ZONING HEARING BOARD
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF FEBRUARY 2, 2012
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board met on Thursday, February 2, 2012 in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Vice Chairman Brandon Wind, Secretary Mario Lionetti and members Timothy Potero and Michael Iapalucci. Also in attendance were: James J. Auchinleck, Jr., Esq., Solicitor, Michael Hartey, Code Enforcement Officer and Justine Gregor, Stenographer.
Call to Order: Acting as chairman, Mr. Wind called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Lionetti moved to accept the minutes of December 1, 2011. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Mr. Iapalucci abstaining.
Mr. Lionetti moved to accept the minutes of January 5, 2012. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 3-0-1, with Mr. Lionetti abstaining.
The agenda was reviewed:
Continued Application of Brian and Joanne Mills, 1 Hillside Road
Continued Application of McDonald’s USA, LLC, 2875 South Eagle Road
Application of C.B. Rose. LP t/a Corner Bakery Café, 3 West Road
Continued Application of Brian and Joanne Mills
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that he had spoken to Mr. Mills earlier in the week and Mr. Mills indicated that he was investigating ways to contain increased run-off on his property and would like to continue the application until the March meeting.
Mr. Potero moved to continue the application of Brian and Joanne Mills to March 1, 2012. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Continued Application of McDonald’s USA, LLC
Mr. Auchinleck informed the Board that this application had been opened and read into the record in December. The applicant wishes to continue the application until March, when the full Board is in attendance to hear the application.
Mr. Potero moved to continue the application of McDonald’s USA, LLC to March 1, 2012. Mr. Lionetti seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Application of C.B. Rose, LP t/a Corner Bakery Cafe
Mr. Lionetti read into the record the application of C.B. Rose LP t/a Corner Bakery Cafe, lessee, Newtown Bucks Associates LP owner, requesting a variances from sections 602(B), 1103(C)(4), 1106(h)(4)(c)(2)(a) and 1106(H)(4)(d) of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance of 2007 to permit of a 539 square foot patio and pedestrian walk resulting in a 52% impervious surface ratio where 51% is permitted by prior variance and four building mounted façade signs, one of which is 90.5 square feet and three of which are 40 square feet where the maximum permitted is 20 square feet and resulting in a sign height greater than 9 feet which is the maximum permitted. The subject property 3 West Road, Newtown Shopping Center, in PC Planned Commercial Zoning District, being known as tax parcel number 29-3-24 .
Attorney Don Marshall represented the applicant.
Jason Rose was sworn in.
Mr. Wind asked if anyone in attendance wished to be party to this application. There was no response.
Mr. Marshall said that this is an application for impervious surface relief and sign relief for a café to be located in Newtown Shopping Center pad site #4 in the PC zoning District for uses E-5 and E-6, eating place and eating place with take out. The building is 5,000 square feet. The application had sought relief for 51% impervious surface, where 50% is the maximum and sign size relief for a 90.5 square foot sign and three 40 square foot signs. The applicant would like to amend the application to now seek relief for one 48 square foot sign and three 35 foot signs, within 1000 feet of the Bypass. The Supervisors had requested that the sign on the north side of the building, facing the Bypass be lighted by gooseneck lamps rather than internally lit and the applicant has agreed to that as a condition of approval.
Regarding the increase in impervious surface, Mr. Marshall explained that he had not completed calculations for impervious at the time of application, however a 1% increase would be 1% of the entire shopping center, equaling about 7280 square feet. The applicant wishes to install a 529 square foot patio and such walkways as are necessary to mitigate traffic and parking concerns of the Supervisors. That exact square footage has not yet been determined but it would be significantly below the 1% sought in the application. The applicant and shopping center owners are attempting to arrange a cross-easement to install a walkway and steps between pad site #4 and the Village at Newtown Shopping Center, to take advantage of some parking in that center which is rarely used and more convenient for the Café’s customers. In the alternative, Newtown Shopping Center may be required to install some of its parking which is currently held in green and build some crosswalks, which would involve additional impervious surface. The parking held in green has been included in the existing impervious surface and would not require additional relief.
Mr. Auchinleck cautioned the Board to be careful about granting an open ended impervious surface variance. He suggested that the Board consider a certain number of square feet of additional impervious surface if they are inclined to grant any relief.
Mr. Marshall entered the following exhibits:
Exhibit A-1 – the plan for the shopping center. Mr. Marshall reviewed the plan, noting the proposed patio location and the parking areas held in green.
Exhibit A-2 - The deed of record for the property
Exhibit A-3 - Lease between the shopping center and C.B. Rose
Exhibit A-4 – Conditional Use approval for Corner Bakery Café
Exhibit A-5 – Zoning Decision dated 9/2/97 granting impervious surface of 50%
Exhibit A-6 – Zoning Decision dated October 1, 2001 granting signage relief for Blockbuster.
Exhibit A-7 – a letter from the sign company confirming the heights of the four signs
Exhibit A-8 – Letter from Township Solicitor stating that the Township Engineer has determined that the north facing wall would be the elevation “facing the Bypass.”
Exhibit A-9 – Revised signage package. Mr. Marshall noted that the applicant will not include logos on the awnings
Exhibit A-10 – floor plan for the Café, including the proposed patio.
In response to Mr. Wind’s question, Mr. Rose said that the patio would not be enclosed except for the awning. No drive through service will be offered, only take out service.
Mr. Rose said that he is vice president of real estate and partial owner of C.B. Rose, headquartered in the Newtown Business Commons at 2 Friends Lane. The proposed café will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu similar to Panera Bread. He confirmed the accuracy of the exhibits submitted, noting that conditional use approval had already been granted by the Supervisors. The only planned increase to the impervious surface is for the patio and the walkways. C.B. Rose would be financially responsible for the installation of the walkways.
Jeff Henley was sworn in. Mr. Henley is director of construction for C.B. Rose.
Mr. Henley and Mr. Rose reviewed the revised signage package shown in Exhibit A-9. Sign A has been reduced to 48.8 square feet and consists of individual letters mounted on the west/front entrance elevation. The other three signs have been reduced to 35 square feet. The north elevation will be lighted by gooseneck lights and the others will be back lit. The maximum height will be 16 feet on the front/west side, 15 feet on the south/rear and 14 feet on the north and east sides. Mr. Rose noted that the height would appear the same all the way around the building; the land slopes.
Mr. Henley said that the signage package is similar to that of Applebee’s in the same shopping center. The size and prominence of the signs are important to the business because it is a new brand in this area. Residents are already familiar with Applebee’s signage and brand. Unfortunately the name is long, requiring more space to fit the letters. He noted that all of the businesses in this shopping center have signs facing the Bypass.
Mr. Iapalucci asked about the materials used in the signs.
Mr. Henley said that the sign on the north side will be a black background with white channel letters made of a laminate material. The background is necessary to avoid glare from the gooseneck lights. The other three signs’ letters are mounted directly onto the walls of the building. These letters are perforated to appear black when not lighted; when the lights are turned on at night, the light comes through the perforations, appearing white.
Mr. Iapalucci asked why only the north side is considered “facing the Bypass” when it would seem that the west facing sign is also visible from the Bypass.
Mr. Marshall said that the west side of the building faces the internal driveway and the TD Bank. It was the determination of the Township Engineer, as shown in Exhibit A- 8, that only the north side “faces the Bypass.”
Mr. Iapalucci asked about the size of the Applebee’s signage.
Mr. Rose said that the total square footage of Applebee’s signage is 166 square feet.
Mr. Henley said that Corner Bakery Café’s total signage would be 188.8 square feet.
Mr. Auchinleck asked whether the franchisor required any other trade dress.
Mr. Henley said that the awnings and some plants are part of the trade dress. The logo has been removed from the awnings and the windows of the shop. There will be no tube lighting along the roof. The lights are only on when the business is open after dark. The hours would only be until 9:00 PM. He confirmed that the hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday and 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Sunday.
Mr. Potero asked if the height of the signs would be the same as Blockbuster’s had been.
Mr. Marshall said that Blockbuster’s variance was for 12 feet, but this would appear to be inaccurate, as they seem to have been at 14 feet.
Mr. Iapalucci said that he has concerns about the size of the signage, especially for the west/front sign. He asked the applicant if the signage could be scaled back further.
Mr. Henley said that the name of the business is long so needs a larger sign variance. To scale back to a smaller size would impact the aesthetic appearance, as the letters are scaled to the size of the façade. The brand is unfamiliar in this area and the business’s success is dependent on visibility. He did not know if the franchisor would approve a smaller sign package for the size of the location.
Mr. Lionetti said that the sign does not appear excessive on such a large façade. He said that visibility is important for the success of the business, especially in this corner of the shopping center, partially hidden behind the bank. He did not think the request was unreasonable.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Section 602B for an increase in impervious surface not to exceed 529 square feet for a patio and additional square footage not to exceed 2000 square feet to install walkways as the Township may require. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Lionetti noted that, as there seems some confusion as to which side of the building faces the Bypass, he would grant relief but not mention a specific façade.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Section 1103(C)(4) to allow signage within 1000 feet of the Newtown Route 413 Bypass for the signage granted relief in these variances. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Lionetti moved to grant a variance from Section 1106(H)(4)(d) to permit signs with a height greater than 9 feet, for 16 feet on the west/front, 15 feet on the south/rear, and 14 feet on the sides. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Lionetti move to grant a variance from section 1106(H)(4)(C)(2)(a) to permit a front entrance sign of 48.8 square feet, and three side signs of 35 square feet each, subject to the condition that the north facing sign be lighted by gooseneck lamps and not backlit. Mr. Potero seconded.
Discussion of motion: Mr. Iapalucci said that he has concerns about the 48.8 square foot sign. It is bigger than other signs in the shopping center.
The motion passed 3-1, with Mr. Iapalucci voting nay.
Mr. Wind moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Mr. Potero seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary