NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD
MUNICIPAL BUILDING - 100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE
NEWTOWN, PA 18940
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2005
Approval of Minutes: Mrs. Laughlin moved to approve the minutes of February 3, 2005. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Monday, February 3, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: William Wall, Chairman; Mario Lionetti, Vice Chairman; Victoria Bowe, Secretary; Gail Laughlin and John Lenihan, members. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor; Thomas Harwood, Zoning Officer and Linda McCormack, Stenographer.
Call to Order
Mr. Wall called the meeting to Order at 7:35 PM.
The Pledge of Allegiance
The agenda was reviewed.
Continued Application of Brandywine Realty Trust – Silver Lake Road
Application of Arthur Micchelli – 51 Autumn Drive
Application of Sleepy’s - The Mattress Professional – 18 Swamp Road
Application of Jay Pandya – Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins – 18 Richboro Rd
Approval of Minutes of January 6, 2005
Mrs. Laughlin moved to accept the minutes of January 6, 2005. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Continued Application of Brandywine Realty Trust
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that he had received a letter from Mr. Coughlin, Attorney for Brandywine, requesting a continuance to the March meeting, as Brandywine is redesigning the bridge, which might require an amendment to the application.
Mr. Lionetti moved to continue the application of Brandywine Realty Trust to March 3, 2005. Mr. Lenihan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Application of Arthur Micchelli
Mrs. Bowe read into the record the application of Arthur Micchelli requesting a variance from Section 401 (B) and (C) Norwalk of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit construction of a 3-car detached garage and driveway resulting in a 17.48% impervious surface ratio where the maximum allowed is 15%, a 22' side yard setback (52' aggregate) 50' is required by ordinance (25' [60' aggregate] by Norwalk final plan), and a 10 feet 4.25 inch rear yard where 60 feet is required by ordinance (40 feet by Norwalk Final Plan). The subject property is 51 Autumn Drive, Newtown, in the OR Office Research Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-16-11-20.
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that he had received a letter from Mr. Micchelli requesting that this application be continued to the March meeting, as he had a schedule conflict and was unable to attend this evening.
Mr. Lenihan moved to continue the application of Arthur Micchelli to March 3, 2005. Mrs. Bowe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Application of Sleepy’s - The Mattress Professional
Mrs. Bowe read into the record the application of Sleepy's The Mattress Professional, The Cotswold Group - Robert Shasta, owners, requesting a variance from Section 1106(H)(4)(c)(2)(b) and 1106(H)(4)(d) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a 15 square foot sign 15.5 feet in height where the maximum permitted sign is 8 square feet and the maximum height is 9 feet. The subject property is 18 Swamp Road 2nd and 3rd floor Lovett Barn, in the PC Planned Commercial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-10-85-6.
Mr. Richard Crawford of Mercer Sign Consulting represented Sleepy’s in this application.
Mr. Wall asked if anyone present wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Mr. Crawford said that the proposed sign, prepared by Blair Sign Company, is a sand blasted redwood sign that would be mounted at the entrance to the store. There would be a light over the sign, but it is not to be internally lighted. Mr. Crawford explained that the Sleepy’s store is to occupy the second floor of the Lovett Barn. The only entrance is through a second floor door, accessible by an outdoor graded walkway from the street level. He said that because there is no first floor entrance, the sign would not be visible from the street if it were to conform with ordinance. He noted that if the entrance were at the first floor, a 20 square foot sign would be permitted.
Mr. Crawford explained that mounting the sign at the permitted height of 9 feet above street level would place the sign behind the railing, obscuring it from the view of people traveling along Eagle Road.
In response to Mr. Lenihan’s question as to whether this would be Sleepy’s only sign, Mr. Crawford said that there would also be a Sleepy’s listing on the monument sign, which has already been approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Harwood had no comment.
Mr. Michael Iapalucci, a resident, expressed concern about allowing a large sign at this location. He noted that Mr. Crawford had appeared for the Keller Williams Real Estate agency when they asked for a variance for a larger sign, and the sign that has been installed is very large. He also expressed concern that Sleepy’s would also use lights and flags to attract business.
Mr. Crawford noted that the Keller Williams sign is a much smaller sign than had been requested and is a compromise.
Mr. Lenihan said that additional signs and flags are prohibited by our Zoning Ordinance, and our Codes Department would enforce this Ordinance. He did not think it would be necessary to add any conditions to a possible variance.
Mr. Lenihan moved to grant a variance from Section 1106(H)(4)(c)(2)(b) and 1106(H)(4)(d) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a 15 square foot sign 15.5 feet in height where the maximum permitted sign is 8 square feet and the maximum height is 9 feet. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Application of Jay Pandya – Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins
Mrs. Bowe read into the record the application of Jay Pandya - Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Guzikowski owners, requesting a variance from Section 601 (A) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a Dunkin Donuts / Baskin Robbins (Use E-6) to occupy stores in the CC Convenience Commercial District where such use is not allowed. The subject property is 18 Richboro Road, Newtown, in the CC Convenience Commercial Zoning District, being further known as Tax Map Parcel #29-11-48.
Mr. Tom Hecker represented the applicant.
Mr. Wall asked if anyone present wished to be a party to the application.
Mr. Jay Pandya was sworn in.
Mrs. Laughlin asked if Mr. Guzikowski, the owner of the property, had recently died.
Mr. Pandya explained that Mrs. Guzikowski is still the owner of the property and is conducting business on behalf of the estate of Mr. Guzikowski. Mr. Guzikowski’s name is still listed as owner on the tax records.
Mr. Pandya said that he has been an owner/operator of Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins stores for six years. He is a franchisee, interested in opening a store in Newtown. He explained that Domeques Allied is the owner of both Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins, and is now double branding with both stores in a combined location. He has entered into a lease agreement for a shop in the Newtown Depot Shopping Center in the location formerly occupied by the Cookie Jar Bakery.
He said that the Dunkin Donuts business is very active in the early morning hours and the Baskin Robbins business is most active in the evening until about 9:00 PM. Both products would be available at all times.
Mr. Hecker entered as Exhibit A-1 a floor plan for the proposed business.
Mr. Pandya pointed out that there are three cash registers, two assigned to Dunkin Donuts, and one for Baskin Robbins. There are restrooms and seating for up to 14 people. The bagels are to be baked on the premises, however the donuts are delivered from another location. Food can be eaten in or taken out.
Mr. Hecker entered as Exhibit A-2 a plan of the Newtown Depot Shopping Center. He noted that the store is to occupy units 30 and 30A, a 2200 square foot space.. There are 94 available parking spaces in the Shopping Center.
Mr. Pandya said that this store would be open 24 hours, seven days a week. He would have 5 to 6 employees, staggered throughout the day. Large deliveries, by tractor-trailer would be once a week. He said that he would have control of the time of day that this delivery is made.
The Board discussed whether a tractor-trailer would fit into the shopping center. Mrs. Laughlin noted that the paint store in the shopping center has tractor-trailer deliveries though the front of the store.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr. Pandya said that his large delivery would be tea, coffee and drink products. The donuts would be delivered several times a day by van. Paper products and ice cream products are delivered by a 36-foot box truck.
Mr. Lionetti asked whether donuts would be baked on the premises in the future.
Mr. Pandya said that Dunkin Donuts would require a 2500 square foot area for on-premises baking.
Mr. Auchinleck noted that the plan shows 110 parking spaces, but that some might have been held in reserve.
Mr. John Wichner of Traffic Planning and Design was sworn in.
Mr. Wichner said that his firm had conducted a study of parking and traffic flow at an existing Dunkin Donuts and at the proposed location. They studied a store similar in size in Hatfield in a similar strip mall location.
Mr. Wichner said that the study was conducted between 7:00 and 9:00 AM and again from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. During the morning the highest demand was for 11 parking spaces and in the afternoon the highest demand was for 8 spaces.
In the study of the existing shopping center Mr. Wichner noted that of the 94 parking spaces, 40 would be considered “main spaces’, which are the more desirable spaces directly in front of the business. He noted that many of the surrounding businesses are not open until 10 or 11:00AM, long after the peak Dunkin Donut business. Mr. Wichner said that the study had been conducted on a Tuesday. Although the other businesses in the shopping center are very busy on Saturday, and the Dunkin Donut peak hours would be later in the morning, he said that the volume of morning business would be lighter than on weekday mornings because there would not be commuter business.
In response to Mr. Lionetti’s question, Mr. Hecker said that he did not know if there would be outdoor seating.
Mr. Pandya said that he had correspondence from Mrs. Guzikowski requesting that employees park at the rear of the shopping center.
Mr. Harwood had no comment.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Section 601 (A) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 1983 to permit a Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins (Use E-6) to occupy stores in the CC Convenience Commercial District where such use is not allowed. Mrs. Laughlin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Lionetti moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Mr. Wall seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary