TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

SPECIAL MEETING

MINUTES – JANUARY 25, 2006

 

 

A Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 25, 2006.  Chairman Santarsiero called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the Edgewood Village Plan.  Mr. Caiola called the Roll.

 

Those present:

 

Board of Supervisors:               Steve Santarsiero, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                Greg Caiola, Secretary

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

                                                Bucky Closser, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Kenneth Coluzzi, Chief of Police

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated representatives of the Historical Commission will provide an overview of the history of the project including a discussion on the design guidelines.  He stated he would like to begin with the overview and then ask a few of the larger property owners to discuss the ideas they have had thus far as to potential development of the site.  They will then invite comments from all present, initially to those living in and around Edgewood Village and then to all others interested.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels Edgewood Village offers the Township a unique opportunity to create a “Main Street” for Lower Makefield and a “Downtown” area they do not currently have.  He stated through the work already done, they have a chance to create a Traditional Town Development where there is a mix of residential and commercial at one location.  He stated this will afford the Township residents a place to gather and interact with each other. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated this idea has been around for some time.  He stated the basis of much of the proposal for the Village comes out of the January 31, 2000 Study prepared by March Associates.  He stated he wanted to have a meeting of all those who have an interest in the Village to ensure that as the Village develops, it does so in a unified and cohesive manner and not piecemeal.  He stated if it is going to come together in a way

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that makes sense with a good mix of uses and is aesthetically pleasing, it must be planned in this way.  He stated the Board of Supervisors needs to take a proactive stance to make sure this project is guided in the right way and that it follows the vision laid out in the March Associates study. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero read from the March Associates Study which states “The Township will actively seek builders and developers who have proven expertise in Traditional Neighborhood patterns of development.”  Mr. Santarsiero stated this would resemble “Small Town America” with a good mix of residential and commercial development.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels they need to go out and actively look for this.  He stated if they wait for people to come to them, they will not get the Vision they wanted to see. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the March Associates Study also envisioned the creation of a Commission on Economic Development to “study, investigate the viability of the proposed “Main Street,” and to recommend ways to form a Business Improvement District to fund District-wide promotion, maintenance, and infrastructure. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated in the next month or so, they will propose an Economic Development Commission, and he hopes that they will work in part with this Village along the lines of that included in the March Associates Study. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated also noted in the Study was to “seek Federal, State, and private funding sources to help pay for basic infrastructure improvements.”  He stated one of the critical infrastructure improvements for this area will be public water and sewer, and there will be discussion on how this can be done and who will pay for it.  He stated he feels the Township and the developers have to look for different Grant opportunities that exist so they can lower the cost that may exist to the taxpayer.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the March Associates Study indicates “other Grant opportunities at the State level, especially opportunities associated with the historic aspect of the Village should be pursued, securing or providing funding for the final street section should serve as an incentive to attract high-quality developers to Edgewood Village.”

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated this evening’s meeting is a first step in moving this discussion along, allowing the residents to hear what is under consideration, and having concerns voiced so that the Township and the developers can address these concerns. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they will proceed in a manner that is consistent with the March Associates Plan and consistent with maintaining a high quality of living in Lower Makefield. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she has before her a copy of the Draft Master Plan of 2003 where the Study was adopted.  She stated much of what they will see this evening has already been approved.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this neglects to address the fact that very little has been done at this point in 2006.  He stated they have made Zoning changes, but what they

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have not had is leadership from the Board of Supervisors to move forward in a more proactive way.  He stated in the 2001 Study, it indicated they should actively seek developers to try to move the project forward.

 

Ms. Michelle Stambaugh, Chair of the Historical Commission, was present with

Mr. Carter VanDyke.  Ms. Stambaugh thanked the Board for calling this meeting and allowing them to get to the next phase for Edgewood Village.  She introduced the members of the Historical Commission present this evening – Helen Heinz, Rae Pinchuk, Susanne Curran, Karin Iungerman, and Wendi Grant from the Historic Architectural Review Board.  Ms. Stambaugh also thanked Grace Godshalk who has been a consistent proponent on the historical integrity of Lower Makefield Township. 

 

Ms. Stambaugh stated they have done an inventory of the Historic District, obtained Certified Local Government status, created Edgewood Village as a National Registry,

created a Guide to the Historic Landmarks, the March Associates Report, Design Guidelines, Lower Makefield Master Plan, Zoning Ordinance Amendments, and Street Design Guidelines which are currently proposed. 

 

A slide was shown of an overview of Edgewood Village.  Mr. VanDyke showed the main streets in the area including Edgewood Road, Stony Hill Road, and Langhorne-Yardley Road.  He noted the location of the Fire Station, the shopping centers, and the residential areas.  Mr. VanDyke also noted the red line on the Plan showing the outline of the Historic District.    Mr. VanDyke stated at a presentation last year before the Board of Supervisors, the Historical Commission was asked to look at the District to make sure it was large enough to accommodate everything. 

 

Ms. Stambaugh noted the Design Overview prepared by March Associates with the infill.  Mr. VanDyke stated the brown buildings are the existing historic buildings, and the red buildings are proposed new development. 

 

Ms. Stambaugh stated they have made Zoning Amendments, the Historic District Guidelines, Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance Amendments, and prepared new Administrative Forms.  She noted a slide showing Building Designs which are included in the Design Guidelines including streetscape, sidewalk design, lighting, and house design.  She stated the Guidelines are available at the Township. 

 

A slide was shown of the Street Design Guidelines which gives an overview of their goal for the streetscapes including trees, and on-street parking.  Mr. VanDyke stated the Street Design Guidelines include sidewalks, street tree enhancements, and traffic calming elements.  He noted a cross-section of the street with sidewalks.  He stated this is an

on-going process and now that they are developing commercial properties up to the street, there is interest in having on-street parking.  He noted when the Street Design Guidelines were first initiated, on-street parking was not part of the Plan; however, based

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upon the input from the community, the Board of Supervisors, and the Historical Commission, they have gone to PennDOT who has indicated they do not have a problem with on-street parking.  He added that on-street parking helps with traffic calming.  He also noted that if there is parking on the street in front of a store, this will draw people into the establishment.

 

Ms. Stambaugh reviewed their goals including preservation of the integrity of Edgewood Village, appropriate in-fill development, mixed-use development, streetscape improvements, traffic calming, a walkable community, and having the Village as a destination.  She stated the community will benefit by increased property values, funding from public Grants and private development, employment opportunities, availability of public water and sewer to the area, availability of regional stormwater management, and excellent ratables to the Township. 

 

Slides were show on the existing conditions. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission has asked them to develop a sign for the gateways to give recognition of Edgewood Village which is one of the few National Historic Districts within Bucks County.  He noted this means they have high standards which must be met, and all Design Guidelines and anything new that is built will have to be shipped to the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission and ultimately to Washington D.C.  He showed an aerial photo of the Village.  He also showed a picture of the proposed gateway sign and pictures of the various locations where they propose the signs to be installed which are at each of the entrances into the community.  He stated they are looking into Grants or individual donors to pay for the signs.  He stated they also have a program for streetscape enhancements, and they will need the cooperation of the Supervisors in developing a Grant.  He stated they feel it is very important to have the utility lines underground as they currently take up most of the streetscape.  Trees have also been impacted by the utilities; and if they want to create the character they feel is important, they need to have the utilities underground.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the slide outlining some of the traffic improvements they have discussed with PennDOT including the creation of islands in the street in order to slow down the traffic coming into the Village.  The traffic will be slowed down to twenty-five miles per hour to make it safe for people to walk and pull over and park.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission has been working with two developers who are interested in three major parcels within the Village.  He noted the large parcel which has been acquired by one developer and two parcels acquired by another developer.  He stated these three parcels represent a large portion of the Village.  The Historic Commission has asked Mr. VanDyke’s firm to act as an intermediary to help develop a philosophy of how these projects will be developed in keeping with the spirit of the March Associates Report and the Township Master Plan. 

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A slide was shown of the location of the Heacock House.  He noted the home went through a tremendous amount of neglect and had to be taken down, although it will have to be replicated.  They are also looking at this area for in-fill development and mixed use which could be retail on the first floor and offices on the second floor.  He stated they are also interested in getting apartments on the second floor of the buildings so that it is a livable community.   

 

A slide was shown of the location where a bank has been proposed. 

 

A slide was shown of the type of architecture the developer is proposing for the Heacock House.  A member of the audience stated this building was not a Heacock house.

In-fill buildings are also being considered within that parcel.

 

Mr. VanDyke showed a picture of a building in Doylestown which was a replication which is the quality of replication they are looking for in Lower Makefield.  He also showed an example of another project his firm is working on which shows an example of the streetscape they have created. 

 

Mr. Van Dyke showed a slide of the Flowers Tract showing a mixed-use development with commercial development including restaurants.  He stated many of the commercial units would also have apartments on the second floor.  They would propose some areas where on-street parking would be permitted.  There is room for parking behind those buildings where they would not be able to have on-street parking.  He stated there is a major stand of trees where they would propose a Park.  He also noted an area where they have proposed a mixture of residences including single-family homes, twin homes, townhouses, and Manor Houses.  He stated the streets will not all be linear, and there will be streets with curves and buildings as focal points.  He stated all streets will have sidewalks so that people can walk throughout the community and to the Park and stores.  Mr. Carter noted the location of Heston Hall and there is proposed an expansion of this facility and some additional office buildings in that area.  He stated these buildings will create a buffer between the residences and the highway.  A green space is also proposed to create a buffer between the homes and parking.  He stated they  have proposed Traditional Neighborhood Design and there will be no garages on the street.  All parking is in the rear on an alley with garages in the back and small rear yards.  He stated this is in keeping with a Village atmosphere. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated they are working with the developers on different types of residential architecture.  He noted a slide of Barclay Court in Newtown which is an example of the character they are expecting to see in Lower Makefield.  Slides were shown of the models they are considering for the commercial structures as well.  He noted a slide of an area in Buckingham/Lahaska which is what they are considering. 

 

 

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Mr. VanDyke reviewed where they should go from this point.  He stated they need to apply to the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission for more Grant money to help with the traffic calming and eliminating the overhead utility lines.  He stated they also want to encourage Public/private partnerships, and the developers they have been working with are willing to bring in the sewer and water at their expense which means it will now be accessible for the first time to the residents of Edgewood Village and will not require public funds.  He stated the Historic Commission has developed standards and revised Township Ordinances.  Having gone through this process, they recognize they need to do some fine tuning.  He stated originally they did not consider on-street parking so the buildings could be twenty feet from the edge of the street.  Now that they are considering on-street parking, the buildings along the main roads will be as close as ten feet.  He stated they also need to address regional stormwater management issues, develop the gateways, and seek Grants or funds from individuals to support this.  They also need to apply for traffic calming and street improvement Grants.  He stated they also feel some of the traffic calming will be done by the private sector as part of the developments.  Mr. VanDyke stated they need everyone’s support to help facilitate the implementation of the Plan.

 

Mr. Santarsiero thanked the members of the Historic Commission and Mr. VanDyke for the work they have done to date.

 

 

PRESENTATION OF CONCEPT PLANS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERATION AND DISCUSSION OF RELATED IDEAS

 

Mr. Cameron Troilo was present and stated they are not yet at the point where they can get into the finer points of their Plan; but he concurs with what Mr. VanDyke has done, and they will continue to work closely with him.  He stated they will make a full presentation in the future.

 

Mr. Chris Messick stated he agrees with Mr. Troilo.  He stated his firm is currently in the Village, and they are thankful that the Historic Commission and the Board of Supervisors is working on this project. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated beyond the designs that Mr. VanDyke has described, the Board would like to get a better sense of some of the uses they are proposing.  He noted

Mr. Messick came before the Board approximately five months ago with ideas for commercial structures with residential on the second floor as well as a bank to be located between Edgewood Road and Yardley-Langhorne Road.  He stated, while he personally does not feel more banks are needed in the area, he would still like to get an idea of what they are proposing beyond residential. 

 

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Mr. Messick stated he is considering small retail, small food establishments such as a coffee shop, etc. although they are not presently at the point where they can say anything definitely. 

 

Mr. Troilo stated they are presently interviewing marketing people.  He stated the one concern they do have is that the Ordinance calls for 1500 square foot units, and the marketing people have told them that this is a very difficult sell.  They have indicated that it is hard to get a National store such as Talbots in 1500 square feet. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked what timeframe they are looking at when they will have a better sense from their marketing people and then coming back before the Board. Mr. Troilo stated he feels they would need three to four months.  Mr. Messick stated some of the retailers he had talked to previously also indicated that the footprints were too small, particularly for a restaurant.  He stated the other problem is the limitation on having every building being a stand-alone structure versus doing something similar to the shopping center across from Goodnoe’s in Newtown where the buildings look like they are on smaller footprints, but they are able to utilize a larger footprint.  He stated he did not go forward with anything because he was uncertain as to where his project was going.  He stated he did not want to do the formal engineering which is a big expense until they were sure they would be able to do the project. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked Mr. VanDyke about the concept of buildings being connected and whether he has seen this in Traditional Neighborhoods Developments elsewhere. 

Mr. VanDyke stated they have seen this, and he feels it is a reasonable approach.  He stated they are able to maintain the integrity of separate buildings, but they can actually connect them.  He stated this also allows there to be one elevator to serve the second floor which is an economy of scale.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they would then risk having a strip shopping center as it was zoned for thirty-five years ago.  She stated they have tried to overcome this over the years to take away that aspect.  She noted this is a National Register Village.  Mr. VanDyke stated the Design Standards would require that they be two-story structures, and in this way they will maintain the integrity of the Village. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels only a minority of the structures should be attached so it does not look like a strip shopping center.  Mr. Santarsiero stated the initial sketch he saw from Mr. Messick and what is being referred to by Mr. VanDyke is a façade that actually looks like different buildings; and Mr. VanDyke agreed.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they have this currently at Thriftway and Giant with different roof lines, but it is still a strip shopping center.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels it looks that way for a number of reasons including the way it is set back from the road and the fact that, while a good job was done to try to differentiate the buildings, it is not the same as the buildings across from Goodnoe’s in Newtown where you get the feel that there are different buildings rather than a strip. 

 

 

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Mr. VanDyke stated the Ordinance requires a maximum average building size so it allows for flexibility.  He stated they could not have big boxes.  He stated the footprints they used in Lahaska had a first floor of 4500 square feet which fits the need of retailers but it looked like three buildings.  Mr. Santarsiero asked if 4500 square feet would be acceptable from a retail standpoint, and Mr. Troilo stated he feels 4500 square feet would be adequate for most good sized retailers.  He stated they have a number of stores in Yardley Borough that are smaller than this, and they have never been able to get a National retailer in 1500 to 2000 square feet.   He stated he feels 4500 is a reasonable number. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated also on the Agenda this evening was to be some discussion on the Giant Shopping Center because whatever is done in Edgewood Village it is important that the Shopping Center fits in so that it will flow nicely.  He stated one of the street designs shown this evening involved a new entrance into the shopping center. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated this was turned down at the Historic Commission level as they already have an entrance in from Edgewood Road to the Giant Shopping Center.

Mr. Santarsiero stated they are not voting on details this evening, but this is a possibility; and he feels they should consider the impact of the Shopping Center.  He stated there has also been discussion about how the Shopping Center may be reconfigured.  He stated the Township needs to know the interests of the owner of this property so that they can try to accommodate whatever changes they might want to do with what is going to be done in Edgewood Village.

 

Mr. Fran McDonald, representing Giant, was present and stated they have been working with Mr. Messick for approximately nine months and have come up with a few Plans at his request although nothing has been finalized.  He stated they did meet with one group a few months ago and presented a few possibilities.  He stated they are open, and he is present to observe.  He stated one Plan they prepared with Mr. Messick is too premature to share at this time.  Mrs. Godshalk stated that Plan was not legal as they wanted to use dedicated open space on Edgewood Road for new buildings.  Mr. Messick stated he was the one who wanted to use their detention basin.  Mrs. Godshalk stated this is also open space.  Mr. McDonald stated they are present to listen and see if they can accommodate this Plan. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the main reason for the meeting tonight was to begin discussions in a forum in which everyone who has an interest is present.  He stated at this point they are only interested in getting a sense of where people are gong in terms of their thought process and what they see unfolding on the site.  They also wanted to make sure that it all fits together.  He stated they will need to have follow-up meetings as they proceed and the Plans become actual proposals for development. 

 

Mr. McDonald stated they are here for the long haul; and if they can help out in some way, they are willing to listen.

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Mr. Santarsiero stated the Historic Commission had discussed dealing with stormwater management and sewer issues; and he feels it will facilitate the project a great deal if the private owners are willing to install the sewer and water connections.  He stated with regard to stormwater management, the Township is interested in embarking on a program of low-impact development for the entire Township.  Since they are starting at the beginning with Edgewood Village, he feels it would be good if this could be the model for the Township. He stated there are a number of new technologies that exist that help keep the water on site and not channel it elsewhere creating surface water problems in the area and further downstream.  He stated these are what they would like to see as they go forward.

 

Mr. Majewski stated last year the Township adopted Stormwater Ordinances for both the Neshaminy Creek Watershed and the Delaware River South Watershed.  These Ordinances rely heavily on trying to infiltrate stormwater into the ground and keep water close to its source.  He has had discussions with several engineers who are contemplating doing work in the Township and advised them of the new Ordinances and the fact that the Township is looking forward to trying to utilize groundwater recharge – putting the water back in at its source.  He stated one of these technologies include underground detention storage where you put pipes underground and can store the water underneath a parking lot before it is released.  Another method involves pervious pavement where you take stone beds and put it underground and the parking on top; and when the water falls, rather than running off, it soaks into the pavement and goes into the stone below where it is stored and/or seeps into the ground.  They could also consider eliminating curbing in parking areas and letting the water from the parking lot go off into lower, depressed areas where it will have an opportunity to seep into the ground.  If the soils are not conducive, they could utilize standard detention basins but augment that by trying to soak up the water as much as possible with vegetation and/or providing extra infiltrative capabilities within the basins to allow it to perc into the ground.

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated it is important that the residents understand that the Township is committed to implementing these new kinds of approaches so that it will minimize the impact of surface water in the area and beyond. 

 

Mr. Smith asked Mr. Messick and Mr. Troilo if they feel they can come back in ninety days with some further Plans, and Mr. Troilo and Mr. Messick agreed.  Mr. Santarsiero asked that Mr. McDonald be present as well as they would like everyone together at one meeting and move this forward in a unified way.  Mrs. Godshalk suggested that

Mr. McCaffrey be invited as well. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe thanked everyone for their presentations.  He stated he feels this is a well thought out Plan and many years have been put into it.  He stated he heard from both developers that they need to “shop” the project; and he feels that whatever they do, it needs to be economically viable and should not be rushed into.  He stated if they are

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going to have retail, they want retail that can succeed and he feels the only way to do this is to test the marketplace.  He stated they did not want Big Box blight, and he does not feel they want Village blight.  He feels they should move at a pace where they can be sure that what they are doing will succeed. 

 

Mr. Troilo stated these projects are not small projects and they command a tremendous amount of cash.  He stated when they come back in ninety days, they will either come back with someone who is credible and adds to the community, or they will come back and say they are not yet ready.             

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels it is important that the developers know the property is in their hands.  She stated this is the first time she has seen the Township try to push development in the Township as they are usually trying to hold it back. 

 

Mr. Troilo thanked the Supervisors for creating this initiative with Mr. VanDyke noting this has been the most pleasurable experience he has had working with the Township. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero noted the March Associates Study did envision the Board of Supervisors actively seeking builders and developers who have proven experience in Traditional Neighborhood Patterns of Development as well as a Commission on Economic Development to investigate the viability of the proposed Main Street.  He stated he does not feel they are saying Lower Makefield has to do the development, but he feels they can be the catalyst to make the Vision become a reality.  He stated they can work with the expertise they have in the Township and with Mr. VanDyke and with the developers who have an interest in developing the site.   He stated he feels they should be proactive and guide the development in a way that they all, including the community, feel is the best way possible which will result in the Vision outlined in the March Associates Study.  He stated he agrees that they need to make sure that whatever goes in will be viable.

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Road, stated on the Township Website, there is an excellent PDF presentation from the Historic Commission and HARB and some of the slides shown tonight are included. 

 

Ms. Karen Iungerman, Historic Commission, thanked everyone for coming.  She stated they have highly-credentialed people volunteering and doing this work for the Township.  She stated Mr. Messick and Mr. Troilo have also helped them tremendously.  She stated she does not feel they are proceeding in a piecemeal situation, and they are moving forward nicely.  She stated Historic Edgewood Village has been designated Historic for twenty-five years, and the residents should appreciate it.

 

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Mr. Jeff Gaul, 5 S. Homestead Drive, commended the Board of Supervisors for putting this together.  He stated he does understand the need for stormwater management.  He suggested that they consider not looking at the Village parcel by parcel with regard to the stormwater management but look at it regionally.  He suggested that if there are existing stormwater facilities, possibly they could be used and combined.  He expressed concern with the detention basin adjacent to CVS where it appears a berm was constructed down the center which he assumes was a property boundary and they did not have the foresight to combine it.   Mr. Gaul stated he noted one of the Plans presented this evening did not appear to have any provisions for stormwater management.  Mrs. Godshalk noted the CVS property and what was referred to as a property line was a historic tree line.  She stated there is a CVS detention basin, a tree line, and another detention basin.    Mr. Gaul stated he does not feel there is a tree line, but feels it should have been developed in a way that was more pleasing aesthetically, and more ecologically-friendly.  Mr. Majewski stated he did see a Plan where it was contemplated that the two detention basins be combined into one larger basin, but he is not sure of the history as to why this was not developed in this way.  Mr. Gaul stated he feels they should look at stormwater regionally. 

 

Ms. Andrea Scherer, HARB, asked about on-street parking and whether it will compromise the historic structures, and Mr. VanDyke stated it will not.  Ms. Scherer

stated Mr. VanDyke referenced Barclay Court which is a lovely neighborhood but questions if it is indicative of what Edgewood Village would have looked like two hundred years ago. 

 

Mr. David Miller stated he and his wife have lived in Edgewood Village for thirty-five years.  He stated they do not have public sewer and water.  He stated the attitude in the past was that there are guidelines in place and the developers should follow them.  He stated he and his wife are not developers and they do not have the capability of bringing sewer and water to their property by themselves.  He stated they hope that these new perspectives being brought to the Village will provide them with these basic services.

 

Mr. Ralph Thompson stated several references were made to restaurants, and he questions how they can bring in first-class restaurants when the Township is dry. 

Mr. Smith stated he feels they will be able to do so because they already have first-class restaurants in the Township.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he does feel they can continue to attract fine restaurants as they have already without liquor licenses.  He stated because of the nature of the Village, they will be attracting people to come in anyway and there will be walkways for people to come and congregate which will help the restaurants as well.

 

Mr. Jim Kelaw, 1767 Yardley-Langhorne Road, stated he lives across from the Flowers Tract.  He asked how the traffic calming measures would help with the traffic volume.  He stated currently people are stopping in front of his house waiting for the light, and he

 

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is concerned about how much additional traffic they will get when they add this additional commercial development and make Edgewood Village a destination. 

Mr. VanDyke stated the chief complaints people have about traffic is because of the noise and the other is access or trying to get out.  He stated traffic calming will reduce the noise by reducing the speed being traveled.  He stated the traffic speed is not a function of capacity.  He stated there will still be a certain amount of volume because of regional growth, but they can help control the noise and ease of access.  He stated because cars will be going slower, it will be easier to get out into the traffic.  He stated currently people are traveling down the roads at 45 miles per hour which is making it very unsafe.  He stated they are also going to incorporate signs saying “Pedestrian Right-of-Way” and this will slow down the traffic.  He reviewed traffic calming measures followed in other areas. He stated they need to insure that the traffic noise will be reduced so that it will make the second floor apartments very livable.   He noted these will be luxury apartments.

 

Mr. Caiola asked if the traffic calming devices serve as a deterrent for some people to use the roads.  Mr. VanDyke stated they have found that it is less stressful if you do not have to always stop and instead are given the opportunity to always move even if you are moving slowly.  He noted the concept of round-abouts. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated the intersection of Stony Hill Road and Yardley-Langhorne Road is not a particularly well-designed intersection.  He noted the buildings are close to the intersection so they may be constrained in terms of what they can do.  He asked if they have looked at anything they might be able to do at this location to address the concerns with the stacking of cars along the road.  Mr. VanDyke stated the traffic engineers feel this is a very difficult intersection and possibly they could time the signals or consider some kind of By-Pass. 

 

Mr. Matthew DiSantos, Jr. 755 Stony Hill Road, stated he is speaking on behalf of himself,  Matthew DiSantos, Sr. 765 Stony Hill Road, and Sam and Kenny Stewart who own the next property between I-95 and the Stony Hill Road overpass, all of whom only found out about this meeting from reading the Bucks County Courier Times.  He stated they did not receive official notice from the Township, and he questioned why.  He stated they feel it is a good idea to develop Edgewood Village provided they do not suffer financial loss at a private developer’s gain.  He stated they are not in favor of a Zoning change on their properties at this time.  He stated the plans for removal of the water does not include retention basins, and he asked what would happen if a retention basin is needed as they are concerned where this will be located.  He stated they do not want their properties involved in any eminent domain.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they will not be condemning private property.  He apologized that they were not notified noting he does have a list of property owners in the District and there are properties on Stony Hill Road which were notified, but the properties Mr. DiSantos spoke on behalf of are not on that

 

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list.  He stated they will make sure that every person within the District and around the periphery is notified of future meetings.  With respect to the detention issues,

Mr. Santarsiero stated they are not at a point where they have engineered plans, but he feels stormwater management is a critical issue; and whatever is done in the Village will have to be done in a way that will minimize the impact on the properties around the Village.  He stated this is why they are going to look at the low impact development approaches.

 

Ms. Gayle Freeman, 699 Rose Hollow Drive, asked if there will be a formal process for community input as this goes forward.  Mr. Santarsiero stated through any Land Development process, there is opportunity for public comment.  He stated they want to make sure that there is adequate notice; and they will not only send out notices, but for the larger community, ensure that the newspapers are advised as well.  Ms. Freeman stated there have been comments this evening regarding national chains coming in and she stated while she realizes that economic development here has to be viable, the original Plan proposed this as a local development.  She stated if you look at Newtown, Yardley, and Doylestown, the retail mix is heavy with smaller, one-of-a-kind shops rather than National chains so that this will not be a regional destination.  She stated there are a number of outbuildings that are near to collapse, and she feels these outbuildings contribute to the historic nature of the Village.  She asked if there are plans to do something about these buildings before they reach a point where they cannot be saved.

Mr. Santarsiero stated there are a number of buildings in Edgewood Village that are in disrepair, and they need to have a dialogue with the property owners about those buildings.  He stated there are historic buildings that they are going to want to save; and if they are not being maintained, it will be much more difficult to save them. He stated there are also practical considerations such as the safety of the some of the buildings for anyone who may be living in them, and there needs to be communication with the owners about this as well. 

 

Ms. Amy Bodner stated she spoke about Edgewood Village a few weeks ago; and while she does not want to speed through the area, anyone who lives off of Stony Hill Road uses this as the main route to get to the By-Pass.  She feels they will be taking the major route they have and making it more difficult for them to get to the By-Pass by slowing down the traffic and making it more congested.  She asked if they will widen the roads or build some other road to help them get to the By-Pass in a different way.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there are a number of potential ways they can address the traffic proposals, but at this point there is no concrete proposal from the developers or the Township.  He stated he does feel that they all understand that traffic is a serious issue.  He stated Stony Hill Road for its entire length is one of the worse traffic roads in the Township with the highest number of accidents.  He stated they are aware of the kinds of problems being raised, and the Township will have to deal with them.  He stated Mr. VanDyke did discuss some different designs that could be implemented to alleviate the traffic problems either by calming or avoidance.  He stated they will have to see what is being proposed

January 25, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 14 of 17

 

 

by way of building development in the area and see how this fits in with a re-design of the traffic situation to alleviate the problems.  He stated they recognize this is a major concern for those living in the immediate area and for all those driving through the area as well.  Ms. Bodner asked if they have ever put this out to a vote to the residents to see if the people want this.  She stated she does not understand why people who were against Matrix would be in favor of this plan.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he was the former Chairman of RAM, and the issue with Matrix was the fact that they were putting in big box stores which many of them felt were inappropriate for the community and the traffic problems this would have created would have been monumental, and that those stores are susceptible to downturns in the economy and they could have had vacant buildings. 

He stated at Edgewood Village the scale is much smaller.  He stated whatever will be proposed in Edgewood Village will have to be something that is viable.  He stated the mixed-use nature of it also results in a level of traffic impact far lower than that which would have been at large retails stores being discussed with regard to Matrix.  He stated there has never been a Referendum on Edgewood Village, but when he ran for Supervisor and during the most recent Election, Edgewood Village was discussed.  He stated Mr. Smith and Mr. Caiola were elected with the public understanding their view with regard to Edgewood Village which was to try to implement the vision which existed for Edgewood Village, and so from that standpoint he feels there is support in the community for it.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he will not vote for any plan that does not deal with traffic and stormwater management in an adequate way. 

 

Mr. Jim Bodner stated he is a member of the Masonic Lodge and stated it is appears that it has finally been determined that the Masonic Lodge is not in the Historic Zone.  He stated he was before the Board a few years ago about having something done at their property as the Lodge also needs revenues to keep the building afloat.  He stated they would like to be considered part of the package to see if something could be done. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not have a problem with this.  Mrs. Godshalk stated the

Masonic Lodge is in a Residential Zone.  She stated they are in the Historic fringe and have been required to go before HARB for architectural approval similar to McCaffrey and Giant Market, who while not in the District, are on the fringe and are under the Ordinance.  She stated only the Bank near the Giant Market is in the District. 

Ms. Helen Heinz stated there is the National Register Zone and a Historic Commercial Zone which overlays the National Register Zone.  She stated the Masonic Lodge is in the Historic Commercial Zone.  Mrs. Godshalk disagreed and stated they are in the Residential Zones as is the Fire House and the office building.  She stated they were only given approval to build the office building in the Residential Zone because they built the road and the Fire House.  Ms. Heinz stated the Masonic Temple pre-dated this and they were included as part of the Commercial District. Ms. Heinz stated Mr. VanDyke has the map showing this.  Mrs. Godshalk stated at the Masonic Temple they wanted to build a bank which was not allowed.  Mr. Santarsiero stated there were other issues with regard to the bank.  He stated he does feel it is appropriate to keep those involved with the

 

January 25, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 15 of 17

 

 

Masonic Lodge in the loop.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she also feels McCaffrey’s and Giant should also be included in the discussions.

 

Ms. Andrea Scherer asked if there will be a study done on the impact to the infrastructure and need for Police from this development and additional residents coming into the Township.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he does not feel that they have a good sense of how many additional residents would be coming in.  He stated the commercial component will result in ratables for the Township which should offset any impact on the School District that additional housing will create

 

 Mr. Sam Spera, Heacock Meadows, stated if they are going to bring more people into the area, there will be more traffic at the intersection of Stony Hill and Yardley-Langhorne Roads.  Mr. Santarsiero stated a number of alternatives to dealing with the additional traffic have been discussed this evening, the most drastic of which is some kind of by-pass.  He stated there may be other ways to try to avoid congestion in the area, and if not they will consider traffic calming to try to slow the traffic down, but also move it through without as many stops.  He stated they are only at the initial stage of the concepts being considered by the developers, and they will need more detailed information on the actual development coming in before they can consider the measures which can be taken to alleviate potential problems.  He stated he does share in the concerns about traffic. 

 

Mr. Ralph Thompson noted the traffic light at Yardley Borough where traffic is backed up for half a mile or more.  He stated when you increase the traffic in Edgewood Village, they will have the same thing.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they agree that this is an issue that they will have to deal with, but they are not yet at a point where they can discuss with any specificity what the solutions will be.  He stated they do recognize that the problem will have to be dealt with.

 

Mr. Charlie Wilson, 1775 Yardley-Langhorne Road, stated he has lived in Edgewood Village for twenty-five years.  He stated he feels this is a good idea.  He stated his home is zoned Residential currently, and he was wondering if the Board would consider

re-zoning their properties to Commercial so that they can take advantage of this as well.  He also asked about maintenance of the sidewalks which will be installed in front of their properties.  He stated he currently owns 200’; and on a main road, the plows continually cover sidewalks with salt, etc. coming off the road.  He stated the walking path behind his home is maintained by the Township, and he asked if these new sidewalks will be maintained by the Township or will individual homeowners and business owners have responsibility for them.  Mr. Carter noted this individual’s home is in the Historic District but is not in the Historic Commercial District.  Mr. Wilson stated he feels this is incorrect and he is in the Historic Commercial but not in the Register.  Ms. Heinz agreed. 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels they will have to look to see what will develop across the street from his property before they can indicate whether it would be appropriate to allow

 

January 25, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 16 of 17

 

Commercial where he is located.  He feels this would require Re-Zoning.  With regard to the sidewalk maintenance, Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels this is an issue that they must look into further.  Mr. VanDyke stated in similar situations it is the businesses which are responsible for the snow removal; but because the area is so tight, the community often has to treat that area separately so that there is a different type of snow removal such as coming in with front-end loaders and hauling the snow out.  Mr. VanDyke stated there is no intent to come in and get a Grant to install sidewalks in front of all the residential properties.  Mr. Wilson asked if there are any additional plans that will happen in the next five years to develop any other part of Edgewood Village.  He asked about the Patterson Farm.  Mr. Santarsiero stated under the March Associates Study, the Patterson Farm was not to be part of it.  He stated they would like to see development consistent with the Plan that exists on the parcels and have it move forward in a uniform fashion.  He stated currently Mr. Troilo and Mr. Messick are the furthest along in their Plans, but the Township should also be considering how to make sure that the other parcels within the District that could be developed are developed in accordance with the Plan so there is not disjointed development from a design and use standpoint. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated there are people who have been living in Edgewood Village for many years and they may want to remain living there as they are.  She does not feel they should disturb this.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they want to make sure that those property owners who have an interest in developing their property do so consistent with the Plan.  He stated they are not talking about the Township taking anyone’s property.   He stated some of those interested in developing their properties may come forward after tonight’s meeting.  He feels it would be better for the development of the Village to have it take place in a way that ensures consistency with respect to use and design so that there are not uses that do not mesh. 

 

Mr. Jim Bray thanked the Board for having a vision as far as this project is concerned and hopes they will see it through.  He stated he is personally pleased that they are maintaining the historical integrity of the area and with the low-impact development nature of the project.  He stated low-impact development projects are taking place throughout the Country and most of these projects have maintained their values, and in fact, have increased as far as the commercial establishments and housing are concerned. 

 

Mr. Jim Kelaw stated he does not feel anything will happen until the two major developers start to get close to their plans and sewers are installed.  He stated several years ago studies were done on their septic systems and they found some had failed, some were failing, and some were still viable.  He asked if it is the intent of the Supervisors to mandate hook up to the sewer system.  Mr. Santarsiero stated generally speaking his view is that from a public health standpoint, it is better to be hooked up to Township sewer and water.  He stated once the sewer and water is available, it will make this possible for those living in the Village and will make the economic development a reality.  He stated what the individual residents do will be driven by the condition of their wells and septic

systems. 

January 25, 2006                                                          Board of Supervisors – page 17 of 25

 

 

Ms. Rae Pinchuk stated she feels this area is going to develop and they want to make sure it is guided and controlled development that is well thought through.

 

Ms. Michele Stambaugh, on behalf of the Historic Commission, thanked everyone for coming this evening.  She stated the Historic Commission and HARB are advisory Committees and they are present to answer questions and be facilitators to the Board of Supervisors.  She noted the Design Guidelines are on the Website and stated they can provide a copy of the presentation made this evening to put on the Website as well.

 

Ms. Dana Wyrick, 729 Stewart’s Way, asked that they consider high-end retail for the area as opposed to outlet-type stores.  She feels the area can handle high-end retail.

Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels from a marketing standpoint, the people who are talking to Mr. Troilo and Mr. Messick will probably say this as this is a community that can service high-end stores. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated they will get back together within ninety days; and hopefully by that time, Mr. Messick, Mr. Troilo, and the representative from Giant Shopping Center will have further information.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

                                                           

 

                                                                        Greg Caiola, Secretary