MINUTES - MAY 22, 2000

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 22, 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
Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Fred Allan, Supervisor Liaison


Albert Roeper, Planning Commission Member


Mr. Henry VanBlunk was present on the amended Plan. He stated they were present some time ago; and since then they have been able to enter into an Agreement of Sale with the adjoining property owner to purchase four acres. They have been able to greatly reduce the number of variances they need. He stated they do need a Variance for the minimum front yard setback since the house is already I existence. They have 1.044 acres at the current time; and with the additional land, they will have a total gross area of about five acres. They must deduct the resource protected area so the net area is 2 acres since much of what they are purchasing is wetlands.

Ms. Gould asked about the size of the congregation, and Mr. VanBlunk stated there are approximately twenty families, but there are only fifteen who meet regularly. He stated this is an Orthodox Congregation, and one of the requirements is that you must be able to walk to the Synagogue on the Sabbath. Mr. Pazdera stated typically the whole front area of the property is packed with cars. Mr. VanBlunk stated this may be during times other than the Sabbath.

Ms. Gould asked the number of parking spaces proposed, and Mr. VanBlunk stated there are twenty-six including the handicap parking. Ms. Gould asked if they are proposing any additions to the dwelling, and Mr. VanBlunk stated only to the front driveway to accommodate two parking spaces for the residents. Mr. Pazdera asked if they are removing the swimming pool, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they are not. Mr. Pazdera asked if they will bring it up to code, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they will if it is not up to code. Ms. Gould asked if they are proposing to put any buffering between the property and the Harris property on the swimming pool side, and Mr. VanBlunk stated there is some buffering and they are not proposing any additional. He stated they do plan to add some buffering around the parking lot.

Ms. Gould asked if they calculated the impervious surface on the gross site, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they did. He did not know what it would be on the net. Mr. VanBlunk stated he feels it would be where it was at the last submission.

Mr. Allan asked if they anticipate that the Congregation will grow. Mr. Arthur Sagosky, President of the Synagogue, stated the Congregation has been in existence for approximately seventeen years. The requirement is that you must be able to walk to the Synagogue for the holidays and most people are not interested in walking which does not lend itself to significant growth. Ms. Gould stated she is concerned that if a sign is installed at the property, this will increase the potential of an increase in the size of the Congregation. Mr. Sagosky stated this will increase their visibility, but the requirements are still the same. He noted people may move to the area so that they could meet the requirement. He stated they do not intend to expand the Congregation by any significant amount.

Mr. Gunkel asked what they intend to do with the buildings on the Ronaldo property. Mr. VanBlunk stated they are only buying four acres and it does not include all the buildings. They do have the right of first refusal on the rest of the property if Mrs. Ronaldo ever intends to sell. Mr. VanBlunk stated they will merge the new lot with existing lot. He stated they will take ownership of the barn/garage and the Agreement calls for Mrs. Ronaldo to be able to continue to use it.

Mr. Garton stated they will have to subdivide the Ronaldo property and merge the two lots. A note will be on the Plan that there will be no further subdivision. Mr. Garton stated they will also be required to obtain Land Development Approval, and some of these issues will be addressed during that process.

Mr. Koch moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board approval of the Special Exception for Appeal #00-1060.


Mr. Bill Deon, attorney, Mr. Ray Grochowski, engineer, and Ms. Cynthia Smith were present.

Mr. Deon stated the Plan that went to the Board of Supervisors showed a taper on the development property before it exits onto Pine Lane. A cul-de-sac was proposed rather than the road going to Raab Drive. The Board of Supervisors approved this road lay-out.

The PCS letter dated 5/12/00 was noted. Mr. Deon stated they will submit the information to CKS as noted in Item #1 of the PCS letter.

Item #2 was noted which required review and approval of the legal descriptions. These were found to be acceptable.

Mr. Deon stated they will comply with Item #3 prior to recording of the linens.

Item #4 was noted regarding environmental issues relating to the underground storage tanks, and they have agreed to the testing. There is an additional tank which will be removed. There was also some debris noted, and they have agreed to remove this and will comply with all Township standards. The Planning Commission asked when this will be done, and Mr. Deon stated the developer did not want to start this work until they start construction. They had recommended a condition of approval that this will be done upon issuance of the permit. They do not feel they should be required to do this before Final Plan approval since this would be prior to ownership.

They will comply with Items #5, #6, and #7. Mr. Pazdera asked if they would be willing to make all drawing changes prior to going to the Board of Supervisors, and Mr. Deon stated they would be willing to do so. Mr. Deon asked if they need to submit eleven full sets of plans to the Township, and Ms. Frick stated this is how it should be done.

Mr. Deon noted with regard to Item #4 they understand no one can move into the property until Skelly & Loy has given approval.

Ms. Gould asked if they have discussed the barn with the Historic Commission, and Mr. Deon stated they have not since they were never requested to come to a meeting. Ms. Frick stated the developer was sent a copy of the letter regarding the barn. Mr. Deon stated they agreed to place a note on the Plan that if it is possible to convert the existing barn it a single family residence they would be willing to do so. He noted the costs to do so however, may make it cost prohibitive and it is unlikely it will remain on the property. He has committed that if it does not remain, it would be dismantled and reconstructed on another site. They are currently in negotiations with someone who would bear all costs for removal, and the developer would receive no funds for it. Mr. Gunkel asked if they would relocate it to a Township property, and Mr. Deon stated they would be willing to do this. Mr. Ed Jones who owns the Manor House, stated Jeff Marshall has agreed to take the barn. The entire cost of removing it is $20,000 not including reconstruction costs. He stated he has discussed this with Mrs. Godshalk and Ms. Langtry and advised them that if they want it, they could have it as well. Mr. Allan asked what they will do with the foundation when they dismantle the barn, and Mr. Jones stated it will possible be integrated into a new home. He stated the retaining walls in the rear will also be retained. Mr. Jones noted Mr. Marshall has dismantled a number of barns I the past.

Mr. Gunkel moved and Mrs. Gould seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Final Plan for Wilshire Glen, Plans dated 11/25/98, last revised 4/13/00 with the stipulation that all items in the PCS letter of 5/12/00 be adhered to and the prints be changed and approved by the Township engineer before going to the Board of Supervisors, and with the stipulation that on Item #4 that they be approved by Skelly & Loy prior to the issuance of the first Certificate of Occupancy.

Mr. Victor Fiori, 122 Dolington Road, stated the storm water drainage off Wilbur Road showed a pipe extension on the previous plan and asked if this will still be the case. Mr. Deon stated it will. Mr. Fiori asked if this is necessary, and Mr. Deon stated he feels this was the request of the Township. Mr. Grochowski stated there is a ponding problem, and they were willing to help with this problem. Mr. Fiori stated if they extend the pipe it will gather more storm water and will cause further erosion on his property. He showed pictures of his property. Mr. Doherty stated they will take in no more water and there should actually be less.

Ms. Holly Bussey asked if water will remain in the detention basin, and Mr. Grochowski stated it should be dry within twenty-four hours. Ms. Bussey stated there are some concerns about geese nesting I this area and asked if some plants could be added around the basin. Mr. Doherty stated trees cannot be placed in the detention basin berm. Ms. Bussey asked that they look into other controls for the geese problem. Mr. Doherty stated to his knowledge they have not had any problems with geese in areas where water drains I twenty-four hours. Ms. Bussey asked about street names since it appears they will now have three Pine Lanes. Mr. Allan noted a way to identify the various streets with an arrow or the possibility of having Pine Lane East and Pine Lane West. Ms. Bussey also questioned the use of Raab Drive and Raab Court. Mr. Fiori suggested the name "Oliver Court." Mr. Garton stated the Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on street names. Ms. Bussey stated there have been stop signs discussed for the intersection of Knoll and Pine Lane. Mr. Pazdera stated the Police Department will make this decision.

Motion to approve carried unanimously.


Mr. Nick Casey from the Quaker Group was present with Mr. Brian Tersaga, engineer. Mr. Tersaga stated this is a 15.5 acres site approximately five acres of which is resource restricted with a net site area of 10.5 acres. It is located in the R-2 District. They are entitled to twenty-one lots, but the Plan shows seventeen. They have received all of their review letters.

The PCS letter of 4/20/00 was noted, and they indicated they will comply with all items. They are requesting a waiver on the cul-de-sac length since they are beyond the maximum length permitted. They are requesting the waiver because of the way the lots are configured and the natural resource restrictions. They also have limited frontage. They feel this type of waiver had been approved in the past by the Township.

The applicant indicated they would like to discuss the improvements which may be required along Mill Road. There is a bituminous sidewalk on the east side of Mill Road, and they have limited frontage on Mill Road. They feel fee-in-lieu of sidewalks may be in order since the sidewalk on their side would not go anywhere.

The applicant also stated they need to discuss sewers. The plan was submitted showing a pump station. It was noted their attorney, Mr. VanLuvanee, would like to arrange a meeting with the Sewer Authority, CKS, and the Township attorney to see how the sewers will be addressed.

Mr. Allan asked about the length of the cul-de-sac, and it was noted it is approximately 800 feet. The applicant stated both Rolling Greene and Peake Farm both had similar waivers. Mr. Allan stated he feels there is sufficient room to permit a circular route. He stated it is very difficult to get emergency vehicles and school buses back on these cul-de-sac areas. Mr. Casey stated they feel this would result in lots with roads all around them. He stated they were led to believe the Township did not want a road through the wetlands. Mr. Doherty stated this would require a Variance since they cannot disturb the wetlands. Mr. Allan stated he feels 800 feet is too long for a cul-de-sac. Mr. Casey stated they are aware of other areas in the Township where cul-de-sacs which were substantially longer were approved. Mr. Tersaga showed a list of these developments. The Planning Commission noted a number of these were special situations where a substantial amount of open space had been dedicated to the Township, and the cul-de-sac were permitted to accommodate this. Mr. Gunkel stated this is a relatively small number of homes despite the length of the cul-de-sac. Mr. Pazdera suggested they review this issue and explore some other options including a loop.

With regard to improvements to Mill Road, Mr. Doherty suggested fee-in-lieu. Ms. Gould stated if people are going to use the sidewalk on the opposite side, they should consider striping a large section for a pedestrian crossing. Mr. Pazdera stated the Planing Commission would be in favor of fee-in-lieu for the frontage improvements.

Mr. Tersaga agreed to contact the Township solicitor and Mr. Hoffmeister on the sewer issues.

Mr. Garton noted Ms. Frick has received a written extension letter.

Mr. Casey stated there was a question on the wetlands determination by the Corps and asked how they should proceed. Mr. Doherty stated Skelly & Loy will still have to go out and determine the buffer. He feels they should get a jurisdictional determination. Mr. Casey also noted the requirement for an environmental impact study and noted the site is 16 acres and only a small portion is wetlands which is broken by the railroad, so that they do not have ten contiguous acres. Mr. Doherty stated this is adjacent to Brock Creek. He stated their interpretation is if it abuts a wetland that goes for ten acres, which Brock Creek does, they have to do an impact study. Mr. Allan stated he would like to have an impact study because they want to know how it will impact the existing homes. The developer agreed to provide this.

Mr. Casey stated the Historic Commission indicated they wanted to see an archeological study based on the fact that this was a Civil War site although no documentation has been provided to show this. Ms. Gould suggested he send a letter to the Historic Commission regarding this. Mr. Casey stated they have not met with the Historic Commission, and he will discuss setting up such a meeting with Ms. Frick.

Mr. Pazdera suggested they present some sketches on the roads before proceeding with Plan revisions.

Mr. Gunkel stated he is concerned that there may be something that PCS may have missed because of the large number of items

They did discover, and he would not want a confrontation in the future over anything they may have missed at this point. Mr. Casey stated they did have a productive meeting with Mr. Doherty, and they would like to continue to work with him.

Ms. Gould stated she is concerned with the work currently being done in the Township by the Quaker Group at the Peake Farm and would like to discuss that project with the developer since she has a number of items of concern with regard to that tract. Mr. Allan stated there are trees on that tract that are in terrible condition. He also noted the height of the grass which is not in compliance with the Ordinance.

Mr. Mark Pajer expressed concern with the amount of traffic and excessive speed already taking place in the area. He feels something should be done to help slow down the speed to control traffic. He stated he does not feel there should be two entrances on Mill Road, and Mr. Pazdera stated this will not occur since there is not sufficient frontage.

Mr. Rich Slaven asked if the wetlands area will remain open, and it was noted this area will not be built upon. Mr. Slaven also noted the adjacent Faytol Tract, and it was noted this is Township property.

Mr. Bob Jencosa stated traffic improvements should be made in the area because of the traffic on Edgewood and Mill Roads. He asked if there are any requirements o starting and stopping times for construction. He also asked about the prices to be charged and the style of homes to be built. He stated he would like to insure that they are typical for the area. Mr. Garton stated the Township has no authority to dictate the house style other than it will be single-family. He stated the developer is spending a fair amount of money, and he therefore assumes that they will build a home that will cost a fair amount of money. Mr. Allan asked the square footage and price they are anticipating, and Mr. Casey stated they will probably have one model close to $300,000 as a base price. He stated the homes will probably be similar to what has been built in the area. Mr. Jencosa asked about the direction of the construction traffic, and Mr. Pazdera stated it would be at the entrance to the development. Ms. Gould stated there are requirements regarding keeping the streets clean. Mr. Jencosa stated based on the plan, Amberwood does not go through and he would like to see Amberwood finished. Mr. Doherty stated it is a stub street so there will only be a barricade. He stated there may be the possibility of this being vacated in the area. Ms. Kimberly Stravincki, Lot #41 stated she had discussed with Mr. Fedorchak the dead end streets, and he indicated it would be a good idea to have these finished in a curt as opposed to a dead-end barricade. Mr. Allan stated he has never heard this. Mr. Allan suggested that when this matter comes up for dedication, that they discuss it further.

Mr. Michael Duckowski asked when they could review the site Plans, and Mr. Pazdera stated they are available for review during business hours at the Township Building. Mr. Duckowski asked at what point the developer addresses the impact on adjacent properties. He particularly noted the woods adjacent to the property. Mr. Pazdera stated the two areas of open space will remain untouched. Mr. Garton stated it appears they are preserving the tree line.

Mr. Dan Martin, Hearthstone Drive, stated it is not heavily wooded in the rear of his property. He stated he was advised that they are permitted to start construction at 7:00 a.m. and he does not fell this is reasonable. He is also concerned with the impact on the existing wildlife. He also expressed concern with the runoff since he has a vigorous stream running through his rear yard during heavy rains and there is a significant amount of erosion. He stated he feels they should add to the woods and install mature trees. Mr. Martin stated he is also concerned that no one will buy the lots that are adjacent to the railroad.

Ms. Patty Morrison stated she is concerned that if Amberwood is opened up this will result in additional traffic through her neighborhood. Mr. Doherty stated it is not known at this time whether this will occur since they would have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board to get relief if this were to occur.

Mr. Martin stated if they are going to take out the existing brush, it will be more of a disturbance to them with the trains because the brush does act as somewhat of a sound barrier. He asked when this development will start and when it will be completed. Mr. Casey stated they hope to start in the beginning of the year and feels they will be sole within one or two years.

One gentleman asked if they will continue to receive notification about meetings, and Mr. Pazdera stated they will receive notice whenever the Planning Commission meets on this issue.

Mr. David Young, Hearthstone Drive, stated he has no trees blocking his view of the development, and he is concerned about run off as well. He is also concerned about the Planning Commission's comments regarding this developer's existing projects in the Township. Mr. Doherty stated they cannot get dedication until they meet all Township requirements. He stated there is progress being made with their other developments.


Mr. Edward Murphy and Mr. Michael Stadulis were present. Mr. Murphy stated before the Planning Commission this evening is a further revision to the plan ad the PCS review letter of 5/1/8/00. He stated they are concerned that they continue to get additional ideas from the Township as to how to make this a better plan. He stated even though they have the 5/18 review letter, and they are for the most part willing to comply with the items, it is already moot because they have now obtained relief from the Zoning Hearing Board to eliminate the cattle trough and by eliminating this, they can make a more regularly-shaped basin and preserve the hedgerow. He stated the 5/1/ review letter reviewed the Plan that does not incorporate this change. Mr. Murphy stated also within the last month they have been approached by the Historic Commission to consider preserving the springhouse located near the detention basin. On the Plans before the Planning Commission this evening, that springhouse would have been eliminated. He stated while they do not have a problem considering the request, it will require further re-design of the detension basin. Mr. Murphy stated they still have not been able to go to the Board of Supervisors to deal with the issue of the through street since the Planning Commission has not made a recommendation on the Preliminary Plan. He asked that the Planning Commission make a recommendation so that they can take the road issue and the springhouse issue to the Board of Supervisors before they make any further revisions to the Plan. He stated if they save the springhouse, it will require additional relief from the Zoning Hearing Board from the natural resource protection standards since the basin will have to change in shape.

Ms. Gould asked what other waivers would be required if they went to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Murphy stated it would be for the front yard setback and how they would measure the rear yard setback - whether it be from the lot line or the natural resource protection limits. This would be for the two lots which are abutting the basin.

Mr. Gunkel stated they do not have a review letter based on a drawing showing what they are now proposing. Mr. Murphy stated he would be willing to accept a denial on the current Plans so that he would be willing to accept a denial on the current Plan so that they can go to the Board of Supervisors to get them to make a decision on the road lay out and the springhouse.

Mr. Garton stated it would appear that they are requesting the denial of the pending Plan. The Planning Commission could draw the attention of the Board of Supervisors to the Planing Commission's continuing interest in a cul-de-sac as opposed to a through street and whether or not they would be in favor of the preservation of the springhouse.

Mr. Murphy stated until the Board of Supervisors gives guidance on the road lay out, they cannot make any revisions to the Plan.

Ms. Gould stated she did not feel the Board of Supervisors would be happy with the Planning Commission sending them a Plan they have not reviewed.

Mr. Stadulis stated that at the last Board of Supervisors meeting Mr. Fegley asked if they would make these changes before Preliminary Plan approval, and Mr. Stadulis had advised them he would not until they go to the Final Plan stage.

Mr. Gunkel asked about the springhouse, and Ms. Langtry stated it will be part of Lot #10. Mr. Gunkel stated the owner could knock it down after purchasing the lot, and Mr. Murphy stated they could not do this if there was a façade agreement. Mr. Stadulis stated while it is currently a rental property, it could not be a rental property for Lot #10. Mr. Allan stated he feels the developer should bring the Supervisors the Plan and let the Board of Supervisors decide. Mr. Murphy stated the Plan Mr. Doherty reviewed shows the through street. He states they have no engineered plan showing a cul-de-sac. Mr. Allan stated the Board of Supervisors told then to present a Plan without a cul-de-sac. Mr. Stadulis stated he prepared a cul-de-sac plan as a courtesy to the neighbors. He stated he advised them however, that the Board of Supervisors indicated they wanted the through road. Mr. Murphy stated the Planning Commission recommended a cul-de-sac almost one year ago.

Ms. Gould moved and Mr. Koch seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors denial of the Plan for the Loberg Tract based on deficiencies in the Plan as outlined in the 5/18/00 PCS letter.

Mr. Stan Tilton, Thistlewood Drive, stated the cul-de-sac came about because the Board of Supervisors directed the homeowners to reach a compromise with the developer, and when the cul-de-sac went back to the Board of Supervisors, the Board of Supervisors stated the homeowners misunderstood the scope of their compromise.

Mr. Bill Bahr, Thistlewood Drive, asked why the Township is opposed to cul-de-sacs. Mr. Gunkel stated it is because of safety concerns so that they are able to evacuate neighborhoods if necessary. Mr. Bahr stated a cul-de-sac is safer for children playing in the street. Mr. Bahr was advised that children should not be playing in the street since this is unsafe. Mr. Bahr stated they wanted to preserve the tree line and felt it was unsafe to enter off Mt. Eyre Road. He stated only eleven homes are proposed, and he does not feel they should require a through street.

Mr. Pazdera noted the Planning Commission previously voted three to one in favor of the cul-de-sac.

Motion to recommended denial carried unanimously.


The letter dated 5/2/00 from Michael L. D'Amato was noted. Mr. Pazdera moved, and Mr. Gunkel seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they follow the current Ordinance with any plans submitted.

There being no further business, Ms. Gould moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.