TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
MINUTES - JULY 26, 1999
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on July 26, 1999. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
John Pazdera, Chairman
Edward Koch, Vice Chairman
Paul Gunkel, Member
Albert Roeper, Member
Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection and Planning
Doug Maloney, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor
Deborah Gould, Planning Commission
#504 - JOSEPH CASADONTI PRELIMINARY/FINAL MINOR SUBDIVISION PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Robert Pelki of J. G. Park Associates was present on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Pelki stated they are proposing
a Minor Subdivision. Currently the entire parcel has a Yardley Borough Tax Map Parcel Number, and they are proposing
to subdivide the property along the Township/Borough line in order to create two lots and consolidate the other Yardley
Borough Tax Map Parcel into the Yardley Borough portion of the lot. He noted the letter from CKS dated 6/15/99 and they will comply with the three items listed. They also received the letter from PCS dated 7/21/99 and they will comply with all items. He did however note Item #15 referring to the Township’s desire to have the Township environmental consultants investigate the fill on the site. Mr. Pelki noted the report from Boucher & James indicating they did a study on the site and found no hazardous material in the fill. He noted they did nine test holes - seven on the Yardley Borough side and two on the Lower Makefield side. Mr. Pelki was unsure if this report had been submitted to the Township. Ms. Frick noted the Township engineer does have this. Mr. Pelki stated they should also discuss Item #16 regarding the dedication along College Avenue noting that the applicant is willing to dedicate this if the Township is willing to accept it. He added they will comply with the request for frontage improvements.
Mr. Pazdera noted the letter from Ray Forestal regarding the narrowness of the dirt gravel lane onto the site. Mr. Pelki did not have a copy of this letter. Mr. Pelki stated he is not sure of the use of the existing gravel/dirt lane although he assumes it is for access to inspect the lift station.
Mr. Gunkel noted Item #10 which requires delineation of wetlands. Mr. Gunkel noted Skelly & Loy will have to review this as well. Mr. Pelki stated these have already been delineated by Nova Consultants although they are not shown on the Plans that were submitted to the Township. Skelly & Loy have not yet been to the site.
The applicant will make changes to the Plan and come back to the Planning Commission.
Ms. Jean Madden, 104 W. College Avenue, adjacent to this property, stated a letter was written to the Township Supervisors, with a copy to Ms. Frick, voicing concern over asphalt dumping which was done on this property and flooding issues. It was noted the Planning Commission did not receive a copy of this letter. Ms. Madden stated she feels there is confusion as to the State and Federal laws as to whether this is classified as clean fill or hazardous fill. She noted the asphalt still remains on the site and they have documents and pictures to prove this. She stated she felt this would have been cleaned up in 1990 when they reported that dumping was taking place. She stated they are also concerned about the flooding. She stated she has pictures of her side of the street that is inundated with water whenever there is heavy rain. She is concerned about adding more impervious surface. Ms. Madden stated she walked the property with Wes Wolf, the Yardley Borough engineer, who looked at large ruts where water comes off the Yardley Golf Course. Currently there is a barricade on W. College Avenue and a large sinkhole in the road that is currently being repaved where the water had eroded. She noted the bridge at Sandy Run Road and W. College Avenue was washed out in the 1996 flood. She stated the water is sloping toward Brock Creek. She stated at the last Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Mr. Fedorchak indicated the Township engineers would meet with her and walk the property and discuss these issues and she has not seen anyone yet.
Mr. Roeper asked if the developer is planning any additional impervious surface as a result of the Minor Subdivision request. Mr. Pelki stated they are proposing a single family house on the Lower Makefield side. He stated nothing is proposed on the Yardley Borough side at this time.
Mr. Roeper noted the current application does not propose any development, and Mr. Pelki stated they will be revised to demonstrate that this is a buildable lot.
Ms. Frick stated from reviewing the Minutes it appears that Skelly & Loy was to meet the neighbors on site. Mr. Pazdera stated when that is arranged for, Ms.Madden should be notified and Ms. Frick agreed to do so. Mr. Pazdera stated that technically the property owner does not have to let the residents on the site when the environmentalists visit the site.
Ms. Madden stated she felt there was an existing lot in Lower Makefield and this subdivision would now become the second lot which would then permit two single family homes to be built. Mr. Gunkel stated it appears they will have only one lot in Lower Makefield and one lot in Yardley Borough.
Mr. Pelki stated that is all that is proposed. Mr. Pelki stated there is a separate tax parcel and that is a separate proposal.
Ms. Lynn Landes stated she specializes in waste issues and had provided to the Planning Commission a synopsis of the issues. She stated Tangora engaged in illegal open dumping.She stated construction demolition debris is a waste product for which there are special landfills for these materials. She stated Mr. Tangora violated Federal law and dumped a waste product on the property and the issue should now be clean-up regardless of any development proposals. She stated while Pennsylvania State law indicates such debris is clean fill, the more strict law applies. She noted the EPA lists this as a hazardous waste on their Website indicating that asphalt leaches lead in exceedance of EPA standards. She noted the Code and Federal Regulations provided in the hand-out which lists petroleum-contaminated debris as a hazardous waste and this would include asphalt. She asked that the Township require the property owner to clean all construction demolition debris from the site before a home is built. She stated they were told by Mr. Doherty that part of the Development Agreement in Lower Makefield recognizes the problem of inappropriate fill. Ms. Landes noted the reputation of the EPA is that they do nothing and they are routinely sued for failing to make States comply with Federal law.
Mr. Michael Kanacki of 108 W. College Avenue voiced his concerns about flooding. He stated if curbs and sidewalks are installed this could deflect more water to the residents on W. College Avenue.
Mr. Roeper asked if any of the flooding or dumping problems can be addressed at this Minor Subdivision level or would it only be addressed when they apply for the right to develop the property. Mr. Maloney stated they are subject to the same regulations. Mr. Gunkel stated they would have to comply with them when they come in with the development plans. Mr. Gunkel stated at this point they are not proposing any physical change in the landscape - it is only a request for a change of a line on a piece of paper. Mr. Gunkel stated they must make sure that it will result in a buildable lot once it is subdivided and this would include the wetlands and any contamination.
Mr. Jim Dawn of 5 Fairway Drive stated the storm sewer which was installed did not take into consideration the flow from Yardley. Mr. Gunkel stated it appears there is an existing flooding problem and it would be put on a list of existing conditions that should be reviewed. Mr. Doherty noted he and Mr. Coyne have discussed this area with Ms.Madden in the past.
There was discussion if the dumping took place on the lot which will be in Lower Makefield following the Subdivision, and Mr. Dawn stated the asphalt is located on the lot which will be in Lower Makefield. Mr. Gunkel asked about the water problems and Mr. Dawn noted the entire tract is impacted. Mr. Dawn stated the asphalt should be removed and he is concerned about other materials which were dumped on the site in the past.
Ms. Madden showed where Mr. Tangora dug with a backhoe and
buried the asphalt.
Mr. Pazdera stated they will need an extension to give time for Skelly & Loy to visit the site and to review the resubmitted plans. Mr. Pelki stated he will contact the applicant about this request.
#506 - GARY & JEANETTE MINNES - PRELIMINARY/FINAL MINOR SUBDIVISION PLAN DISCUSSION
Ms. Jeanette Minnes was present and stated her husband was unavailable to attend the meeting this evening. She stated she has a number of letters regarding the project to be located on Big Oak Road, 120 feet North of Walton Road and East of Elbow Lane. Ms. Minnes noted she was unprepared to discuss this since her husband had been handling this matter. Mr. Pazdera offered to postpone this matter until the next meeting. Mr. Pazdera noted the PCS letter dated 7/22/99 which includes three pages of comments which must be addressed before they can act on the plan. Mr. Gunkel noted particularly Item #7. He stated they are proposing to build a duplex, and the area is not zoned for that type of construction. He stated while they could construct a single home, they cannot build a duplex.
Ms. Minnes agreed to come back at the next meeting.
One gentleman asked the location of the property and was shown a copy of the plans.
#492 - LOBERG TRACT PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION AND MOTION
Mr. Edward Murphy was present and noted the Planning Commission previously reviewed a number of Sketch Plans for this property. He stated these resulted in a determination made by the Board last February that none of them met with a majority of the Board’s favor. Since all of those plans required a waiver or modification from the Zoning Ordinance, Realen elected to proceed with the submission of Preliminary Subdivision Plan that would meet the Zoning Ordinance requirements. He noted the principal discussion dealt with whether or not Road A would be extended from Dolington Road to a point of inter-connection with Mt. Eyre Road. The current plan that is before the Planning Commission does provide for that extension to Mt. Eyre Road. The Plan now being shown has one less lot than most if not all of the Sketch Plans which were previously presented. Mr. Murphy stated they have received review letters from CKS, the Fire Protection Review, Soil Conservation Service, Historic Commission, Bucks County Planning Commission, and PCS dated 7/21/99 which they received today. Mr. Murphy stated he has also had a number of conversations with the attorney, present this evening, who has been retained by several of the adjoining property owners to discuss the status of the project and the developer’s responses to some of the questions raised to date.
Mr. Murphy noted the PCS letter dated 7/21/99. With regard to Item #1, Mr. Murphy stated he feels the Plan does meet the Ordinance requirement and the reference to the 160 feet was in error. He stated if you scale out the distance between the intersection of Road A with Mt. Eyre Road and Valley View Drive it is approximately 440 feet which is well in excess of the Ordinance requirements.
Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #2 and #3.
On the second page, he noted Item #5 which he feels requires further discussion. He stated those lots (#8 and #13) are corner lots and do not have side yards by definition and as such no buffers or buffer easements would be required on those two lots.
With regard to Item #6, Mr. Murphy stated they will pursue a jurisdictional determination from the Army Corps which in essence would be a modification or addendum to the existing jurisdictional determination that was secured for the Farmview project adjacent to it. He stated Mr. Doherty was unsure if they needed to do this if they were not encroaching in any of the wetlands to enable Skelly & Loy to do its review. Mr. Murphy stated he assumes Ms. Frick will proceed with the submission of the Plans as they currently are to Skelly & Loy.
Mr. Murphy noted Item #7 and stated they are proposing a Fee-In-Lieu of active open space.
He stated they will comply with all other items on that page.
He noted Item #11 and stated as they now understand it the area of Dolington Road that was abandoned, is still identified as a "Township easement." They will revise their Plans to show that. He stated there is a small portion of the corner of Lot #2 that is impacted by that and if they delete that area from Lot #2, it does not change anything and it will still be a legal lot.
Mr. Murphy noted Item #12 which suggests that they eliminate some of the existing farm ruins. He stated he suspects the Township does not wish them to do so, but if this is the desire of the Township, they would agree to do so. Mr. Murphy noted the first portion of the comment and stated that the portion of the patio that extends into the front yard of proposed Lot #10 is not the covered portion of the patio. It is a concrete pad and if the Township wants this to be removed they will do so. He noted normally the Township does permit sidewalks in those areas.
With regard to Item #13, Mr. Murphy stated they propose to keep the basin on Lot #8 and the owner of Lot #8 will be responsible to maintain it. He stated as he understands it, there is no Ordinance requirement that this must be dedicated to the Township although past practice in the Township has been to do so. Mr. Gunkel asked if they could get it separated so that it is a lot itself, but Mr. Murphy stated there is no way to do this according to the Ordinances and meet minimum lot requirements for Lot #8. Mr. Gunkel asked if the owner will be responsible for the damage done if the basin backs up and floods out another property. Mr. Murphy stated typically an easement is provided to the Township for extraordinary maintenance or emergency access and this is done in Townships that do not prefer to take dedication of basins. Mr. Gunkel asked if they can use the detention basin to meet the minimum lot requirements.
Mr. Murphy noted Item #14 on Page #3, and he agreed to change the dimension on the plan to show a larger setback from Mt. Eyre Road.
Mr. Murphy noted they will comply with all other items. He noted Item #10 on Page #4 which deals with Lot #11 and the fact that the proposed sewer easement that is 30 feet wide would be within the proposed driveway to Lot #11. He stated they will request a waiver for this item. He stated the reason why the sewer easement is routed in the fashion it is between Lots #10 and #11 is because it is in that route that they can save the most trees. They can avoid this if requested and extend the sewer line, not between Lots #10 and #11 but rather between #9 an #10 and they would not then have the issue of the sewer line being within the driveway but they would then eliminate more trees that are located currently between Lots #9 and #10 by doing so. Mr. Murphy stated he feels they would lose two trees under the current plan and if they go between Lots #9 and #10, they would lose eight to ten trees.
Mr. Murphy stated they should discuss the location of sidewalks and the width of the proposed Road A He noted they have proposed Road A to be 36 feet in width as required by Ordinance. Bucks County Planning Commission has recommended something less. He noted in the adjacent Gateway project, the cartways are 30 feet in width. Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with whatever the Township requests.
Mr. Roeper stated he is concerned with the road proposed to go between Mt. Eyre to Dolington. He would be in favor of rejecting the Plan because of the location of the road. Mr. Gunkel stated a majority of the Supervisors asked for this road. Mr. Fazzalore stated three Supervisors were in favor of the road and two Supervisors, including himself, who were opposed to it since they felt it would be a cut through and did not feel it was necessary for thirteen homes.
Mr. Fazzalore stated looking east on Mt. Eyre Road there is a large dip and very bad sight distance.
Mr. Roeper stated he would not vote in favor of this design being shown. Mr. Pazdera agreed. Mr. Murphy stated neither he nor his client are in favor of this Plan but they did what they felt the Supervisors asked them to do, Mr. Fazzalore stated he feels the Planning Commission should make a recommendation to the Supervisors on this aspect of the Plan. Mr. Roeper asked if the Planning Commission should make a recommendation to the Board prior to the applicant revising the Plans. Mr. Murphy stated he would prefer not to revise the Plan if ultimately three members of the Supervisors conclude that it would be better to have a cul-de-sac at Mt. Eyre rather than an interconnection.
One gentleman asked if a cul-de-sac is installed, would they still address the water problems on Mt. Eyre Road. The gentleman stated he feels the Supervisors may have been in favor of the interconnect since this would force the builder to rectify some overdue water problems that have been existing on Mt. Eyre Road. Mr. Murphy stated it is his understandthat regardless of whether or not an interconnection to Mt. Eyre Road is provided the storm sewer improvements depicted on the Plan would continue to be incorporated into any Revised Plan whether it had an inter-connection or not.
Mr. Tom Montgomery asked why the Supervisors are requesting a through connection if the Planning Commission, builder, and residents are opposed to it. Mr. Pazdera stated he should discuss this matter with the Supervisors. Mr. Gunkel stated he is in favor of an inter-connection.
Mr. Jim Anorick, attorney, stated many of the residents concerns appear to have been addressed by the reports that he has seen this evening. He stated he has had a planner look at the Plan and asked that she discuss this Plan with the Planning Commission this evening. He would agree that a recommendation should be made to the Board of Supervisors on this matter since they would like to have the opportunity to appear before the Board of Supervisors and try to convince them that they should approve the cul-de-sac prior to the developer revising the Plans.
Copies of Ms. Joanne Wiggins’ resume were provided to the Planning Commission this evening as well as copies of the report she prepared. Ms. Wiggins stated she has had the opportunity to review the plans specifically with respect to the issue of a through street versus a cul-de-sac and stated a through street is not appropriate in this case. She stated they are dealing with a residential neighborhood and the interest of the residents should take precedence over traffic efficiency. She stated she has worked with the Bucks County Planning Commission for almost five years and while there it became evident through the reviews that in many cases the standards that were set at the local level for residential streets were not necessarily appropriate to the function of those streets. As a result of those concerns a publication called "Performance Streets" was distributed through the American Planning Association which includes recommended standards and the rationale behind those standards and is the basis for many of the comments in her review. She noted Diagram A which represents the residential street hierarchy which includes the access street which is the lowest order in the hierarchy and its sole function is to provide direct access to residential lots. The next is the sub-collector street which also has as a primary function access to residential lots as well as collect some additional traffic from some of the other access streets although they are not meant to serve as through street. The second attachment Bhas a diagram which represents the exact situation which is presented in this instance and this is clearly discouraged in Performance Streets since they feel "poor planning of a sub-collector may encourage short cutting." She noted the highest order in the residential system is the collector and the function of this road is not primarily access since it is more of a connector from neighborhoods to other neighborhoods and to central activity areas. Ms. Wiggins stated the point of the hierarchy is to give some basis in determining the standards for the design of the road and as a means for prioritizing maintenance activities such as snow-plowing, maintenance and repair. She stated you do not want to design roads that are for residential access as if they are small highways. She stated the Performance Streets publication recommends cartways as small as eighteen feet for these type of roads or twenty feet if there are curbs. She stated in a situation like this where the lots are 100 feet wide or more and one acre or more in size, there is not the need for on-street parking since the lots themselves and the driveways are adequate for handling this.
Ms. Wiggins stated the advantages to a cul-de-sac include safety, residential quality resulting from slower speeds and the reduced noise levels, lower cost to construct and maintain, reduction in amount of impervious surface which reduces storm water run-off which has already been expressed as a concern by neighbors, site design flexibility which can help provide room for buffers and preservation of the historic structures, and crime reduction.
Ms. Wiggins stated the Institute of Traffic Engineering, American Association of State Highway Officials, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have all indicated that cul-de-sacs of up to one thousand feet are satisfactory.While the Performance Streets Ordinance does not specify a maximum length, they do suggest that cul-de-sacs be limited either by the number of lots served or the average daily traffic which translates to no more than twenty dwelling units or two hundred trips per day. She stated typically a single family dwelling generates ten trips per day so with thirteen lots this would equal one hundred thirty trips per day so by both measures, this subdivision is well within those standards.
Mr.Anorick stated the cul-de-sac issue is one that needs to be addressed immediately. He also noted the location of the proposed sanitary sewer line behind Lots #10 and Lot #9 which will impact the existing tree line. He noted the neighbors are also interested in the preservation of the historic properties. Mr. Anorick stated the Township engineer has asked for additional storm water management design along the back or Lots #3, #4, #6, and #7 which would be between the proposed development and two of the homes which front on Mt. Eyre Road. He stated they would like to see the existing
lots protected from any run off directly from the development. He stated the area behind Lots #9, #10, and #11 should also be looked at carefully as well. He stated there is a substantial water problem in both of those areas presently. In addition they feel the Ordinance requires and if it does not they would like to request that the two lots that front on Mt. Eyre Road have access to public water and sewer so that they can tie into laterals through easements to existing facilities. Mr. Anorick stated they would like to have the opportunity to convince the Board of Supervisors that they reconsider the through street. Mr.Anorick stated he feels the Township should consider the safety of drivers turning into the development and having to wait on Mt. Eyre Road and the problem of traffic coming up behind that car which would put that person in a treacherous position. He stated what is now being proposed is being designed to major collector highway standards and will encourage through traffic. He noted it is significantly greater than the neighboring development of Gatefield which is wide enough for that development.
Mr. Gunkel stated any motion that is made should be consistent with what was recommended previously. Ms. Frick noted at that time they recommended to approve the concept plan dated 10/21/98.
Mr. Roeper moved and Mr.Pazdera seconded to send a memorandum to the Board of Supervisors indicating that the Planning Commission review of the Preliminary Plan for the Loberg Tract effectively creates a collector street through a residential neighborhood which in our opinion is improper and could lead to future safety problems and complaints from the residents with regard to the traffic a subject which the Supervisors have recently been discussing. It was our recommendation to the applicant in light of our comments that they seek further guidance from the Supervisors as to the feasibility of such a lay-out. If this Preliminary Plan had been up for approval this evening, the Planning Commission would have recommended to the Supervisors that approval be denied solely because of the road connecting the two major thoroughfares.
One gentleman asked if it is normal procedure for the Supervisors to override the Planning Commission recommendation. It was noted this is not unusual. Mr. Roeper noted the Board of Supervisors make the final decisions.
One gentleman stated he does not feel the Board has ever addressed the safety issues coming West on Mt. Eyre Road.He stated you cannot make a turning lane in this location because two houses in Mt. Eyre Road are within ten feet of the road. He stated any car coming West on Mt. Eyre must stop to make the left turn into this new development and you will not be able to see the car sitting if you are coming up the road. Mr. Gunkel stated they were told the sight distance met PennDOT’s standards.
Mr. Roeper asked if the property could not be accessed from Dolington Road, and Mr. Murphy stated it could. Mr. Doherty agreed that it could have a single access on Dolington Road. He added they did check the sight distances and they do exist on Mt. Eyre Road. He noted both Dolington and Mt. Eyre are collector roads, although in actuality they are very different roads.
Mr. Roeper moved to amend the Motion to include a recommendation to the Supervisors that they consider directing the applicant to make the entrance and exit to the development on Dolington Road rather than Mt. Eyre Road. Mr. Pazdera agreed to second the amendment. The Motion carried with Mr. Gunkel opposed.
#459 - DISCUSSION AMENDED PLAN FOR THE SHOPS AT MAKEFIELD QUARTERS
Mr. Edward Murphy showed a copy of the approved Plan which is a collection of four free-standing buildings all devoted to retail uses. They are now proposing a revision to that approved Plan which would keep the same lay-out but change the use of the two retail buildings that back up against the Railroad to office buildings similar to Makefield Quarters. These would be two-story buildings. Therefore, all but 4,000 square feet would be devoted to offices. Mr. Murphy stated it does not meet the Ordinance in two areas. He stated since the Plan was approved the Ordinance was changed as to distance parking would be permitted from a property line. He stated the existing Ordinance requires parking be 25 feet and they are proposing parking to be permitted within five feet up against the railroad and along the property line. He stated the Stormwater Management Ordinance has also been changed since Approval of the Plan. They are asking to be permitted to utilize the same parking setbacks they had on the approved Plan and maintain the same stormwater management design. He stated building coverage decreases by 2% or 3% in the revised plan and there may be a small decrease in impervious surface. Mr. Koch stated they are proposing an increase in square footage since these are now two-story buildings. Mr. Murphy agreed but stated they can still meet the parking requirements.
Mr. Gunkel stated he is not concerned with the parking setback but does feel they should be required to meet the new Ordinance requirements with regard to stormwater management.
Mr. Doherty stated the pipe goes under Oxford Valley Road to the other side.
There was further discussion on the increase in square footage. Mr. Murphy noted they do not have a problem meeting the parking requirements since the parking requirements for office are less than they are for retail.
Mr. Roeper and Mr. Pazdera stated they would prefer office uses as opposed to retail.
There was further discussion on whether modifications could be made to the stormwater management system. Mr. Murphy stated it appears that if some modifications could be made to the stormwater management system, the Planning Commission would be in favor of the change from retail to office and this was the consensus of the Planning Commission.
There being no further business, Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m.