The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 9, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

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


Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
Timothy Duffy, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer


Ron Tofel, Planning Commission Secretary


Gary & Jeanette Minnes were present. Mr. Minnes stated his engineer had a family emergency and was unable to attend this evening.

The PCS letter dated 4/4/01 was noted. Mr. Minnes noted Item #1 of the letter which refers to street tree requirements on Big Oak Road. He stated his in-laws own the adjacent property which has frontage on Big Oak Road, and they had installed the trees themselves along the road. When the Township constructed the bikepath, the Township took the trees down on Big Oak Road. Mr. Minnes stated his mother-in-law has since installed a rock garden which she would not like to have disturbed by the installation of new street trees.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that they would recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they waive the requirement for street trees on Big Oak Road.

Mr. Minnes stated they will install the street trees as required along Elbow Lane.

Item #2 was noted. Mr. Minnes stated they will comply with the request noted in Paragraph #2. With regard to Paragraph #3, Mr. Minnes stated he understands that he will need to obtain a Variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Item #3 was noted. Mr. Minnes stated the area they have selected on which to construct the house will disturb the least number of trees possible. He noted there is a 70" caliper tree as noted in the letter from PCS which will be removed but it is not a healthy tree. He stated his brother-in-law owns Big Oak Tree Service and has advised him that the woods on the property should actually be thinned out because it is impacting the health of the woods.

Mr. Fazzalore stated it may be advisable to have a neutral party look at the trees to determine which are healthy and which are not. Ms. Gould stated this would provide justification for why they want to put the house at the location they have shown. Ms. Frick stated there has been some question about the trees since the beginning. Mr. Minnes stated he is concerned that if they are forced to relocate the house, this will involve starting all over, and they have already spent $15,000. Mr. Roeper suggested that the applicantís engineer and the Township engineer meet to consider some kind of review of the condition of the trees in the area where they plan to construct. Mr. Minnes stated they do want to have some trees to shade the house.

Ms. Frick asked the name of their engineer, and Mr. Minnes stated their engineer is Bob Hale, although Ezra Golub has been helping Mr. Hale with this project.

Mr. Minnes stated they will comply with Items #4, #5, and #6.

Mr. Roeper noted the expiration date of May 10, and Mr. Minnes agreed to provide an extension.

Mr. Roeper noted the adjacent parcel owned by his in-laws appears to be operating as a business and asked if this is permitted in this residential district. Ms. Frick stated she is going to look into this matter. Mr. Roeper stated even if the business is being operated legally on the property, he feels the area should be cleaned up. He stated some of the neighbors have expressed their concern with the appearance of that property. Mr. Minnes stated he is concerned about children and teenagers going into the woods on the property.

He stated he has posted numerous "No Trespassing" signs. He stated it appears fire pits are being built, and mattresses and other types of furniture are being left on the property.

One woman stated the land in this area is rock and asked if they will have to blast.

Mr. Roeper stated if they do have to blast, they will have to obtain the necessary permits to do so. Mr. Roeper asked if they have done any borings, and Mr. Minnes stated they have not gotten this far yet. Mr. Roeper suggested that they look into this matter. Mr. Minnes stated they are not planning on going that deep into the ground.

One gentleman asked if the house is proposed to be at the same location as was shown on the original plan, and it was stated that it is.

Mr. Minnes noted Page #3 of the Plans as it relates to the setback lines raised in the PCS letter under Item #2. He stated his engineer asked if they should show the setback lines around the entire property, and Mr. Doherty stated they should come out since they are not the proper setback lines. Mr. Doherty stated he feels they will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board first in order to determine the area where the building can be located.

Mr. Doherty noted an area on the property which appears to be clear, and Mr. Minnes stated it is clear to an extent but it is not a total clearing. Mr. Pazdera stated he feels the Zoning Hearing Board will ask why they are not building the home at that location.

Mr. Minnes stated that location is along the property line, and the neighbors have their stables along that line. Mrs. Minnes stated they have tried to locate the house equi-distant from the adjoining neighbors.


Mr. Roeper noted the draft provided by Mr. Koopman at the last meeting on this matter.

Mr. Roeper provided his written comments on the draft.

Mr. Roeper stated they did not discuss clear cutting and reforestation and asked if clear

cutting is permitted under State law. Mr. Duffy stated the State law does not comment on this, but the Solicitorís office could include language on this.

Mr. Roeper stated he feels there should be some reference to fees since the "logging plan" will have to go through some kind of review. It was agreed that this should be included.

Mr. Roeper asked if the "Permitted Uses" section of the Zoning Ordinance should be amended to include forestry. Mr. Duffy stated it is permitted in every District of the Township, and he feels that they can state in the Ordinance itself that the "Table of Permitted Uses" is amended to show that forestry is permitted.

Mr. Fazzalore asked if they are going to set a minimum area that can be considered a forest.

Mr. Doherty stated he feels the definition of a forest is one quarter of an acre.

Mr. Roeper asked that they show a specific height in Section 1b 3.

Mr. Roeper noted Item 1c 15 which refers to "wetlands" and stated he feels they should use one of the "wetlands" definitions they already have rather than create a new one.

Item 1d 1 was noted with regard to "enforcement officer." Ms. Frick stated this could be the Zoning Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, or a Police Officer depending on the situation, and leaving it as "enforcement officer" gives them flexibility.

Item 1f 2 was noted and it was agreed that "residential" property should be changed to "any" property.

Mr. Pazdera noted item 1f 7 regarding slopes and stated he would prefer including the same type of language that Solebury included in their Ordinance. Mr. Doherty suggested that they change this to "8" in the next draft, and they can discuss the matter further.

It was suggested that Mr. Koopman prepare a second draft incorporating Mr. Roeperís comments and the comments made this evening, and the Planning Commission will discuss the matter again at a subsequent meeting.


Mr. Roeper noted the Board of Supervisors has set the Spring Road Tour for Friday, May 4.

He asked that the Planning Commission members advise Mr. Coyne of any items they feel should be included on the Road Tour.

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