NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Minutes of the meeting held on September 21, 2010
Present: Chairman Allen Fidler, Vice Chairmen Sue Beasley and Robert Whartenby, Paul Cohen, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher and Michael Iapalucci, members. Also in attendance were: Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, John Torrente, Township Solicitor, Kevin Kochanski,, Township Planner, John Boyle, Township Assistant Manager and Jerry Schenkman Supervisor Liaison.
Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Beasley moved to accept the minutes of September 7, 2010. Mr. Whartenby seconded and the motion passed 6-0-1, with Mr. Cohen abstaining.
Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Fitness Addition, Preliminary Plan for Land Development, 209 Penns Trail: Engineers Greg Elco and Luke Teller of Langan Engineering, Doug Stanley, Linda Mitchell and Eve Krieger of NAC were in attendance to review plans for an 11,550 square foot expansion to the existing facility, with associated parking, access drive improvements, landscaping and stormwater management facilities. The existing access on Blacksmith Drive is proposed to remain and the existing entrance on Penns Trail is to be removed. A new access is proposed from Pheasant Run. The proposed land development includes the consolidation of three tax map parcels, already owned by the NAC.
Mr. Elco presented a series of aerial photographs outlining the four lots owned by the NAC, noting the three, TMP’s 29-10-137, 29-10-138 (Dunmore building), 29-10-139-1, to be consolidated. TMP 29-10-140 will have an access easement for a driveway. The total acreage is 12.5 acres. Mr. Elco pointed on the photographs to the location of the proposed 11,550 square foot fitness addition. The Penns Trail entrance will be returned to grass and the entrance closed. The new entrance will be on Pheasant Run. The project meets impervious surface requirements and the proposed use will remain as C-6, athletic facility. As presented, the plan will require a variance to provide only 35 new parking spaces where 221 are required and to park within 20 feet of a right of way. Waivers are sought to not require sidewalks and street trees on Penns Trail and on the Newtown Bypass and to eliminate the loading berth requirements for the Dunmore Building.
Mrs. Beasley asked to review the parking, current and proposed.
Mr. Elco said that the site currently has 486 parking spaces. The plan will remove 85 existing spaces and install 125 spaces, a net gain of 35 spaces. The Ordinance requires 221 new spaces calculated by the usable floor space. Because the proposed addition is meant to provide a more spacious fitness area with existing equipment spread out, not to generate new members, the applicant is seeking to only add 35 parking spaces.
Mrs. Beasley said that this is a very large variance request; she said that there are certain times when the parking does not seem adequate now.
Mr. Fidler agreed that the request is very large. He advised the applicant to show that the full 221 spaces could be provided on the site if necessary, but would remain in green unless or until needed. He would rather not see the entire site paved if it is not needed.
Mr. Elco said that he would be able to provide that information. He could also supply data to confirm that the parking planned would meet the needs of the members and employees.
Mr. Fidler said that he did not have concern about the loading berths if it could be shown that there is a delivery area provided for the facilities.
Mr. Elco reviewed the waiver requests:
Mr. Elco explained that the SALDO would require trees along the Bypass and Penns Trail, but there is not room for them on these streets. He proposed planting two trees and locating the other five elsewhere on the site.
Mr. Whartenby asked whether changes to the use of the Dunmore Building are anticipated.
Ms. Krieger explained that the building has two small offices and a baseball academy owned by the NAC. The uses would remain.
Mr. Cohen questioned the proposed location for the new parking.
Mr. Elco said that the architect will work on the plan to be sure it is adequate for a controlled entrance and compliance with fire codes. The parking will be near the new addition.
Mr. Fisher asked whether the plans would still meet impervious surface requirements if the full parking were to be installed.
Mr. Fidler suggested showing the parking in green on the lot nearest the Pheasant Run entrance.
Mr. Elco said that the site would still meet impervious surface requirements with the full parking should the use change at some time in the future. The lot which will be used for spaces held in green is currently at 10% impervious and the remaining site still has 4% available for additional impervious after construction.
After further discussion, the Commission members agreed that they would support the parking variance if the spaces could be shown in reserve.
In response to Mr. Cohen’s questions about traffic on Pheasant Run, Mr. Elco noted that Township Traffic Engineer had reviewed the plans for both traffic on Pheasant Run and for the internal parking lots and driveways. The applicant will comply with his review letter.
Mr. Fidler asked about patterns of use of the facilities by members to help demonstrate that the proposed parking and driveways will be adequate.
Mr. Stanley reviewed membership, which had been 4000 billing units (individuals and families) and is currently 3500 billing units. There are 1500 card swipes during the club’s 18 hour day. He could review the card swipes to determine the peak hours of usage.
Mr. Cohen asked about planting some of the street trees in the Penns Trail entrance driveway which is to be closed.
Mr. Kochanski said that there are some site distance issues to consider when planting trees near a busy intersection. Locations for the additional trees will be worked out before final land development.
Ms. Fountain asked about increased demand on sewers.
Mr. Teller said that they anticipate no increased demand and would supply confirmation from the sewer authority.
Ms. Fountain noted that a site investigation showed that an existing pipe which the detention basin outlet pipe is to tie into is in disrepair.
Mr. Elco said that the applicant will comply with the suggestions in the review letter; the pipe will be televised and the pipe will be repaired or replaced.
Ms. Fountain asked about deliveries to the Dunmore building.
Ms. Krieger explained that all deliveries are made to the main building and hand delivered to the other building.
Mr. Whartenby asked about emergency access.
Mr. Teller reviewed the entrances and said that a template would be added showing that the turning radii are adequate for large emergency vehicles. The fire marshal will review the plan.
Mr. Kochanski said that if sidewalks are eliminated a note could be added to the plan to put sidewalks in later if the area is developed differently.
Mr. Fidler said that the Business Commons is trying to install sidewalks on the internal streets as more employees are taking walks at lunchtime and walking to the post office and restaurant. He suggested that the sidewalks be installed along the internal driveway from Pheasant Run to the club.
Mr. Elco said that except where discussed, the applicant will comply with review letters of CKS, Boucher and James, Carroll Engineering, the Bucks County Planning Commission and the fire marshal.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the preliminary plan of Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Fitness Addition at 209 Penns Trail, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 19840, being Bucks County Tax Parcel Numbers 29-10-137, 29-10-138 and 29-10-39-1 to be consolidated and 29-10-140, prepared by Langan Engineering, comprising Sheets 1-33 dated June 2, 2010, with no revisions, subject to the following conditions, all of which the applicant has agreed to:
(a) Section 803.C.6.5 for parking with the recommendation that required parking be dedicated and held in reserve on TMP 29-10-140 and a parking designation for the existing and proposed uses for all buildings on the property be added to the plan;
(b) Section 1001.F.6 to allow parking less that 20 feet from the street right-of-way; and
(c) Section 1002, to eliminate the installation of additional loading berths.
The Commission recommends that the following Waivers be granted to Developer from the SALDO as follows:
The Commission recommends that the following Waivers be granted to the Developer from the Township Stormwater Management Ordinance:
Mr. Whartenby seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mr. Whartenby said that he was very impressed with the quality of Langan Engineering’s work.
Mr. Iapalucci said that he is pleased to see a local business expanding.
Mr. Cohen asked about the plans to test the sound levels at LaStalla.
Mr. Fidler said that testing is scheduled for September 30 at 8:00 PM. The Planning Commission members were sent a notice to attend the testing. He noted that Mrs. Beasley had been sent a copy of Middletown Township’s noise ordinance along with a Liquor Control Board regulation prohibiting noise outside of the property line.
Mr. Cohen noted that there had been a LCB notice against LaStalla about the outside music.
Mr. Torrente said that he would review the LCB prohibition.
Mr. Fidler said that if the prohibition is true it might impact some of the ideas discussed for the future visioning for Sycamore Street. He would speak to BCPC Executive Director Bush about this.
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Ms. Fountain reported that the Regional Planning Commission has been discussing Act 167 and the Neshaminy Creek watershed.Mr. Iapalucci moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Mrs. Beasley seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary