The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on October 11, 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


Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning


John Koopman, Township Solicitor


Duke Doherty, Township Engineer


Albert Roeper, Planning Commission Member


Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor



Mr. Gunkel moved, Mrs. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of September 13, 1999 as corrected.


Mr. Douglas Breidenbach, attorney for Maple Properties, was present. He stated the site at Heacock and Stony Hill Roads is zoned R-3. He stated they feel the site lends itself to a commercial use. They are not proposing intensive use such as that which is at the corner site where the shopping center is located. They are proposing two uses only on the tract. He stated he has present with him this evening Mr. P. J. Anderson, representing the developer, and Mr. Ron Turner, a land planner.

Mr. Turner stated the property is slightly more than five and a half acres in size and is located at the intersection of Stony Hill and Heacock Roads. Across the street is the Fire Department structure and diagonally across the street is the shopping center. Residential, semi-detached units are also located directly across the street. Surrounding the site are single, family residential homes. He noted the current owner owns the house and acreage and to develop this site would require a subdivision. Mr. Turner noted the diagram prepared to show existing uses of land surrounding the tract. Mr. Turner stated they recognize there are surrounding residential uses and they are prepared to provide wide buffers, strong green patterns, and opaque buffers in excess of the Ordinance requirements which would shield the use.

Mr. Turner stated he was asked to look at the site in reference to a fairly low intensity commercial development. He stated they anticipate the building coverage to be approximately 6% of the entire site. He stated a Commerce Bank of 3200 to 3300 square feet is proposed along with a second building, proposed to be a pharmacy, at slightly more than 10,000 square feet. They propose a strong, opaque buffer between their site and the surrounding residential development. He stated there is more than adequate room to provide this. On the Heacock side there is sufficient room to echo the green space on the opposite side of that street. They also have sufficient room to echo the wide, deep corner.

With regard to the traffic, Mr. Turner noted the traffic consultant looked at the site and suggested some improvements to include left hand turning lanes, carrying the lane through on Stony Hill Road, a decel lane, and when required, a new left hand turning lane on Heacock Road. The plan shows two entrances from Heacock, a double boulevard entrance to the bank, and an entrance to the pharmacy with access to Stony Hill Road or the parking lot. This should accommodate the kind of movement associated with this kind of development (banks and pharmacies) with which they are very familiar. He noted the location of the proposed walkway.

Mr. Turner stated he feels there are advantages to the community with this change to the zoning. He stated they have modeled it with some modifications to the C-1 Ordinance. They feel this is a low intensity development of this site and the impervious surface is well within the boundaries set forth by the Zoning Ordinance. They feel this use will offer additional ratables, as opposed to twelve homes, and will be able to address the kind of traffic improvements and circulation improvements needed at Stony Hill Road/Heacock Road area should this site be developed as proposed.

Mr. Koch asked the distance of the entrances and exits from the intersection. Mr. Turner noted the distance from one corner is 250 feet and 280 feet from the other corner. Mr. Koch noted the intersection is already very busy. He noted there are also a lot of turning movements being made in this area. Mr. Turner stated while they agree this is an intense corner, the traffic consultant has indicated that they would have to make a new right turn lane, and extension of the Stony Hill Road lane will be improved so that it extends properly with left turns in, and deceleration in to the site as well. He stated they could have the traffic consultant attend a meeting to address any concerns.

Mr. Breidenbach stated on the Stony Hill Road side, they are prepared to create another lane and dedicate the frontage necessary to do that. Mr. Koch stated he is concerned about the turns into the new commercial site so close to the intersection.

Mr. Gunkel stated if they were to develop the site into twelve residential units, this could result in twelve to thirteen a.m./p.m. peak trips. He stated if they construct a bank and pharmacy on the site, this could involve 180 to 200 trips during the peak hours which is fifteen times that if it were developed as residential. Mr. Gunkel also stated the intersection is fairly busy already and additionally, the historic Village, where they are already trying to limit traffic, is only one block away from the proposed site. He does not feel this plan is appropriate for the Township and would not recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of changes to the Ordinance to permit this use.

Mr. Doherty noted there are already existing traffic problems in the area without this additional development. 

Mr. Pazdera stated while they have done a good job of lighting out the site to screen it from the surrounding area, there are still problems with traffic.

Mr. Turner stated a residential development would not provide the kinds of improvements they are proposing. Mr. Doherty noted if there were a residential development proposed, they, too, would have to do road improvements according to the Ordinance.

Mr. Turner asked if the Planning Commission would be interested in having the traffic consultant provide additional information. Mr. Gunkel stated again, if they had residential development they would only have to deal with twelve cars, in keeping with the existing zoning.

Mr. Pazdera asked if they are proposing a drive-through area for the pharmacy, and Mr. Turner stated this was correct. Mrs. Gould noted this will also result in additional traffic. Mr. Pazdera stated he did not feel the Supervisors would be in favor of re-zoning this tract.

Mr. Breidenbach asked if he felt they would be in favor of a single use for a bank only.

Mr. Gunkel stated he does not feel this would be appropriate since they would take a few acres now for commercial development and then the rest later. Mr. Breidenbach stated they would deed restrict it. Mr. Breidenbach noted their numbers typically show that 40% of their traffic will be pass-by traffic, meaning it is already in the area now. It was noted this still results in a significant amount of new traffic to the area.

Mr. Turner asked if the Planning Commission would be interested in having them come back to discuss a single commercial use proposal. It did not appear that the Planning Commission was willing to discuss this proposal.

Mr. Breidenbach asked if there was any commercial property still available in the Township and was referred to the Zoning map.


Mr. Bob Showalter of Showalter Associates was present. He stated his client is the Quaker Group. He stated the tract of ground is approximately sixteen acres and is adjacent to a Toll Bros. tract, the railroad tract on the north side, and the Water Company site. He stated there is a stub street coming in from the adjacent Toll Bros. development with public water and sewer on an adjacent property. The site contains woodlands on the western and northern portions and wetlands on the site which have been identified. They have shown the wetlands buffer as well. Attached to the submitted Sketch Plan was the site capacity analysis. He noted they will intrude a small amount into the woodlands. They are protecting all of the wetlands and wetlands buffers. He noted there are some steep slope areas on Lot #5, Lot #6, and Lot #7. He stated they propose Lot #14 as the detention basin and this will be the responsibility of the homeowner unless the Township wants to take over dedication. Mr. Gunkel stated it would have to put on a separate lot.

Mr. Gunkel stated all lots must meet the 16, 000 square foot requirement without including any of the restricted land. Mr. Doherty stated they must also measure building setbacks from the edge of the natural resource protected land. He noted problems with Lots #4, #5, and #6.

Mr. Doherty stated they must also eliminate Lot #22. Mr. Showalter asked if there is a percentage of steep slopes which can be built upon, and Mr. Doherty stated it is 30%.

Mr. Showalter stated he should not be near 30% on the intrusion. Mr. Gunkel stated they still must meet the setback requirements. Mr. Doherty stated if they disturb 30% on Lot #5 and measure setbacks from either side they will not have anything left for that lot.

Mr. Doherty stated any setback - whether it is rear, side, or front, must be measured from the natural resource land or the property line whichever is closer to the building.

Mr. Koopman stated the reason for this requirement was to provide a usable yard.

Mr. Doherty stated Lot #22 would have to be eliminated since they would need 16,000 square feet clear and the plans, as shown, do not allow for this.

Mr. Showalter noted a wooded area on their site which would make a nice addition to the adjacent Township parcel.

Mr. Gunkel expressed concern with the length of the cul-de-sac. Mr. Showalter stated they are constrained because of the existence of the stream valley and the size of the trees.

Mr. Showalter asked if it is usually preferred that the detention basin be on a separate lot, and Mr. Koopman stated this is correct. He noted the basins are usually dedicated to the Township and there is a fee associated with it for maintenance. Mr. Koopman noted the Township should be provided access to the basin as well so they can maintain it.

Mr. Showalter asked about fee-in-lieu of open space but noted if they merge the open space with the Township property this would be covered. Mr. Gunkel stated the requirement is not fee-in-lieu of open space, it is fee-in-lieu of recreation and natural resource land would not qualify. Mr. Koopman stated the fee-in-lieu of recreation is a set fee per lot. He noted there is also a traffic impact fee.

Mr. Showalter noted with regard to public sewer and water that the tract falls away from the existing sewer line so they are proposing a small pump station to bring it up to the existing sanitary sewer line. Mr. Koopman expressed concern with the proposed route they are showing. He stated they should avoid going across the stream or through the woodlands since the Board of Supervisors would not be in favor of this. Mr. Doherty stated he also feels the Board of Supervisors will not be in favor of the pump station.

Mr. Doherty noted there is also a problem with Lot #17 which has frontage on two streets and the minimum lot width is 100 feet. Mr. Doherty noted Lot #18 as well since there is not 100 feet from the building setback line. Mr. Koopman suggested he review the Ordinance requirements for the width requirement at the building setback line. Ms. Frick stated if they cannot meet the requirement, they would have to request a Variance from the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Gould asked the length of the cul-de-sac, and it was noted it is approximately 500 feet and the Ordinance permits 440 feet.

Mr. Doherty noted the requirement is for 100% protection of the wetlands buffer and they are showing a pipe going through the wetlands buffer in the basin. It was noted this pipe is associated with the pumping station for the sewer system. Mr. Koopman noted there are sewer lines in the Township and storm sewers that are in natural resource protected areas; however, he does not feel they currently have a pump station in this type of basin. Mr. Showalter stated it is the outlet from the basin.

Mr. Showalter summarized that he now understands that the Township would prefer to have the basin on a separate lot along with a fifty foot access to the basin. The front, side, and rear yards are to be measured from the constraining lands after clearing per Ordinance requirements. He will also look into a force main to Hearthstone rather than taking the sewer line through the wetlands. He will review the setbacks on some of the lots. He recognizes the limitation is 440 feet for the cul-de-sac measured from the projected curb line to the end of paving. He will also address the concern about pipes in the wetlands.


Mr. Gunkel noted that at the last Board of Supervisors meeting there was discussion of a Road Tour in October although no date has yet been set.

There being no further business, Mrs. Gould moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m.