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 December 6, 2011

 

Present: Chairman Allen Fidler, Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby, Paul Cohen, Craig Deutsch, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher, Larry Galley and Michael Iapalucci, members. Also in attendance were Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, Kevin Kochanski, Township Planner, Amy Kaminski, Township Traffic Engineer and Michael Hartey, Code Enforcement Officer.

Call to Order: Chairman Fidler called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. He reported to the Commission that member Fred Olivari has resigned due to a change in his business travel schedule which will keep him out of town on Tuesdays.

Approval of Minutes: Mr. Fisher moved to accept the minutes of November 15, 2011. Mr. Whartenby seconded and the motion passed 8-0.

Land Development
Newtown Racquetball Club, 209 Penns Trail, Preliminary as Final Plan for Land Development: Engineer Luke Teller, Traffic Engineer Alan Lothian and applicant Jim Worthington were in attendance to review this plan to remove a one story brick building and to construct an outdoor pool area with changing room and snack bar, a one story 37,167 square foot baseball academy and associated parking and stormwater management. In addition, the plan proposes consolidation of six tax parcels to form a single 18.034 acre parcel. A grass area is to be developed as a practice playing field with lights.
Mr. Teller informed the Commission that the applicant had received the requested variances needed for the project:
· A parking variance to permit 692 spaces where 3,512 are required and previously granted variances are for relief of 2886 spaces.
· Parking stalls to be 9' X 18', with 79 spaces held in reserve, as per a previous variance
· To allow the baseball academy to share a loading berth and drive aisle with the main building
· A front yard setback of less than 75 feet for a portion of the outdoor pool
· A setback variance to allow a play area greater than 4000 square feet with lights on poles higher than 15 feet to be closer than 500 feet from the property line
· Use variances for the outdoor pool if determined not to be a C-6 athletic facility use and an E-5 eating place for a snack bar at the outdoor pool.
The variances were conditioned on consolidation of the tax parcels, review of any lighting plans for the fields by the Board of Supervisors and Township Engineer, limitation of the pool/recreation area to 76,600 square feet and the eating place is limited to a snack bar, only.
Mr. Fidler asked about the timeline for lighting installation. He is reluctant to recommend final approval of the plan until the Commission has reviewed a lighting plan.
Mr. Teller said that the lighting would be part of the amended final plan.
Mr. Iapalucci asked why the Zoning Hearing Board had expanded the definition of "pool."
Ms. Fountain suggested that since there was a question as to whether an outdoor pool is a C-6 athletic facility component, and the proposed pool is not a competitive lap pool, the variance might have been worded to indicate that the pool facility proposed is permitted by this variance.
Mr. Fidler asked whether the medical use is being removed.
Mr. Worthington said that there is a medical use in the Dunmore building, which is being demolished and that use is being abandoned. There are some medical uses inside the main health club building, including chiropractic services, botox and medically supervised weight loss programs. These have been accessory uses to the athletic facility. It is possible that at some point a portion of space in the new baseball academy building might be set aside for physical therapy for recovering athletes.
Mr. Fidler and Mr. Cohen discussed the accessory medical uses already in place at the facility and the possible leasing of space for medical offices not health club related. Mr. Fidler said that the medical uses could impact parking calculations.
Mr. Worthington said that the medical uses bring in far fewer people than the athletic facility and would require fewer parking spaces. For example, he said that a 1,000 square foot gym area could have forty people attending an exercise class, but would only have five or six people per hour for medical offices. He said that he was very reluctant to give up the medical uses. Although the NAC is the only club like his in this area, across the country, large health club facilities are offering similar components in spas and physical therapy areas. He said that he would consider agreeing to no medical use in the baseball academy building, and should he later decide to add a medical use, he would return to the Zoning Hearing Board if necessary.
Mr. Torrente asked whether there are any plans to expand the chiropractic offices in the main building.
Mr. Worthington said the chiropractic offices will remain in 1000 square feet and will not expand.
Mr. Kochanski said that if the medical use is remaining in the existing club, it needs to be listed on the plan to clarify any confusion.
Mr. Cohen asked about screening of the pool area from the road along Penns Trail.
Mr. Teller said that the Zoning Hearing Board granted the necessary variance for a 60 foot setback for the pool. There is a landscaping plan and a fence to screen the pool from view from the street.
Mr. Kochanski confirmed that he had spoken to the landscape architect and the plan will be compliant.
The members reviewed the Boucher and James letter of August 29, 2011. And the CKS letter of September 19, 2011.
Ms. Fountain asked whether the additional variances are needed for woodland and steep slope disturbances.
Mr. Teller said that the plans will be revised to show the changes for the new fitness addition. The plans currently show conditions at the site before the addition.
Ms. Fountain asked the Commission to consider whether to require the parking held in reserve to be installed.
Mr. Cohen said that the reserve parking is far from the new facilities; he suggested that the area should remain in green unless or until it is needed. Mr. Cohen asked about a small parking area near the baseball academy.
Mr. Teller said that this is a drop-off area for very short term parking. Members will have to walk through the baseball building to go to the practice field.
Mr. Fidler asked about Ms. Fountain's comments on the basin outlet pipes and tail water.
Ms. Fountain said that this will have to be reviewed again. The applicant is trying to combine the baseball academy and fitness center to the detention basins. There have been some field changes that need to be included in the plan.
The members discussed the request for a waiver to not require sidewalks. They were in agreement that no sidewalks should be required along the Bypass or Penns Trail, but were reluctant to grant a waiver along Pheasant Run. Mr. Fidler said that the Township has been trying to connect sidewalks in the Commons as more people are walking during their lunch breaks or going from their offices to the health club, post office or restaurant.
Mr. Worthington said that the property next to his, the former Clearview Printing building, has no sidewalk. A sidewalk on his property would not connect to any existing sidewalks.
Ms. Fountain noted that the opposite side of Pheasant Run has a sidewalk ending directly across from the NAC. Perhaps the sidewalk could be installed there instead.
Mr. Worthington said that he did not want to install a sidewalk on another property and did not walk to install a sidewalk that would end abruptly.
The members agreed to postpone granting a complete waiver. It might be possible to require that the sidewalks be installed at such time as the adjoining property is being developed with sidewalks.
Mr. Fidler said the applicant still needs to address a number of the comments of our traffic engineer. Sometimes traffic is backed up from the Bypass to Pheasant Run. He would like the traffic issues resolved before final approval is recommended.
Ms. Kaminski said that she would like traffic studies for weekend afternoons. She noted that there is increased traffic on weekends as residents cut through the Commons. She would like information on peak times between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Saturdays.
Mr. Worthington said that the peak times for the pool and baseball academy are not in conflict with the peak traffic hours for the Business Commons. On weekends, the only traffic in the Commons is for the NAC.
Mr. Lothian said that the traffic on weekends will not be as intense as on weekdays. He agreed to discuss this further with Ms. Kaminski and provide more information.
The Commission members discussed whether to grant preliminary as final plan approval subject to compliance with the review letters. Mr. Fidler said that he would prefer the applicant to return with revised plans before making any recommendation.
Mr. Iapalucci said that he would prefer making a motion to grant preliminary plan approval, after which the applicant could appear before the Supervisors and then return for final plan approval
Mr. Whartenby moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny preliminary as final plan approval for Newtown Athletic Club, 209 Penns Trail. Mr. Iapalucci seconded and the motion passed 8-0.
Mr. Whartenby move to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the Preliminary as Final Land Development Plan of Newtown Athletic Club for the premises located at Penns Trail being known as Bucks County Tax Parcel Nos. 29-010-137-140 and 29-10-39-1 prepared by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, comprised of 34 sheets, dated June 24, 2011, with no revisions, along with a Post Construction Stormwater Management Plan Narrative prepared by Langan Engineering, seven supplemental plan sheets prepared by Cairone and Kaupp, Inc., and six supplemental sheets prepared by Innovative Electrical Systems dated June 24, 2011 with no revisions; the Planning Commission recommends that the Board of Supervisors grant Preliminary Land Development approval (not Final), subject to the following conditions:
1. Subject to the variances granted on January 6, 1994, December 4, 1997, March 5, 1998 and July 3, 2003, January 6, 2011, and waivers secured, the Plan shall be revised to comply with the following professional consultants review letters, unless noted otherwise:
A. The September 19, 2011 Review Letter from CKS Engineers, with the following comments:
Paragraph A1 - Applicant shall remove the D-2 medical use with respect to the baseball academy and the existing D-2 medical use shall be added to the plans and the parking calculations adjusted accordingly.
Paragraph 11 - The Board of Supervisors approve the conditional reduction of 71 parking spaces subject to the requirements outlined in Section 1001(g) of the JMZO.
B. The August 29, 2011 Review Letter of Boucher & James, Inc.
C. The September 16, 2011 Review Letter from Gilmore & Associates, Inc., with the comment that a new traffic impact study be secured demonstrating a seasonal operation of the outdoor pool facility as outlined in Paragraph B1 and B2.
D. The August 12, 2011 letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission.
E. The August 5, 2011 Letter from the Fire Marshall.
2. Applicants shall comply with any and all terms and conditions of the variances granted by the Township Zoning Hearing Board on December 1, 2011.
3. Applicant shall secure any and all permits required by all Township, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.
4. If applicable, Applicant shall supply and execute all financial security documents in a form satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors and Township Solicitor.
5. Applicant shall provide a "will serve" or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer authorities.
6. Applicant shall provide an adequate letter from the Bucks County Conservation District as to erosion and sediment control.
7. 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.
8. Applicant shall comply with all Stormwater Management Ordinances and the Township Engineer's recommendations, and Applicant shall execute a Stormwater Management Agreement in a form acceptable to the Township's professionals.
9. 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.
10. If applicable, Applicant shall pay a traffic impact fee on the Schedule of Fees of Newtown Township and as assessed by the Township Traffic Engineer.
11. Applicant shall execute a declaration of unilateral restrictions and covenants, and a note should be added to the Plan so indicating.
12. All Township, review and professional fees as required under the Township SALDO shall be paid by Applicant.
13. Developer shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from impinging upon nearby intersections.
14. All signs shall be subject to and comply with Township's Sign Ordinances.
15. The fee-in-lieu-of-dedication of park and open space area shall be paid in accordance with the Township fee schedule.
16. The property shall be ADA compliant.
In addition, the following eight (8) waiver requests were recommended for approval:

1. §517.4 of SALDO - requiring sidewalks to be provided along all existing streets, with the exception that sidewalks along Pheasant Run to the Penns Trail intersection. More specifically, the Board of Supervisors should discuss the installation of sidewalks on Pheasant Run, either now, or at some future time when sidewalks are installed at the adjoining parcel.
2. §522.4.A of the Stormwater Management Ordinance - requiring no excavation or fill with a face steeper than 4:1.
3. §522.4.B of the Stormwater Management Ordinance - requiring the edges of slopes to be a minimum of five (5') feet from the property lines in order to permit the normal rounding of the edge.
4. §521.5.B of the Stormwater Management Ordinance - requiring the pre-development rate of run-off must to be calculated with "meadow" as the existing condition. It is requested to only use meadow in existing conditions for existing grass areas.
5. Section 514.9 of the SALDO to allow the edge of the parking area to be closer than 20 ft. to the outside wall of the nearest building.
6. Section 531.5 of the SALDO and Z.O. Section 1003.D to allow alternate plant species for buffering and screening than what is listed in these sections.
7. Section 529.3.C of the SALDO to allow alternate plant species for the perimeter of detention basins.
8. Section 530.5 of the SALDO to allow alternate plant species for street trees.
Mr. Iapalucci seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Cohen confirmed that the motion did not waive the requirement to install sidewalks on Pheasant Run. This would be further discussed at the final plan review.
The motion passed 8-0.

Mrs. Driscoll moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Mr. Whartenby seconded and the motion passed 8-0.

 

Respectfully Submitted:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary