The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 10, 2000. Mr. Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

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


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


The meeting was turned over to Mr. Koopman who asked for nominations for Chairman of the Planning Commission for the year 2000. Ms. Gould moved and Mr. Roeper seconded the nomination of John Pazdera. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Koopman asked for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for the year 2000. Mr. Roeper moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded the nomination of Paul Gunkel. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Koopman asked for nominations for Secretary of the Planning Commission for the year 2000. Mr. Gunkel moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded the nomination of Deborah Gould. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

The meeting was turned over to Mr. Pazdera.


Mr. Keith Brown, attorney, Mr. Jack Leapson, engineer, Mr. David Lewis, Mr. Tom Ames, and Ms. Brenda Hobbs, architect, were present. Mr. Brown noted the PCS letter dated 1/6/00, and stated Mr. Leapson will be requesting a meeting with the Township engineer. He added Mr. Leapson has prepared a letter showing a synopsis of the items they would like to discuss this evening which was distributed to the Planning Commission. Mr. Brown noted they did receive letters from the Bucks County Planning Commission, CKS, the Bucks County Conservation District, and the Township Fire Marshall.

Item #1 under Plan Sheet 1 - 10 was noted, and Mr. Leapson stated they will comply.

It was noted that Item #2 is a request for a waiver which the Township Engineer has indicated he would support.

Item #3 was noted regarding frontage improvements. Mr. Leapson stated they do not front on any Township Roads and front on State roads only. They are requesting a Variance from the items listed in the Township engineer’s letter. Mr. Leapson noted PennDOT did request land from the Church for some of their improvements on Stoopville Road which required a triangular piece of the Church’s property in the amount of one half an acre. PennDOT indicated they did not have any money to pay for it. An agreement was reached between the Church and PennDOT that the Church would donate the land in exchange for some improvements in the area.

Mr. Gunkel stated he feels there should be a traffic light at the intersection and asked if what is being provided would accommodate a "T" intersection for a traffic signal. Mr. Brown stated PennDOT was trying to make sure they had room to stack three to four cars at a stop sign. Mr. Gunkel stated it currently stacks back one half mile going west in the A.M. peak. Mr. Doherty stated he feels there is sufficient right-of-way to install a traffic signal, but he does feel revisions would be necessary in order to do so. Mr. Ames stated they recognize this is a busy intersection but what is in place now is better than what was there in the fall. He stated any sign they would install could be relocated to accommodate future improvements.

Mr. Roeper asked if they had installed curbs, and it was noted they did not. Mr. Leapson stated they have a paved shoulder on each side but provided no curbs. Mr. Roeper asked if they should at least have a curb on the acceleration/deceleration lanes because of the traffic. Mr. Doherty stated they have not been installing acceleration lanes but they may have a deceleration lane. Mr. Gunkel asked if they needed curbs to control drainage, and Mr. Doherty stated there is some concern about the flatness of the grade in the ditch. Mr. Leapson stated they use the open shoulder concept in this whole area, and PennDOT does have to issue the Occupancy Permit. He stated they did meet with the permitting engineers and it was indicated they wanted them to continue with the open shoulder concept. He noted they have not yet received their review letter. Mr. Leapson stated he feels they need a letter from the Township for permission to go to PennDOT. Mr. Gunkel stated they will get this from the Township when they get Preliminary Plan approval.

Mr. Koch asked if most of the parishioners will be coming from Newtown, and Mr. Brown agreed most will come from Newtown although some do come from the south, Upper Makefield, and Yardley.

Mr. Gunkel noted a bikepath does not show on the Master Plan but he did discuss this with the Park & Recreation Board, and they will be looking into this.

Mr. Gunkel stated he does not see the need for sidewalks; and if Mr. Doherty does not require them, he does not feel curbs would be required either.

Item #4 was noted regarding street trees. Mr. Leapson noted they have six acres of woods which will be preserved on the site. He stated they were going to ask if any consideration would be given regarding the street tree requirements because of this preservation, but he now understands this is traditionally not granted. Mr. Gunkel stated the trees on the site do not help screen the parking area. Mr. Leapson stated they will comply with the requirements.

With regard to Item #5, Mr. Leapson stated they are requesting a waiver, and the Township engineer has indicated he would support this.

Item #6 was noted regarding impervious surface. Mr. Leapson stated they would agree to make the detention basin larger to accommodate the additional impervious surface being requested. Mr. Doherty stated they would have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board to request a variance. Mr. Koopman stated they must make a comprehensive list of what they need relief from to present to the Zoning Hearing Board. He stated this list will then be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors as well for their review. Mr. Leapson stated the plan was based on 10 x 20 parking spaces and asked if the Planning Commission would be in favor of a reduction to 9 x 18 spaces. This was acceptable to the Planning Commission although Mr. Roeper did note the trend today for people to have larger vans and sport utility vehicles.

Mr. Gunkel stated he would not be in favor of exceeding the permitted impervious surface. He stated what they are now showing is over twice the amount of impervious surface that was first presented. Mr. Brown stated in 1992 the bottommost corner of the property was still owned by the Church, and since then the Water Company petitioned for a portion of their property in the amount of 1.6 acres. He stated the Township was in favor of this plan as well. He also noted when they came before the Planning Commission with the Sketch Plan in 1992, the Planning Commission suggested that they present a plan for the ultimate use of the site including the sanctuary that was to be included in a second phase. They have now shown Phase I and Phase II on the Plan being presented. Mr. Gunkel noted they also increased the size of the main building, and Mr. Brown agreed. Mr. Roeper stated he does feel they should get credit for the two parcels.

Mr. Ames stated they will look further into reduction of the size of the parking stalls. He stated they also did a survey on where they feel the ministry is heading which is why they are now showing a greater impervious surface.

Ms. Hobbs stated they are proposing 36,000 square feet now with a future sanctuary space of approximately 9,000 to 10,000 square feet. The 36,000 square feet is multi-purpose and calculated as 6,000 square feet for the sanctuary, approximately 6,000 square feet for office space, and the remainder to be used for classrooms. Mr. Koopman asked the purpose of the classrooms. Mr. Brown stated at this point they are not considering a weekday pre-school, but this is a possibility in the future.

Mr. Allan asked about the roof line, and Ms. Hobbs stated it will be mostly gabled roofs.

There was discussion on the small basement proposed, and Mr. Roeper stated they may want to consider expanding the basement area to provide for additional storage.

Item #7 was noted regarding a determination by the Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Leapson stated they have not made such a determination and a wetlands expert did submit a report to the Township.

Item #8 was noted regarding the wetlands buffer. Mr. Leapson showed pictures of the site. Mr. Doherty stated their concern is whether Skelly & Loy agrees with the developer.

Item #10 was noted, and Mr. Koopman stated since they must go to the Zoning Hearing Board on other matters, they should also ask them if the Special Exception already granted still covers this new configuration since they were looking at the old, less elaborate, plan when they went before the Zoning Hearing Board previously.

Mr. Leapson stated they will comply with Item #11.

Item #12 was noted, and Mr. Leapson stated there are 6.2 acres of existing woodlands, 1.4 acres of which are in wetlands. He stated the Ordinance indicates 70% should be protected, and he asked if this means that 30% could be removed. Mr. Doherty stated they must measure their building setbacks from the disturbance lines. Mr. Leapson asked if he could create a theoretical boundary line and it was noted he could. Mr. Doherty stated the site actually has no side yards since they are on a corner and therefore the site has two fronts and a rear yard. It was agreed the setback would be 75 feet for the front yards and 50 feet for the year yard.

Mr. Leapson stated they will comply with Items #13, #14, and #15.

Item #16 was noted regarding pedestrian flow. Ms. Hobbs stated they can install pedestrian crosswalks; however, they are trying to maintain as much greenery as possible in the parking area. She noted on the Plan where they would like to install sidewalks and crosswalks. Mr. Gunkel asked how many cars they anticipate on a normal Sunday, and Mr. Brown stated it would be approximately 200 at each of two services.

Mr. Leapson stated they will comply with Items #17 and #18.

Item #19 was noted. Ms. Hobs stated they are showing 276 parking spaces. She stated they feel they are showing more than required. She reviewed how they arrived at this figure. The Planning Commission was in agreement with 276 parking spaces.

Item #20 was noted regarding the loading berth. Ms. Hobbs stated they will not have large deliveries of supplies to the facility, and they do not feel they need a loading berth. This was acceptable to the Planning Commission. Mr. Doherty stated his concern was they indicated there was a kitchen/cafeteria facility but no drawings were shown so the engineers did not know what would be required. The Planning Commission was in favor of a waiver and indicated this should be so noted on the Plan. It was noted since this is part of the Zoning Ordinance, they should request a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board for this as well since they need to go to the Zoning Hearing Board for other matters.

Mr. Leapson noted they will discuss the remaining items with the Township engineer and Skelly & Loy on the location of the basin proposed.

Mr. Allan noted the notation about a softball field on the Plan. Mr. Ames stated they have a team which plays in a League, but the field will have not fencing and may not even have a back stop.

Mr. Leapson noted the items regarding buffers on Page 7. Mr. Doherty stated Type l Buffers are required and this is listed in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. Mr. Leapson stated there is more than 200 feet of green and asked if they would have to have this buffer since they plan to maintain the hedgerow. Mr. Pazdera stated he would recommend that they install the buffer since there is a softball field proposed in this area.

Mr. Leapson agreed to comply with the requirement and will supplement the natural line.

Ms. Frick noted they will need a 90 day extension, and Mr. Brown agreed to provide this.

There being no further business, Mr. Gunkel moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.