July 2, 2013


Present : Chairman Allen Fidler, Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby and Members Ted Chleboski, Paul Cohen, Peggy Driscoll, Dennis Fisher and Larry Galley. Also in attendance were: John Torrente, Township Solicitor, Township Engineer Michele Fountain, Township Planner Micah Lewis and Martin Vogt, Township Code Enforcement Officer.

Approval of Minutes: The recording secretary noted a correction on page two regarding a statement of Mr. Cohen attributed to Ms. Fountain mistakenly.

Mr. Whartenby moved to accept the minutes of June 18, 2013 as corrected. Mr. Cohen seconded and the motion passed 6-0-1, with Mrs. Driscoll abstaining.

Land Development

Beneficial Bank, 42 South Sycamore Street: Attorney John VanLuvanee, Engineer Joel DellaCarpini and Bank official Joseph Coyle were in attendance to review the preliminary as final plan for a 3,186 square foot bank building on a 1.829 acre parcel in the TC Town Commercial Zoning District. Mr. VanLuvanee provided the members with copies of the recently signed stipulation agreement between Beneficial and the Township and other intervenors. He noted that the plans being reviewed this evening have attempted to address the concerns the Commission had expressed when it reviewed earlier plans as part of a Conditional Use application. The building has been re-oriented to angle toward Sycamore Street and one of the drive through aisles has been removed. Most of the traffic concerns have been addressed, with only the matter of the left turn lanes on Richboro Road still unresolved.

Mr. VanLuvanee provided the Commission with copies of two letters from Township Solicitor Jeffrey Garton dated June 27, 2013, regarding the Richboro Road traffic concern and the vacation of Howard Avenue. Mr. Garton has confirmed to Traffic Engineer Amy Kaminski that Beneficial Bank must provide a “focused analysis”, not a full traffic study. He further confirmed to Ms. Fountain that a court stipulation entered many years ago has stated that no private rights remain on Howard Avenue and that there is no right-of-way.

Mr. Torrente asked whether the Richboro Road entrance to the Bank is right-in only.

Mr. DellaCarpini said that the entrance is right and left in but left-out only. The road will be restriped for the two left turn lanes at the bank entrance and at the intersection with Sycamore Street. Cars will be able to pass those stacked to enter the Bank to proceed to the intersection. Beneficial has offered the Township two possible solutions to any traffic issues at the two turning lanes; the Township will decide which solution is preferable.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the applicant will comply with most of the CKS review letter dated June 20, 2013. A note shall be added to the plan referencing that Howard Avenue is not shown on the plan and no right-of-way exists.

Mr. DellaCarpini said that reference to Howard Avenue on the adjacent property will also be removed. He noted that when Howard Avenue is removed, requirements for buffering for Howard Avenue will no longer be required.

Ms. Fountain asked for a geotechnical report on the asphalt paving. She also agreed to the waiver for an aerial photograph but asked for more details, including street names, utilities and driveways.

Referring to the Boucher and James review letter of June 21, 2013, Mr. VanLuvanee said that the applicant will comply with most of the comments. He noted that as part of the stipulation agreement, no loading zone is required. The Bank does not wish to assign a specific loading area for armored cars for security and safety reasons.

Mr. Coyle said that other than the armored car, only occasional UPS deliveries are expected at the building.

Mr. Fidler suggested that an assigned parking space be noted on the plan for UPS type deliveries.

Mr. Lewis said that the assigned parking space will require additional signage.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the applicant will submit a signage package separately at a later time.

Mr. Galley asked about the fence on the north-east corner.

Mr. DellaCarpini explained that this is a continuation of the existing fence and wall. The rain garden area will not be deep; this is not a safety fence.

Mr. Cohen asked about trees to block the sight of the drive through from Sycamore Street.

Mr. DellaCarpini said that 4-5 foot evergreens will be planted to block the view.

Mr. Cohen asked about the proposed “welcome to Newtown Township” sign and wall.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that this was part of the stipulation agreement. The Bank will be installing it at the suggestion of the Sycamore Street Community Association.

Mr. Whartenby asked whether the utilities would be underground.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that this has been researched but would not be permitted by the utility companies.

Mrs. Driscoll asked about the Bank’s proposed hours of operation.

Mr. Coyle said that the hours are tentatively proposed as 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday and some hours on Saturday, but the times will be adjusted once the bank has opened and evaluated the needs of customers.

Mr. Cohen asked whether the parking lot would be chained and marked as private property.

Mr. Coyle said that the parking lot would be available for community events and evening parking.

Mr. Cohen moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors grant conditional preliminary as final land development approval to Beneficial Bank for its property located at 34 South Sycamore Street, Newtown, tax map parcel no. 29-11-56, consisting of twenty (20) pages, prepared by Bohler Engineering, dated May 6, 2011, with last revision dated May 20, 2013, and a general project description and stormwater calculations report dated May 6, 2011 and last revised May 20, 2013, and a Transportation Impact Study prepared by McMahon Transportation Engineers and Planners dated May 2013, subject to the following conditions:

  • Compliance with the CKS Engineers review letter dated June 20, 2013, except for the following comments, which will be resolved as indicated:
  • Section 1 Zoning Issues, No. 2 – There is no public right in Howard Ave. pursuant to 36 P.S. Section 1961 and applicable case law, as Howard Ave has never been dedicated. Therefore, Howard Ave. shall not be shown on the plan as a right of way and the setbacks shall be from the center line of what was proposed as Howard Ave. A note regarding Howard Ave. shall be added to the Plans, which will be resolved to the satisfaction of the township solicitor and applicants’ counsel.
  • Section 1 Zoning Issues, no. 5 – Howard Ave. shall not be considered when determining whether parking lot buffering is required.
  • Section 2, SALDO, no. 1 – Bearings, distances and curve data are not required because Howard Ave. is not a right of way.
  • Section IV General Plan Comments, no 10 – The “on-site asphalt pavement detail” shown on sheet 12 will be resolved to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer.

In addition, the following waivers are recommended and shall be added as notes on the final plans:

  • Section 402.3B and C – requiring an aerial photo in lieu of a survey to provide existing features survey. However the aerial photo provided on sheet 19 shall be resubmitted showing details, street names, driveways and utilities in form satisfactory to the Township engineer. Also the plan sheet page shall be revised to 19 of 20 on the waiver request on sheet 1.
  • Section 522.4.B – to permit grading within 5 feet of the property lines.
  • Section 402 and 403 – to allow the land development plans to be reviewed as preliminary as final approval.
  • Section 402.1.A and 403.1.A – to allow the plan to be drawn at a scale of 1” = 30’.
  • Section 521.5B – To allow existing ground cover to be used in the predevelopment condition in lieu of meadow condition.
  • Section 224.3 of the Newtown Stormwater Management Ordinance - to use existing site conditions to determine the allowable release rates.
  • Section 238.C of the Newtown Stormwater Management Ordinance - to allow roof drains to discharge to areas other than infiltration areas or vegetative BMP’s. (the wording of the waiver on sheet 1 shall be revised and complete to the satisfaction of the township engineer).
  • Section 530.3.D.3 - to permit the planting of trees within 15 feet of overhead wires. Ornamental trees will be installed from the latest edition of the “compatible tree factsheets” – a resource used by PECO for trees close to power lines.
  • Section 522.4.A - to permit slopes at a 3:1 rate in lieu of the required 4:1.
  • Compliance with the Boucher & James review letter dated June 21, 2013, except for the following comments which will be resolved as indicated:
    • Item 3 - JMZO Requirements – Site Capacity Calculations – The Howard Ave. ultimate right of way should not be subtracted from the gross site area.
    • Item 4 – Visibility at Intersections – A note shall be added to the plan that the “Welcome to Newtown Township Sign” is an exception.
    • Paragraphs 5a, 5b, and 5c - Parking and Loading – JMZO section 1001.B.7, JMZO 1002 and JMZO Section 1002.A.1 – Parking Designs - A designated loading space and signage for truck deliveries shall be designated on the plan.
    • Paragraph 7, Signage – Will be addressed in a separate sign application to the township and ZHB, if needed. Per the settlement agreement, the “Welcome to Newtown Township Sign” will not be considered in the calculations for permitted signage.
  • Compliance with the Gilmore & Associates review letter dated June 10, 2013, except for the following comments which will be resolved as indicated:
  • Paragraph 2A1.- SALDO section 402(5)(D) – In accordance with the stipulation and Agreement between the Twp., Applicant, and Intervenors, a Focused Analysis in lieu of a traffic impact study will be performed on Richboro Road where Cambridge Lane and the proposed bank driveway is to be located to determine the availability of adequate storage capacity for the back to back left turn lane condition. If left turn lanes can be effectuated, for both Cambridge Lane and the bank driveway, then engineering and construction shall be provided by Beneficial Bank to the satisfaction of the township traffic engineer.
  • Compliance with review letter received from the Newtown Emergency Services Department dated June 17, 2013.
  • The applicant will secure a new adequacy letter if the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan is revised and/or required by the Bucks County Conservation District.
  • Applicant shall comply with any and all conditions of the Stipulation and Agreement under the Court Order of the Honorable James J. McMaster dated May 29, 2013 permitting an E-4, Financial Establishment as a Conditional Use, which is docketed in the CCP, Bucks County at docket no. 2012-00948
  • Unless otherwise inconsistent with the previous conditions of approval herein, compliance with the June 16, 2011 review letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission.
  • Applicant shall fund and execute development and financial security agreements in a form satisfactory to the Board of Supervisors and Township Solicitor.
  • Applicant shall secure any and all permits required from any agencies having jurisdiction over this project, including the Township, Bucks County, the State and Federal governments, including, but not limited, to the Bucks County Conservation District, PENNDOT and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Applicant shall provide a will serve or appropriate agreement from the appropriate water and sewer agencies confirming the availability of public water and public sewer to the project.
  • Applicant shall comply with the Township Engineer’s recommendation as to storm water management and best management practices. Applicant shall execute a storm water management agreement in a form acceptable to the Township.
  • 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.
  • Any signage proposed to be placed shall comply with the applicable Township Sign Ordinances (or a variance will be obtained) and shall only be placed after securing any and all permits from the Township – With the comment that the “Welcome to Newtown Township” sign shall not be included in the calculations for permitted signage.
  • 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.
  • Applicant shall execute a Declaration of Unilateral Restrictions and Covenants in a form acceptable to the Township Solicitor and Board of Supervisors as it relates to the notes contained on the Plan, which said Declaration shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors and Township Solicitor and recorded with the final plan.
  • The Applicant shall provide sufficient landscape buffering so as to preclude headlights from the property from impinging upon nearby intersections and furthermore, all lighting proposed to be installed by Applicant shall comply with all Township Ordinances such that no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties, and a note to that effect shall be added to the Plans.
  • The Plan shall be ADA-compliant.
  • All review and professional fees shall be paid by Applicant as required under the Township’s SALDO for the prior reviews and those in connection with this approval.
  • There shall be no restrictions on after-hours parking.

Mr. Whartenby seconded.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Cohen said that he is still not pleased about the use for this property and continues to have some reservations about the orientation of the building, however, he is very impressed with the efforts the applicant has made to address the Commission’s initial concerns.

Mr. Fidler said that he agreed with Mr. Cohen. While the plan may not be perfect, a very good effort at compromise has been made.

Mr. Whartenby asked whether this project will be impacted by the ongoing sanitary sewer issues.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that the prior use’s EDU’s would be about the same as the proposed Bank’s.

Mr. Fidler said that the Sewer Authority had said that after a use has been abandoned for three years, those EDU’s are taken away.

Mr. VanLuvanee said that he would discuss this with the Sewer Authority and the DEP.

The motion passed 7-0.

JMZO Review

Fence Ordinance: The members reviewed a proposed amendment to the fence ordinance to allow 5 foot and 6 foot fences. The change is recommended because these fences are commercially available but currently prohibited in the Jointure, while the permitted 4 foot fence is not commercially available.

Ms. Fountain noted that the Ordinance and this amendment only refer to residential uses.

Mr. Vogt said that perhaps the Ordinance should be for all uses, as currently the Township refers to the residential regulations for commercial use fences. He suggested perhaps a separate fencing standard for all zoning districts.

Mr. Cohen said that it is currently part of use H-3, accessory residential. He suggested that it become a new use, H-19.

Mr. Vogt said that he would recommend leaving walls as part of use H-3, as he did not think the Jointure would want to see 6 foot walls around properties without some review on a case by case basis.

The members all agreed to Mr. Vogt’s suggestions. Mr. Fidler and Mr. Cohen would bring these ideas to the Joint Planning Commission for discussion.

New Business

Mr. Fisher said that the Swamp Road residents group would be appearing before the Board of Supervisors at its next meeting to ask that the Temora Farm bridge be removed from the PennDOT TIP list.

For the benefit of newer Commission members, Mr. Fidler briefly explained that PennDOT keeps a twelve year list of proposed projects for roadway improvements. The Temora Farm Bridge has been on the list for many years.

Old Business

The Commission will continue its review of the sign ordinances on the second meetings of the month as time permits. Mr. Vogt said that he would prepare copies of all relevant ordinances for the members; they will be distributed at the second July meeting.

Mr. Fidler said that he hoped to dedicate a portion of the second meeting of each month to further discussion of the sign ordinances where time permits.

Subcommittee and Liaison Reports

HARB: Mrs. Driscoll reported that HARB is currently working to improve the certificate of appropriateness application.

EAC: Mr. Fisher reported that he discussed the Flores project with the EAC. The EAC members were interested in following these plans as there are many environmentally sensitive areas on this property.

Joint Historic Commission: Mr. Cohen asked whether there is any historic significance to the Stockburger building to be removed for the Beneficial Bank project.

Mrs. Driscoll said that the building is not historic, but that the Historic Society has been permitted to photograph it, inside and out. She did not know whether this has been done.

Mr. Fisher moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mrs. Driscoll seconded and the motion passed 7-0.


Respectfully Submitted:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary