MINUTES - MARCH 22, 1999

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the MunicipalBuilding on March 22, 1999. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

John Pazdera, Chairman


Edward Koch, Vice Chairman


Paul Gunkel, Member


Albert Roeper, Member




Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning


Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor


Duke Doherty, Township Engineer


Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor




Deborah Gould, Planning Commission Secretary


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. Peter Anderson, engineer, and Mr. Vince DeLuca, developer, were present. Mr. Murphy stated they are present this evening to update the Planning Commission on the status of the Revised Preliminary Plans. He stated they received a review letter from PCS in January. They revised the plans and re-submitted and they recently received the 3/16/99 PCS review letter. Mr. Murphy stated in all but two or three cases, they will comply with the items listed. There are several items of a technical nature that they need to discuss with the Township engineer.

Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Doherty did provide today a copy of a letter from one of the adjacent property owners (Mrs. Fisher) dated March 18. Mr. Murphy stated a few of the comments in that letter dovetail with comments in the PCS letter. Mr. Murphy stated they will discuss these items with PCS. He added the rest of the items Mrs. Fisher has raised
were discussed with her and her neighbors previously. Mr. Anderson stated he feels they can solve the problems which have been noted. He feels they will be able to improve the situation with regard to the stormwater.

Mr. Gunkel asked where the 100 year storm spillway will go. Mr. Anderson stated the detention basin is in the Southeast corner of the tract. The stormwater naturally goes due east to a pipe. The 100 year storm discharges along the southerly side of the detention basin. The emergency spillway goes to the south and then travels through a swale to the east. They will remove the current headwall and from that area to Leslie is a 24" pipe that will be replaced with a 30" pipe. The water from the 100 year storm will travel on the surface between the houses as it does currently. Mr. Doherty stated they were trying to get them to detain the 100 year storm in the detention basin but if it exceeds the 100 year storm or if the detention basin is blocked, it will go over land.

Mr. Gunkel stated they are requesting waivers on the 30 foot easements because they will be going between the houses. He asked if the building envelope could not be cut down and therefore give the Township the 30’. Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Doherty’s office has requested storm sewers throughout the project so while they cannot guarantee what

Mr. Gunkel is requesting, they will try to give it where they can. Mr. Anderson stated there are small bore storm sewer pipes which are shallow. He stated their survey crews must make sure that the storm sewers are laid out correctly which should be roughly in the center of the easement. He stated the last project they did for Mr. DeLuca was Longshore Estates, and this was constructed under the previous Ordinance which required 20’ and they did get these in the center of the easements. Mr. Doherty stated everything in the area is 20’.

Mr. Koch asked if they met with Ellen Fisher, and Mr. Murphy stated they did meet with Mr. Doherty and a number of the residents and discussed how the storm sewer system will work. Most of Mrs. Fisher’s comments included in the letter were discussed at that meeting. He does not feel anything in the letter will be difficult to address to her satisfaction.

Ms. Randy Laurie, 663 Leslie Lane, stated she backs up the Stewart Farm and asked if the comments from the Township engineer have been addressed. Mr. Garton stated there is a 10 page review letter from the Township engineer which the applicant has agreed to address. It was noted the engineer’s review letter is available to the public. Ms. Laurie stated Ms. Fisher did have an independent engineer come in and walk the property. Mr. Doherty stated he did speak to Ms. Fisher after the engineer walked the property. Ms. Laurie stated they are concerned about the drainage problems they are currently facing even without this additional development. She noted the majority of the water is coming toward Yardley Estates and they are concerned that they will have additional problems. Ms. Laurie stated the independent engineer felt the concrete area which will be installed was excessive. Ms. Laurie stated a number of the property owners face this area and they are concerned with the aesthetics. She stated the headwall which will be established is also a concern with regard to aesthetics. They are also concerned about maintenance of these concrete pieces. She stated they were also advised screens would be put over the openings to the drainage and there have been problems in the retention basins in the neighborhoods were these grates have been clogged. They are also concerned about the minimal landscaping proposed as well as the drainage pipes which will be replaced with a larger diameter pipe.

Mr. Mark Burton, 668 Leslie Lane, stated he feels his property is one of the areas where the new pipe will go through. He showed pictures of his property during a typical rain storm and asked if some improvements could be made to this condition. Mr. Koch asked how long the water remains on the property. Mr. Burton stated the water stays in that area for three to four days after the rain stops. Mr. Roeper asked about the depression shown, and Mr. Burton stated it has been in that area ever since he moved to the property. Mr. Roeper asked if he filled in the depression would the water flow go to the drain. Mr. Burton was not sure. Mr. Roeper stated it appears Mr. Burton has a drainage problem on his own property that this development did not create. Mr. DeLuca stated the water will be retained in the roadway if it spills over and will not cross the street.

Mr. Roeper asked about landscaping. Mr. Gunkel stated in a residential area, no buffer is required between residential developments. Mr. Murphy stated there are plantings proposed, and if Mr. Doherty will permit them, they will add additional plantings. Mr. Doherty stated they do not permit plantings on the top of a berm around basins. Ms. Cass Cembrott, 660 Leslie Lane, stated her concern with the retention basin is that the current basin did overflow and went around Leslie Lane in a horseshoe and the whole street was flooded. Mr. Gunkel stated they are going to build their detention basin to contain the 100 year storm. Ms. Cembrott stated they will now be surrounded by retention basins. She stated the basins are always full for days. Mr. Doherty stated the water did go over the top in the big June storm in 1996. Since that time they have made the outlet repairs. They have been watching the other basins and while the water does go up to the grate level, it has not gone much higher. He stated this is what the detention basins are for. Ms. Cembrott asked if their pipe will be large enough to get the water out. Mr. Doherty stated this is what they are currently discussing.

Mr. Bob Cummings, 675 Leslie Lane, stated the detention basin where they did the retrofit was for sandy soil and not clay soil and is still inadequate. He asked what studies were used to formulate the 100 year plan. Mr. Doherty stated they used the latest plans available in Bucks County. He noted what Mr. Cummings is referring to were the studies used by Thomas Tyler Moore. Mr. Cummings stated when Yardley Estates was developed, it was developed using the out-of-date studies. He feels any more water in the area will add to the problem.

Ms. Laura Tuttle, 1480 Page, showed pictures from a recent rain storm and stated she feels swales that will be surrounding the detention basin will act like a moat. She stated she will have to look at the headwall which will be created. Mr. Gunkel stated the residents could plant some plantings on their side. Mr. DeLuca stated he would be willing to meet with Ms. Tuttle and her immediate neighbors next door since she was not at the last meeting with the residents. He feels they can correct her problem if they have permission to grade in her rear yard.

Ms. Randy Laurie asked if she and Ms. Fisher could have some assurance that their property will be restored to its present condition after the pipe is replaced. Mr. DeLuca stated they would agree to sod the restoration. Ms. Laurie asked who will be maintaining the detention basin. Mr. Garton stated it will be turned over the Township at the time of dedication.

Mr. Jim Breece, 1530 Edgewood, stated his property is where the pipe starts and he asked if the Township has done studies that show that the pipe leading to the creek is sufficient to handle the storms. Mr. Doherty stated those pipes were put in with Makefield Crossing and go down to the basin at Yardley Hunt. He added they just downsized the outlet to the Yardley Hunt basin since it was not holding water.

Mr. Breece stated he submitted a letter concerning the sewage and water lines for two properties across from Stewart’s Farm and asked if this has been addressed. Mr. DeLuca stated the sewer line is going across Edgewood Road to the two properties. Mr. DeLuca stated they will show Mr. Breece where the sewer line will go. He stated they were only told to extend sewers.

Ms. Frick noted the Township did receive an extension from the developer.


Mr. John VanLuvanee, attorney, and Mr. Larry Burns, engineer, were present. Mr. VanLuvanee stated the preliminary plans were submitted late in 1998 and the first PCS review letter was received in January. Plans were revised by Mr. Burns and re-submitted to the Township, and they have now received the second review letter from PCS.They feel all issues can be resolved. Mr. VanLuvanee stated the property in question is known as the Harris Tract and is approximately 39 acres in the R-2 District. There will be one existing lot and 48 new lots.

Mr. VanLuvanee stated the area shown in green on the plan has been set aside for open space. The Township should decide if this is acceptable. Mr. VanLuvanee noted the dark green area is wetlands and the light green area is outside the limits of the wetlands. One parcel is five acres and one parcel is three acres. Mr. Gunkel asked if the light green is natural resource land, and Mr. VanLuvanee agreed that some of it is. Mr. Burns stated there would be sufficient room to install some active recreation and they are proposing recreation land as opposed to Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation. Mr. VanLuvanee stated the plan has not yet been reviewed by the Park & Recreation Board. Mr. Burns stated 2.47 acres is required for recreation area and the two parcels total 8.1 acres. Mr. Gunkel stated the wetlands and natural resource land cannot count as recreation land.

Mr. Garton asked where the area that was known previously as "the dump: is located. Mr. Burns stated he was aware some dumping did take place. An environmental assessment was done and submitted to the Township. Mr. Garton stated the DEP was actively involved in this property at some time in the past. Mr. VanLuvanee stated a Phase I study was submitted. Mr. Doherty stated the letter did not actually state anything about the dump. Mr. Garton stated they need to know where the dump is located. He stated if they are seeking to dedicate the dump to the Township, the Township may be a little hesitant.

Mr. Roeper stated there was a power station in the area. Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is behind Lot 48 on the plan. Mr. Roeper stated the dump was in that area, and Mr. VanLuvanee stated there is fill in that area. Mr. VanLuvanee stated they will provide all information on this to the Township.

Mr. VanLuvanee noted the PCS letter, Comment #9 on Page 4 and Comment #6 on Page 5, both have to do with encroachment in the wetland buffer, and they understand the Ordinance indicated there can be no encroachments; however, in the area between lots 44 and 49, where they are up against the railroad, he has been advised by Mr. Burns that stormwater coming out of Yardley Estates ponds in the area behind Lots 44 and 49. They propose to install a storm detention system behind those lots to collect the stormwater and discharge it into the creek. They hope the Township will grant a variance to permit this. Mr. Garton stated assuming it is a modest intrusion, he feels the Board of Supervisors may agree to support this.

Mr. VanLuvanee stated there is also an existing pipe located where the road crosses between the two proposed open areas and this is an existing encroachment into the wetlands buffer. They would like to install a larger pipe in this area to help the stormwater situation. Mr. VanLuvanee stated in this case it will only be in the buffer and not the wetlands. He stated they recognize they will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board, but they hope the Board of Supervisors will not oppose this. Mr. Doherty stated they will have to get Skelly & Loy to agree what the buffer actually is.

Mr. VanLuvanee noted Comment #5 on Page 9 where it was suggested that they were requesting a waiver, and in the revised plans this waiver will not be required. Mr. VanLuvanee noted Comment #8 on Page 9 has to do with size of the off-site drainage area. Mr. Burns obtained the plans for Yardley Estates and took the drainage area that was calculated and added this to this plan and this was the study area he utilized. If the Township engineer feels more information is required, they would like to know what additional area should be included.

Mr. VanLuvanee noted Item #1 under General Comments where it suggested the need for an Environmental Impact Report based on the conclusion that there is an on-site wetlands associated with a wetland system of ten contiguous acres or greater. Mr. VanLuvanee asked what the scope of this will be. Mr. Doherty stated they are only inquiring about the environmental impact on the wetlands. It was noted Traffic Impact would not be required in this instance.

Mr. Gunkel asked about the waivers required. Mr. VanLuvanee stated he feels they can do this project without any waivers but they would like to discuss the issue of existing features within 200 feet and will discuss this with the engineer in more detail before the next submission.

Mr. VanLuvanee stated they have gotten mixed messages from CKS and Mr. Hoffmeister on the sanitary sewers. He stated they would like to know how they can resolve this issue while they are revising the plans. Mr. Garton suggested Mr. VanLuvanee contact him with regard to this matter.

Mr. Tom Denver, 1343 Edgewood Road, stated they do not have public sewers and they were told when the Harris Tract was developed, sewers would be made available. Mr. Garton stated this is an issue which will have to be discussed further. Mr. Denver stated he was told that since they were set back far enough from Edgewood Road, that they would not have to connect to the public sewer. Mr. Garton stated it is required to connect if you are within 150 feet from the sewers. Mr. Garton suggested Mr. Denver contact Mr. Hoffmeister that they would like to be advised when discussions take place on the public sewers.

Mr. Lou Grossman, 1313 Lexington Drive, asked about a traffic study. Mr. Garton stated the Township already did a comprehensive traffic study on this and it is available at the Township office. Mr. Grossman asked how long the temporary topsoil will be stockpiled. Mr. Burns stated the one on Edgewood Road could be stored there for as long as three years. There will be a permanent berm along Edgewood Road, but it will not be as high as the soil stockpile. Mr. Doherty stated they use this soil during the course of construction. Mr. Grossman asked the estimated price range of the homes, and Mr. VanLuvanee stated they do not have this information at this time.

Mr. Ronald Larson, 543 Winchester, asked if this development will encroach on the large woods in the area. After discussion it did not appear it would encroach on the woods Mr. Larson is referring to. Mr. Roeper noted a possible conflict with the street names Woodland Circle and Woodland Drive. Mrs. Heinz asked that they use historic names for the streets. She stated this is a Stockton House and suggested one of the roads be named Stockton. Mr. VanLuvanee was asked to take this under consideration.

Mr. Denver asked if they are aware of the spring-fed creek running through the property. Mr. Burns stated they are aware of this. Mr. Denver stated they currently get flooded out. Mrs. Heinz, 1355 Edgewood Road, expressed concern with conditions in this area during heavy storms and feels the situation will be worse with the construction of the berm along Edgewood Road. Mr. Roeper asked if this area drains into Brock Creek, and it was noted that it does. Mr. Roeper asked if this flow will increase. Mr. Doherty stated the volume will increase but the rate of flow will not. Brock Creek is involved in the stream study the Township is conducting.

Mr. Stephen Heinz stated he does not believe the space that has been allotted for open space is as extensive as the dump once was but feels studies should be done on this. Mr. Heinz asked about the storm water problem. Mr. VanLuvanee stated their proposal is to replace the current pipe with a larger pipe so that there is no damming effect. Mr. Heinz asked if it is possible to get it back to an open creek without restrictions so that they remove the potential from a back up down the line. Mr. Doherty stated it cannot be left as an open ditch. Mr. Heinz asked if the current pipe was installed under the oversight of the Township, and it was noted that it was not. Mr. VanLuvanee stated there is an existing 180’ pipe that they are taking out and replacing. 


It was noted this request is to install Belgian block curbing instead of the concrete curb originally approved. Mr. Gunkel stated this project is part of the Township Complex and the rest of the Complex has concrete curbs.

Mr. Gunkel moved, Mr. Roeper seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they maintain the concrete curbs so that it conforms to the rest of the Township Complex.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

 John Pazdera, Chairman