TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PLANNING COMMISSION
MINUTES - AUGUST 27, 2001

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on August 27, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

Albert Roeper, Chairman
Ron Tofel, Secretary
Edward Koch, Member
John Pazdera, Member

Others:

Nancy Frick, Director - Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer

Absent:

Deborah Gould, Planning Commission

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mr. Tofel moved and Mr. Roeper seconded to approve the Minutes of June 25, 2001 as corrected. Motion carried with Mr. Koch abstained.

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of July 9, 2001 as corrected.

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of July 23, 2001 as written.

#506 - GARY & JEANETTE MINNES SUBDIVISION - PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN DISCUSSION

Mr. and Mrs. Minnes were present. The PCS letter dated 8/22/01 was noted. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission has previously indicated that they would recommend a waiver for the street trees. Mr. Doherty noted Item #5, and stated they have now shown the detail requested, but they did not show the sealer.

Mr. Doherty stated the main problem with the Plans is listed in Item #2, and he is concerned that the applicant’s engineer does not fully understand the concept of natural resources. Mr. Doherty noted the building setback line also does not fit the house they show or the patio and deck. He stated if they reshaped it, they could get the building and the deck on the property. Mr. Doherty showed on the Plan how this could be done.

Mr. Minnes stated he felt that Mr. Doherty’s proposal would disturb more of the larger trees which the Township did not want done. Mr. Minnes showed pictures of a large tree which he feels should be taken down because of its condition. He stated Mr. Doherty had previously indicated he did not want this tree taken down. Mr. Minnes added that the surrounding residents are dumping leaves, clippings, Christmas trees, etc. on his property.

Mr. Minnes also expressed concern with new items appearing on review letters, however, Mr. Doherty disagreed with this statement. Mr. Roeper stated at the last meeting he had suggested that the applicant’s engineer meet with Mr. Doherty to resolve some outstanding issues. Ms. Frick stated she did offer this to the applicant but he declined.

Mr. Minnes asked why Item #1 of the PCS review letter is still being listed since it has already been discussed. Mr. Roeper stated this comment must stay on the PCS letter until a recommendation is made by the Planning Commission. Mr. Pazdera noted that the Planning Commission is only a recommending body, and the Board of Supervisors could decide these items differently.

Mr. Roeper stated the Plan would have to show the standard note that any further subdivision would be considered a major subdivision.

Mr. Roeper asked if Mr. Minnes would ask his engineer to meet with Mr. Doherty.

Mr. Minnes expressed concern with the increased costs this would involve. He expressed concern with additional comments coming up with each new review. Mr. Roper noted that sometimes when a change is made to address one comment, it creates new issues that were not previously raised. Mr. Roeper stated whoever the applicant engaged to draw up their initial plans, they did not coordinate with Mr. Doherty’s office or the Township Zoning Office. He stated while he recognizes the process may be costly, until the Plans can be brought into conformance with the Lower Makefield Township requirements, the Planning Commission cannot do anything for them.

Mr. Minnes stated he does not feel the large developments which have been approved have followed the Ordinances. Mr. Roeper stated the Plans and review letters for all developments in the Township are available for review by the public. He stated they do have to conform to the Township Ordinances.

Mr. Doherty stated they cannot fit the house they want to build as it is shown on the Plans.

Mr. Koopman stated it appears that the applicant’s engineer is saving trees in the wrong location. Mr. Doherty stated by Ordinance, they have to demonstrate that they are going to save 70% of the trees.

Mr. Roeper suggested that Mr. Minnes have his engineer meet with Mr. Doherty and then come back to the Planning Commission once the items are resolved. Mr. Minnes agreed to contact Ms. Frick about this.

There was discussion about cutting down trees, and Mr. Koopman stated you cannot cut down woodlands without a permit. He stated woodlands have been protected in the Township since the early 1980’s and cannot be disturbed without a permit.

Mr. and Mrs. Minnes left the meeting at this time.

Mr. Douglas Hecht, Elbow Lane, stated there are trees on the property which are being systematically destroyed by bulldozers.

Mr. Ray Suznovich stated there is a mulching business taking place on the site.

Ms. Frick asked that the Township be contacted the next time anyone sees heavy equipment in the area.

Mr. Hecht noted on the Plan the area where the mulch business and equipment disturbance is taking place.

WOODLANDS PROTECTION UPDATE AND MOTION

Mr. Koopman stated on June 19 he provided a Draft Ordinance incorporating language with regard to woodlands definitions. This included the Bucks County Planning Commission model Ordinance. He has reviewed other Ordinances and feels the Bucks County model is the clearest. He would recommend the change previously discussed regarding height of trees. Mr. Koopman stated a number of other Municipalities also use the Bucks County model.

Mr. Roper moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that Section 178-11 Woodlands be amended to read as the Bucks County Model Ordinance does with the exception that they use 4’ from the ground rather than 4.5’.

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