NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Minutes of the meeting held on March 16, 2010

 

Present: Vice Chairmen Susan Beasley and Robert Whartenby, Paul Cohen, Dennis Fisher (late), Michael Iapalucci and Fred Olivari, members. Also in attendance were Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, John Torrente, Township Solicitor, John Boyle, Township Assistant Manager and Jerry Schenkman, Township Supervisor.

Call to Order: Mrs. Beasley called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Beasley noted that in the minutes of March 2, 2010, Mr. Schenkman should be identified as a Township Supervisor on page 1, and on page 2, the motion should read, “…removing certain parcels in Upper Makefield and Newtown from the FCO as presented in a draft…”

Mr. Whartenby moved to accept the minutes of March 2, 2010, as corrected. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Olivari abstaining.

Zoning Hearing Board Applications

George J. Donovan & Associates on behalf of Doug & Erin Demskis – 240 N. Chancellor Street: John Charles of George J. Donovan and Associates and Doug Demkis were in attendance to present this application for a variance for increased impervious surface to build an addition to a single family dwelling and a future addition to the detached garage in the R-2 High Density Zoning District. He said that this is a 41,930 square foot lot with an already non-conforming 13.6% impervious surface. The house is a single story and cannot support a second story. The new additions for an expanded family room, foyer, bedroom and bathroom will add 1078 square feet to the 2674 square foot building, bringing the impervious to 17.33%. The future proposed expansion to the garage will not be built at this time, but when it is constructed is for additional storage.

Mr. Cohen asked what proposed stormwater management for any additional run off is proposed.

Mr. Charles said that only grading is planned.

Mr. Cohen suggested that the applicant might be asked to discuss stormwater management at the Zoning Hearing Board. He said that the applicant should be prepared to discuss some possible plans.

Mr. Charles said that he will review the stormwater run off before appearing at the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mrs. Beasley asked about materials for the deck.

Mr. Charles said that the deck is not impervious and has already been built.

Mr. Cohen suggested that some show of support from surrounding neighbors might be helpful at the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Demkis said that he has spoken to his neighbors, who were in support of the project.

The Commission agreed to pass this application to the Board of Supervisors without comment.

Eric & Gwen Varady – 10 Clearview Drive: Eric and Gwen Varady were in attendance to review this application for a variance for increased impervious surface and setbacks and for a special exception to construct a two story addition at the rear of the house and an expansion of the driveway on a non-conforming lot in the R-1 Medium Density Zoning District.

Mrs. Beasley said that she is familiar with this neighborhood. The homes are a little older and many have been building additions.

Mr. Varady said that most of his neighbors who have expanded are on existing non-conforming lots. He has spoken to his immediate neighbors, who are in support of the plans.

Mr. Whartenby noted that Mr. Varady’s fence appears to be beyond his property line.

Mr. Varady explained that the fence was installed some years ago; the recent survey for this project revealed that the fence is not on his property. His neighbor is aware of the problem.

Ms. Fountain urged Mr. Varady to correct this.

Mr. Cohen suggested that Mr. Varady be prepared to discuss stormwater management with the Zoning Hearing Board, since his plans increase impervious surface. He asked whether the addition will have a basement. He also noted that the addition is rather large, with an increased impervious surface from 12% to 18.5% and wondered whether it could be reduced somewhat.

Mr. Varady said that there will be a basement. The addition is made larger because it includes a second staircase. The stairs in his home are very steep and difficult for is elderly parents, who are frequent visitors.

The Commission agreed to pass this application to the Board of Supervisors without comment.

Subcommittee & Liaison Reports

Board of Supervisors: Mr. Schenkman reported that at the Board’s last work session, Bucks County Planning Commission Executive Director Lynn Bush gave a presentation on Sycamore Street. She concentrated on the four large parcels on the west side of the street, St. Andrew’s School, Bill Marsh Ford, Stockburger’s Chrysler and the Goodnoe homestead. Her suggestions maintained a low building height and included some public areas such as pocket parks. The ideas she presented kept the historic nature of the street in mind. Mr. Schenkman apologized that the Planning Commission members had not been informed of the presentation and agreed to arrange another presentation and to provide the Planning Commission members with copies of Ms. Bush’s handouts.

Mr. Fisher arrived at this point.

The members asked about plans to demolish the old Acme building and clean up the lot.

Mr. Schenkman said that there have been some delays with the financing of the project, delaying the clean-up.

Ms. Fountain noted that if the building were removed before the project is ready to begin, the site would lose its “non-conformity.” She recently received the revised Promenade plans; the approval on these plans is valid for five years.

Mrs. Beasley said that HARB member Harriet Beckert had been at the work session. Mrs. Beckert had some concerns about a through street between Sycamore and South Eagle along the property line between Bill Marsh Ford and the Presbyterian Church.

Ms. Fountain said she would forward copies of Ms. Bush’s presentation to the members.

Mr. Schenkman reported that the Board discussed the medians along Stoopville Road at the meeting. There is some concern about safety, as the Board had expected the medians to have mountable curbs. Also of concern is the proposed Phase II of the project, as the walking trail crosses Stoopville Road a number of times. The Board discussed making some changes to eliminate some of the crossings.

Mr. Schenkman said that the Board briefly discussed noise from early morning trash collection but agreed that any residents with complaints should go directly to the hauler, as our noise ordinance does not specifically address the trash trucks.

Environmental Advisory Council: Mr. Fisher reported that the EAC will have a presentation from PA-TEC on reactivation of the SEPTA R-8 line at an upcoming meeting. The EAC will also sponsor a Tree Tenders workshop in the fall. This is a three night workshop on planting and pruning.


Mr. Fisher moved to adjourn at 8:00 PM. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Following the meeting, Ms. Fountain gave a brief presentation on the duties and responsibilities of the Planning Commission as an advisory body. This presentation also dealt with Planning Commission reviews of uses by right and conditional uses, variances and special exceptions.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary