MINUTES - APRIL 10, 2000

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 10, 2000. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

Those Present:

Planning Commission:

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


Nancy Frick, Director zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Fred Allan, Supervisor Liaison


Albert Roeper, Planning Commission Member


Mr. Gunkel moved and Mr. Koch seconded to approve the Minutes of March 27, 2000 as written. Motion carried with Ms. Gould abstaining.


Mr. Douglas Breidenbach, attorney, was present. He stated they have appeared before the Township in the past but the plan now being discussed is for a bank only. A sketch of the proposal was shown. They are requesting a change in the zoning to C-1. Mr. Breidenbach stated the shopping center across the street from this property is zoned C-1. They would need to acquire additional property in order to meet the requirements under the C-1 zone which calls for a minimum of five acres. Mr. Breidenbach stated there are woodlands on the tract they are considering purchasing, and they would need an interpretation of the Ordinance from the Township Solicitor regarding the woodlands. They will preserve the woodlands on the tract through a deed restriction.

Mr. Gunkel expressed concern with the possibility of the property being further subdivided and added he would prefer that the property on the opposite side of the driveway on Heacock Road be turned over to the Township. Mr. Breidenbach stated they would agree to do this, although they may need some of this area for stormwater management. He stated he also feels it is possible to place this property under a deed restriction, and they would be willing to work with the Township on this matter. Mr. Koopman stated he feels that they can legally accomplish what the Township wants.

Mr. Allan asked about traffic counts. Mr. John Caruolo, the traffic expert, noted they took traffic counts during weekly peak hours and mid-day on Saturday at the intersection. The morning peak hour had 1,520 vehicles and the evening peak hour had 1,915 on all four approaches. Saturday mid-day was approximately 1,700 vehicles per hour. Mr. Allan asked what trip use the proposed bank would generate. Mr. Caruolo stated during the morning peak it would add approximately 47 total trips (this would be one in and one out for each vehicle). During the evening peak they would add approximately 200 total trips and half of those would be considered pass-by traffic.

Ms. Gould asked if they are proposing a drive-through ATM, and Mr. Caruolo stated they are not. They will have a walk-in ATM with secure access after hours.

Mr. Caruolo stated they feel they will add between 1% and 3% new trips to the


Mr. Breidenbach stated they are proposing widening the road along the length of the property on both roads. Mr. Koopman asked what this would do to the intersection. Mr. Caruolo stated they would continue the wide shoulder to the intersection and create a new right-turn only lane increasing the capacity of the intersection. On Stony Hill Road they anticipate significant improvements in terms of capacity since they propose to shift the through lanes toward their site resulting in a three lane intersection approach to Heacock Road. All proposed improvements would be on their side. Mr. Doherty stated these will have to be coordinated with the improvements planned for Stony Hill Road. Mr. Caruolo stated they propose to have a separate deceleration lane for the bank driveway.

Mr. Allan asked about distances from the intersections, and Mr. Caruolo stated the distance from each driveway to the intersection is 420. From Chestnut Woods Drive to the driveway on Stony Hill Road, the distance is 220.

Mr. Caruolo noted this has not yet been engineered and the plans are conceptual at this time.

Mr. Gunkel asked about operation hours. Mr. Andrew Richards, representing the Bank,

stated the drive-through hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lobby hours are Monday to Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Mr. Pazdera asked about buffering. Mr. Ron Turner showed a plan with the proposed buffering. Mr. Turner noted the possibility of installing a feature on the corner such as a fountain or a flowered area although this has not yet been designed.

Mr. Allan asked about the building facade, and Mr. Breidenbach noted Commerce Bank does have a prototype building which is normally 66% glass. Mr. Allan asked if they have considered a Colonial motif for this area, and Mr. Breidenbach stated this has not been a consideration. He he matter is scheduled to be heard by the Zoning Hearing Board on May 2.

Ms. Frick asked about the garage, and Mr. VanBlunk stated part of the garage was converted to meeting space and this is included in the 28 by 40 noted on the application. Ms. Frick asked if they ever obtained any permits for this conversion, and Mr. VanBlunk stated he did not know whether they had. Ms. Frick stated Township records do not indicate any permits were applied for on this property.

Ms. Frick advised the Planning Commission the applicant is requesting eight variances as well as the Special Exception.

Mr. Gunkel stated they are being asked to grant a Special Exception for a property of one acre when the requirement is for five acres for this use. Mr. Koopman stated the Planning Commission must act on what is before them at this time. He stated they can amend this in the future if additional property is acquired.

Mr. Koopman asked if the Cease and Desist Order is being complied with, and Ms. Frick stated it is not. Mr. VanBlunk stated they have appealed the Cease and Desist Order.

Mr. Gunkel moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board that they deny the Special Exception based on the size of the lot which is one acre compared to the required five acres as well as the increase in impervious surface ratio to 42%.


Mr. Gunkel noted they received three extensions which appear to be continuing extensions. Ms. Frick stated none of them are over one year old.

There being no further business, Mr. Gunkel moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.