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 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:

  • Eliminate sidewalks; no sidewalks currently exist on Penns Trail and the site has adequate internal sidewalks around the buildings.
  • To allow parking areas closer than 20 feet from the outside wall of the nearest building.
  • Eliminate street trees for all land development along existing streets that abut land development
  • Allow excavation with a face steeper than 4:1.
  • Allow edges of slopes to be a minimum of 5 feet from the property lines in order to permit normal rounding of the edge;
  • Allow pre-development rate of run off to be calculated with meadow as the existing condition.

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:

  • Subject to the waivers secured and the previous variances granted, the Plans shall be revised to comply with the following professional consultants’ review letters:
    • July 14, 2010 correspondence from CKS Engineering , except for the following comments, which shall be resolved as indicated:
  • Section I, Zoning Issues, Paragraph #6; a variance must be secured from Section 803.C.6.5. The Planning Commission recommends 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;
  • Paragraph #11, a variance from Section 1001.F.6 must be secured to allow parking less that 20 feet from the street right-of-way;
  • Paragraph #12, a variance must be secured from Section 1002, to eliminate the requirement for additional loading berths.
  • SALDO review paragraph #7, a waiver from SALDO Section 514.9 is requested to permit the edge of any parking are to be closer than 20 feet from the outside wall of the nearest building.
  • SALDO paragraph #9, a waiver from Section 517.4 is requested. The Planning Commission recommends that sidewalks be installed along proposed internal access driveways.
  • SALDO paragraph #17, a waiver is requested from Section 530.1.A.3 to eliminate street trees along Penns Trail and the Newtown Bypass.
  • SALDO Paragraph #18, a fee in lieu of open space is offered.
  • Stormwater Section III, paragraph #3, a waiver is requested from Section 522.4.A;
  • Paragraph #4, a waiver is requested from Section 522.4.B;
  • Paragraph #26, a waiver is requested from Section 521.5.B
    • July 12, 2010 correspondence from Boucher and James, except for the following comments, which shall be resolved as indicated:
  • Paragraph #4.a, a variance shall be secured from Section 803.C.6.5.
  • Paragraph #4.d, a variance shall be secured from Section 1001.F.6.a
  • Paragraph #5.h, SALDO Section 530.1, a waiver is requested.
  • Paragraph #5.i, SALDO Section 530.3, a waiver is requested.
    • July 15, 2010 correspondence from Carroll Engineering;
    • July 2, 2010 correspondence from  Bucks County Planning Commission,
    • July 7, 2010 correspondence from Newtown Emergency Services Department.
  • The applicant shall comply with all terms and conditions of any variances, conditional uses and/or special exceptions granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.
  • The applicant shall supply all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
  • The applicant shall supply and execute all financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Township Solicitor.
  • Applicant shall provide a “will serve” or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
  • The applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All traffic impact fees shall be paid.
  • The applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants as to the notes of the plan.
  • All review and professional fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid.
  • The Developer shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the Property from impinging upon nearby intersections.
  • Any signs shall be subject to and comply with Township sign ordinances.
  • A fee in lieu of open space as recommended by the Park and Recreation Board shall be paid;
  • The Plan shall be ADA compliant.
  • Recommendation for the preliminary plan approval be conditioned upon the Applicant securing variances from the following provisions of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance:

(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:

  • Section 514.9, prohibiting parking areas closer than 20 feet from the outside wall of the nearest building.
  • A partial waiver of Section 517.4 requiring sidewalks along all existing streets with the recommendation sidewalks are installed along the internal access driveways only.
  • Section 530.A.3, 530.1 and 530.3, requiring street trees for all land development along existing streets that abut land development. The Planning Commission recommends that the required trees be placed along the internal access driveway or elsewhere within the property.

The Commission recommends that the following Waivers be granted to the Developer from the Township Stormwater Management Ordinance:

  • Section 522.4A, requiring that no excavation or fill shall be made with a face steeper than 4:1.
  • Section 522.4.B, requiring edges of slopes to be a minimum of 5 feet from the property lines in order to permit normal rounding of the edge;
  • Section 521.5.B, requiring the pre-development rate of run off to be calculated with meadow as the existing condition.

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.

Old Business

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.

Subcommittee Reports

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.

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary