NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Feburary 5, 2013
Present : Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby and Members Ted Chleboski, Paul Cohen (late), Craig Deutsch, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher and Larry Galley. Also in attendance were: Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, Nathan Fox, Township Solicitor, Micah Lewis, Township Planner and Martin Vogt, Township Code Enforcement Officer.
Call to Order: Mr. Whartenby called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. For the benefit of residents in attendance he announced that the Newtown Mobile Home Park application has been continued. It is expected to be on a March agenda, however a firm date has not been established.
Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Driscoll moved to approve the minutes of January 15, 2013. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 6-0.
Zoning Hearing Board
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 2829 South Eagle Road: Applicant Allie Almeida was in attendance to review this application for a use variance for a commercial school in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center in the PC district, use C-3. This space had been occupied by The Newtown Book Shop.
Mrs. Almeida explained that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is similar to judo and has become a very popular and fast growing sport. She and her husband, Ricardo Almeida, have a school in Hamilton, New Jersey and would like to open one in Newtown. The self-defense classes have a maximum of 30 participants between the hours of 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 9:00 AM to noon on Saturday mornings. The school instructs mostly children, with some family and adult classes. There will be a maximum of four employees. As there are no locker rooms, children come already dressed. The students are primarily dropped off and picked up.
Mr. Whartenby reminded the members that they have recommended approval of other commercial schools in the shopping center including Barre 3 at the last meeting.
Mrs. Driscoll said that she had been concerned about parking in this very busy section of the shopping center, but the hours should not conflict with the busiest restaurant hours on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Mrs. Almeida said that the school would be closed on Fridays and although if it is successful, might extend hours on Saturday, there would not be classes on Saturday evenings or on Sundays.
Mr. Fisher asked about the length of each class, wondering about overlap and need for additional parking.
Mrs. Almeida said that depending on the ages of the students, classes run 30-90 minutes. There can be a maximum of 25-30 students because the floor space is limited to 750 square feet.
The members were in agreement that this is a good use for the space and would recommend that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this application.
Mr. Whartenby suggested that when presenting the application to the Zoning Hearing Board, hours of operation and number of employees should be presented as what would be the maximum if the business is very successful, so that a new application is not needed if hours or number of employees are expanded.
Conditional Use Review
Mr. Cohen arrived at this point.
Zoe’s Kitchen, 280 North Sycamore Street, Goodnoe’s Corner: Bryan Weghalter presented this application for uses E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place/take out for the space formerly occupied by Cosi Café at Goodnoe’s Corner. Mr. Weghalter said that the restaurant offers Mediterranean food prepared in a health conscious manner. The menu would include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Service would be similar to Cosi’s; customers place orders which are then prepared and delivered to table side.
Mr. Whartenby asked for clarification on the number of employees.
Mr. Weghalter said that the employees would work in two shifts, ten on the first shift and seven on the second shift, however some management and supervisory employees would carry over from first to second shift. There would be a total of fifteen employees.
Mr. Galley asked about the outdoor seating shared with Jules Thin Crust Pizza.
Mr. Fox said that this is a condition that runs with the property; Jules and the other restaurant tenant share the patio but provide their own seats. If either restaurant wants to expand use, it would need to return to the Board of Supervisors for an amendment to the conditional use approval.
Mr. Galley said that he has noticed that the gutters on this section of the building are hanging off over the patio area.
Mr. Vogt said that right now the Township cannot enforce maintenance, however it will be addressed as part of the permitting process. He urged Mr. Weghalter to also speak to the landlord about this.
Mr. Whartenby asked whether alcohol will be served.
Mr. Weghalter said that there is no liquor license.
Mrs. Driscoll asked about deliveries.
Mr. Weghalter said that he understood that the shopping center’s approval dictated a delivery schedule. His deliveries would be completed before 10:00 AM from the interior, parking lot, side of the building, not on Sycamore Street.
Mrs. Driscoll noted that parking is sometimes difficult at this shopping center and the other businesses have required their employees to park off-site.
Mr. Weghalter agreed to this.
Mr. Lewis noted that the Ordinance requires trash receptacles outside for take out customers.
Mr. Weghalter said that he will have a receptacle outside near the patio. Employees bus the patio area. Trash will be removed to the existing screened dumpster areas.
Mr. Fisher asked about signage.
Mr. Weghalter said that he had not seen the sign package. He would like to have awnings, but is not sure whether they are permitted.
Mrs. Driscoll said that awnings are permitted but they, and all signage, would need approval from HARB for color.
Mr. Vogt said that the sign package has been submitted and it complies with the Ordinance as to number and size.
Mr. Fisher moved to recommend approval of the conditional use application of Zoe’s Kitchen at 280 North Sycamore Street, in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District for an E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place take out, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Cohen seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Cohen said that he did not think the restriction on sale of alcohol should be a part of this motion, as it is the purview of the Liquor Control Board.
Mr. Fox said that the applicant could amend the conditional use if he were to seek a liquor license. The Board of Supervisors must approve the transfer of a liquor license.
Mr. Cohen said that he did not feel it was an appropriate condition to the approval. He asked about bring your own.
Mr. Fox said that there is nothing to restrict bringing in a bottle.
Mr. Weghalter said that at some branches of the restaurant beer and wine are sold.
All agreed that the condition should be removed.
Mr. Fisher amended his motion to remove condition #10, prohibition of sale of alcohol. Mr. Cohen amended his second and the motion passed 7-0.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Cohen reported that the Commission would review the wood fired boiler ordinance and the table comparisons at the next meeting. Upper Makefield had asked for some clarifications on the wood fired boilers and fire pits.
Mr. Cohen said that the Commission is also reviewing the process for review and authorization to advertise as well as adoption of ordinances. There has been some confusion as to whether each municipality is adopting the same draft in some instances. In the case of the solar energy ordinance, Upper Makefield has questioned some of the provisions. These may be addressed by individual municipalities’ stand-alone ordinances.
EAC: Mr. Fisher announced the upcoming Stewardship program sponsored by the EAC as part of its Bird Town initiative. The program will be March 2, 2013 in the municipal building. The cost of $55 includes book, breakfast and lunch.
Mr. Fisher also asked whether Ms. Fountain had received the latest version of the stormwater pamphlet for review.
Ms. Fountain said that she had not gotten the most recent draft.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to adjourn at 8:35 PM. Mr. Cohen seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary