MINUTES - MAY 8, 2000

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 8, 2000. Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

John Pazdera, 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


Paul Gunkel, Planning Commission Vice Chairman


Mr. Koch moved and Ms. Gould seconded to approve the Minutes of April 10, 2000 as amended. Motion carried with Mr. Roeper abstaining.


Mr. William Benner, attorney, was present. Mr. Benner stated Mr. and Mrs. Brumbaugh and Mr. and Mrs. Inverso took title to their properties in the 1960s. As noted in the engineer’s report of 3/23/00, Hillside Terrace was conceived in 1955 and a revision was made in 1960. In the 1960 Plan, the lot configurations were changed in the area where the Brumbaughs and Inversos have their homes. There was an overlap created between the two lots and the parties have agreed to this new Plan which redefines the property lines. The common boundary between lots 85 and 86 has been held in accordance with the Deed of Record. The parties have further agreed that the logical boundary line between Lots 86 and 87 is shown on the Plans of Subdivision which corresponds to the 1955 Plan of Subdivision. They are attempting to clean up some conveyancing errors and do not propose any further changes.

Mr. Benner stated there is a comment about a shed which is encroaching on one of the setbacks and they would ask that it be permitted to remain at this location. Mr. Pazdera asked when the shed was constructed. Mrs. Brumbaugh was present and stated it was on the property twenty-one years ago when they purchased the property. Ms. Frick stated the ten foot setback requirement has been in effect for the twenty-one years she has been with the Township. She added there was no permit issued for the shed. Mr. Koopman stated he did not have an issue with the shed. Ms. Frick suggested that if the shed were ever replaced, it be moved into the required setback at that time.

Mr. Hartigan was present representing Mr. and Mrs. Inverso who own Lot #86, and stated when a fence was erected on Lot 85, they had to move their shed. He stated they would like to be able to erect their shed again on Lot #86. Mr. Koopman asked if they would be willing to erect the shed in conformance with the Ordinance, and Mr. Hartigan stated this would present a problem because of concerns with setbacks and impervious surface. Mr. Koopman stated since this shed is not shown on the Plan being discussed tonight, he does not feel they can act on it. He stated he feels they would have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Benner stated his only role this evening is to clean up problems with the title. He noted the shed would be a de minimous variance and he feels they should be able to have their shed back although he does appreciate the jurisdictional concern raised by Mr. Koopman. Mr. Benner stated he feels the Inverso’s shed was technically encroaching, and this is why it had to be removed. Mr. Koopman stated he feels they would have to come to the Township for a permit to erect a shed. He stated it would most likely be rejected since it would not meet Ordinance requirements, and they would have to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Koopman noted Item #5 in the PCS review letter which indicates that the impervious surface is already exceeding the permitted impervious surface. Mr. Hartigan stated they are looking to the Planning Commission for a recommendation that if they have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board that these circumstances would be taken into consideration. Mr. Koopman stated they may wish to discuss this with the Board of Supervisors once they receive a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

Mr. Allan asked how large the shed would be since they are already at 20% impervious surface, and only 18% is permitted. Mr. Hartigan showed a picture of the shed as it existed before they were forced to remove it. Mr. Hartigan stated the problem was only discovered because Mr. Consoli decided to put up a fence and it was found that his lot referred to a 1960 plan and not the 1955 plan. Mr. Doherty asked how they determined the Consoli line was correct, and Mr. Benner stated it referred to the 1960 plan which was the amended plan. Mr. Koopman stated the amended plan is the plan they should follow.

Mr. Hartigan stated they have reached an agreement as to the configuration of the lots. They have just brought up the issue of the shed as another item. Mr. Koopman stated he feels they cannot provide tonight any assurance as to the shed since this would be a decision for the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Benner stated they are simply shifting lot lines and no new development is proposed so there is no impact on the neighborhood. He stated he feels the accuracy of the land records is in the best interest of everyone.

Mr. Benner stated comments in the 3/23/00 PCS review letter called for technical waivers, and Mr. Doherty has indicated his support for these.

Mr. Benner stated they will comply with Item #6.

Mr. Roeper noted Item #7 and asked if Mr. Doherty is recommending that the shed be moved or that the documents do not accurately reflect the location. Mr. Doherty stated he is not questioning the sketch. Mr. Benner stated the shed has been in that location for approximately twenty years or more.

Mr. Roeper moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Preliminary/Final Lot Line change for Tax parcels #20-17-50 and #20-17-51 subject to the comments in the PCS letter of 3/23/00 with the recommendation that the waivers suggested in Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4 be granted with the further understanding that the Planning Commission recommends to the Board of Supervisors that they consider allowing the 20% impervious surface ratio which will result from the lot line changes, and in Paragraph #7 the shed that has been at that location for twenty years be permitted to remain.


Mr. James McMaster, attorney, and Mr. James Ceglia, engineer, were present.

Mr. McMaster stated over twenty years ago there was an Agreement of Sale by Mr. Darrah to purchase the property. Ultimately there was litigation and a settlement was reached and the sale was approved. They are now proposing to create two separate lots. Mr. Darrah and his wife have died and the heirs are trying to clean up the estate. The family would like to create a building lot and then sell it. There is no provision shown on the plan for a house to be constructed since they do not intend to construct a house at this time. The plan they have presented shows that there is a location on Lot #2 where a home could be built and served by public sewer and water.

Item #1 of the 5/1/00 PCS review letter was noted which refers to the fact that there is no plan for the house. Mr. McMaster stated this is because there is no plan for a house at this time. He added they recognize that it would have to be within the building setback lines, and they feel that the house would have to be in the front of the lot given the configuration of the wetlands.

Item #2 was noted and Mr. McMaster stated they will include the Certification on the Plan.

Item #3 was noted, and Mr. McMaster stated they will add the surveyor’s certification and make a revision to the Plan as requested.

Item #4 was noted and Mr. McMaster stated they feel this should be done at the time of the approval of an actual building. They feel it would be appropriate to pay Fee-In-Lieu since there is one lot only.

Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Items #5, #6, and #7.

Mr. McMaster noted Item #8 and stated the lot is heavily wooded already. They feel the purchaser would address this at the time they apply for a Building Permit.

With regard to Item #9, Mr. McMaster stated because of the limitations of the Power of Attorney, they cannot offer for dedication anything between the right-of-way and the ultimate right-of-way for Lot #1 and if Mr. Miskiel comes in with something for Lot #2, that would be up to him to consider.

Mr. McMaster stated they feel Item #10 should be addressed when they seek a Building Permit.

With regard to Item #11, Mr. McMaster stated Mr. Ceglia will be addressing these concerns with CKS. He stated they feel they would have to have an ejector pump to a gravity line. They may require an easement from the adjoining property owner for this. They are working on a number of possibilities and would agree that they need approval by CKS.

Item #12 was noted with regard to access and Mr. McMaster stated they feel this should be addressed by whomever develops the lot.

With regard to Item #13, Mr. McMaster stated they are not requesting any specific waivers except for the fact that certain things should be delayed until the time the Building Permit is sought.

Mr. McMaster stated they have not seen anything from Skelly & Loy with regard to Item #14.

They will comply with Item #15 if it is felt they need a determination, and they will comply with Item #16.

With regard to Item #17, Mr. Ceglia stated the aerials were taken some time ago and they were reduced and traced so he is not sure what the problem is with the contours and feels they are accurate. He stated they will revise this to clean up any concerns Mr. Doherty has. They will also revise the Plan to clear up any concerns with the floodplain.

Item #18 was noted and Mr. McMaster stated they would like permission to simply include the trees in the area within the building line since this is a heavily wooded. The only likely trees to be disturbed when construction takes place are in the front of the lot.

Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Item #19.

With regard to Item #20, Mr. McMaster stated they feel this should be considered at the time construction takes place.

Mr. Roeper asked if they should include the Note regarding further subdivision, and Mr. Doherty stated this is already shown on the Plan.

Ms. Gould asked if Mr. Doherty is concerned with the grading, and Mr. Doherty stated he feels they should show that they can get a house on Lot #2 and meet the setback and disturbance requirements. He stated they can only disturb 30% of the woods. He is concerned that they are creating a lot that will not be able to be built upon. Mr. Koopman stated there is also a setback from the woodlands buffer and the tree buffer that must be considered. Ms. Frick stated she feels all items must be spelled out on the plan of what will be required prior to seeking a Building Permit. Mr. McMaster stated they would agree to make this very specific.

Mr. Koch asked if they have calculations showing that they could get a house on this particular lot, and Mr. Ceglia stated they have not designed a house since the Darrahs do not plan on building a house at this time. Mr. Pazdera stated the Planning Commission wants to make sure a house will fit and meet all the setback requirements. Mr. McMaster stated they feel this can be done on Lot #2. They have not looked at this for Lot #1 since their client is not interested in this. Mr. Koopman stated the Township would like assurance that this is a buildable lot. Mr. McMaster stated they will address this and show that they can put a house on the lot consistent with the Zoning Ordinance and all setback and disturbance requirements.

Mr. McMaster stated the Court decided that the Darrahs have equitable ownership of this lot. Mr. Koopman stated he doubts the Court Order addresses the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinance requirements. Mr. McMaster stated when it was done, Mr. Garton did review it. Mr. Koopman stated there have been some Ordinance changes specifically with regard to wetland buffers. He stated whether they can build on Lot #2 now may be different than whether they could have built on the lot some years ago.


Mr. Allan noted the comments which appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times regarding Commerce Bank were totally inaccurate and in no way reflected the demeanor of the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors. He stated he feels the applicant was given more than ample information. Ms. Gould expressed concern with some of the comments made by Mrs. Godshalk at the Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the actions of the Planning Commission since the Planning Commission did what they are charged to do. Mr. Roeper noted the Minutes reflected that Mr. Fazzalore advised them in October that it would be difficult to change the zoning for this tract.

There being no further business, Mr. Koch moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.