NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
September 17, 2013
Present: Secretary Peggy Driscoll and members Ted Chleboski, Craig Deutsch, Dennis Fisher and Larry Galley. Also in attendance were Township Engineer Michele Fountain, Township Solicitor John Torrente and Code Enforcement Officer Martin Vogt.
Call to Order: Acting as chairman, Mrs. Driscoll called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Fisher moved to accept the minutes of September 3, 2013. Mr. Galley seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Deutsch abstaining.
Zoning Hearing Board
Mark and Deborah Weinstein, 39 Harmony Way: Mr. and Mrs. Weinstein were in attendance to review their application for rear yard setback relief of 16 feet where 30 feet is required. Mr. Weinstein explained that he would like to enclose and winterize a screen porch and extend his deck. The existing patio is to remain. He said that he will be adding a new floor, insulation and a roof so that the porch will become an extension of his existing family room.
Mrs. Driscoll asked whether the Lakeview Estates Homeowners Association has reviewed the plan.
Mr. Weinstein said that the Homeowners Association has approved the plan. He has also spoken to his surrounding neighbors, who do not object.
Mr. Fisher noted that letters of support from the surrounding neighbors might be helpful at the Zoning Hearing Board.
The members briefly discussed whether the addition would impact impervious surface.
Mr. Vogt confirmed that the property will still be within the allowable impervious surface ratio. The property backs to open space. Only setback relief is needed.
Mr. Fisher moved to recommend that the Supervisors not oppose the Weinstein Zoning Hearing Board application. Mr. Galley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Bucks Cardiology, 104 Pheasant Run: Dr. Craig Macke of Mercer Bucks Cardiology and Mike Russell of Compass Sign Company were in attendance to review this application for a third sign where only two are permitted and for the height of the sign at 13.5 feet where 9 feet is the maximum permitted height. Dr. Macke explained that this medical practice has recently moved to a multi-tenant building on Pheasant Run. The entrance to the medical office is at the rear of the building, not visible from Pheasant Run and not clearly visible from Terry Drive. People entering the Pheasant Run side of the building cannot access the medical offices. The two existing signs are directional. The proposed new sign will be placed on the building at the appropriate entrance door visible from the rear parking lot.
Mr. Chleboski asked if the other businesses at the location have wall mounted signs.
Dr. Macke said that there is a decorative wall at the corner of Terry Drive with the 104 Pheasant Run address; Cosi Café and another business have wall mounted signs. They all face the street and can be entered from Pheasant Run.
Mr. Torrente asked whether the size of the proposed sign is similar to those of the other businesses.
Dr. Macke said that they are about the same size as is the temporary Mercer Bucks banner on the building.
Mr. Chleboski asked whether this building has a monument sign listing all tenants.
Dr. Macke said that each business has its own individual sign. He also pointed out that the other two signs are necessary to alert visiting patients to the building, as the address is not visible to cars coming from the direction of Penns Trail until they have passed the building.
Mr. Fisher moved to recommend that the Supervisors support Mercer Bucks Cardiology’s application for a sign variance. Mr. Deutsch seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Vogt assured the Commission that the temporary sign is permitted and would be removed when a permanent sign is installed.
The motion passed 5-0.
Sycamore Salon, 9 South Sycamore Street: Candis Krzaczyk was in attendance to review this application for a 12 square foot sign, which is a second sign where only one sign is permitted. The sign will be mounted on the south facing side of the building. Ms. Krzaczyk explained that her existing free standing sign is very small and low, making it difficult to be seen from cars passing by. It is also not visible to cars traveling north on Sycamore Street. She did not know how high the sign would be mounted as there is a utility pipe on the side of the building.
Ms. Fountain pointed out that no variance is sought for height, so it must be no higher than nine feet from grade.
Ms. Krzaczyk said she would comply with that. She noted that the existing sign will remain in place.
Mrs. Driscoll said that if a variance is granted, because the location is in the historic district, HARB would need to review the sign for color and materials.
Ms. Krzaczyk said that the sign will be wood and would not be lighted. She is using the same sign company as Sycamore Grill; they are familiar with working in the historic district.
Mr. Galley moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this application. Mr. Deutsch seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Board of Supervisors: Ms. Fountain reported that at its last meeting the Supervisors voted to not include a sewage treatment plant in the update of the Act 537 plan, to approve the tentative PRD for the Swim Club property and to deny preliminary as final land development for Beneficial Bank.
Mr. Torrente explained that since the Bank’s plans were in compliance with an existing stipulation agreement, he believed the matter would be returned to the courts.
Park and Recreation Board: The recording secretary reported that Veterans Park would open on October 5. A number of activities are planned for the grand opening, including exhibition baseball and football games and a community children’s yard sale.
Environmental Advisory Commission: Mr. Fisher reported that the EAC would participate in an electronic recycling event sponsored by Leck & Son, and would hold a native species plant swap on Saturday morning, September 21 at the Township Public Works Building.
Joint Historic Commission: Mr. Deutsch reported that the Commission has been discussing ways to enforce maintenance of historic properties. The Commission has also continued to discuss the toll house in front of Wells Fargo Bank..
Mrs. Driscoll noted that this has also been discussed at HARB.
Sign Ordinance: Mrs. Driscoll suggested that the Commission table this discussion, as only five members were in attendance.
Mr. Deutsch moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Mr. Galley seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary