Minutes of the meeting held on February 3, 2009

Present: Secretary Peggy Driscoll, Sue Beasley, Dennis Fisher, Fred Olivari, Robert Whartenby and Brandon Wind, members. Also in attendance were: Jennifer McGrath, Solicitor, Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager, Tom Jirele and Jerry Schenkman, Supervisor Liaisons and Mike Galla, Interim Codes Officer.

Call to Order: Acting as chairman, Mrs. Driscoll called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Beasley moved to accept the minutes of January 20, 2009.. Mr. Olivari seconded and the motion passed 5-0-1, with Mr. Fisher abstaining.

Land Development

Rockbridge Estates, Washington Crossing Road – Amended Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Ed Murphy and Engineer Mark Haver of Pickering Corts and Summerson were in attendance to review this amended plan for development of a 10.84 acre parcel in the R-1 Medium Density Residential Zoning District. Mr. Murphy reviewed the history of the plans, noting that it had originally consisted of six building lots. After various redesigns, the Court has approved a three lot subdivision, subject to a settlement agreement between the Township and Gigliotti Avignon Associates, L.P. dated September 10, 2008. In its efforts to minimize impact of development on the parcel, the Township has an agreement to purchase lot 3, a 5.74 acre parcel, which will remain as open space. The two remaining building lots each measure 1.94 acres. An access easement will be provided along the southerly border of the property to the open space along Newtown Creek.

The Commission discussed the review letter of CKS Engineering dated January 27, 2009.

Mrs. Beasley noted that there had been variances granted by the Zoning Hearing Board on November 6, 2003. She asked whether there would be a time limit or whether the variances might have expired.

Mr. Murphy explained that while the plans were in litigation the time was stopped and the variances are still good.

Mrs. Driscoll asked about removal of trees.

Mr. Haver said that there would be some clearing of trees, particularly in the area near the entrance in the ultimate right of way. If necessary, the applicant agrees to replace the trees. A note would be added to the plan.

In response to the Commission’s questions on the underground stormwater facility, Ms. Fountain explained that the applicant proposed using a perforated pipe. She has some concerns about the high water table in the area and is not certain that a perforated pipe will work. While there is no specific distance required between the creek and the underground stormwater facility, the distance on this plan is about 400 feet. She said that she would work with the applicant on an acceptable solution to the perforated pipe.

Mr. Murphy noted that during storm events the water never goes above the creek banks. He noted that his office is located along the creek, and it has never breached the banks since the dam had been built.

The Commission reviewed the waiver requests.

Mr. Haver said that the stormwater system could match pre-development stormwater rates in large storm events, it would not be able to match for small events because of the topography.

Ms. Fountain noted that the Ordinance uses a meadow condition in determining pre-development rates, and this particular property’s pre-development condition is not meadowed. If the calculation were to use the current existing condition, the system would meet the requirements.

In further review of the CKS letter, Mr. Murphy said that the applicant will comply. He briefly discussed the feasibility of placing a fence between the developed properties and the Township’s open space. This would need further research.

Mr. Fisher said that in its review of a previous version of the plan the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) had discussed concerns about use of lawn products and road salt on the developed properties. There had been concern that these products could contaminate the creek water. The previous attorney had indicated that the Homeowners Association would agree to only use products as recommended by the EAC.

Mr. Murphy said that with only two homeowners there would only be a shared driveway easement agreement. The EAC recommendations could be incorporated into that easement agreement.

Mr. Haver reviewed plans to keep stormwater out of walkout basements. The two houses will be raised and drainage systems will be installed.

In response to Commission questions about neighbors’ concerns about the plans, Mr. Murphy said that there had been opposition to the plans prior to the settlement agreement, but the neighbors are supportive of the resolution.

Mr. Fisher moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the final plan for land development of Gigliotti Avignon Associates, L.P. for Rockbridge Estates, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840 – being Bucks County Tax Parcel NO. 29-10-13.2 prepared by Pickering Corts and Summerson dated January 9, 2009 (“the Plans) subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to: 

  1. Prior to the signing of the Revised Final Plan and its recordation, and subject to the waivers granted and the variances secured,   the Revised Final Plan shall be revised to comply with the following professional consultants’ review letters:
    1. January 16, 2009 correspondence from CKS Engineers,  except for the following comments which shall be resolved as indicated:
        • Paragraph 2 – A note shall be added to the plan indicating that the setbacks are 24 feet;
        • Paragraph 5 – a calculation correction is necessary;
        • Paragraph 6 is not longer applicable
        • SALDO Section II of the letter, Paragraph 8 – If additional trees are needed they will be planted;
        • SALDO Section II of the letter, Paragraph 9 is no longer applicable.
        • Grading and Stormwater Management Section III of the letter, Paragraph 3 – Subject to the approval of the Township Engineer.
  2. Applicant shall pay the traffic impact fee in accordance with the appropriate Ordinance which said payment shall be based upon the traffic engineer’s calculations of PM peak trips generated by the project. 
  3. The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of any variances, conditional uses and/or special exceptions granted by the Zoning Hearing Board or Board of Supervisors.
  4. The applicant shall supply and execute the Development and Financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
  5. The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.  
  6. Applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
  7. The applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
  8. All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted) and no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.
  9. Any signs shall be subject to and comply with Township sign ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted).
  10. The applicant shall comply with all storm water management ordinances and the Township Engineer recommendations and the applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township’s professionals. 
  11. No use shall be permitted which is noxious or offensive to the immediate area by reason of odor, dust, smoke, gas, vibration, illumination or noise or which constitutes a public hazard by fire, explosion or otherwise and a note shall be added to the plan so indicating.   
  12. The applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants as to the notes of the plan.  
  13. Applicant shall pay all review and professional fees in connection with all prior reviews as required under the Township SALDO at its applicable rate structure.
  14. The Applicant shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the Property from impinging upon nearby intersections.
  15. The Plan shall comply with the Settlement Agreement with Newtown Township dated September 10, 2008.
  16. The applicant shall create a shared common driveway easement agreement.

The following waivers are recommended to be granted:

  • From SALDO Section 521.3.B to allow a 12 inch diameter pipe at the outlet of the individual underground detention basins;
  • From SALDO Section 521.3.C.1 and 521.5 regarding the design of stormwater detention systems;
  • From SALDO Section 521.5.B regarding rate of runoff, and;
  • From Stormwater Ordinance Section 223 regarding peak rate control.

Mr. Whartenby seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Wind asked that a conservation easement be added on the wetland area of lots #1 and 2.

Mr. Murphy agreed to this.

Mr. Fisher amended his motion to include conservation easements on wetland areas of lots 1 and 2. Mr. Whartenby amended his second.

Discussion of motion: Mrs. Beasley said that she is familiar with the background and history of plans for development of this parcel. She feels the property is too wet to support even the two proposed homes and expects that the residents might have problems in the future. For that reason, she will be voting nay.

The motion passed 5-1, with Mrs. Beasley voting nay.

Liaison Reports

Board of Supervisors: Mr. Jirele reported that the Board will be meeting with each of the Township’s committees, boards and commissions to discuss direction and priorities for the coming year. The Board has placed the Planning Commission on its work session agenda for February 17, 2009. Because there is a conflict with the Planning Commission’s schedule, the Board will be meeting at the fire house. He invited all members to attend after the conclusion of their meeting.

The recording secretary noted that there might not be any items for February 17, 2009’s Planning Commission agenda, as deadlines for submission of materials to the Codes Department has passed.

Due to inclement weather, Mrs. Driscoll suggested tabling the remaining liaison reports.

Other Business: Mr. Whartenby said that at one time he had been employed by Langan Engineering and had been involved in developing the plans for the original Lockheed Martin facility. He asked whether he should recuse himself from review of the plans for land development for the proposed addition to the plant.

Ms. McGrath said that he is no longer involved with Lockheed or Langan Engineering so recusal would not be necessary.

Mrs. Beasley moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Mr. Olivari seconded and the motion passed 6-0.


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary