fidler suggested that, instead of natural planting and buffering along Silver Lake Road, the applicant plant a buffer along the edge of the parking lot. Street trees are provided at 50 foot intervals because only one side of Silver Lake Road is being developed. The Bucks County Planning Commission has recommended that ash trees not be used; the applicant will agree to any trees the Planner recommends.
The applicant had donated land for the right-of-way for the Newtown Bypass, and an agreement is in place stating that this was in lieu of traffic impact and park and recreation fees.
The Commission agreed that no trail should be extended to this property.
In discussing the Carroll Engineering letter dated September 5, 2008, Mr. Murphy noted that all roadway improvements were made as part of the original approval process for the already completed portion of the development.
Mr. Wind suggested that the Township Engineer confirm that traffic lanes exiting Lower Silver Lake Road onto the Newtown Bypass are adequate for rush hour exiting of the complex.
Mr. O’Brien confirmed that the plans comply with requirements for handicapped van parking.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan of Silver Lake Executive Campus, for the premises located at 42 University Drive, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Numbers 29-10-43 and 29-10-43-1, prepared by Taylor Wiseman and Taylor, comprising Sheets 1-16 dated July 16, 2008 and revised October 1, 2008, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
The Commission recommends that the following Waivers be granted to Developer from the SALDO as follows:
Mr. Lombardi seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Fidler said that the buffer planting should be along the edge of the parking area, not along Lower Silver Lake Road.
Regarding the use of natural, meadow like plantings at the detention basin, Mr. Fidler said that as this best management practice is used more frequently, perhaps the Township should seek input from the Environmental Advisory Council regarding the periodic use of larvacides to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus.
The Commission agreed that this sould be discussed with the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Murphy said that the applicant would agree to working with any EAC recommendations. He asked if the Board would consider recommending “preliminary as final” approval.
Ms. Fountain suggested that there are a number of “will complies” that would need to be reviewed again.
The motion passed 6-0.
Harold Beck & Sons – 11 Terry Drive – Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Don Marshall and architect Rhett Jones were in attendance to review this plan for a 24,330 square foot addition to an existing 66,733 square foot manufacturing building on 6.207 acres in the LI Light Industrial Zoning District. The site had 194 parking spaces, 75% of which are 9 feet by 18 feet. This is a G-1 manufacturing use. The new addition will be used for robotic equipment and storage; no new employees will be added.
Mr. Marshall reviewed the CKS Engineering letter of August 22, 2008. He said that a note would be added to the plan explaining that 0.597 acres of the property is within the utility easement. Regarding comment number 7, Mr. Marshall said that because this project is less than 25,000 square feet, no traffic study would be required. Carroll Engineering as requested a letter stating traffic counts, and this will be provided.
Mr. Fidler said that if the use were to change, there could be a traffic impact.
The members discussed whether land development would be required if the use were to change. Mr. Marshall said that the site has 194 parking spaces, which is adequate for the current manufacturing use, but would not be sufficient for office use. An increase in parking would require land development, at which time the traffic impact would be evaluated.
Ms. McGrath said that she would research further under what circumstances land development review would be required if the building were to change occupant or use.
Ms. Fountain indicated that the existing buffering to the parking is adequate. Two trees are to be replaced. The dumpster area is adequately screened from the street. It is located in the loading berth, where it is used for the recycling of metals used in manufacturing. This recycled material is picked up on a regular schedule and must be easily available to the haulers.
Mr. Fidler suggested that additional buffering should be provided on the south and west sides of the building, only.
The members discussed the request for a waiver from the requirement to install sidewalks. Mr. Marshall said that there are no other sidewalks along Terry Drive. The applicant would seek a partial waiver and would escrow funds to be used at such time as sidewalks are installed throughout the Commons.
The members discussed the increased pedestrian traffic, particularly at noontime, in the Commons since the change to a business environment. The members agreed that somebody will have to be first to install sidewalks, and that, rather than recommend granting a waiver, input from the Supervisors should be sought on this and future projects. There was some concern that escrowed money for a future sidewalk project could be forgotten.
Mr. Wind moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan of Harold Beck and Sons, Inc., for the premises located at 11 Terry Drive, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel NO. 29-10-116, prepared by Bohler Engineering, comprising Sheets 1-19 dated July 10, 2008, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
The Commission recommends that the following Waivers be granted to Developer from the SALDO as follows:
Mr. Fisher seconded .
Discussion of motion: Mr. O’Brien confirmed that he and Ms. McGrath would research whether a change in use would generate a new land development review.
Mr. Ott asked Ms. Fountain whether she would recommend that the Planning Commission consider a preliminary as final plan approval.
Ms. Fountain said that she would agree to preliminary as final.
Mr. Wind amended his motion to recommend preliminary as final land development approval. Mr. Fisher amended his second and the motion passed 6-0.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Board of Supervisors: Mr. Schenkman reported that the Board has voted to authorize advertisement of JMZO 2008-09 CM Revisions.
Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Fidler reported that there had been no further discussion of the Newtown Planning Commission’s concerns regarding the B-14 use.
HARB: Mr. Lombardi reported that HARB has reviewed and recommended approval of a few signs for existing Sycamore Street businesses.
EAC: Mr. Fisher said that the EAC would meet next week; he would discuss the concerns about the plantings at Silver Lake and prevention of mosquito breeding.
Open Space: Mrs. Driscoll reported that the Committee continues its work on the updated open space comprehensive plan. The open space inventory must be reviewed to remove any parcels that have been either developed or subdivided since the maps were generated.
2008 Comprehensive Plan Review
Mr. Fidler asked that the members come to the November 18, 2008 meeting prepared to discuss this at length. He asked the recording secretary to send the rebroadcast schedule of the Jointure anniversary presentation to the members, along with a copy of the shortened version of the plan used on that occasion to help members focus on the highlights.
Mr. Fisher asked that the members give some consideration of the road classifications in the plan. He was particularly concerned about Swamp Road.
Mr. Fidler spoke about the additional right-of-way for higher classifications, which could alter developers’ net buildable site calculations.
Mr. Wind briefly discussed the elimination of the B-14 use, expressing some concern that the elimination of cluster housing with contiguous open space could create more congestion if larger lots are subsequently subdivided, as he had seen happen in parts of Northern New Jersey.
In response to questions from the Commission, Ms. Fountain said that she would research the status of the new traffic signal and reconfigured entrance to Newtown Plaza Shopping Center at the South Eagle and Swamp Road intersection.
Mr. Ott moved to adjourn at 10:00 PM. Mr. Wind seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary