MINUTES - MARCH 27, 2000

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 27, 2000. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

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


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


Deborah Gould, Planning Commission Secretary


No one was present to discuss this matter at this time.


Mr. Jeff Mishler, applicant, was present with Mr. Ken Fry, and Mr. Ed Wild, attorney. Mr. Wild noted the property is located at 599 Washington Crossing Road and is known as the Village Market. Mr. Wild stated this is a non-conforming use and for many years has been a grocery

Mr. Allan asked when they stopped dispensing gas, and Mr. Mishler stated they stopped pumping gas in December of 1998.

Mr. Pazdera asked where the tank will be located, and Mr. Wild stated it is between the existing gas pumps and the building.

Mr. Gunkel stated he feels they need to request a Variance, and Mr. Wild stated in the alternative, they are requesting a Variance.

Mr. Roeper stated he feels a gas station would be desirable in this area of the Township but feels it should be at a safe location.

Mr. Koch asked about testing of the tanks, and Mr. Mishler stated they did have a test done with soil samples, and some minor contamination was found where the tankers fill as well as around the pumps from people spilling gas.

Mr. Koch stated if the tanks are steel there are regulations regarding replacement of steel tanks with plastic or fiberglass tanks. Mr. Mishler stated he is aware of this, and this is the reason the tanks are being replaced.

Mr. Allan asked if it would be possible for them to continue the operation with only the two pumps with one hose on each. Mr. Mishler stated the footprint of the dispensing area will not change. He stated he is not sure of the availability of dispensers that would have only one hose per dispenser. Mr. Allan asked if they are doing this to increase the amount of volume, and Mr. Mishler stated they are attempting to modernize the property and to increase sales since this is a commercial business.

Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board that they not grant the special Exception to replace the present two pumps at the present location because of the traffic hazards created by the new intersection of Stoopville Road/Route 532 and because the present location of the pumps is within the ultimate right-of-way line. If it is possible to relocate the pumps behind the ultimate right-of-way line within the provisions of the Ordinance, the Planning Commission would have no objection.


Mr. Steve Mansfield was present, and stated they would like to install Belgian block curbing according to the detail shown.

Mr. Koch moved, Mr. Roeper seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they approve the request to install Belgian block curbing.

Mr. Mansfield noted this will be for the interior roads only and not on Stony Hill Road.


Ms. Jennifer Stark was present and stated the Ordinance was enacted in 1985 and information from the 1979 National Registry Nomination was taken and used with the intention of creating an Overlay District. The information was then fused together but the Overlay District and National Registry did not match since the Overlay District is larger than the National Registry properties. She has therefore clarified this and re-titled some of the appendices and eliminated some that have nothing to do with the Ordinance. Ms. Stark stated there are also some changes which have been made to the Ordinance which relate to the make-up of the Historical Architectural Review Board. She stated these changes will permit them to have someone from outside of the community serve if they are unable to find volunteers from the Township with the qualifications needed.

Mr. Roeper noted the comments from the Bucks County Planning Commission. He noted specifically the comments regarding definitions. Ms. Stark stated she feels the definitions belong in the guidelines since these are what are used by the applicants. Mr. Gunkel stated there could be a problem because someone may be using a term differently and this could create confusion. Mr. Roeper stated he feels the recommendations made by the Bucks County Planning Commission deserve consideration. Ms. Stark stated she did not have a problem forwarding the information from the Bucks County Planning Commission to the Solicitor to incorporate these comments as well.

Mr. Roeper suggested language to Ms. Stark to be included in Paragraph 4 concerning prohibition. He also suggested that they include a provision providing for election of officers of HARB. Ms. Stark stated this is included in their by-laws. Mr. Gunkel stated provisions for this for the Planning Commission are included in the Ordinance.

Mr. Gunkel expressed concern with the proposed changes to the make-up of HARB and stated he feels only Township residents should serve since they are making recommendations that could result in spending of tax dollars. Mr. Allan noted some Townships do not always have people willing to serve that have the required expertise. Mr. Gunkel stated he feels they should then be non-voting members. Mr. Maloney stated Mr. Garton has checked the enabling legislation, and there is no requirement that the professionals be residents of the Township; and they can still make recommendations. Mr. Maloney stated he feels the Board of Supervisors would prefer that members be residents of the Township if they are available to serve. Mr. Gunkel noted there are six members of HARB, and he feels there should be an odd number of members. Ms. Stark stated they are supposed to have seven members, but they are having difficulty getting people to fill the vacancies. She stated she would recommend that the number of members required be reduced to five.

Mr. Gunkel stated they have listed the steps required for demolition, and he feels they should include the phrase "not limited to the following" so if there is something else they want to consider, they could require this as well.

Mr. Gunkel noted paragraph 16 with regard to penalties. Mr. Maloney stated they have included a penalty of 60 days in jail, and he does not feel this is enforceable. Ms. Stark stated she feels this reference should be removed if it cannot be enforced.

Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Gunkel seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that a they consider the revised Ordinance that would amend Article IX, Commercial Historic Commercial, that they take into consideration the recommendations by the Bucks County Planning Commission in their letter of 3/1/00 particularly including the definitions and the location of the definitions in Section 200-7 and that in Paragraph 5 the number be reduced to five members and provisions be made for the election or appointment of a Chairman and such other officers as may be desired and that Section 16 be revised to remove the 60 day and such other limitations or length of time as is legally permissible be included.


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present on behalf of DeLuca Enterprises to discuss the proposed development of the South Campus of the Lower Makefield Corporate Center. He stated this property abuts Floral Vale to the North.

Mr. Murphy showed the Plan which shows buildings surrounding a wet pond. The property is located in the O/R District. They meet all building coverage and yard requirements. These will be three-story buildings. They are showing more parking than required by Ordinance. This is a concept plan only at this time and it has not been engineered.

Mr. Koch asked the type of tenant they anticipate, and Mr. Murphy stated they feel it will be the same type of tenants they have on the North side. He stated one of the current tenants on the North side is considering taking over an entire building on the South side.

A small building was noted on the Plan, and Mr. Murphy stated this building will most likely be a financial planner’s office.

Mr. Murphy stated they are showing 340,000 square feet of office space on the 31 acres tract. Nothing is proposed to be dedicated to the Township.

Mr. Roeper asked if they have looked into including the corner property as well, and Mr. Murphy stated they did try this previously and were unsuccessful. Mr. Allan asked if it would be possible for them to work with this property owner with regard to the entrance, and Mr. Murphy stated they would be willing to look into this.

Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Gunkel had asked him previously if they anticipated any variances or waivers, and Mr. Murphy stated the one waiver they know of is the issue with regard to planted islands between parking stalls in the parking lot. He stated the Township has waived this in the past.


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present with Monsignor Schumaker. Mr. Murphy noted the Monsignor had an informal meeting with the staff on the proposal. Mr. Murphy stated the property had consisted of seventeen acres, and Monsignor was able to acquire three additional tax parcels that make up another seventeen acres. The total acreage is slightly more than thirty-four and a half acres. The Plan calls for the construction of a new Rectory to the rear of the Church parking lot. The existing Rectory would then be converted to a meeting center for the various parish organizations that currently exist. In addition, they are proposing two additional areas for parking. They have also shown a potential for four foundations for modular units to the side of the existing school. They are also proposing a new road out to Sandy Run Road. This provides another way out of the property other than Reading Avenue. They are also showing an area in front of the school for a playground.

Mr. Gunkel noted the proposed road out to Sandy Run Road will be a long road to maintain.

Mr. Murphy stated they do not anticipate any variances at this time, but the Plan has not yet been engineered.

Monsignor Schumaker stated they are kicking off the Capital Campaign in May which will run for three years. They cannot break ground until half the money is in the bank. They made settlement on all three parcels before Christmas.

Mr. Koch asked why they are considering modular classrooms, and Monsignor Schumaker stated they could not afford to construct another building. He stated they were also concerned that as the community ages, they may not have a need for additional permanent classrooms. He added in ten years they have gone from 1308 families to 2755 families and they needed to address the Parish’s needs.


Mr. Murphy noted a Plan to develop thirteen lots with one point of access on 332 to an interconnection with Drew Lane. The property is zoned R-1 with minimum one acre lots. There is one existing home on the property. Two structures in the front of the tract will be removed as will the nursery business. Mr. Murphy noted an existing barn near Lot #8 which would also be removed. He stated the property does have some frontage on Houston Road but they do not plan to have access or make improvements to Houston Road. He stated if they were required to make improvements to Houston Road, it would require removal of some significant trees. Mr. Murphy noted there are concerns about the access point since they would not have the 800 feet distance between the streets which is required by Ordinance.

There being no further business, Mr. Gunkel moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m.