The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on August 14, 2000. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

John Pazdera, Chairman
Edward Koch, Member
Albert Roeper, Member


Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer


Deborah Gould, Planning Commission Member
Paul Gunkel, Planning Commission Member


Mr. Pazdera tabled the approval of Minutes dated 5/22/00.


Mr. Edward Murphy was present and noted the 8/10/00 PCS review letter. He added he and the applicant’s engineers have met with PCS. He stated the applicant intends to revise the Plans and they will comply with most of the items in the PCS letter.

Mr. Murphy noted Paragraph 1 at the top of Page 2 that deals with the side slopes of the basin. He noted the direction they were previously given was that the Township did not want to have an unconventional (underground) basin. They have been able to design an above-ground storm sewer system; however, they will need permission to have side slopes on the basin as noted on the Plan. He noted this is a private basin and will not be dedicated. He stated the Township engineer has indicated that provided it is not the Township’s maintenance responsibility, they have no objection to the slopes as proposed. Mr. Murphy noted Item #1 on Page 3 under Preliminary Grading makes reference to this waiver request.

Mr. Murphy noted Page #5 where they have requested two additional waivers under Off-Site Storm Sewer Plan.

Mr. Murphy noted the waiver request on Page #7, Item #4. He stated this is a request to increase the size of the orifice to 3 1/2 inches in order to minimize maintenance problems, and he does not feel the Township engineer has any objection to this waiver being granted.

Mr. Murphy stated they also need direction on whether or not there should be a bikepath or a sidewalk across the property frontage. He stated he feels the Township Master Plan calls for this to be on the opposite side of the street. He stated they have received conflicting information from various Township bodies on this matter in the past. He stated Mr. Doherty’s office has also raised the issue of extending it off-site in front of the Township’s detention basin.

Mr. Koch asked if they anticipate that most people will drive to this location, and Mr. Murphy stated he feels the overwhelming number of people will drive to the location. Mr. Koch stated he feels they still need to make accommodations for pedestrians. Ms. Frick read from the Minutes on 2/9/98 when this matter was discussed.

Mr. Koopman asked if the applicant would be willing to take the walkway out to Heacock Road if an easement could be obtained, but Mr. Murphy noted concerns with a ditch in the area. Mr. Koopman noted if the walkway is constructed only in front of the applicant’s facility and not extended to Heacock Road this would not permit access to the property from Yardley Hunt. Mr. Roeper suggested that the walkway be installed just from Heacock Road up to the first entrance instead of across the entire frontage of the property. Mr. Pazdera was in favor of this recommendation. The Planning Commission indicated they would prefer an eight foot macadam bikepath as opposed to a sidewalk.


Mr. James McMaster was present. The 7/27/00 PCS review letter was noted. Mr. McMaster noted Item #1 and stated they propose to sell the lot and the purchaser would be building the home. They would therefore request a waiver to the requirement to show elevations since the purchaser may want to construct a certain type home which could involve different numbers than those they may show on this Plan.

Mr. McMaster noted with regard to Item #2 they will be seeking Fee-In-Lieu and they will add a Note to that effect.

Item #3 was noted and Mr. McMaster stated the lot is completely wooded and they do not feel it is suitable for street trees and they hope whoever purchases the lot will keep the lot relatively wooded.

Mr. McMaster noted Item #4 and stated they do not have the ability to offer for dedication the difference between the right-of-way and ultimate right-of-way line for the larger Lot #1 although they are offering it for Lot #2. He stated the Court Order does not give them the power to offer this for Lot #1, and they are therefore requesting a waiver. Mr. Roeper asked if the owner of Lot #1 is a party to this requested Subdivision. Mr. McMaster stated by virtue of the settlement of the equity action in the Court of Common Pleas, he has a Power of Attorney for the purposes of pursuing the Subdivision. If it is a requirement of the Township as part of the Subdivision that this be offered for dedication, he feels the Court would say he has the power to do this. He does not have the power to offer it unless the Township would demand it. Mr. Koopman stated he does feel the Township requires this. Mr. Doherty agreed that the Township would want the additional right-of-way and stated he also feels a Note should be placed on the Plan that in the event of further Subdivision, the improvements must go in on the road. Mr. McMaster agreed to these requests.

They will comply with Item #7.

With regard to Item #8, Mr. McMaster stated there has not been any determination letter requested or received from the Corps of Engineers.

They will comply with Items #9, #10, and #11. Mr. Doherty stated in order to comply with Item #9, they must go before the Zoning Hearing Board since they cannot put a home on either of the lots since they are in the woods and the minimum lot must be free of natural resource restrictions.

Mr. Koopman noted they could clear 30% of the seven acre lot which would provide an area of 2+ acres. Mr. Doherty noted they would still need to meet the requirement for setbacks from the natural resource restriction line. Mr. Doherty stated it was discussed previously that they may not be able to build on either of these lots. Mr. Doherty noted Lot #2 which is the smaller lot includes woods, wetlands, and floodplain. Ms. Frick noted this was discussed in May, and Mr. McMaster indicated at that time that he would show that they would be able to put a house on the lot consistent with the Zoning Ordinance and all setback and disturbance requirements. Mr. Koopman stated the Township engineer is indicating that he is not sure that they can comply with Item #9 without getting a Variance under the current Ordinance provisions. He stated they would need to meet the minimum lot requirement free and clear of any resource protection land. The yards are also measured from the limit of the resource protection. It was noted that since the smaller lot is only 1.4 acres and is all wooded, they could only clear 30% of this. If they cleared the area closest to the road, they would still need to locate a house which has a rear, side and front yard which would not encroach into the 70% woodlands that are required to be protected.

Mr. McMaster stated he misunderstood what was previously requested. He noted he did revise the rear setback and set it back from the steep slope area. Mr. Koopman stated it must also be set back from the woodlands, wetlands, or any resource protected area. It was noted this is R-2 and the rear yard requirement is 50 feet so they would have to have 50 feet from the rear of the house which is clear of any resource protected area. Mr. Koopman stated they must determine where the 70% wooded protected area is as well as other natural resource protected areas and see if they can meet the requirements.

Mr. Doherty noted if they have a one hundred year floodplain, they must preserve one hundred percent of this. Mr. McMaster stated he did not feel they would have any problem avoiding the floodplain, the wetland, and steep slopes. Mr. Doherty stated if they need to save 100 percent of something, they cannot take this into the calculations of the woodlands that they are saving. Mr. Koopman stated he feels they will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board to get a determination that they will be able to build on the lot.

Mr. Roeper asked if a Subdivision could be approved without any indication of the house. Mr. Doherty stated he does not feel this would be possible since it does not appear that the lot meets the Ordinance requirements. Mr. Koopman stated under the Subdivision Ordinance you are not to create lots that are unbuildable. He stated the Planning Commission could recommend approval conditioned upon obtaining a Variance.

There was discussion about the possibility of moving the lot line, but Mr. McMaster noted requirements of the Court Order. It was noted they could build on Lot #1 but they would have to construct a bridge over the creek and the wetlands to get to the buildable area or in the alternative getting approval from the Bucks County Conservancy to cut through their property.

Mr. Koopman stated he feels they must obtain relief from the Zoning Hearing Board since they cannot comply with Item #9.

The CKS letter was noted. Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Item #1. With regard to Item #2 he stated they have received some of the letters. They will comply with Items #3, #4, #5 and #6.

Mr. McMaster agreed to provide an extension.

Mr. Roeper suggested they meet with the Township engineer prior to making application to the Zoning Hearing Board, and Mr. McMaster stated they will have the engineers meet so they are sure they are requesting everything they need of the Zoning Hearing Board.

There being no further business, Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:12 p.m.