NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on October 6, 2009
Present: Chairman Allen Fidler; and members Sue Beasley, Dennis Fisher, Fred Olivari, Robert Whartenby and Brandon Wind. Also in attendance were: Township Engineer Michele Fountain, Assistant Township Manager John Boyle, and Solicitor John Torrente.
Call to Order: Chairman Allen Fidler called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wind made a motion to approve the minutes of September 29, 2009. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Ellen Ryan, Inc. – Marisa – Art of Apparel
Ellen Tolen of Ellen Ryan, Inc. was present. She said her retail store will be a women’s boutique, and noted that she has been in business for many years, with stores in Flemington and Red Bank. Ms. Tolen said she brings a customer base with her, including customers from Newtown, and that she is very excited to be coming to Newtown.
Mr. Fidler cited the review letter from CKS Engineers, dated September 21, 2009, and asked the applicant if she wanted to amend the number of employees and hours of operation, as it would be easier to do at this point than later in the approval process. Ms. Tolen said the average number of employees would probably be two, but that there could be a maximum of four. She said she would like to stay open until 10:00pm, noting that she has been asked by the ice cream shop and the Green Parrot to stay open later to coincide with their hours and help establish more foot traffic at the shopping center. Ms. Tolen said she would like to amend the hours of operation, detailed in the CKS letter, to seven days a week, from 10:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Saturday, and from 12:00 to 6:00pm on Sunday. Mr. Boyle noted that the PC is a recommending board and that final approval is given by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Fidler said that the pro business approach of the township should be favorable to the proposed expanded hours.
Ms. Tolen clarified that she would not take any UPS or other deliveries at the store, but would bring products herself. Mr. Fidler reminded the applicant that any signage would require HARB approval before conditional use could be approved; Ms. Tolen said she was aware of this.
Ms. Fountain had no questions. She said that the parking calculations were satisfactory, noting that a variance had been received by the shopping center. She said that this use should not impact parking, since the employee count (4) is much less than that of the previous business (the pretzel factory with 12).
Mr. Torrente had no questions or comment.
Mr. Fisher made a motion to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the Conditional Use Application from Ellen Ryan, Inc. for an E-1 Retail Apparel Shop, Specialty Boutique, namely “Marisa, the Art of Apparel”, at 250 North Sycamore Street, Building 2A in the PC, Planned Commercial Zoning District, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Wind seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously by the Commission.
Mr. Fidler noted that the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is October 14, 2009.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission
Mr. Fidler reported that he had attended their meeting several weeks ago. He said that Mr. Wydro had suggested unifying the various municipality SALDO ordinances, but there was no support for the idea. Mr. Fidler said that green basins were discussed, noting that Upper Makefield has 21 basins and that Wrightstown has none and doesn’t want any. He noted that Newtown wants to continue maintenance of the basins by the HOA’s. Mr. Fidler said that no common joint planning issues resulted, and the only agreement by attendees was that basins should use green technology. He suggested that the Board of Supervisors discuss where Newtown stands on the issue.
Mr. Fisher reported that the last few meetings involved presentations regarding wildlife management, in particular deer, by a sharp shooters group and a bow hunters group. He said the presentations were very well done and would be given to the Supervisors in the next few months. The presentations will address the problems with deer and possible ways to deal with the issues. Mr. Fidler noted that infill building in the township has changed wildlife management issues, and said that nursery management now recommends invisible fencing with dogs that roam to keep deer off a property.
Mr. Fidler thanked Mr. Boyle for forwarding letters to the Commission, to PennDOT from the township and responses from PennDOT, which addressed questions about Stoopville Road, Terry Drive extension, and Swamp Road.
Ms. Beasley said she had heard there were traffic calming plans for 532; Commission members had heard only about traffic calming measures for Stoopville Road.
Mr. Fidler noted comments by the Supervisors regarding development on Sycamore Street relative to permitted uses and planned commercial development. He said they had discussed what someone could do to pursue development outside of planned commercial development, noting that what would be allowed on the eastern side of the street would be allowed on the western side as well. The question arose as to whether different requirements could exist for setbacks, etc. based on lot size or are they restricted to limitations on use only. Commission members expressed concern for fairness to owners of smaller lots, suggesting that lesser setbacks and other restrictions would avoid penalizing development on the smaller lots. Ms. Fountain will research the issue. Mr. Fidler said he hoped that the Supervisors would consider hiring a professional planner to assist.
On motion by Mr. Fisher and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 8:09 pm.
Leslie Dunleavy, Recording Secretary