NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
February 18, 2014
Present: Vice Chairman Robert Whartenby and members Paul Cohen, Kyle Davis, Craig Deutsch, Dennis Fisher and Larry Galley. Also in attendance were John Torrente, Township Solicitor and Michele Fountain, Township Engineer and Supervisor liaison Michael Gallagher.
Call to Order: Mr. Whartenby called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Galley moved to approve the minutes of February 4, 2014. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed 4-0-2, with Messrs. Deutsch and Fisher abstaining.
Zoning Hearing Board
Mahesh and Rupa Patel, 3 Windrow Lane: Engineer Heath Dumack was in attendance to review this application for increased impervious surface to build a one story addition to a single family house in the OR office research zoning district. Mr. Dumack explained that Mr. and Mrs. Patel are trying to adapt their two-story home so that they can “age in place.” The addition will be an 832 square foot master bedroom suite with ADA compliant master bathroom. The total impervious surface will be 22.1%. A portion of the addition will cover the existing paver patio for which relief had already been granted.
Mr. Whartenby asked whether the neighbors are in support of the plan.
Mr. Dumack said that the Patels are out of the country right now, so he does not know whether they have spoken to the neighbors.
Mr. Cohen noted that a shed, a garden and a fence are located in open space behind the Patel property. He asked whether they would be moved onto the property and whether the two sheds were included in the impervious calculations.
Mr. Dumack said that the sheds would be relocated onto the Patel property. He believed the sheds had been included in previous impervious calculations for a variance granted in 2000 for the patio and a driveway extension, bringing the impervious to 18.43%. He believes that the 18.43% includes the sheds. If they are not already part of the calculation, he will remove them from the property.
Mr. Cohen asked whether there are stormwater management plans for the increased impervious.
Mr. Dumack said that the plans have not been completed yet, but would comply with the Township’s stormwater management regulations.
Mr. Fisher asked the size of the patio which is to be eliminated.
Mr. Dumack said that the patio is about 400 square feet and the new addition will be 832 square feet.
The Commission members agreed to recommend that the Supervisors not oppose this application, subject to the condition that the applicant checks to make sure that the two sheds are within property lines and are included in the site calculations and that stormwater management is installed to address run-off for any percentage above 15%.
Scott MacElroy/Ten Smiles, LLC, 46 Blacksmith Road: Ten Smiles business manager Scott McElroy, Engineer Kristin Holmes and office manager Lisa Maisonet were in attendance to review this application for relief to build an accessory structure in the front yard and from the requirement to build loading berths at a dental office on 1.22 acres in the LI, light industrial zoning district.
Ms. Maisonet reviewed recent changes in thinking about dental care for very young children, and it is the aim of Ten Smiles to treat the entire family with an expanded practice to include oral surgery, adult care, orthodontia and pediatric dentistry. The proposed waiting area will include an outdoor patio area where children can play and parents can relax while waiting to see the dentist. It is hoped that the relaxed environment will help eliminate fear of dental visits.
Engineer Kristin Holmes explained that the variances needed are to eliminate loading berths and to build a patio in the front yard. The application had included a shed, but that portion of the plan has been eliminated.
Mr. Cohen asked whether the plan is for the indoor waiting area to flow out to the patio, so must be located in the front yard.
Ms. Holmes said that the patio can only be accessed from the indoor waiting area. It will be fenced in and patients will enter through the door from the parking area into the waiting room. The shed would have required a conditional use approval. That has been removed from the plan.
Mr. Cohen asked about deliveries.
Ms. Holmes said that all deliveries are made by Fed Ex and UPS trucks to the rear door, which has a loading area. The existing loading berths are to be removed as the loading docks are not needed.
Mr. Galley noted a number of large trees in the front yard.
Mr. McElroy said that the mature trees will remain to provide shade for the patio.
Mr. Cohen said that he had some concerns about eliminating the loading berths from this property, as the Township may want to require them for future tenants.
Mr. Torrente explained to the members that variances run with the land, not with the owner or with the use. The Zoning Hearing Board does have the option of limiting a variance to a particular use, however.
The Commission agreed to recommend that the Supervisors not oppose this application subject to the condition that any variance granted for relief from the loading berth requirement be limited to a medical office use.
Cheryl and Scott Young, 5 Kuhars Way: Cheryl Young was in attendance to review this application for increased impervious surface to 12.45% where 12% is the maximum permitted, to install a shed on a one acre parcel in the R-1 residential zoning district. Ms. Young indicated that she has spoken to her neighbors and has gotten approval from her homeowners association for the shed.
The Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this de minimis application and recommended to the applicant that she present her homeowners association approval to the Zoning Hearing Board.
KVK Tech, Inc., 110 Terry Drive: Engineer Heath Dumack, Architect Richard Walker and KVK President Frank Ripp were in attendance to review this application for relief for parking, setbacks, number of loading berths and impervious surface to build three additions on an existing 41,314 square foot building on a 6.16 acre parcel in the LI, light industrial zoning district.
Mr. Walker explained that this project will involve land development for the three proposed additions, a two-story, 28,850 square foot addition to the side of the existing building, an 11,000 square foot addition to the rear of the existing building and a two-story 8,748 addition connecting the buildings.
Mr. Walker reminded the Commission that the Supervisors had granted a temporary waiver of land development for a DEA and FDA compliant vault for storage of controlled pharmaceutical products. This vault is nearing completion and will be part of the full land development plan.
Mr. Walker explained that KVK intends to move its corporate offices from the existing building to the additions and to expand manufacturing and packaging in the existing building to increase production.
Mr. Dumack reviewed the variances required for this project, including front and rear yard setback relief, increase in impervious surface from the permitted 65% to 70%, parking relief to provide 138 parking spaces where 260 are required, parking in the front yard and within 20 feet of the public right of way, and to provide three loading berths where seven are required.
Mr. Dumack explained that this is a manufacturing facility with 90 employees on site. Plans for the future would include a possible five additional employees. The applicant would never need the required 260 spaces. To preserve green space, the applicant would like to hold twenty spaces at the front in reserve unless or until needed.
Mr. Ripp explained that Fed Ex arrives every morning and leaves a trailer at the loading dock; the trailer is loaded and picked up at the end of the day. All other deliveries are by UPS size trucks and vans. The three loading berths are more than enough for the company’s needs, although the ordinance requires seven berths.
Ms. Fountain pointed out that the site is on a corner lot, which means that it has two front yards and two side yards. Rear yard variances are not needed.
Mr. Cohen said that he favors the idea of keeping some of the parking in green, but has some concerns about building the spaces in the future. He believed this had been an issue with some of the shopping centers’ reserved parking areas.
Mr. Walker said that if KVK needed more parking spaces it would build them for the convenience of employees. Currently about 65% of the spaces are used.
Mr. Torrente asked the number of parking spaces which will be paved.
Mr. Dumack said between 110 and 115 spaces will be installed.
Mr. Galley said that he passed by the site and observed that there were 31 open spaces during the business day.
Mr. Deutsch asked the location of the sub-surface stormwater management.
Mr. Dumack pointed out an area where he plans to install stormwater management, but the plans have not been fully engineered and reviewed yet. Stormwater will comply with Township requirements.
Mr. Fisher asked about reconfirming the conditional use.
Ms. Fountain said that the use is expanding conditional use will need to be reconfirmed.
The Commission members agreed to recommend that the Board of Supervisors not oppose this application. The requests are reasonable and necessary for this business to expand at its current location.
Mr. Whartenby asked the recording secretary to remove “Sign Ordinance” from agendas until Mr. Fidler returns.
Mr. Galley said that he has been looking at other municipalities’ ordinances and thought that Doylestown’s should be reviewed, as it deals with similar issues as Newtown has faced.
Mr. Torrente said that he would get copies of Doylestown’s ordinance and share it with the members.
Mr. Galley said that he is concerned about the intensity of the lights at the new Birches. He has visited neighbors immediately behind Birches, who find the light coming into their windows very disturbing. Mr. Galley noted that the plan was approved with the standard condition that, “ All lighting shall comply with all Township Ordinances (except to the extent any waivers or variances have been granted), no glare shall extend onto adjoining properties and a note shall be added to the Plan so indicating.” The note does appear on the plan, but the lighting is very glaring and extends well beyond the property lines. He is concerned that the style of the light fixtures might be difficult to shield.
Ms. Fountain said that she will look into this.
Mr. Deutsch asked whether this condition can be enforced.
Ms. Fountain explained that the project has not been completed, so still must be reviewed to determine whether it meets all conditions of approval.
Mr. Gallagher suggested that Ms. Fountain contact Mr. McCormack, developer of the site, directly.
Subcommittee and Liaison Reports
Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Cohen reported that the Regional Planning Commission has been discussing wireless communications and dog kennels. They have also been considering definitions of outdoor events. Upper Makefield has granted permission for Crossing Vineyards to host 24 outdoor events and now is counting an ongoing yoga class which occasionally is taught on a patio as an outdoor event. Bucks County Planning Commission Executive Director Lynn Bush has suggested that some municipalities include “amplified music” as a component of an outdoor event.
Mr. Deutsch said that he has heard that the City of San Francisco has run into difficulties with such a definition, as there have been events held with large numbers of people in attendance listening to music through headphones to bypass the limit on outdoor events.
Environmental Advisory Commission: The recording secretary reported that the EAC will hold an environmental forum on April 12 at 9:30 AM on alternative energy sources.
Historical Architectural Review Board: The recording secretary reported that HARB reviewed a sign for College Nannies and Tutors on Sycamore Street and recommended that it seek some historic color palettes for its sign colors.
Joint Historic Commission: Mr. Deutsch reported that the Commission has written to the Township and Borough about its concern with the issue of demolition by neglect.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary