The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 8, 1999. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

John Pazdera, Chairman
Edward Koch, Vice Chairman
Deborah Gould, Secretary
Paul Gunkel, Member
Albert Roeper, Member


Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison


Mr. Larry Washington, Zoning Manager, was present and stated they have worked with the Township engineer to resolve the outstanding items. He noted the letter dated 11/4/99 from PCS which identifies areas to be addressed. They will comply with Item #1.Mr. Gunkel asked why they could not put this all on one sheet so that there is only one sheet to file. Mr. Washington stated there are problems with this because of the dimensions of the drawings. Mr. Jim Morris, Construction Manager, stated they would agree to put it all on one sheet. After further discussion, Mr. Morris stated he felt it may be difficult to read the information if it were all put on one sheet and it was agreed that they could file an additional sheet to be recorded.

With regard to Item #2, Mr. Washington stated they will either install landscaping acceptable to the Township or pay a fee in lieu thereof. Mr. Gunkel stated he feels they should make a recommendation that the applicant pay fee-in-lieu.

Item #3 indicates that the Township engineer is satisfied with the legal descriptions.

They will comply with Item #4.

Mr. Roeper moved, Mrs. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Revised Preliminary/Final Plans in accordance with the drawings dated 2/25/99, last revised 10/22/99 subject to:


Compliance with requirements in the PCS letter dated 11/4/99;


It is further recommended that the Township accept a cash
contribution in lieu of the required replacement trees and that
the cash contribution be used for landscaping of other portions
of the Township property.


Mr. Bill Dion, Mr. Ray Grochowski, and Ms. Cindy Smith were present. Mr. Dion stated the plans presently before the Planning Commission are the third revision of the Preliminary Plans. He noted the property is zoned R-2, and they are proposing thirty single family homes.

Mr. Dion noted the PCS review letter dated 11/4/99. He stated they are requesting a waiver as noted in Item #1 of the Plan of Subdivision. He stated they have proposed an access point so that they have safe sight distance both ways on Dolington Road and this is shown on the plan.

Mr. Dion stated they are also requesting a waiver to the cartway width permitted as noted in Item #2. They are proposing a cartway width of 30 feet as opposed to the 36 feet required under the Ordinance. He stated any cost savings will be paid as a fee-in-lieu of to the Township.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Item #3. Mr. Gunkel asked if they will get a clean letter from Skelly & Loy. Mr. Grochowski stated with regard to the outstanding environmental issues, the seller will remove those items prior to the transfer of the property to Pulte Homes. He stated alternatively, the developer may decide to remove them as a credit to the sale. Mr. Dion stated one of underground storage tanks does serve the heating needs of the existing home and will not be removed. Mr. Grochowski stated he does not feel they will get a clean letter form Skelly & Loy until the first Certificate of Occupancy. Mr. Doherty stated given the problems they had at Pebble Creek, he does not feel the Township will accept this and will want them removed before approval of the Plan.

Mr. Dion stated if it is a condition that these be removed before Final Plan Approval, they will work out an agreement with the seller prior to that time. He stated they cannot do it at the current time, however.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Item #4 and will pass the cost savings on to the Township if the PennDOT requirements are less than the Township requirements.

Mr. Roeper asked if Mr. Doherty was satisfied with the 75 foot taper, and Mr. Doherty stated he was not satisfied with the 75 foot taper on Dolington Road.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Items #5 and #6. Mr. Gunkel noted they cannot use wetlands in their net site area and asked if they could not take the wetlands off the lot and put it into the open space. The applicant agreed to do so.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Item #7.

With regard to Item #1 under the Existing Features Plan, Mr. Dion stated they are requesting a waiver. This was acceptable to Mr. Doherty.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Item #2.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Items #1 and #2A under the Construction Improvements Plan - Storm Sewer and Grading. They are requesting a waiver as noted in #2B. Mr. Dion stated this is a berm along the rear lots of Lots #3 through #7 to accommodate some of the adjoining property owners with a visual buffer. Mr. Fazzalore expressed concern whether this might create water problems for the adjoining neighbors. Mr. Dion noted the berm is not a storm water management control. It is to create a visual barrier. Mr. Gunkel asked why they could not meet the slope requirements if it is only for aesthetics. Mr. Grochowski stated it would not be high enough if they met requirements. Mr. Doherty stated provided it is a three to one slope he does not have a problem.

Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Items #3 through #6.

Mr. Dion noted they will comply with Item #1 under the Landscaping, Lighting & Signage Plan, Item #1 under Plan and Profile of Pine Lane/Barbara Drive, Item #1 of Plan and Profile of Raab Drive, and Items #1 through #3 of the Detail Sheet.

Under Stormwater Management Report, they will comply with Items #1 and #2, and with Item #1 under the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Narrative.

With regard to the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, Mr. Dion noted Item #1 and stated they do not feel this is applicable since they will have public water. Mr. Doherty stated this is an Ordinance requirement and Skelly & Loy review this. Mr. Dion stated they would then request a waiver since they do not feel it is useful. Mr. Gunkel stated they must convince Skelly & Loy that this is not needed.

Mr. Dion noted they will comply with Item #2.

Mr. Dion noted Item #3 relates to the environmental concerns raised by Skelly & Loy - the two underground storage tanks and the farm/garbage pile. Mr. Dion stated as noted earlier the one underground storage tank is used for the current house for heating purposes and they would like to continue to use it. If and when it is converted to gas or electric, they will have to comply with State and Federal regulations. Mr. Fazzalore asked if they should not require that the tank be inspected now to insure it is not leaking. Mr. Doherty agreed with this suggestion, and Mr. Dion agreed to have it tested.

With regard to items under the General Comments, Mr. Dion stated they will comply with Items #1 and #2. He noted Item #3 will be addressed prior to Final Plan Approval. They will comply with Item #4.

Mr. Gunkel noted a number of these comments were included in prior PCS review letters and were not addressed on the revised plans. Mr. Grochowski stated he does not feel this is correct other than one or two items. He stated the waiver requests must be brought out in each review letter. Mr. Gunkel stated he understands they have since submitted another Preliminary Plan. Mr. Grochowski stated they are permitted to file a number of Plans before the Township at the Preliminary Plan stage. They have engineered the plan in two ways - one with the roads connected and one without the through connections. They have submitted the new plan so that the Township can approve the road lay out they prefer. He stated the Board of Supervisors had indicated at the last meeting that they wanted to revisit the road issue. Mr. Koopman stated the developer can come in with two or more plans provided they pay the fees required to have the plans reviewed.

Mr. Doherty asked under what Ordinance the new plans submitted should be reviewed. Ms. Frick stated the Plans came in late this afternoon. Mr. Koopman stated the new Preliminary Plan submission would be subject to the Ordinance as it exists today. Mr. Doherty stated the Plan filed today must then comply with the new Stormwater Management Ordinance.

Mr. Fazzalore questioned how the Plan could be reviewed before next Monday if it only came into the Township today at 4:30 p.m.; and it was noted it cannot be reviewed by that time.

Mrs. Gould asked how much discussion should be given to the Plan being presented this evening if they have a new submission. Mr. Grochowski stated they want a motion on the Plan being discussed tonight. Mr. Dion stated they are willing to construct the development any way the Township wants. They want to get the Plans approved so they can move forward. He stated they would like to go ahead with the Plan being presented this evening which only required four to five waivers. Mr. Dion stated they feel they could make revisions to the Plan presented this evening.

Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel the Planning Commission is willing to recommend approval of the Preliminary Plan this evening and would like to see the changes noted in the PCS review letter made to the Plans before they recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Dion stated they are willing to make the changes to the Plan but would like a recommendation from the Planning Commission. They will then make the revisions to the Plan before they go to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Pazdera noted specifically General Comment #2 which indicates the basin may not work and stated the Planning Commission would not recommend approval of the Preliminary Plan until they were sure that the basin was functional. He noted this has been a continuing item on the PCS letters since the first submission. Mr. Grochowski stated they know the basin will work and it is only a matter of doing the perc test. He stated they are willing to provide additional information to Mr. Doherty in this regard. He added every time they make a revision to the roads, PCS comes up with additional items. He stated he feels the latest PCS letter dated 11/4/99 is a good review letter since they are small items and only four waivers. He stated the reason they submitted the new Plan was because of the problems with the road layout. He stated they need to get to the Board of Supervisors so a decision can be made on the road layout.

Mr. Fazzalore suggested the applicant go back to the Board of Supervisors with both plans and see which one they prefer. Mr. Grochowski stated they have done this and a vote was taken to connect the roads; the Board then changed its mind. Mr. Fazzalore stated the composition of the Board of Supervisors has changed. Mr. Koopman stated he feels they should go to the Board of Supervisors with the two plans. Mr. Grochowski stated he would like to do this with a recommendation of Preliminary Plan Approval from the Planning Commission. Mr. Koopman stated it does not appear the Planning Commission is prepared to make such a recommendation this evening. Mr. Roeper noted the Planning Commission had previously indicated the road connections were acceptable. Mr. Gunkel stated the Traffic Engineer has been authorized by the Board of Supervisors to review the two plans with regard to the road lay out, and he feels this will be discussed at their meeting Monday night.

 Mr. Dion stated his concern is that this will be more of a Sketch Plan Approval and the Board could change their minds again. He stated they must bring this project to a conclusion. He stated they would like to have a Preliminary Plan recommendation with conditions attached that they will comply with all items in the PCS letter.

Mrs. Gould stated she feels it would be to their advantage to make a specific submission to the Planning Commission tonight of which Plan they would like to proceed with, make the revisions to the Plan, and come back to the Planning Commission with the revised plans before the expiration date of 12/12/99. Ms. Frick noted the date of the next Planning Commission is 11/29/99.

Mr. Koopman stated the Planning Commission can either table the matter or recommend denial based on non-compliance with the PCS letter dated 11/4/99.

Mr. Gunkel stated the Plan before the Planning Commission this en however.

Ms. Holly Bussey asked what road improvements PennDOT is requiring and what the Township is requiring. Mr. Dion stated the Township requires improvements to the half width. He stated they will probably not request that this be done but that the land and funds be set aside so that the improvements can be done if the road is ever improved in the future. PennDOT will probably require less improvements and the funds will then be offered to the Township. Ms. Bussey asked if the citizens can request that the fees paid in lieu of improvements be used in the area of the development rather than in some other part of the Township. Mr. Gunkel stated normally the funds are put into the Road Improvement Program for road improvements throughout the Township. Mr. Fazzalore stated some improvements were recently made to their area. He stated generally the funds paid by the developers are spent in the general area of the development. Ms. Bussey stated the citizens have requested that a berm be constructed so that they can have privacy. She asked if the builder can review the impact of run off from the berm on their side and determine whether a swale should be constructed or adjusted. Mr. Fazzalore stated they will be sensitive to this.

Ms. Mary Cinet of 6 Knoll Drive stated the ground water is also going to change with this development. Mr. Grochowski stated he does not feel the ground water will impact the properties. He stated the amount of water coming from any storm will run off and not infiltrate the ground. He stated he feels that they will experience less ground water. He stated they have done soil reports which can be reviewed. Ms. Cinet stated if there are more foundations in the ground, they will be displacing water.


Mr. Douglas Breidenbach, attorney, was present with Mr. P. J. Anderson, and Mr. Ron Turner. Mr. Breidenbach stated they are proposing a Commerce Bank and a Day Care Center on the site where they had previously proposed a Bank and Pharmacy. He stated after listening to the comments when they last appeared before the Planning Commission, they felt a Day Care Center would result in less traffic and be less intrusive than the Pharmacy.

Mr. Breidenbach stated they have done some traffic counts which indicate the weekday a.m. peak would add one new trip every four minutes for the Bank and one trip every minute for the Day Care Center. Currently the weekday a.m. count is 130 cars per minute. For the p.m. peak the Bank will generate slightly less than one car per minute and the Day Care Center will add slightly less than one car per minute for a total of 1.6 cars per minute. Currently the counts are approximately 160 cars per minute through the intersection. He noted these are ITE figures for the bank. They feel 37% of the weekday trips for the Bank for the a.m. peak will be pass-by traffic and 47% for the p.m. peak. There do not include any pass by trips for the Day Care Center.

Mr. Gunkel asked about the traffic counts if they had developed the site under residential development. He stated if there were thirteen houses - there would be thirteen trips. He stated with the proposed project they would have to re-zone the site and there will be increased traffic. He stated he does not see what the Township gains from this project. Mr. Roeper noted the Township would gain the ratables. He stated he does not feel the Board will approve rezoning the parcel.

Mr. Breidenbach stated they would propose an additional lane of traffic in front of their property. Mr. Turner stated the last time they were before the Planing Commission they indicated they recognized that they would need to improve the roads. He stated the corner is opposite commercial uses and he questions whether it would be suitable for seventeen houses. He stated additional commercial uses could benefit the Township. He noted the Day Care Center would have basically no traffic on the weekend and would be more compatible to the adjacent residential uses than would the Pharmacy previously proposed and would be a more effective transition to the residential zone. He stated the Day Care Center proposed is 10,000 square feet and could accommodate 170 children.

Mr. Fazzalore stated he has been on the Board of Supervisors for seven years and has not seen a zoning change yet.

Mr. Breidenbach asked if they would be in favor of a Bank alone. Mr. Gunkel stated he does not feel they should re-zone the property. He noted there are adjacent residents who do not feel that they live next to a potential commercial area. Mr. Breidenbach stated the Bank would provide an additional ratable and would not have any impact on the school population as it would if the property were developed for housing.

Mrs. Gould stated she is concerned that if the Day Care Center is permitted and then fails, it could become some other commercial use. She also noted the possibility of the remaining parcel, where the home is located, being sold and a request submitted to the Township to use this parcel for a commercial use as well. Mr. Breidenbach stated with Commerce Bank properties in the past they have deed restricted the properties with the deed restrictions running with the land. Mrs. Gould asked if they would also put a deed restriction on the remaining residential parcel, and Mr. Breidenbach stated he feels they could do this as well.

Mr. Gunkel asked if they would consider putting the Bank on the corner and giving the rest of the land to the Township, and Mr. Breidenbach stated they would consider this. Mr. Koopman stated he does feel deed restrictions are enforceable. Mr. Fazzalore stated if they approved construction of the Bank, he would want reassurance that the remaining acres would not be developed as commercial.

Mrs. Gould stated she should prefer the parking to be in the rear of the Bank with an attractive exterior facing the road. Mr. Pazdera stated he assumes they are proposing the prototype Commerce Bank and as an architect he would be opposed to that design on this corner. Mr. Turner stated they would have setback from the corner and would install significant green space. Mr. Fazzalore noted the Township is also considering a plan for Edgewood Village and this area is one of the entrances to the Village. He stated they may have to respond to that Plan with regard to the appearance of the building and it is probable that their prototype would not fit that style.

There being no further business, Mr. Koch moved, Mr. Roeper seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m.