NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Feburary 19, 2013
Present : Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby and Members Ted Chleboski, Paul Cohen, David Domzalski, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher and Larry Galley. Also in attendance were: Michele Fountain, Township Engineer, John Torrente, Township Solicitor, Micah Lewis, Township Planner and Martin Vogt, Township Code Enforcement Officer.
Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Driscoll moved to accept the minutes of February 5, 2013. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Zoning Hearing Board
KVK Tech, 114 Pheasant Run: Architect Richard Walker and KVK Tech President Frank Ripp were in attendance to review this application for a reduction in parking to 34 spaces where 107 spaces are required for a 28,800 square foot addition for use G-2 and G-3 research/warehouse. Mr. Ripp explained that KVK proposes to build an addition to house chemical tanks for mixing of liquid pharmaceutical solutions and for a packaging area for the solutions. He reviewed the processes which will be conducted and noted that this will be an FDA approved secure facility with only 15 employees working in only one shift. The company’s business office and research facilities are at 110 Terry Drive. Deliveries and pick-ups are done by vans between the two facilities during business hours twice weekly.
Mr. Chleboski asked about environmental discharge.
KVK Engineer Mr. Vispure said that all discharge is captured and incinerated at 110 Terry Drive. There will be no organic vapor released. All waste is hauled away monthly. There is strict FDA documentation of all waste disposal.
Mr. Cohen asked why a second story is not being added to the existing building at 114 Pheasant Run rather than building the addition.
Mr. Walker said that the existing single story building could not support a second story. Also the activities at the existing building are FDA approved and cannot be disrupted by construction because of the clean environment which must be maintained.
Mr. Fisher asked whether the facilities would be expanded in the future if the business is successful.
Mr. Vispure said that KVK has another facility in Falls Township and is in negotiations for another building on Terry Drive. The business would not expand the Pheasant Run facility further.
Mr. Whartenby asked why the application includes two options.
Mr. Walker said that the applicant would like to build the two story option #1, but if he is unsuccessful with zoning relief, the second option would be offered; it is not the preferred choice.
Mr. Cohen said that the reduced parking request seems justified because of the nature of the use. He asked whether this expansion would need to be reviewed further.
Ms. Fountain said that the addition would need a land development review. The first step is to seek zoning relief for parking.
Mr. Cohen said that the reduction in parking is very dramatic. He said that he would have concerns if the use were to change and the parking variance were to remain in place. This could prove a burden to the Township if the facility were to revert to office or other more intense use.
Mr. Ripp said that the facility will be built to very strict and exacting FDA and DEA standards. The costs would be in the millions to build the secure addition. It is extremely unlikely that the property would be converted to another use.
The Commission discussed whether any conditions could be placed on the variance limiting it to this applicant or this specific use.
Mr. Walker said that the 110 Terry Drive location has 130 parking spaces but only 75 spaces are being used. The Township has approved shared parking arrangements for a number of other locations throughout the Township and specifically in the Business Commons. The applicant could agree to an overflow parking arrangement with 110 Terry Drive.
Mr. Ripp said that although the two locations are close to one another, they are not contiguous; however if the business is successful in acquiring the Sadwith property it is in negotiations with, all three parcels will be contiguous and would be a shared campus.
Mr. Galley noted a 50 foot easement at the rear of the property and asked whether it could be used for additional parking if needed.
Mr. Walker said that the easement is part of the original plan for the Newtown Industrial Commons and runs through all of the properties. It is a utility easement. Owners can use the land but are responsible to make it available if needed for utilities.
Ms. Fountain asked whether any variances are needed for security fencing.
Mr. Vogt said that the Township ordinances only restrict residential fencing. No variances are needed in the industrial zoning district.
The Commission discussed the parking concerns should the current use change and agreed to recommend that the Supervisors not oppose the application, but that they consider some conditions on the variance either limiting it to this use or requiring shared parking with 110 Terry Drive.
Conditional Use Reviews
Smoothie King, 2112 South Eagle Road: Kristen and Greg Lamb were in attendance to review their application for uses E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place/take out in the PC Planned Commercial Zoning District for a smoothie restaurant in the Village at Newtown South Shopping Center.
Mrs. Lamb explained that the restaurant would have ten seats but would primarily be take out service. She expected to have hours from 7:00AM to 9:00PM with a maximum of four employees.
Mr. Whartenby suggested that the hours be extended in case the applicants wanted to remain open later after special events or wanted to open earlier to accommodate the early users of the adjacent gym. Once the hours have been set by the conditional use, they cannot be changed without returning to the Board of Supervisors.
Mrs. Lamb said she would like to amend her request to extend from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM seven days a week. She also asked to increase the number of employees to 8 to account for any overlapping of shifts. There will be five tables with ten chairs inside and no outdoor seating. The business is mostly carry out.
Mr. Torrente asked about deliveries.
Mr. Lamb said that there is a rear entrance and alley behind the shop. Deliveries would be made to the rear at off hours.
Mr. Cohen said that he has some concern about cars stopping in the fire lane, since this is a very quick stop type of business.
Mrs. Driscoll said that the parking lot has only recently been repaved and repainted. The fire lanes are clearly marked.
Mrs. Driscoll move to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the application for conditional use for an E-5 eating place and E-6 drive-through/carry out eating place at 2112 South Eagle Road in the PC, Planned Commercial Zoning District, subject to the following conditions:
Mr. Cohen seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Qdoba Restaurant, 2950 South Eagle Road: Attorney John VanLuvanee and applicants Bill Dick and Joseph Dick were in attendance to review this application for use E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place/take out for a restaurant in a 2800 square foot space in a free standing building at Village at Newtown shopping center in the PC Planned Commercial Zoning District. This is the building which faces McCaffrey’s supermarket. There is proposed outdoor seating on the patio area, but it will not impact impervious surface or curbing.
Mr. Cohen said that when the Planning Commission reviewed Corner Bakery Café, shared parking with this section of Village at Newtown had been discussed.
Ms. Fountain said that no agreement was ever reached.
Mr. VanLuvanee noted that there is a 1991 variance in place for this shopping center, allowing 23 parking spaces per 1000 square feet of space. The parking is adequate for this location.
The Commission reviewed the plans for the interior of the restaurant, noting 80 seats inside.
Mr. B. Dixon said that he would like to have a maximum of 24 employees, eight per shift for three shifts. There could be some overlap.
Mr. VanLuvanee noted that there would be no drive through service, and very little take out service.
Mrs. Driscoll asked whether there would be music on the patio.
Mr. B. Dixon said that there might be some low music on the patio but it would be at a volume that could only be heard on the patio.
Mr. Cohen asked about signage.
Mr. VanLuvanee said that at this time no relief has been applied for.
Mr. Fisher move to recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve the application for conditional use for Qdoba Restaurant, 2950 South Eagle Road, Village at Newtown, in the PC Planned Commercial Zoning District for Use E-5 eating place and E-6 eating place/take out, subject to the following conditions:
Mrs. Driscoll seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Van Luvanee said that only use E-5 is sought. Take out would be incidental, not a primary use.
Mr. Fisher amended his motion, removing use E-6. Mrs. Driscoll amended her second and the motion passed 7-0.
Goodnoe Zoning Change, 298 Frost Lane: Mr. Whartenby reminded the Commission that this amendment had been discussed during preliminary and final land development reviews. It will combine the entire Goodnoe campus into one zoning district, EIR.
Mr. Cohen moved to recommend that the Supervisors adopt the amendment changing the zoning of Goodnoe Elementary School, 298 Frost Lane. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Ordinance Fixing Gross Site Area for Mobile Home Parks: The Commission reviewed this amendment which would change the minimum acreage required for a mobile home park from 15 acres to 25 acres. They reviewed a letter from Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton which states that only Newtown Swim Club and a 19 acre parcel along Newtown Bypass would be impacted by this change.
Mr. Cohen said that the amendment had been discussed at the Newtown Area Regional Planning Commission and Joint Zoning Council. Wrightstown’s representatives were not supportive of the change at that meeting, fearing its negative impact on Wrightstown, which would have the only parcels zoned R-2 and measuring more than 25 acres. Wrightstown’s parcel is between quarries and has no public water and sewer and would be an unlikely location for this use.
Mr. Whartenby said that there have been zoning challenges in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey regarding fair housing. He would not want to see Newtown open to similar litigation.
Mr. Torrente said that if the Jointure provides a location for the use it has met its obligation, however he reminded the Commission that all three members of the Jointure must approve an amendment.
Mr. Fisher asked if this proposed zoning change would impact the existing plans for Newtown Swim Club.
Mr. Torrente said that this plan has already been submitted under existing zoning. It would not be impacted by a zoning change.
Mr. Cohen said that because Wrightstown’s only qualifying parcels have no access to public water and sewer and not suitable for trailer homes, the zoning change could be seen as exclusionary. If Wrightstown does not agree with the change, then it will be dropped from consideration. If, however, Wrightstown does agree to the change, he recommended that the Supervisors ask the solicitor to research whether the Township or Jointure would be open to litigation for exclusionary zoning if the amendment were adopted.
The other Commission members all agreed with this recommendation.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Board of Supervisors: The recording secretary reported that at its last meeting the Supervisors agreed to hire attorney Dan Cohen to help the Jointure draft a cell tower ordinance. This is a response to problems Northampton had with cell companies placing towers on private property without regard to municipal regulation.
Joint Planning Commission: Mr. Cohen reported that in addition to discussions about the trailer park ordinance and Goodnoe zoning change, the Commission continued to discuss changes Upper Makefield would like to make to the wood fired boiler and solar energy ordinances. The Jointure is suggesting that each municipality can pass stand-alone ordinances to further regulate these energy methods. BCPC Executive Director Lynn Bush has been preparing revisions to correct some discrepancies in the ordinance between the wording in the text and the various charts. He provided the members with copies of the suggested corrections.
Ms. Fountain said that the stormwater ordinance should be removed from the JMZO because each municipality has a stand-alone stormwater ordinance. She also suggested that Mr. Cohen ask the Jointure for input on fences in non-residential zoning districts.
The recording secretary provided members with copies of a letter from a resident, expressing concerns about the proposed trailer park.
The members said they have all been receiving e-mails about the trailer park. They also said that they are being stopped by residents when they are out. The general feedback seems to be opposition to the plan.
Mrs. Driscoll moved to adjourn a 9:15 PM. Mr. Cohen seconded and the motion passed 7-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary