NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on December 15, 2009
Present: Chairman Allen Fidler, Sue Beasley, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher, Fred Olivari, Jay Sensibaugh, Robert Whartenby and Brandon Wind, members. Also in attendance were: Jerry Schenkman, Township Supervisor, John Torrente, Township Solicitor, Tom Panzer, Special Counsel for Promenade, Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, Andrew Brown, Township Traffic Engineer and John Boyle, Assistant Township Manager.
Call to Order: Mr. Fidler called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wind moved to accept the minutes of November 17, 2009. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 7-0-1, with Mr. Olivari abstaining.
Zoning Hearing Board Applications
Ralph E. Holland & Clare Marie Kronemeyer 185 Durham Road: Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicants for this application for a special exception and variances to demolish an existing detached garage and construct an attached garage of 31’ X20.5 feet, a 30’ X 20.5 foot master bedroom addition and a 15’ X 13’ deck, a 13’ X 13’ wet room, a 10’ X 19’ covered porch and a driveway expansion on a non-conforming lot.
Mr. Marshall explained that this is a small cape cod house on Durham Road. The lot is 20,000 square feet. He showed the Planning Commission the real estate listing for the property, noting that the applicants have an agreement of sale, but wish to build the additions to accommodate an elderly family member. The special exception is needed because this is a non-conforming lot. Variances are required for setbacks and for increased impervious surface to 19% where 8% is permitted and 13.9% exists. Mr. Marshall said that elsewhere in the Township, where 20,000 square foot lots are permitted, 20% impervious surface is permitted. A similar variance was granted to the neighbor at 181 Durham Road in 2002. The house is connected to public sewer and will be connected to public water.
Mrs. Beasley asked the exact location of the house.
Mr. Marshall pointed to the house on a tax map, noting it had been the home of the Steele family. The side yard is adjacent to Durham Lea open space.
Mr. Fisher suggested that some show of support from the immediate neighbors might be helpful to the Zoning Hearing Board.
The Commission agreed that there is a hardship in accommodating the handicapped family member and the construction will not impact neighbors and passed the application to the Board of Supervisors without comment.
Green Parrot Restaurant and Grill, 240 N. Sycamore Street: Attorney Shawn Ward represented the applicants. He presented photographs of the three blade signs and two letter signs which are already installed. He showed the members a photograph of a “Green Parrot” logo which would be placed over the angled portion of the porch entry at the corner of Silo Drive and Sycamore Street. The total square footage of all signs will be 52 square feet, where 80 square feet would be permitted. The band around the building where the letter signs appear is 13 feet high; signs must be only 9 feet high.
The Commission briefly discussed the “Green Parrot” logo and agreed that it is not really a sign but artwork on the façade of the building.
The members passed this application to the Board of Supervisors without comment.
Promenade/Anthropologie, 200 N. Sycamore Street – Conditional Use: Attorney Thomas Panzer served as special counsel to the Planning Commission for this application.
Architect Peter Stampfl and David Ziel of Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie were in attendance to review this application for an E-1 retail use in an 11,500 square foot space in the TC, Town Commercial Zoning District.
The Commission reviewed the CKS Engineers letter dated December 9, 2009. Mr. Sensibaugh asked about the proposed number of employees.
Mr. Ziel said that they expect to have a total of 15 to 18 employees, with 8 to 10 working on each shift. During holiday season the number would be increased to about 25 employees, mostly part time help, with a maximum of 15 employees at each shift.
Mr. Fidler explained that it is best to seek approval for the maximum number of employees the shop might have. The applicant is not obliged to have that number, but would be in violation if he went over the approved maximum.
Mr. Sensibaugh noted that the hours of operation on the application show the store closing at 8:00 PM weekdays and 6:00 on Sundays. He suggested that some additional flexibility might be needed if the store were to remain open later during the holiday season.
Mr. Fidler explained that, as with the number of employees, the applicant is not required to remain open until 10:00 PM every night, but is permitted to remain open if business demands it.
Ms. Fountain noted that the Zoning Hearing Board had granted variances subject to the condition that no deliveries are made directly onto Sycamore Street and that deliveries by box trucks larger than 32 feet be made during off hours. She asked what plans the applicant had for the moving in deliveries.
Mr. Ziel said that moving in would require three trucks. He could arrange for delivery during the very early morning. Regular deliveries are by UPS and FedEx trucks on Monday through Thursday.
The Commission discussed the moving in procedure. Mr. Fidler suggested that the moving trucks be brought straight into the arcade driveway and off loaded either there or at the rear. The trucks could then be backed out to Sycamore Street. Traffic could be controlled while the trucks back out.
Mr. Fidler asked whether underground parking spaces had been assigned to Anthropologie.
Mr. Stampfl said that each residential tenant would be assigned two parking spaces in the garage, leaving 18 spaces to be shared by the retail tenants. Because of the size of the shop, he would expect Anthropologie to be assigned about half of the 18, but exact allocation would be done at a later date. The garage would be accessed by a key card.
Mr. Wind asked when construction is expected to begin.
Mr. Stampfl said that they are in the final design phase, but had waited to apply for permits until this conditional use had been granted. He expected to apply for building permits by January 13, 2010, with a goal of opening Anthropologie for the 2010 fall/holiday season.
Mr. Sensibaugh moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant conditional use approval for use E-1 retail shop use at 200 North Sycamore Street in the TC- Town Commercial Zoning District, tax map parcel 29-10-7, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Whartenby seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Schenkman mentioned that the applicant might want to remain open late to participate in Township sponsored events such as AHA! Friday! and Midnight Madness.
Mr. Ziel asked whether any lighting is permitted when the store is closed.
Mrs. Beasley suggested speaking to the Police Department. Some security lighting might be recommended.
The motion passed 8-0.
Rosebank Winery, 258 Durham Road – Final Plan for Land Development: Attorney Don Marshall was in attendance to review this application for final approval for land development on a 10.1928 acre parcel in the CM Conservation Management Zoning District for a two-story 10,616 square foot addition to an existing barn, a wood deck between the existing stone barn and the proposed winery, and a wood deck to the existing events and promotions building. The plans also propose to restore a portion of the existing parking area to a grass and landscaped area and a new 0.50 acre orchard along Durham Road. Preliminary Plan approval was granted September 9, 2009.
The Commission reviewed the CKS Engineers letter dated November 20, 2009. Mr. Marshall said that the applicant will comply with the letter but pointed out that item #9 of the CKS letter points out a mistake in calculating the impervious surface. The correct impervious surface is 18.6%, not 15.6% as shown in the preliminary plan. This is still a reduction in impervious surface and should have de minimus impact on the stormwater calculations.
Ms. Fountain said she would further investigate this but did not think the mistake would have an impact.
Mr. Sensibaugh noted that the parking area is gravel, which the JMZO considers impervious, but which is somewhat permeable.
Mr. Marshall said that the applicant will comply with the Carroll Engineering letter dated November 189, 2009 and with the EMS letter dated November 12, 2009.
Ms. Fountain said that the original plans had indicated on lot water and sewer but now indicate public water and sewer.
Mr. Marshall explained that the applicant will connect to public water and sewer through the Woll tract. He is not sure whether a planning module or an exemption will be required.
Mr. Brown said that a Highway Occupancy Permit is needed and the driveway should e widened to 18 feet because the use has changed form minimum to low volume.
Mr. Marshall said he has not been told this by PennDOT. The use is not changing but is going from an outdoor to an indoor use. The indoor facilities have lower capacity. The applicant will comply with any PennDOT requirements.
Mr. Fisher asked if the fire hydrant issue has been resolved.
Mr. Marshall said that it has been resolved.
The Commission reviewed the Bucks County Planning Commission letter of November 25, 2009. Mr. Marshall noted that applicant will comply but suggested that the Township revise its list of acceptable trees to eliminate Norway Maple and White Ash.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the final plan of Rosebank Winery, for the premises located at 258 Durham Road, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Numbers 29-3-25-1, prepared by All County, Inc, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
Mrs. Beasley seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Board of Supervisors: Mr. Schenkman reported that Lynn Bush, Executive Director of the Bucks County Planning Commission had given a presentation on Sycamore Street to the Board at its December work session. Included in the report was a review of current uses and performance standards. Ms. Bush showed some slides which illustrated the current setbacks along both sides of the street. She also showed some samples of other municipalities which have addressed their downtowns with either “borough” or “village” redevelopment.
Mr. Fidler said he was very disappointed that the Planning Commission had not been invited to participate in this presentation.
Mr. Schenkman apologized for the oversight. He said Ms. Bush would be returning with more specific recommendations before she begins to draft some ordinance amendments. He said that he would be sure the Planning Commission is alerted when this has been scheduled.
Mr. Sensibaugh said he had been at the Board meeting. The Board and Ms. Bush had discussed some different retail sizes which could be tied to the lot sizes. They also discussed providing some public amenities and some restrictions on design and aesthetics to keep new construction compatible with the surrounding historic district.
Mr. Fidler moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary